Well, your humble servant is getting nicely pwned by Atheists at the moment (not as a result of yesterday’s post, actually a reason for my beginning this web-log is because of my getting pwned by Atheists. I figured, if all I was doing was preaching anyway, I might as well officially start, but thats for another post, surely). Although I am currently being, seemingly, fed to the Godless at this point, thats not what I want to talk about right now. Its definitely on my mind, but I there’s another issue which I’d like to address while I still have the time, and that is the subject of my fallen idols.
Many Christians are familiar with the biblical term “idolatry,” and today about 90% of the population practices some form of idolatry or another. For those of you who do not know what idolatry is, just look it up in a bible dictionary. I strongly urge people who don’t have sufficient background knowledge on these subjects to DO THE RESEARCH. The reason for this is because I do not have the time to explain intricacies of the Scriptures which should be well known to Christians by now. If you’re not a Christian, check out the Altar Call tab up top. By now, christians should be eating meat, not drinking milk. I should be eating meat; maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but I plan to seek it out. So, lets get back to the topic:
My fallen idols. I’m not speaking here of statues set up to worship, nor am I talking about materialism and its evils. I’m talking about musicians; but I’m not talking about how musicians can be set up as idols, etc., etc., those subjects have been exhaustively run into the ground. I’m simply talking about musicians that I liked during my childhood, specifically the Christian artists who have had an impact on my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and my spiritual life while growing up.
I was a Stryper kid. I began listening to Guns N’ Roses at the age of Eight, and when I was Nine my dad (weary of the profanity and offensive themes of GnR) told me about Stryper. We were in a music store in Sherbrooke, QC, probably that same location where music stores seem to constantly be there on Wellington street, yet always changing names due to change of management. I picked up my first Stryper cassette tape there (for those of you wondering what a cassette tape is, let me just say that Ipod’s are gay and Walkman’s rule! :p lol), my dad bought it for me. It was their now infamous classic “To Hell with the Devil.”
I would listen to that over and over, and over and over again some more. A few years later I had begun to collect their albums one by one, but I only had the previous one mentioned, and their follow-up to it entitled “In God We Trust.” By a stroke of luck I found “Against the Law” in a second-hand music shop, and begged my mom to buy it for me.
I was so excited to get that tape, and as the first track played (which I believe is the title-track), I remember asking myself “…are they still Christians?” I remember analyzing the lyrics, photos, and liner notes. Something was wrong, I could tell. First of all, they weren’t wearing their signature yellow-and-black stripes, and secondly, their lyrics were seemingly less Christian than they were in previous efforts.
Can’t a band evolve? Must I become critical of all groups when they change musical directions? Yes, I believe so, when the artists in general are Christians and playing music for Christians. Hear me out, I’ll get to my point eventually. Anyways, lets just say that I was very influenced by Stryper as a kid, and as a pre-teen I was startled to notice that they seemed a little less emphatic on the message of Christ, which I thought to be very important. They had helped me to feel the urgency and significance of that message in the first place, so long ago. Of course, years later I learned about the controversy that surrounded that particular album, how it was apparently crafted more for top-40 success than to speak the Truth. These were Christians that were very important to me, I even wrote to Stryper once asking why God was not thanked FIRST on Against the Law like it had been on all the other albums. I did get a response (from Michael Sweet’s mother no less!), but it wasn’t satisfying. Fortunately, they at least offered a band-aid in the form of the awesome thundering of the final track “Rock the Hell out of You.” But over-all, it wasn’t hard to see that Stryper had begun to go the way of the herd… at least for a while.
Fast forward to around 1995. I was into Death Metal, and had the good fortune to find extreme metal albums in some christian bookstores in my area. This greatly delighted me, because I wanted to see how these bands could compare to the secular bands that I was into also. I picked up albums by Mortification, Tourniquet, and Vengeance Rising; three awesomely talented bands. Vengeance Rising was on their way to becoming my favorite of the three bands. Fortunately, the devastation of their eventual apostacy was dampened by my own seduction into the occult. I wasn’t as affected by the blow as hard as I’m sure other Christian metal fans were.
It wasn’t until years later that I heard the news, that Vengeance Rising was no more, and that their frontman had turned from Christianity. At the time I was trying to get out of the satanic lifestyle, so it interested me to get into all the old Christian metal bands that I loved. But vengeance Rising wasn’t there. Roger Martinez (lead vocals/guitar) couldn’t possibly know the hearts that he’s broken by discontinuing the faith… could he? How many kids were traumatized when they saw one of the humans they looked up to the most just walk away? How many of those kids walked away too? Thats the question that troubles me the most. I realize that these are still HUMANS we’re talking about, but there is a reason why God holds Shepherds responsible moreso than the flocks: because if the Sheep are lead astray by a irresponsible Shepherd, then the Sheep cannot be held responsible. God entrusts the Shepherds with His Sheep, and He trusts that the Shepherds will not lead the Sheep into the mouths of wolves. Fortunately, we have Jesus; unfortunately, most preachers aren’t adequate Shepherds. Thats not to say they can’t be; God encouraged us to “feed His flock,” did He not? Preachers are held accountable to what they say to the people, and individual shepherds are held accountable to the Lord for how they took care of the Sheep. Amirite? To peole who don’t know the Bible I sound insane, but to those who know what I’m talking about, thats pretty much what it says, correct?
Fast forward to last night. I went on Youtube to hear a song that has always filled me with inspiration, and I used to listen to it and feel the Spirit of God all around me… it was a very special song. It was by a singer who I very much loved when I went to Calvary Apostolic Church around the time I was Eleven, just before the Death Metal days. I was actually introduced to this singers music through a church presentation we performed to one of his songs; the song was about Paul and Silas in jail. Yes, I’m talking about Ray Boltz.
I learned, just last night, that Ray Boltz has come out of the closet as a homosexual man. This is actually what prompted me to write this message about “my fallen idols.” You cannot imagine my bereavement. Another Christian whom I very much looked up to in the Faith has made my countenance fall, this time through homosexuality. I cannot judge, not Ray, not Roger, not Stryper. I have my own issues with sexuality. I know that we should look at Christ always, and look up to Him, but at the same time its difficult to explain because on the one hand you have Christ, and on the other hand you have humans who are mighty men of Faith, HEROES, Defenders of the Faith… and they are shaken. It only goes to show you the kind of horror we are living in, in these last days. Humans are human, and they fall. They sin. It’s true. But I think the remainder of this message is going to be different from what was expected, at least I hope so…
Humans sin, and mighty men of faith do become shaken. Consider Peter. He denied Christ three times for fear of his own skin. He watched Jesus be humiliated and tortured, yet he denied the Lord. Who wouldn’t in that case? I probably would have too. Was Peter’s sin any worse than that which any of the musical artists in question have committed? Or worse than any you or I have committed?
And when these people fall from worthiness in our eyes, what do we do? None of us are worthy of God’s love. We can’t earn it, or work our way up to it, He offers it free when He doesn’t have to. What do we, being Christians, usually do in these scenario’s? We condemn them, or shun them, or boycott them, or anything that will make us feel better about it (even preaching to them, tough-love, or whatever).
The truth is this: they are fallen away. The truth is this: God loves them still. God is NOT absent in their lives. They may be living lives of sin, WE may be living lives of sin, I may be living a life of sin; but God is still God. He always will be. And He calls us all to repentance. Oh sure, we might fight about it during the day, but in those moments just before sleep each and every person faces God. They face their own sin, and there aren’t so many distractions to drown out the noise of the blood which calls from the ground.
None of us should be judging them; all of us should be praying for them.
Stryper is once again, I’m glad to say, proclaiming the good news of Christ for all to hear. Praise Jesus! I pray that they will be given strength to persevere in the face of the Godless, in the face of everything the Enemy may throw at them in order to make them fail.
Roger Martinez is loved. He needs to know this, even though he hates it. I pray that the love of Christ surrounds him, and that we will see him become a mighty hero for Christ once again! There are many people who are waiting to welcome you back Roger, and they are praying for you fervently. As an old fan I can say, I love you too, and I hope you will return to Christ. Don’t let these satanic metal groups win! Their philosophies are empty; they may not know it, but YOU do.
Ray Boltz. My heart is broken. I know how hard it is to deal with inward feelings. I know how hard it is to reconcile these feelings to the Truth of Christ. I just pray that you will continue to fight, that you will continue to fight for yourself, and that God will surround you. Remember, Paul had a thorn in his flesh too, one which never went away. Ray, you are a guiding light to Christians everywhere; you may have sinned, you may be sinning, and you may still sin, but I would like to just say one thing: Thank you. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed.
I pray for you all; the strength of the Lord Yeshuah be upon you!
Keep watching the Temple. Wait for it, pray for it; its coming SOON!