Sometimes it’s difficult to fathom where we got lost with Christianity.  Yet, there are clues, some of them surprising.  Here are two television interviews from the 1960s which signposted our future.

The first is from the late William F Buckley (WFB), whose Firing Line programme I’ll feature more of this week.  WFB was a devout Catholic and, like the majority of Americans, deeply respected the Revd Billy Graham.  I do wonder, though, what he made of Dr Graham’s final statement about there being life on other planets.  Note the mention of Christianity’s passing in this 1969 interview.  But, even more importantly, Dr Graham says that more scientists were arriving at a belief in God:

Now, in stark contrast, here’s a clip from Joe Pyne‘s eponymous show (more about which later this week) where he interviews the then Episcopal Bishop of California, the Right Revd James Pike.  Dearie me, what a fellow.  Pyne asks him questions which he throws right back.  Pyne rightly says, ‘Well, I’m asking you.  You’re supposed to show us how to get to wherever it is we’re going.’  Heresy in action at the 0.32 marker:

Unfortunately, the follow-up to the interview has not been digitally reproduced. Having said that, Bishop Pike appeared three times on Joe Pyne; on the last occasion, his wife joined him on screen. Bishop Pike met with a mysterious death in Israel soon after that final interview was recorded. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery there. I hope that he made his peace with God before departing from this earthly realm. 

My point is — our modern-day error as seen through the Pike interview is nothing new.  In fact, it is quite old.  Did Episcopalians in the pews find Bishop Pike as irritating?  Yes, they found his views embarrassing.  Unfortunately, his legacy lives on today.