Martin Bashir, of MSNBC, was on the Paul Edwards to be interviewed about his interview. (That’s a first for me.) Bashir and Edwards agreed that that they thought Rob at one point was not forthcoming. There were many good points brought about by Bashir, who is an articulate evangelical, but I want to hone in on one point.
In this interview, they talked about a part of the interview where I think the problem was that Bashir actually asked a bad and inadequate question. They thought Bell was caught off guard, which might be true. But… here’s what I see.
Bashir kept using “irrelevant and immaterial” in that original interview — as in “Is Christ immaterial and irrelevant?” — and that was a softball for Rob. Rob answered his question in an honest way — as in “I think Christ is totally relevant” But those who knew what Bashir wanted from Rob also inferred that that was not what Rob answered, so they thought Rob was being dodgy. Not true in my opinion.
What Bashir was really asking and wanted Rob to answer was this: Rob, you believe in a second chance, don’t you? Does belief in a second chance mean that a decision for Christ in the here and now doesn’t matter that much? [Irrelevant and immaterial makes Christ too inconsequential for someone who thinks hell is both now and will continue but not be eternal. Hell would matter – that’s the point I would make.]
That’s what Bashir wanted to ask, but his question was backward (why use “ir” and “im” words? who would say “Sure, Martin, Christ is irrelevant and immaterial?) and Rob’s answer was both affirming yet not quite going where Bashir wanted, so Bashir thought he was being dodgy, when it all came down to a poorly phrased question.
Bashir was on the verge of asking the really good question — Do you believe in a second chance after death and the fires of hell? — but he didn’t.
Did anyone else see it this way? And I’d like to hear from those who liked Bashir’s interview. I’m asking only if my reading of the Bashir question makes better sense. [Hey, Denny Burk, what do you think of this reading?]