You may have already seen the interview published last week on The Daily Wire between Ben Shapiro and John MacArthur. It now has nearly half a million views on YouTube.
I watched it today.
After I did, I began thinking… Hmm… What if…?
What if Ben Shapiro had interviewed Dr. Gary North instead of John MacArthur?
Sure, I know. it’s too late to “unring the bell”. MacArthur got the gig and the (additional) name fame. But maybe you and I can sort of visualize a little bit and think about what it might be like to “ring the bell a second time.”
What if Ben were to do another interview and ask those very same questions of Dr. North?
Wouldn’t that be fun!
So, I began to imagine what an exchange like that might look like.
Well, here is what I came up with.
I put together a mock interview between Shapiro and North, discussing the same things that Shapiro and MacArthur did: religion, politics and the role Christians and the Bible should play in shaping society and civil governments.
Wonder of wonders, wouldn’t you know it, Shapiro gets VERY different answers from Dr. North!
Anyway, here is just a sample of what a few minutes of that dialogue might sound like. I hope you enjoy it. Enjoy the satire!
Note: I am assuming that you’ve watched the original (actual) interview before reading this.
The Ben Shapiro Show – Sunday Special
(Opening music and graphics)
BEN: We’re here on the Ben Shapiro Sunday Special today interviewing someone who is probably the most influential and controversial Christian intellectual, thought leader and scripture-quoting libertarian we could ever hope to find, especially on such short notice, Dr. Gary North. We’ll get into his philosophy and an enormous amount of his work and views on religion and politics and other good things,… But first, let me do this rapid-fire one-minute plug for a mail-order mattress company while Dr. North gets his Skype connection working.
Dr. North, we can see you now–can you see and hear us?
GARY: Yes, I can.
BEN: Good. Thank you for joining us today, sir, even if it is only virtually via Skype.
GARY: It was either this or spend the hour indexing my latest book, Christian Economics for Dummies, Non-Activist Edition. I hate indexing.
BEN: I see. Well, I must say, Dr. North, my staff had a much easier time getting Pastor MacArthur on the show than they did lining up this Skype interview with you.
GARY: Your staff should have read my Wikipedia bio a little more carefully. I’m not a British soap opera star, I’m not a radical LGBT journalist from LA and I’m not a retired Air Force general. I am an economist, author, writer, historian and purveyor of a particular brand of Christian theology and eschatology living in suburban Atlanta.
BEN: Sorry about that, Dr. North. You’ll be pleased to know that my producer has postponed those other gentlemen’s appearances for later dates. Anyway, let’s jump right into the issue of the day and that is, religion and politics. Now, you’re known as somebody who has very openly written and talked about for many years the idea of religion and politics and how they are almost interwoven, or should be, with each other, as if they were two sides to the same coin. What do you think the relationship should be between folks who are in the “business” of religion and trying to inform people about religion and politics–how often should they be doing so and should they be doing it openly, or should they just be preaching about “values”?
GARY: Well, unlike Pastor MacArthur and his abbreviated view of his calling, I view my calling as one of a lifelong task of finding out everything the Bible has to say about, in my case, the field of economics. That is the most important thing I can do at which I would be most difficult to replace, at least until some others come along after I’m gone. But this is something that should be done in all the disciplines. It is my conviction that the Bible speaks authoritatively on whatever subject of which it speaks, as my former seminary professor Dr. Cornelius van Til used to say, “and it speaks of everything”.
BEN: I kind of like that. As an orthodox Jew, I would say the same thing about the Talmud and the Mishnah, and of course, the Torah.
GARY: Then you clearly haven’t read my book, The Judeo-Christian Tradition: A Guide for the Perplexed.
BEN: No, I can’t say that I have. I’ll have my producer order a copy.
GARY: You may be sorry you did.
BEN: Okay, well, anyway let’s talk about something Pastor MacArthur and I spoke about, the idea of submitting to authority and to the powers that be. So, let’s look, for example, at the kinds of leadership that we pick. If you go back to the Old Testament. you had prophets anointing kings. In a democracy, what should our role be in terms of shaping the values of our democracy for political reasons, like, for example, you have pastors endorsing particular political candidates or speaking out on certain issues that a few years ago weren’t considered political but today they are. These are things that have real-world consequences.
GARY: Pastors do whatever they can to insulate themselves from suffering the real-world consequences of the bad theology and bad eschatology that they preach from their pulpits to their congregations. They may go out to an abortion mill or endorse a certain candidate or address a certain issue privately or at least as discreetly and non-controversially as they know how, but because they have been drinking so long and so deeply at the well of pietism, premillennialism (or amillennialism) and antinomianism, they will not do or say anything to jeopardize the unmerited, tax-exempt favor, the showers of blessing and special administrative grace they have received from the omnipotent and omnipresent hand of the IRS.
BEN: That’s a very different answer from the one I got from Pastor MacArthur.
GARY: I’ve got a million of them, Ben, if you’ve got the time.
BEN: I’m afraid not, Dr. North.
GARY: Well, I’ve got the time–I am a postmillennialist. And speaking of time, as you may or may not know, time is a ‘common grace’, just as structured societies and ordered families are a common grace. You see? MacArthur and I do agree on something!
BEN: Yes, then let’s use our time remaining to talk about something I struggled with in 2016: that is, seeing somebody represent the party to which I’ve been an adherent so long I forgot that it was when I was a Harvard law student writing my first book denouncing liberalism in the universities—anyway, seeing a candidate in 2016 who while he stood for some of my values, he was not someone I considered to be of high moral authority because he did not fulfill on a personal level some of the basic moral precepts that I believe in with regard to character and decency especially when it comes to women. As religious people, how should we handle that–should we vote for someone who may stand for some of our values publicly even though they fall short of them on a personal level, or should we just disengage completely.
GARY: Disengaging is what American evangelicals and fundamentalists did for half a century, from the 1920s until the 1970s when the so-called New Christian Right came along. I don’t recommend it as a successful long-term strategy (or even a successful short-term strategy) for social and political victory. When it comes to voting for presidents, I don’t get too overwrought. it’s all just an elaborate Punch & Judy Show anyway. Ben, I’m sure you’re too young to know what I’m referring to when I say that. You can YouTube it later on after the show. In any event, presidents can’t do much more than what the Congress and the entrenched administrative bureaucracies will let them get away with once they’re in office. They can nominate Supreme Court justices and other candidates for various offices in their administration and issue executive orders and all that, but the real power behind the throne over time is in the nameless, faceless administrative bureaucratic leviathan that Harold Bermann warned about when he wrote his book, I will tell you that if you want to vote for a presidential candidate who won’t do a whole lot of damage while he’s in office through bad economic or foreign policy decisions–and the candidate is not Ron Paul or Rand Paul–then vote for the guy who can’t find Aleppo on a map. That’s your man!
BEN: Sounds like good advice. And with that let’s take just a minute and talk about life insurance. While I’m doing that, I will have my producer Google ‘the Punch and Judy Show’ and see what comes up!
GARY: I will remain here as long as this Skype connection holds up. I have time. Anyway, the longer I can put off indexing this book, the better.