“I felt a bit like Daniel in the Lion’s den”: Pastor Matt Prater challenges Kevin Rudd on Q&A

INTERVIEW | John Sandeman

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Below is Eternity’s interview with Matt Prater, Pastor at New Hope Baptist Church and Vision radio presenter in Queensland. Matt challenged Kevin Rudd about same sex marriage on ABC’s Q&A last night (Monday September 2). John Sandeman interviewed Matt for Eternity. Read the transcript of Matt’s question of Kevin Rudd here.

Matt, what was your main concern in going on Q&A?

I felt a bit like Daniel in the lion’s den. It was a pretty hostile crowd. But I was able to share my view and I just think it is good to have a healthy robust discussion about this topic. Without calling people names — calling people a homophobe, or attacking anyone. It was not my intention to attack anyone.

“I am copping it a bit but I am getting so much good support from the Christian community, which is really inspiring.”

As for my question—I have just noticed so many Christian people disillusioned with Kevin because he has changed his view on what the Bible says about marriage and his quoting the Bible out of context. I said to him “Really, we have to get back to Jesus.”

Christianity is all about Jesus. And what did Jesus say about marriage? If this is what Jesus says about marriage, its good enough for me.

Clearly, Kevin has changed his view and a lot of people are disillusioned about him, and that is what I am hearing on Vision Radio everyday.

We are getting people ringing in and saying “I am giving up on Kevin Rudd and Labor because he does not hold a literal view of the Bible anymore. He is twisting Scripture.

If you had had another go in the discussion, what would you have said to Kevin?

I was going to give him my business card and say to him “Mate, I think you are going to need a lot of prayer this week. Do you want to get together and I can pray with you.” That was what I was going to ask, but I chickened out –and just asked the question as I had written it.

Well, I can imagine we’d all be chickens standing up in front of the Q and A crowd.

You had a go at Kevin over three things. One was chopping and changing, another was his view on gay marriage, and was he fair dinkum in his view of the Bible. Which is the key one for you?

I think his view of the Bible. Because if you don’t take the Bible, and the message of the Bible at face value then your whole foundation is shaky. The whole Bible points to Jesus from the Old Testament to the New Testament. So what does Jesus say about a topic? That’s the bottom line to me.

With same sex marriage it moves onto St Paul as well, which picks up the topic of slavery. Kevin used the argument about slavery— what did you make of that?

Clearly the Bible does not promote slavery, look at John Newton: he had a conversion experience and gave up the slave trade and became a man of the cloth.

At the same time, Matt, most of the leading theologians of the time supported slavery. Like R A Dabney who supported slavery in the South (of the US) and many Christians owned slaves in the south…

Clearly the Truth is known about that these days. Look at the abolition movement around the world. But lets face it, slavery is still a big issue around the world today. Thank God there are great mission organisations that are setting people free people from modern day slavery.

Lets get back to your Vision Radio audience disillusioned about Kevin. Would they vote Labor anyway?

We have had some callers who said “As soon as Kevin answered that question on Q&A, we decided not to vote for Labor anymore. There definitely were some who were turned off.

Secondly, I am concerned that there are some Coalition representatives that have changed their view of same sex marriage. I am glad that Tony Abbott reiterated his personal opposition to same sex marriage on the ACL webcast.

So Matt, how do you feel today?

I did get attacked a lot on social media last night. And got called a lot of nasty names. I just want to make it clear to anyone reading this that I am not a homophobe. I don’t hate homosexuals. I love everyone with the love of Jesus.

No matter who comes to my church, we have a heart to love all people. Our vision is to empty the pub and fill the church— our church is next to a renowned pub in Brisbane and our heart is to reach out to anyone who wants to come in those doors.

I hope I am not scaring people away with our stance, but I think in a country like ours it is good that people can speak their opinions, and hopefully not be attacked and vilified too much.

I am copping it a bit but I am getting so much good support from the Christian community, which is really inspiring.

I have had so many people say “now that I know what Kevin believes I won’t vote for him”. I think it [being on Q&A] achieved its purpose.

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