Here is the interview I am reviewing:
1) I had no idea the interview was taking place, and had not been contacted by either side.
2) The first portion seemed to be on track, and was interesting.
3) What we have here are the two sides at cross purposes. Did Steve know Jeff is a postmillennial theonomist? I could not tell.
4) When you are a guest on a program, it is your responsibility to adapt to the show’s format as much as possible. This may be uncomfortable, but it involves taking cues as to how long your replies should be, etc. You can always state that the question will require a longer answer, but I surely can tell, especially on radio, when a break is coming up or that the interviewer wants a “faster paced” program. Steve did not seem to get those cues.
5) When you are interviewing someone on your own program, it is important you communicate your intentions, and your format, before getting started. Even then, you have to be able to adjust to the cadence and speaking pace of the person with whom you are talking, unless, of course, you don’t really want the interview to be successful and can move on to others (as in call-in programs).
6) In this case, it was obvious to me that Steve saw himself as an authority being interviewed for his viewpoint, not as a participant in a dispute and hence a mini-debate on his eschatology vs. postmillennial theonomy. I sort of doubt that was his intention in coming on.
7) At the same time, Jeff is a presuppositionalist, and sees the issues he was raising as foundational to an examination of Steve’s disconnection of the Christian worldview from the political support of a clearly non-Christian man—who still claims to be Christian even though he is unrepentant about his adultery, fornication, etc. Further, it is clearly relevant to the analysis of Trump as a leader as to what choices he would make regarding SC justices that we look at the consistency of his viewpoints over time.
8) I have worked with both sides of this unfortunate encounter. I am scheduled to be at RefCon in June (hope I still will be after this!). So I hope that my conclusions will be seen for what they are: the honest observations of someone who knows both sides and who has a lot of experience in this kind of interaction.
9) Just a small amount of patience and grace would have allowed the interview to come to a conclusion, even if it was decided to just let Steve make his case as he wished, bid him a good day, and then critique the presentation afterward. It seems clear to me that at one point Jeff decided Steve’s eschatology and his divorcing a Christian worldview from decisions that clearly cannot be separated consistently had to be challenged, and so it went from interview to debate. Steve sensed that as well and started running over any questions and not allowing interaction, because at one point there was give and take for a moment which shows that Steve could, in fact, hear that Jeff was interrupting him at those other times when both sides were talking over each other. Once we got to that point, the wheels fell off.
10) Now, I think emotions got the best of both sides. Jeff was trying up to the point Steve made the snide remark about Sean Hannity (and really…Hannity??? Hewitt or Medved or someone like that…but Hannity? Man, if someone said I *WAS* like Hannity I’d be as insulted as if they said I was like O’Reilly!) but at that point Jeff decided it was done—I have done the exact same thing once someone used profanity in many of my conversations. At the same time, there were plenty of times before that point where either side could have defused the situation. And it seems to me that if the debate had been specifically theological, that probably would have happened. What is it about Donald Trump that results in this kind of loss of all rationality and self-control? I’ve been seeing it all over the net, and it is even more troubling when it is found amongst believers.
11) I think Jeff should have said to Steve at the Hannity remark, “OK, well, brother Steve, I’m sorry if you think you’ve been treated unfairly. I think a review of the recording would show differently, but it doesn’t seem like we will be able to get to some of the key issues of the question here, so we want to thank you for taking your time to join us, and we wish God’s blessings to you and yours.”
12) It seems clear to me that Jeff and the folks at Apologia were not quite sure what to do with the interview once it fell apart. But when Steve tweeted his “amateur” insult—well, that just wasn’t needed, and it guaranteed the recording would end up appearing.
So there are my thoughts. I was going to do a video, but realized about 3/4 of the way through typing up these notes that they would be sufficient in and of themselves. No reason to force everyone to stare at my ugly mug for seven minutes while I just read these notes. I do think that some important issues were raised. It does seem to me that those supporting Trump are divorcing a Christian worldview from decisions being made that directly impact the church, the proclamation of the gospel, and all sorts of other things that are directly relevant to the kingdom of Christ. Yes, one’s eschatology and view of God’s law will be very important here as well. And it just seems to me that very, very few conversations are taking place about these topics that do not devolve into fisticuffs much faster than this one did! At least this interview went a solid 15 minutes before the temperature started to rise. On Twitter it only takes me a single tweet to start the explosions! Anyway, I hope Steve and Jeff can talk about this. I don’t get the feeling Steve knows who Jeff really is (Steve—watch his recently posted testimony video!), and possibly that is true in reverse as well. Not sure if a ‘retry’ is in the realm of possibility, but maybe if both sides knew what the ultimate goals were, or could agree to at least make sure both views are clearly explained, a different conclusion could be reached.