Larry King conducted a panel discussion on Tuesday that used the widely-acclaimed movie â€œBrokeback Mountainâ€ as a catalyst for discussing the issue of the wider cultureâ€™s debate over the morality of homosexuality (transcript). The discussion focused on the question of homosexual rights and, in particular, the question of homosexual â€œmarriage.â€
The panel consisted of Albert Mohler (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Janet Parshal (host of the radio show â€œJanet Parshallâ€™s Americaâ€), Chad Allen (the openly gay actor and star of the new movie â€œEnd of the Spearâ€), and Guy Padgett (openly gay former mayor of Casper, Wyoming).
The panel was ostensibly set up to have two voices opposing the homosexual agenda (Parshall and Mohler) and two voice supporting it (Allen and Padgett). But this turned out not to be the case as Larry King became more and more petulant with Mohler and Parshall.
Kingâ€™s aghast with Mohler and Parshallâ€™s refusal to see the movie â€œBrokeback Mountainâ€ was particularly illuminating. King clearly implied that Mohler and Parshall had no right to have an opinion because they had not seen the movie: â€œIf you go see the movie, you might learn more than not seeing the movie, where you learn less . . . OK, Janet, let’s just stay home [insert sarcasm in the latter phrase].â€
For me the most striking part of the interview was when a caller asked Chad Allen, â€œBy whose standard do you think that it’s right to live the way you have chosen to live?â€
Allenâ€™s response to this query was breath-taking in its candor. He replied:
By the standard that I judge all of my actions. These days I judge all of my actions by my relationship with God of my understanding. It is a deep-founded, faith-based belief in God based upon the work that I’ve done growing up as a Catholic boy and then reaching out to Buddhism philosophy, to Hindu philosophy, to Native American beliefs and finally as I got through my course with addiction and alcoholism and finding a higher power that worked for me.
The key phrase here is â€œThese days I judge all of my actions by my relationship with God of my understanding.â€
Classical Christianity has insisted that The God Who Is is also The God Who Speaks. He has made himself known through Divine Revelation, and He expects for his creaturesâ€™ knowledge of Him to be determined by that revelation.
Classical idolatry has insisted not on worshipping God as He has revealed Himself, but on worshipping the â€œgod of my understanding.â€ In other words, sinful humanity by default suppresses divine revelation and chooses to worship â€œgodsâ€ that are invented out of their own imagination (Romans 1:18-25).
This is the reason that John Calvin said that the human heart is an â€œidol factory.â€ Because of sin, we humans are predisposed to suppress the evidence of the true God and to manufacture gods that affirm us in spite of our sinful proclivities. It is our devotion to our ego-stroking idols that keep us comfortable in our sin and distracted from the One true God.
The fundamental religious question that every person has to grapple with is, â€œWho is God and how can I know him?â€ Tragically, Chad Allen has come to the wrong conclusion about how to answer it. The challenge for those of us who wish to answer people like Chad is to penetrate the post-modern haze with the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I think Dr. Mohler did just that in the Larry King interview on Tuesday. Letâ€™s pray that the ones who saw it will have ears to hear.