I came to know Christ as my Savior when I was twenty-five years old. I made a “profession of faith” when I was in middle school but it was merely an acknowledgment of the faith of my father. I wanted to know Jesus because my dad knew Jesus and I wanted to be like my dad. It was a faith in having faith rather than a faith in the living Christ.
I say all that to say I thought I had an anchor that would hold. I believed that the act of walking an aisle and being baptized was the essence of salvation. When the storms of college life hit with all its freedom and temptation, I pulled up the anchor and sailed into whatever pleased the flesh.
I married right out of college and set a new course but I was carrying the same old cargo. Four years into my marriage I was asked to be a part-time youth and music minister in a small Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina. I took the job because it was part-time and the pay was a nice augmentation for my salary as a sales manager for a local radio station.
Four months later I took the members of the youth group to youth week at Ridgecrest Baptist Retreat Center in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The camp pastor’s message brought me face to face with the lie I was living. When the invitation was given, I went forward. Broken and deeply convicted, I was ready to put my anchor into something other than just the idea of faith.
I love music so I naturally started looking for inspiration and encouragement through music. I was listening to the radio one day and I heard Ray Boltz singing “The Anchor Holds.” When I heard him sing, “I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging sea, the anchor holds in spite of the storm” it took me back to that night when I finally threw my anchor onto the rock and I knew that it would hold for eternity. I immediately became a Ray Boltz fan because his music and lyrics seemed to always land right in the cracks of my life bringing healing and encouragement when the road was rough or the water deep.
I found out two weeks ago that Ray Boltz announced to the world that after years of struggling with homosexual longings he decided to pull up his anchor, stop fighting the storm, and just go with the flow. For two weeks, I couldn’t even think about it, let alone write about it or talk about on my radio show. It has been a long time since I experienced the flood of emotions that when right through my soul. I was angry, hurt, disappointed, and profoundly confused as to how someone who had been such an inspiration to me and to millions of others could just walk away from the faith. How could he walk away from his wife and children? How could he write those words that stirred my soul, creating in me a hunger for a more intimate relationship with God when his anchor was obviously dragging along the bottom of such a dark place in his life?
The Lord took me to two places in His Word that helped me come to grips with the depth of the deception that led to this decision in Ray Boltz’s life. The first place was Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart form Me, you who practice lawlessness.” I had read those verses many times and preached numerous sermons about their meaning. But now the hard truth of Jesus words made me realize that no one knows the heart of another person. The people Jesus referred to in this passage were shocked to hear their relationship with Him was a not a relationship with Him but merely a relationship with the ministry they performed for Him. They knew Jesus but it was knowledge of Him as a man and not as the Messiah. They were turned away because the fruit they produced was like the fruit that sits in a bowl in our living room. It looks like fruit but in reality it is just a plastic, empty, cheap imitation.
The second place the Lord took me was to 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for If they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.” We cannot fool God and we will not be allowed to fool the world forever. The one who truly can hold your anchor in the storm will not allow a false anchor to hold forever. There comes to all a day of reckoning and revelation. Reckoning to God and revelation of that reckoning to the world so that the truth of God can be upheld.
I pray for Ray Boltz…. that God will show him where the anchor really holds.
Dr. Tony Beam is Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.