Mark Woodward posted a very insightful post comparing Mark Driscoll’s TV interview by Piers Morgan with Billy Graham’s TV interview by Dick Cavett many years earlier. Driscoll came across poorly; Graham appeared masterful. Why the difference?
Mark sagely concludes,
The major difference as I see it is that Graham spoke with authority and [Driscoll] did not. In response to pointed questions, [Driscoll]’s sentences started most often with “I believe that . . . ,” whereas, in a short collection of interview clips from Graham’s life, his sentences rarely start with “I believe”—even when asked directly what he believed. No, his responses are “Christ taught,” “God says,” and “the Bible teaches.” More than once, Graham says, “It doesn’t make any difference what I believe” and then proceeds to speak as the oracle of God.
I think that nails it. When we argue statistics and opinions and preferences, we lose — because that is not our real motivation. We obey because we believe that God’s word has authority. Therefore, if we are speaking to anyone as a Christian about Christian values, we should speak as messengers of God, not philosophers or politicians. It’s enough that God said it.
Of course, that might excuse sin by those who aren’t saved, but they’re, you know, lost — and therefore we are prohibited from judging them (1 Cor 5:12-13). Our place is not to urge them to live as Jesus commands but to come to faith in Jesus — and then to live as Jesus commands.
When we speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:10-11), the interview is no longer about why but about submission — which is a very tough area for many interviewers who often are, after all, nominal Christians.
The interviewer could ask you why you think that’s God’s will, and you could properly decline the question as irrelevant or answer it if God has revealed his purposes. But it would be a very different conversation — one predicated on faith, not humanism.
Now, not many of us are called to do national TV interviews. But we are all called to speak to friends and neighbors about God and his word. And I wonder: Does Mark’s insight bear on those conversations?