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Reflections on the Interview, where Jennifer Knapp "Comes out of the closet"

I had really intended on spending only a few minutes at the computer, then “turning in.” However, in my online travels (trying to make good on a promise to Don to hear the other side of the homosexuality debate), I came across the following YouTube vid, in which a popular Christian singer, Jennifer Knapp recently announced that she is a lesbian. The interview which I saw has got my mind rolling, and I can’t sleep ’till I get my thoughts out!

Without meaning to (no, I have no desire whatsoever to be in this person’s seat!! I absolutely cannot think on the spot, and dread situations like this) I placed myself in the position of “pastor Bob.” As my sleepless mind rolled, I thought of answers I would give to the thorny questions hurled his direction.

Larry King: Do you think this woman is going to hell?

(A good answer): I don’t know who is going to hell. God is the judge of that. And God is a God of justice, but also a God of great grace and mercy. He showed mercy to me even though I have done some very terrible things, and am still very imperfect. I do not know whether Jennifer Knapp is going to hell. I do know, however, that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sinful action.

Larry King: So you are judging her.

(A good answer): Let’s pretend we are all children for a moment, and we have the same father. It would be wrong for me, as a child, to set myself up as the judge, to say “you have done such and this, and these are the consequences of your actions.” My judging would not be wrong because the act of judging is wrong – we believe in justice, we believe in right and wrong, we believe in judges – but because this is not my job. I am only a fellow sibling – I have no higher status. I have no right to judge. However, if we all know that our father is coming home soon, and that he has certain expectations and instructions, it is the duty of children to remind one another of their father’s rules before he comes home. It is not “judging” to remind someone of the rules of the true Judge, so that they may avoid the consequences of disobedience.

Larry King: And you think one of those rules is that homosexuality is wrong?

(A good answer): Yes.

Larry King: And for that God would send a person to hell?

(A good answer): As I said, God is the judge. It’s not for me to make that call – it never will be. However, God has revealed to us that there will be many surprised people in the judgment day. Many will say, “Lord lord, I have many wonderful things in Your name,” and He will say, “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23) So part of this not entering into heaven is practicing lawlessness. I think Scriptures are quite clear that homosexuality is one example of lawlessness.

Jennifer Knapp: But why are you judging me for my homosexuality? Don’t you ever lie, cheat, steal? Don’t you do bad things too? What makes you think you are going to heaven, and I am not?

(A good answer): All of my hope is in the righteousness of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ..

Jennifer Knapp: …So is mine!

(A good answer): Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15). In Romans 6, and in Hebrews 6 and 10, it talks about abusing the cross and blood of Christ in order to continue sinning. This is not possible for a Christian! The issue here is not about homosexuality being a big sin, and lying being a small sin. (I recognize that there are political and social interests at work which have unfortunately blown this particular issue out of proportions, so that we are having this conversation on national television instead of someplace more appropriate. Nevertheless, this issue is not about homosexuality being a bigger sin.) The issue is about the unrepentant attitude. I recently confronted a man on his stubborn unwillingness to forgive a certain person. I showed him the Scriptures, and I told him, “Don’t you realize that Jesus said, ‘If you do not forgive, I will not forgive you’? (Matthew 6:14-15) Don’t you realize that by not giving grace to others, you are blocking grace for yourself?” I believe that this person was just as much – if not more so – in danger of hell as you yourself are. We all stumble, we all fail, we all make mistakes – but when we resolutely declare, “I have decided that this is right, and I am going to do this no matter what the Bible says,” this is when we put ourselves in great danger.

Jennifer Knapp: I have spiritual accountability. I am under spiritual authority – and that is not you. You have no right to speak to me about this issue…

(A good answer): If you do not want me to talk to you about this, I will not bother you anymore. I will continue praying for you, and I hope you know I believe every word that I said, and I truly am concerned for you!

Larry King: Concerned? Concerned because you think she is going to hell?

(A good answer): Yes, that is where the evidence seems to lead.

Larry King: This God of yours seems very exclusivist. I thought God was a God of love?

(A good answer): God is a God of justice and of love. In His justice, He has recognized that we all deserve eternal consequences for our actions. In His grace, He made a way of escape. Love and truth have kissed at the cross (Psalm 85:10) However, He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Part of entering that narrow gate is doing our very best to follow the commandments written in the Bible, even though they are at times very hard.

In all fairness, I did not write this book: however, it is my job – as it is of everyone who calls themselves a Christian – to be as faithful to it as we can. I hope that is what I have done here today.

Larry King: Do you think I am going to hell?

(A good answer): Mr. King, in all honesty I don’t watch very much TV and I haven’t watched your show very much. If this is a serious question, and you would like to examine your life in the light of Scriptures I would very much like to take the time to do that, at whatever time is convenient for yourself.

12 Comments »

  1. Wow! Very good responses. This would be a tough situation for a Christian to be in. We all need to think about speaking the truth yet kindly with sincere affection.

    • On reflecting, it is interesting, isn’t it, how Larry King seems to feed her her answers, and to actually guide the discussion very shrewdly. He prompts her to say, “I am happy now – I have never been happier” and practically hands her the line “I am who I am, and I cannot change it,” even though when he first asks her if she chose to be a lesbian, she very noticeably hesitates. This may be in the preceeding or following clip, I’m not sure.
      With pastor bob, it is interesting that Larry immediately starts with “is this woman going to hell?” This is a loaded question for many reasons, not least of which is that he is demanding that Bob either: say no, and thus imply that he has no moral stance on this issue, or say yes, and thus imply that he is presiding as a judge, and has some right to send Jennifer to hell. When Bob hedges towards a “yes,” Larry “springs” his trap by attacking him as “judging” her. The only really good way out of this would be to question the question – asking Larry why he would ask a mortal man to comment on the judgments of almighty God, and making it clear that this is not a question we are suited to answer – although it is fitting that we read His word to find out what His opinion on the matter is.

      • Not having watched but a brief smidgeon of Larry King, I wasn’t aware that he manipulated the discussions this much. Is this normal for him?

      • No idea. I never watch him either. I was raised without a TV, and my wife and I only got one about ten months ago (whenever the olypics were on). I’m very much out of the loop when people talk about celebrities and TV shows.

        Terribly “out of touch with society/not very missionally-minded”, I am afraid…

      • I am sure that such “manipulations” come naturally to someone in his position. He probably does it without really knowing what he is doing. The art of rhetoric is like a fine game of chess, or boxing. It’s all about trapping your opponent in their own words…

  2. “The art of rhetoric is like a fine game of chess, or boxing. It’s all about trapping your opponent in their own words…”

    IOW it’s about winning in some form. You have a goal preformed, and try to manipulate your victim into your goal. This is why Christian debate is likely a bad idea because the world’s values of winning are pushed into a discussion that should be about finding the truth. Instead their is a false appearance of winning and losing according to whomever has the rhetorical game learned best.

    • Very true. I like debate, and am drawn to apologetics. I asked a lawyer who I happened to pick up hitch-hiking what they study, to learn how to debate. He mentioned Aristotle’s “the republic” (oh wait….is that Plato? Oh shoot – maybe I forget what he said!) I have been debating whether to pursue rhetorical skills (reading ancient rhetoricians, even enrolling in an iTunes course on debate/lawyering) but then I keep wondering “is this fighting fire with fire”? Like you said, it should be about finding truth, not about winning.

      I’d hate to become so skilled in “winning” that I am unaware (or uncaring) when I trample truth and hearts underfoot. I already totter dangerously near that edge at times, as you will know if you read enough of what I write, when the debates get “hot.” (lord, have mercy on me a sinner!)

      But then, on the other hand, all of the great scholars in history (Turtullian, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, etc.) were all trained first as lawyers. I suppose there’s good in everything, as long as Jesus stays your Lord…

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