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By Jonathan Cahn
With the success of “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” DVD, I’ve appeared on many interviews programs, well over a hundred in a short time. I’ve been asked what I think about some in the body, specifically some “discernment” ministers who preach that that many such interview programs should be off limits for believers.
We are not to partake in immorality. We are not to share in fellowship with those who claim to be of the Lord and yet are living in gross immorality. Nor are we to aid and abet, welcome into our house, give hospitality or housing, to those propagating messages that deny that Messiah came in the flesh (as in cults) (2 John).
But the issues here are very different and specifically concern the format of an interview. It comes down to this: If a believer appears on an interview program, whether Christian or secular, whether with a controversial or “questionable” host or not, does this mean the person being interviewed is necessarily in agreement with the person, the program or the station conducting the interview? And does it mean that one is necessarily in agreement with other guests who have appeared or may appear on the host’s program?
The answer is very simple: Absolutely not. When Billy Graham appeared on “The Tonight Show,” did it mean that he was endorsing the views or lifestyle or the divorces of Johnny Carson? Or did it mean that Johnny Carson was endorsing the views or Christian lifestyle of Billy Graham? When Jerry Falwell appeared on “60 Minutes,” did that mean he was endorsing the views of Mike Wallace or CBS News – or that they were endorsing him?
Of course not.
No such understanding exists that a person being interviewed is in any way in agreement with the person or platform or program or organization responsible for doing the interviewing, whether Christian or secular – much less in agreement with the other guests who may have appeared or who may appear on that person’s broadcast.
In fact, such interviews can be outright hostile, skeptical, prosecutorial or, on the other hand, supportive on either side – and can be anything in between. Agreeing to be interviewed does not comprise, and has never comprised, any agreement, alliance, approval, fellowship or support. If anything, the interviewer is giving his or her platform over to the one being interviewed. The interviewee is able to spread whatever message he is led to share to the interviewer or host’s audience.
Even more confusing, the same people who preach that a believer can’t be interviewed on a Christian or religious program with which they disagree argue that it’s fine to be interviewed on a secular program. In other words, we can’t be interviewed by a Christian brother who loves the Lord but believes God speaks to him in dreams, but to be interviewed by a secular host who is living in gross immorality, who hates God and whose show or station is devoted to mocking God – endorsing every kind of perversity and committing blasphemy – is fine. Don’t get me wrong: I’m for bringing the light into every dark place we can – but these standards are arbitrarily conceived and enforced. And even by such standards, if that Christian brother is off and his audience is not grounded, then it is all the more important that I help bring a message to them that is grounded and emphasizes repentance.
Do I agree with every interviewer who has interviewed me? Of course not. No one who is interviewed does. I have done interviews with those with whom I very much agree, with those with whom I very much disagree and with many in between. People are interviewed so they can answer questions, speak and share. In most interviews, the person asking the questions is just one of thousands of people listening to the answers, hundreds of thousands and, in some cases, millions. For a believer, this often provides a tremendous opportunity to share about the Lord and reach people in the audience who might otherwise never hear it.
I have no doubt what the apostle Paul would have done – all the more so since the Bible records what he actually did do. Paul appeared on an entirely pagan platform – a platform literally named after a false god and led by pagans who worshiped false gods. It was a platform routinely given over to the espousing of false teachings, false religions, false sects – Mars Hill. Yet Paul didn’t hesitate to go there.
Some have suggested the only thing that made Paul’s appearance at Mars Hill acceptable is that he immediately distinguished between the gods of the Athenians and the God of Israel, and that this is what one must do in all cases. I respect the strategy. But there’s a problem. Paul did just the opposite: He quoted from a hymn to Zeus and identified the “He” of the hymn with the true God about whom he was preaching. Of course, Paul was against Zeus. But he was finding a bridge, as a Greek to the Greek, through which to communicate the Gospel. And it turned their idolatry on its head. The point is, we have to be careful in judging beyond the bounds of true biblical parameters. If the account of Paul on Mars Hill were not in the Book of Acts, I have no doubt that many of these believers would make it a law that one can never preach the Gospel in such platforms. (Some actually do preach that.)
We are not to participate in any deed of darkness but are commanded to shine the light into the darkness. Believers may have different strategies to accomplish these goals. But to elevate one’s strategy into a law under which all believers must abide, or by which one may judge other believers, goes beyond the bounds of Scripture. Paul, on Mars Hill, was in a place of darkness. But his purpose there was the very opposite of darkness – to shine the light of the Gospel.
Could someone have misinterpreted Paul’s appearing at Mars Hill as condoning Mars Hill, or the people who were giving him the platform or their paganism? It’s possible. But it would almost take a supernatural measure of ignorance to do so. The overwhelming fact and context was that Paul went to Mars Hill to spread the Gospel, to call the unsaved to repentance. Could someone have interpreted Jesus’ appearances in places and contexts involving sinful men as comprising sin on the part of Jesus Himself? Yes. In fact, they did accuse Him of this very thing. But those who accused Him were wrong and on the wrong side of God – and that same spirit ended up crucifying the Lord.
I am convicted by the Scripture of Ezekiel 33, in which the Lord warns Ezekiel that as a watchman who sees danger coming, he must sound the warning, so that the perishing could be saved. And if he doesn’t sound the warning, then the blood of the lost will be on his head. The Gospel is a trumpet sound to salvation. The Harbinger is a very specific trumpet call within the Gospel. It is clearly a warning of judgment and a call to repentance. Anyone who sees my interviews and reads the book will be confronted with a chapter-long altar call to salvation.
Thus, if someone gives me a platform to present the message of “The Harbinger,” where I can lift up the Lord and clearly sound the trumpet so the lost may be saved, I will do everything I can to get up on that platform and sound that trumpet. If I can sound the alarm on a Hindu platform, if being interviewed by a Hindu interviewer will allow Hindus to hear the Gospel, I will do it. If I can sound the alarm on a New Age platform or interview to save New Age people for the Gospel, I will do it. If I can sound the alarm on a Muslim platform to save Muslims, I will do it.
I have no doubt that Paul would do the exact same thing. If there are those who take exception to it, I would suggest that they would do much better if they actually brought the light of salvation to those perishing in the darkness – instead of being offended by those who do.
In the meantime, inasmuch as I am given a platform on the walls on which to sound the trumpet, I will do my best to do so, in every place and to every soul I can.