Jennifer Knapp, Larry King, Ted Haggard, and Bob Botsford = Painful Television

I watched Larry King Live on Friday night and was pretty disappointed with just about everything I was hearing, even from “Evangelicals” Ted Haggard and Bob Botsford. Here’s a summary of what disappointed me:

  1. Jen Knapp – She is obviously still conflicted from her body language. It was unclear if she actually viewed her behavior as sinful, but justified within a framework of “we’re all sinners” or if she actually thought her lifestyle was commendable within a Biblical framework. She sounded unsure about Scriptural warrant as she repeatedly said that the Bible was written in Greek and subject to various interpretations. She didn’t make a case for her lifestyle from Scripture other than to say that there are some who understand the text in a way that would permit homosexual behavior. I was also disappointed with the privatization of the faith in her references, “My faith”, “My journey”, etc.
  2. Larry King – He was obviously bent on viewing her lifestyle as something that she is inclined towards. He even reasoned that if God is all-powerful, then our inclinations must be consistent with His will. Bob Botsford had a great opportunity to respond to this faulty epistemology, but he failed to connect with this soft toss (more on that later). King was picking and choosing from the Judeo-Christian worldview to validate certain actions, while condemning others…yet another opportunity for Botsford to respond too.
  3. Ted Haggard – He kept reaffirming that God is love and the Bible is all about having a personal relationship with Jesus. He even said that since Knapp and Botsford are on their separate journeys, and that they are equally saved by grace, they should not be criticizing one another. With Haggard also privatizing the faith, he was essentially an unwitting ally to Knapp in the conversation. This over-privatizing of the faith explains why Haggard felt that he was mishandled by his church’s board and the Foursquare denomination when his own mis-discretions became public. He apparently thought that church discipline was “unloving” and incompatible with love towards those in sin. If Ted Haggard thought he was “saved” during his escapades, then he must feel himself in a bind to denunciate Jen Knapp’s actions so long as she professes to be a Christian. He is making a category error in the role of Church discipline in connection with assurance of salvation. His ecclesiology seems pretty whack, doesn’t even sound like he would discipline Jen Knapp. Weird stuff.
  4. Bob Botsford – He is an Evangelical pastor who had a Bible with him, but seemed very uncomfortable to be there and very ill-prepared in the apologetics of pulling down strongholds. He is a learned man, based on his website, but seems as if he has never been trained in epistemology and critiquing post-modern thought and moral relativity. It is great to quote the Bible over and over again, but at some point you need to be able to show the inconsistency and foolishness of the opposition by denying them many of their presuppositions that guide their thoughts and questions. He failed to do that. He should have asked Jen Knapp and Larry King if they have any sexual ethics and what such is based on. He should have asked them if they supported pedophiles, incestuous intercourse, bestiality, and rape. If they said no to any of those scenarios, they should have been asked to give a defense for what authority their denunciations are based on. They would have been revealed as inconsistent and morally bankrupt, as the real hypocrites in the discussion. He had so many opportunities to challenge the uncertain exegesis of Jen Knapp, the selective epistemology of Larry King, and the doubletalk of Ted Haggard, but failed. I was screaming for Al Mohler, Greg Koukl, or even John MacArthur to show up on set and make a respectable defense of the Evangelical faith, but such was not the case.

In closing, this was painful to watch. I do pray for Jen Knapp and have many of her songs on my Ipod. The only plus I take from the show was that she was very conflicted within and she was hardly honest when she said that she is happier than she has ever been. That is absolutely not true. I pray that she would turn in repentance before she is totally given over by God to her obstinate heart.

© 2010, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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9 comments on “Jennifer Knapp, Larry King, Ted Haggard, and Bob Botsford = Painful Television
  1. At the risk of offending, it has been my experience that religion, like politics, is inundated with hypocrites in the pulpit, just as there are hypocrites in Congress and the U.S. Senate. To further the analogy, let me contrast Idaho’s Vaughn Ward, Raul Labrador, neither of whom have the best interests of the people in mind, but rather “the PULL OF POWER” from a Congressional seat. Like wise, preachers with a captive audience hanging on their every word soon fall victim to “The PULL OF POWER” albeit from the pulpit. But the fact remains that anytime a man has the attention of thousands (as in Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, ET AL) there is the possibility that their efforts are intended to present what “seems” helpful to their flock, but in actuality is self aggrandizement. Vaughn moved to Idaho solely to run for congress, so HOW committed could he possibly be to truly representing the people of Idaho? Labrador, by contrast. has been part of the problem based on his years in the Idaho State Legislature wherein he’s had MORE than ample opportunity ‘effect change.” Granted he did stand up against the gas tax. Great. How does that change the costs of thousands of illegal aliens in Idaho, many of whom he has personally represented and “turned” into U.S. Citizens. How DOES that happen?
    I did not view this particular program, but I am not surprised to read the critique presented most eloquently by Rick Hogaboam, and which I believe to be a general description of the state of religion in America. But as I stated, I offer this comment at the risk of offending.

  2. Great report Rick. It was extremely hard to watch Julie and I saw it on the web last night. I wish Bob had done more with the opportunity there also. Your defense would have been great had they let him say it, he was getting cut off at the end.

  3. Give me a break all Christian alive today live in their sinful ways. We all know that the most serious spiritual problem today is reckless and unrestrained greed. Go home and look at how you live and be honest with yourself and say did you really need it or did you want it. If it’s not a need – it’s greed! 2.5 billion Christians in this world why aren’t they having a greater impact is because they don’t truly follow the teachings of Christ.

    The Catholic Church speaks of four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. Two are cheating workers out of wages, the other, exploiting widows and children. Both happen every day in this greedy world we live in. All Christians are sinners!

    When Jesus told us not to judge He was telling us not to judge hypocritically, for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. That is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do.

    God creates homosexual animals so why wouldn’t he do the same with humans. Homosexual behavior in animals refers to the documented evidence of homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior in non-human animals. Such behaviors include sex, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species. The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied. According to Bagemihl, “the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity — including homosexual, bisexual and nonreproductive sex — than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept.” Current research indicates that various forms of same-sex sexual behavior are found throughout the animal kingdom. A new review made in 2009 of existing research showed that same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species. Homosexuality is best known from social species

    Satan has nothing to do with it except allow Christians to not accept God’s creation because of their misguided interpretations of the bible. Put the bible into perspective by doing research and understanding the time period it was written. A literal interpretation takes into account the historical context and that context determines the interpretation.

    There is evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. The APA even states human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, a mental disorder, or an emotional problem. More than 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that homosexuality, in and itself, is not associated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information.

    Biblical inerrancy does not mean that we are to stop using our minds or accept what the Bible says blindly. We should always be open to changing an interpretation if the Spirit convicts and the evidence supports.

    • Tracy, I appreciate your well-reasoned case for the proliferation of homosexual behavior among many species. I also take to heart your criticisms of the sin of greed or coveting among many Christians. We are no doubt afflicted with many other sins as well. I think the issue here isn’t whether we sin…we most certainly do, but rather in what we define as sinful behavior. You are making the case that Christians should not define homosexual behavior as sin. I would have to take issue with you on this point. You may not agree with my understanding of the Bible, but God makes mention of several sexually deviant behaviors that he forbids…some of the others include beastiality, incest, and adultery. Just because certain behaviors are observed among the species doesn’t necessitate us viewing it as morally right. This is me granting you that evolution is even a valid framework to begin with, which I have issues with, but that is besides the point.

      Also, I’m not sure if you even believe in absolute morality and how you arrive at any convictions. You seem to be a moral person in denouncing greed as wrong. I would ask how you would tell a bunch of greedy people that what they are doing is MORALLY wrong? I’m just curious how you even construct ethics and whether your conclusions have any transcendent binding weight upon humanity.

      Based on your reasoning for homosexuality being okay, I am wondering how you would respond to your child who wishes to engage in sexual behavior while getting drunk. Your child might say that this behavior is widespread and must therefore be okay. It seems to me that you open the door to a totally Utilitarian ethics that pronounces anything as good that is agreed upon by the majority or is a fairly common observable behavior. If you happen to disagree with the majority of folks in a community that happens to view greed as good, for example, you would sound very arrogant and strange telling them that they are all wrong and that you alone are right. Why should they listen to you?

      Again, thanks for your thoughts and I am curious how you have resolved some of these moral quandaries within your own mind.

      • What you are failing to realize is you have a perfect example in Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King to answer the questions you posed. And for that matter how about Gandhi. I do recognize my view is of the minority not yours. It’s why homosexual today still face persecution from others and limited rights just like the slaves did and women. What you have to do is recognize yourself as being the slave owner, then contemplate the justifications people used to endorse their beliefs in it to understand why your judgment against homosexuality is distorted. You are taking snippets of text from the bible to justify your personal prejudice of what you believe God intended. My question to you is how do you know with certainty of his intention toward the married loving relationships of born again homosexuals of today? (Yes please note the wording there.) Science and psychology have shown that homosexuality is not what was perceived to be in the past because the past was based on biased opinions. You need to put the Bible into perspective so you can realize that maybe Christianity has got their interpretations wrong again. What version of the bible are you reading? If you look at the different versions such as Corinthians the word homosexuality was added afterwords by a bias interpreter.

        “I am wondering how you would respond to your child who wishes to engage in sexual behavior while getting drunk. Your child might say that this behavior is widespread and must therefore be okay.”

        As for this silly example we know sex before marriage is not okay for either heterosexuals or homosexuals and yes that is a choice. But, what is wrong with your analogy is homosexuality is not a choice the APA has proved that and science is showing that as well. What you can’t grasp is the complexity of a person who was created as a homosexual. You want them to get married as a heterosexual which would be a lie and deception to their partner and that would be considered wrong. What is sad is I can’t help but wonder if you believe God to be static, I personally don’t since I have seen him work miracles in my life and those of my homosexual friend’s lives. Try to remember that there are homosexuals that live in sin living flamboyant lifestyles just like there are heterosexuals that do it to. We are talking about Christian homosexuals here that have a strong faith in God and are saved through Jesus. Now go back and read the entire text and recognize it’s says they turned away from God. That is not true of the Christian homosexuals of today.

  4. Why do Fundamentalists quote the Bible and say, “God said it, I believe it that settles it.” They assume that the meaning and interpretation of the Bible is simple but ignore the historical aspect of the Bible and its interpretation.

    Apart from a few passages, such as the Ten Commandments, the Bible does not claim to be dictated by God. The Bible portrays the complex interaction between God and humans over long periods of time. The interaction includes presence and absence, revelation and mystery on the part of God. It includes a process of learning and growth, punctuated by periods of regression.

    The writers of the Bible never tell us to turn off our brains. Instead they challenge us to think through the implications of faith in an unseen God who sides with slaves, refugees, immigrants, the poor, and the crucified.

    The scriptures, such as Roman’s, keep coming up with this issue. It’s amazing that something Paul was referencing in regards to pagan activities, prostitution can suddenly be used to reference modern day homosexuality. Paul was not making sweeping generalizations condemning any and all sex activity, when put into historical and religious context he was against idolatry. If Christians today would realize that homosexuality is a state of being and identity that God has given to some people then their lifestyle is not a willful disobedience to God’s laws and commandments. It’s who they are. There are some ministers, bishops and pastors from all different faiths who have come forward stating they accept homosexual Christians to their church and no longer see it as living in sin but other groups continue with their judgmental attitudes based on their idea of an definitive interpretation.

    The only thing homosexuals can continue to do is get the law on their side and take it one step at a time like the people born to slavery did. Fundamentalist Christians finally got the message regarding slavery let’s hope they can get the message on homosexuality too.

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