Homosexuality, Christianity, the Bible, Larry King, Jennifer Knapp, Ted Haggard and Bob Botsford, part 1
But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our
Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen:
“In the last days there will be people who...
make a religion of their own whims and lusts”
—Jude v. 17-18, The Message trans.
An interesting conversation took place between Larry King, Jennifer Knapp, Ted Haggard and Bob Botsford on CNN’s Larry King Live (April 23, 2010) on a show titled, “Christian Singer Comes Out As Lesbian.”
LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a Christian singer's shocking admission. She admits she is a lesbian, alienating some of her fans, angering devout followers.
Jennifer Knapp reveals how a God-loving woman rejected church teachings to be true to herself…
Can you be Christian and gay? Should anyone have to choose one or the other?...
Jennifer Knapp is a Grammy-nominated Christian music artist. Recently came out publicly as a lesbian revealing that she has been in a same-sex relationship for the past eight years.
The conversation begins betwixt Larry King and Jennifer Knapp and later includes Bob Botsford (senior pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego) and Ted Haggard (who is described this way, “former pastor of the New Life Church. A 2006 gay sex and drug scandal destroyed Ted's New Life Megachurch Ministry, shocked the Evangelical community to its core” and who “says today that he no longer has homosexual thoughts”).
KING: Did you know early on you were gay?
KNAPP: No, I wouldn't have put it that way…
Yes, when I fell in love with a beautiful woman. That was a pretty good indicator. But I was -- at the time I was actually involved in sharing my faith in music. I was celibate for 10 years…
KING: Do you still call yourself a Christian artist?
KNAPP: I still -- I am a person of faith. It's a long-debated term, the connection of those two terms. I am an artist. I very much as an artist often find myself reflecting my faith in my music, and will probably continue to do that.
What we often find in situations such as Jennifer Knapp’s is that she expects theology to be re-written for her particular desires. Overnight, she goes from Christian singer to theologian who seeks diligently to justify herself whilst demanding that whatever she is doing still allows her to be a Christian. Bob Botsford will have some good points to make on this note. One problem is that, indeed, there are many “churches” who have literally been built around justifying particular sins and Jeffiner Knapp is well aware of this fact:
KING: Does what you do, do you think belie your faith since so many in the Christian world regard homosexuality as a sin?
KNAPP: Well, not every Christian denomination belies homosexuality…there are many denominations in the country…many other denominations…openly accept the rich diversity of the types of believers that are within their community…
KING: No problem for you to be Christian and gay.
KNAPP: Not with myself personally, no.
KING: You don't feel that your Bible speaks against it. Or, do you?
KNAPP: Well, I think there's plenty of evidence in my exploration of my faith through the sacred text of the Holy Bible that I have definitely recognized that we are somewhat at the handicap of our own interpretations of a sacred text. Let's take for example the original Greek translation of which I am no academic scholar of. Yet, you know, we all know that any time that we read a book or we read any kind of word, that it becomes the interpretation of our life's experience, what we want to bring out of that.
And so, I mean, in the long run, I don't have the greatest deal of problems with it because there are other -- there are not -- I'm not the only person in the universe that's ever, you know, looked at, you know, a different interpretation. We have --
KING: We can read things into any things.
KNAPP: Yes, doesn't make the truth any less the truth or love any less love.
Homosexuality is perfectly acceptable for a Christian because there are denominations that have been artificially built or artificially rearranged to allow it, accept it, endorse it, etc. Yet, there are denominations that are quite the opposite which leaves us in a state of absolute relativism.
After all, “we are somewhat at the handicap of our own interpretations.” So, it is not absolutely relative as she is right and those who disagree with her are wrong, she is actually claiming to possess the one infallible interpretation even whilst attempting to hide this as she attempts to claim that those who oppose her do not possess the one infallible interpretation.
Note her hermeneutic (method of interpretation), “it becomes the interpretation of our life's experience, what we want to bring out of that.” Now we see the problem; she is applying the faulty method of misinterpretation known as eisegesis whereby we read into a text that which we presuppose, that which we want to see. The appropriate method is exegesis whereby we come to a text without preconceived notions and simply see what the text is telling us. Later she will refer to “this mysterious and sacred word…our travels and our journey in this mysterious -- (CROSS TALK)” when it may allow her to carry out her sinful and chosen lifestyle it is, conveniently, “mysterious.”
KING: The implication is that you chose this, that you had a choice and said, "Well, I'm gay, straight, gay, straight, I'll choose gay."…
KING: You don't think that, do you? You don't think -- did you think you chose this?
KNAPP: I don't --
KING: You don't know why you are.
KNAPP: -- I don't know why I am. I'm very comfortable with it. I recognize that love is a choice, very much. My sexuality, on the other hand, I'm not so certain about.
KNAPP: It is what it is and I am what I am, you know?
The issue of choice will be discussed by Larry King and guest below. For the moment I will state that the issue is twofold as a homosexual may be born that way but they still choose to carry on a homosexual relationship and lifestyle. If they are engaging in a sexual act but did not choose to do so then they are being raped. Of course, they choose to engage in the act and the lifestyle. If they do not choose those actions then, perhaps, homophobes do not choose to be homophobic but are simply born that way.
Moreover, we are all born with certain tendencies that are to be oppressed and outgrown. Just because we are born a certain way does not mean that we are to remain that way and carry out those action which lead from the way we were born.
Homosexuals, rightly, argue that the difference between homosexuality and other sexual actions which are generally considered deviant—such as incest, pedophilia, etc.—is that homosexuals consent to their sexual actions. Indeed, quite true. Now, what is consent? It is giving permission, agreeing to, consensus, etc. In other words, they recognize that their actions are chosen and agreed to: homosexuality derives from a conscious decision. The way that Bob Botsford puts it during the conversation is “Jennifer's same-sex decision and relationship” [emphasis added].
Now, Bob Botsford joins the conversation between Larry King and Jennifer Knapp as Larry King states
You wrote a blog about Jennifer and I want to read from it, saying, "When a well-known spokesperson of the faith stubbornly chooses to remain in their life of sin, my heartbreaks for them."…
So, why does your heart break for her?
PASTOR BOB BOTSFORD…: Well, Larry, it breaks for anyone who is caught in a sinful situation…
My heartbreaks for what the Bible tells us about this particular choice and lifestyle…
God creates this wonderful gift of marriage where a man leaves his mother and his father and cleaves unto a wife…
KING: He's omnipotent, right?
BOTSFORD: He is omnipotent.
KING: So, he also created homosexuality.
BOTSFORD: No. I don't believe he did. He's all knowing.
KING: You mean he did everything but that?
BOTSFORD: Well, here's the deal, Larry. He's given to us -- back to your question of choice -- he's given to us a choice. Me -- a choice whether or not I'm going to follow and abide by his word. Jennifer -- a choice as to whether or not she'll abide in her relationships according to his word…
Next, Jennifer Knapp again attempts to play the role of, both, relativist and absolutist (as all relativists are absolutists in fact, they are the most exclusivistic of absolutists):
KNAPP: I haven't gone to seminary. I haven't gone to Bible school. Yet, I'm aware of the fact -- I'm deeply aware of the fact that we're relying on the translations of Greek and that we're translating from a language, you and I, that is not originally our own…
KNAPP: There are a lot of well-studied academics -- both believers and seekers of God and those who are just purely trying to understand what the sacred text means to all of us -- that really put question on how we've interpreted the words, what is it malikos and arsenokitai. There are two Greek words that we have substituted in our English language as homosexuality, which didn't actually exist in my understanding of a lot of Greek language experts in the manner in which we use it.
And my curiosity is how do you -- how do you respond to that knowledge knowing that perhaps maybe we don't have the full understanding of the academics --
KING: In other words, simply put, could your interpretation of a word be wrong?
Indeed, agreed, perfectly good points by Jennifer Knapp and Larry King: when we focus on “words” yes, we can turn them into whatever we want.
This is why hermeneutics and exegesis is so important; we must consider context both immediate and greater. When she picks and chooses words, removes them from their context she can very easily make them mean whatever she has now decided that they mean yet, the context will not allow her to do that—which is why she must do it.
FYI: I considered the specific terms “malaokois” and “arsenokoitai” at this link.
BOTSFORD: Absolutely. I believe God's word is inspired. I believe that God breathes --
KNAPP: Am I not inspired by God because I am filled with love for you, for my partner, for my family?
Again, she seems to be taking the mere word “inspired” and making it mean whatever she wants when Bob Botsford is clearly, contextually, speaking of the inspiration of the writers of the Bible which was categorically different from whatever we may inspired to do.
KNAPP: No. I've shared my grievances with Bob off-camera. I'm not hurt by his stance and his holding to the Scripture. I highly respect that. And I think the community of believers in the church where he is at is -- are there because that's what they choose and that's their tradition of Christianity that they choose to follow. I highly respect that.
KING: Do you believe Jennifer is going to go to hell?
BOTSFORD: Larry, God is the judge. I'm just here to --
KING: You're judging her.
BOTSFORD: Well, am I?
BOTSFORD: I'm here out of love. I don't have a --
KING: You said she's a sinner.
KNAPP: If I am a sinner and homosexuality is a sin, let's just go on that premise for a moment. But what separates that particular sin out from the fact that I'm angry or mad at someone or that I cheat or maybe, you know -- what separates that out as so grievous to you that we have to sit here and have this type of conversation?
BOTSFORD: Well, it's interesting. There's -- sin is sin. You're absolutely right. And we all have sin.
KNAPP: So, why are we -- why am I -- why aren't you in this seat and I'm in the other seat condemning you on national television?
BOTSFORD: I'm not condemning you. Listen, I'm here because I love you. And I told you that off-air, I'll say it on air. I'm here because I'm concerned. I'm here as a family member.
Sadly, we go from parsing words to parsing verses, or half verses, which is just as problematic. “You're judging her” and what is wrong with that? We are called to judge with a righteous judgment and to judge those who call themselves Christians (for details see the essay at this link).
Clearly, Jennifer Knapp is merely refusing to repent and seeking out those who will simply accept and endorse her chosen lifestyle.
BOTSFORD: You calling yourself a Christian still as part of the family of God saying, as I said in the blog, Jen, come home. Come back. Come out.
KNAPP: I will say this to you again on air. I have spiritual leadership in my life.
KNAPP: The pastoral counsel of those who are dear to me, who understand the Scripture as sacred text. You know, also, want to --
BOTSFORD: I'm not sure they do, Jen.
KNAPP: Don't interrupt me. You are not that man in my life. Speak to your congregation --
BOTSFORD: I agree. I'm not saying that I'm you're spiritual authority.
KNAPP: You do not know me, and don't have the right to speak to me in the manner which you have publicly.
BOTSFORD: Well, I do have a role to stand up for truth.
KNAPP: In your congregation and your community.
BOTSFORD: I'm --
KNAPP: But do not -- I'm asking you not to do that. I ask you not say that you're doing that on my behalf.
BOTSFORD: I'm here as a representative of Jesus Christ.
KNAPP: That's good.
KING: But you are judging. You are judging.
You see the problem with making half an un-contextual Bible verse into a catch all concept? “But you are judging. You are judging.”
We will continue from this point in the next section.
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