Evangelicals on Larry King Live

February 2, 2005

Larry KingTIME Magazine’s cover story this week is “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America”, so Larry King apparently had a few of them on his show last night. Here is the transcript (thanks to Mike who provides his reaction).

The transcript is interesting. It shows that even if you take just evangelicals (who themselves are but one segment of Christianity), you do not have a single, monolithic point of view. I’m so thankful they got a pretty good spread on this show.

I guess I want to address my “normal” friends in particular:

Oh sure, you will find Asshole Christianity represented on the show. But take a second look at some of the others, and don’t dismiss them as “the unusual Christians.” They’re not. You know me, and you have met some of my “abnormal” (that is, Christ-follower) friends. And this is quite unusual, but I want to make a direct appeal:

Don’t let the assholes turn you away from Jesus.

and the collary:

Following Jesus won’t turn you into an asshole or rot your brain.

See, we don’t just follow the teachings of Christ. If that’s all we did, we could ignore Christ himself. You may have heard me say this, but one of the funny things about codifying religion is that it makes it possible to eliminate God, because hey, you’ve got the code. Who needs the teacher if you have the teachings? …But we’re in this because of Jesus himself. There’s something about him. And his continuing invitation, to me and to you, is: “Come, follow me.”

I pray with my kids when I tuck them into bed at night, and one of my frequent prayers is this: “Thank you for my friends. Please help me share your love with them. Help them to see how special they are to you, and that they don’t have to change to begin following you. They don’t even have to believe! Help them to follow you, and help me to follow you.”

You have deepened my spiritual walk in so many ways; I hope I can do the same for you. But it would be “most excellent” to do it together. It’s messy, unpredictable, and fun. It’s worth it.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

6 responses to Evangelicals on Larry King Live

  1. Wow, just read the transcript. It’s hard to say without having seen it, but it seems like the LaHayes didn’t look too good. I think they came across as dinosaurs.
    I liked the statement that too often Christians are seen as “against” things, and we don’t hear enough about all of the good things Christians are doing around the world.
    I just think it’s ridiculous to go around saying that all gays are promiscuous or irresponsible. Why is it the government’s place to say who should and should not live together or even who should raise children (short of abuse, etc)?

  2. I’m confused, who are the assholes? I’m assuming you’re referring to people who are intolerant and disrespectful. Calling people assholes doesn’t sound like tolerance and respect to me. I read through the transcripts and heard people with different points of view, some I agree with, some I don’t. What’s with all the hand wringing?
    Sami, I didn’t read anyone saying that gays are all promiscuous or irresponsible, did I miss something? I heard everyone saying that they don’t hate gays, that they love them, that God loves them. I’m not denying that there have been assholes yelling hate, and still are. But I didn’t read that in the transcript. Also, the role of government in society is a conversation that has been going on for thousands of years. Individual liberty has never been so protected and important as it is in a Western Democracy, especially the US in the 21st century. I just want to celebrate that you could ask that question with such a sense of obviousness to the answer. God I love the United States of America!
    For the love of God and our neighbor, let’s not curse our parents in order to get tight with our peers. Would you have these people you don’t agree with NOT stand up for their views? We can discuss what standards of conduct we find acceptable in standing up for your views: no violence, no put-downs, no hate. I didn’t see any of that. If someone can open my eyes, I’d welcome that.
    I really liked Jon’s comment about seeing a range of views, not a monolithic “evangelical church”. I didn’t appreciate some of the LeHayes comments where it seemed like they accepted leadership of something as ill-defined as “the evangelical movement”. I call Larry King’s panel shows:Sound-bite TV. It doesn’t handle complexity well (e.g. King’s comments on free-will/predestination were particularly simplistic). Trying to tackle subjects as complex as gay marriage, abortion, and stem cell research in that format is designed to provoke controversy, not understanding.
    I embrace the diversity I saw in the transcript. I think there’s room at the table for each of their points of view. I’m always struck by how the media is producing a product for consumption. Larry King definately controlled the conversation and was looking for controversy. If you are looking for thoughtful, open dialog: don’t listen to talk radio and don’t watch talk TV. Have a good talk with your friends and neighbors.
    Like on a blog!

  3. Hi Jor,
    On reflection, I think I spoke too strongly (I do that sometimes). I guess the statement that Tim LaHaye made which gave me the impression that he was saying gays are irresponsible was:
    KING: Reverend, don’t you think you’re hurt, when you say, let’s say, gays shouldn’t raise children because they shouldn’t be married. Now, you’re a gay person — let’s say a gay person is watching that. Now, it may not be hate, but you’re certainly saying he’s lesser, he can’t raise children. Why not?
    T. LAHAYE: Because I think that he is communicating to those children, by observation, a harmful lifestyle.
    KING: Therefore you are criticizing him?
    T. LAHAYE: I’m opposed to it. That doesn’t mean I hate them.
    you’re certainly saying he’s lesser, he can’t raise children. Why not?
    T. LAHAYE: Because I think he is communicating to those children, by observation, a harmful lifestyle.
    I’m not saying that anyone “hates” gays, just that I don’t like the idea of government intruding into people’s personal lives, which is what the LaHayes seem to be advocating. And I think it is possible for gays to be in a committed relationship that isn’t necessarily a “harmful lifestyle”. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway it’s one thing to say homosexuality is immoral and not biblical, and another to use that belief (however legitimate) to pass laws.
    And I didn’t disagree with everything the LaHayes said, I guess I just didn’t like the overall attitude and approach they had, which I felt was off-putting, kind of condescending. Of course, that’s not to say they shouldn’t be able to say whatever they want, just that I don’t have to like what they say. And they shouldn’t presume to represent all evangelicals.
    Franklin Graham just preached the gospel, which is great, and I love him for it. That’s what he has done every time I’ve heard him speak publicly, and he doesn’t get drawn into fruitless political discussions.
    Larry King has always bugged me, and you’re right, many of the points that he tried to make were hopelessly simplistic. He was also very condescending, and not at all open to opposing points of view.

  4. Larry King is just asking the kind of questions my co-workers would ask over lunch. I am so sick of Christians complaining about being persecuted by the media..Geraldo & Rosie say the same thing.
    LaHayes, dinosaurs? I laughed but I think it’s kind of mean….they are just growing older, not that their opinion shouldn’t be heard, but maybe the true message of the gospel isn’t making strong stands but asking good questions.
    Franklin was fine, yes he preaches the gospel but sometimes it feels like no matter what the question is, he gives the 4 steps to God in the answer, like a program..like Jesus wouldn’t show up if he didn’t make all the right points..Jesus reveals himself in the strangest ways..not always in a sermonette! Larry is always kind to Billy Graham, maybe Franklin lacks the sr. Graham’s humility. But God bless Franklin for his relief work!

  5. I didn’t read the transcript and don’t particularly care to. I AM glad that society is recognizing Evangelicals as an influencial part of society, and that there is diverstiy among evangelicals.
    Sami said “Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway it’s one thing to say homosexuality is immoral and not biblical, and another to use that belief (however legitimate) to pass laws.” Question for Sami, than what informs you to make decisions regarding who to vote for, what laws you support etc etc? If you are following Christ and your beliefs are based on the bible, wouldn’t you WANT the laws to reflect what you believe? Isn’t that what everyone is doing, making laws, electing officals, based on your moral/religious/or personal views? My faith is a big part of why I support certain laws and I think that is how it should be.
    I like what Jor said ” Also, the role of government in society is a conversation that has been going on for thousands of years.” As a culture we decide. I have a family member who is in the gay lifestyle, and as much as I want her to be happy, I know she will never find peace in that lifestyle appart from faith in Christ.
    I think the bible is pretty clear on its teaching on homosexuality. There are many believers who have recoverd, been healed and set free from what led them to what I would call sexual brokeness.
    My guess is that when Lahaye was saying homosexuality was a harmful lifestyle is because it goes against God’s design, not because of the promsicuity etc. Anyway I agree that it is a harmful lifestyle because it is against God’s design, and since God is the desigener, doing things HIS way would be better.

  6. I found the Lahayes a bit offputting, though certainly not as infuriating as the people who showed up at that dead gay kid’s (Matthew Sheppard?) funeral with the “Burn in hell, faggot” signs. The others seemed more like people whose presence would not make me grind my teeth together after a while. I was already aware that Christians, even evangelicals are not a monolithic group. Frankly, that idea had not occurred to me. It’s a strange, nuanced world we live in, after all. Conversely, the heathens aren’t a monolithic group either. 😉