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Larry King Live
Is Billy Graham Passing the Torch?Aired December 21, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: the Reverend Billy Graham just home from the hospital, not ready to retire from the pulpit, but handing on some heavy duties. Helping lift the burden, his son Franklin, new CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, joining us from New York. And from Raleigh, North Carolina, Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz, who preaches with the Angel Ministries.
They'll be taking your calls. We've got some surprises, too; all next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
Our guests will be with us for the full hour; they're Franklin Graham in New York, first vice chairman, recently named CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He's the fourth of Billy and Ruth Graham's five children. And in Raleigh, North Carolina, Anne Graham Lotz, the author of "Just Give me Jesus," who preaches through the Angel Ministries -- there you see the cover of that book -- and she's the second child of Billy and Ruth Graham.
And with us on phone is Billy Graham himself, home today from the Mayo Clinic. Also on the phone is the former first lady of the United States, and a very good friend of Reverend Graham, Nancy Reagan.
So obvious first question, Billy, is: How do you feel?
REV. BILLY GRAHAM: Well, I feel fine. I feel wonderful being home again. I haven't been some in several weeks, and it's great to be here, where it's much warmer than where we were in Minnesota.
KING: What was the prognosis and what did the doctors say as you left?
B. GRAHAM: Well, they say it's good. And I feel that, within a few days, a few weeks, I'll be normal again.
KING: Now, you have Parkinson's and prostate problems, right? Are those the two issues?
B. GRAHAM: No, the main thing that they were working on was too much fluid in the brain. And they had go into the brain several times to drain it. And they put a shunt in. And I think that I'm thinking better, I'm more alert and I feel better.
KING: Well, you also sound stronger.
B. GRAHAM: Pardon?
KING: You sound stronger.
B. GRAHAM: Well, thank you. Well, I certainly appreciate this privilege tonight. I had no idea about it a few hours ago.
KING: Well, we're glad you're here and we're glad your two kids are here, and we're going to be...
B. GRAHAM: I'd like to wish everybody a merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah.
KING: The same to you.
NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
B. GRAHAM: I know you're familiar with the Mayo Clinic; you get your checkups there every year with Ron, right? Used to go every year.
REAGAN: Yes, we used to go every August.
KING: How long do you know Billy Graham, Nance?
REAGAN: Oh, gosh, Billy -- we knew each other -- well, my mother introduced us to Billy, isn't that right, Billy?
B. GRAHAM: I think so.
B. REAGAN: Oh, yes, your mother, Mrs. Davis.
REAGAN: Yes, my mother raced...
B. GRAHAM: ... in Phoenix. She came when I was playing golf and she came out, said I want you to meet my new son-in-law.
REAGAN: That's right.
B. GRAHAM: And that's how I met the Reagans.
REAGAN: That's right.
KING: And the Reagans -- you were many times at the White House, were you not?
B. GRAHAM: Yes, and they were very gracious and generous to have Ruth and me there a number of times.
KING: Nancy, what are you -- as a former first lady, what is -- before we talk to the kids -- and a lot of things to talk about -- what has Billy Graham meant to this country?
REAGAN: Oh, my Lord, he's meant so much. He's a pillar of strength and encouragement and hope -- everything. I mean, I don't know what I'd do without Billy.
KING: When he visited the White House, did it change the room when he came in?
REAGAN: Yes, Yes. He does change the room.
KING: He's that kind of person.
Franklin, do you feel you're stepping into enormous shoes here?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, BILLY GRAHAM'S SON: Oh, Larry, I cannot fill my father's shoes at all. He is a unique individual and a man that God has called in a very unique way to preach and to proclaim God's gospel -- the message that God loves this world so much that he sent his son Jesus Christ from heaven to this earth.
And it's a -- he's got great shoes to fill. I can't fill them, I don't think any one person can; but yet I believe God has called me to preach, Larry, and I hope that I can take the remainder years of my life to preach and proclaim that same gospel that my father has been so faithful to preach all these years.
KING: Billy, how did you feel Franklin will do?
B. GRAHAM: I think he's doing great. I'm -- Ruth and I are very proud of him and we love him and looking forward to seeing him on Christmas Day.
KING: The whole family will be together on Christmas Day?
B. GRAHAM: No, I think only Franklin and his family are coming. The rest of them are scattered out.
I see Anne's beautiful -- on the television at the moment, and it makes tears come to my eyes because she came to see me at Mayo two or three times.
KING: Anne, this is a very close family, is it not?
B. GRAHAM: Very close; we really are.
ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ, BILLY GRAHAM'S DAUGHTER: Since daddy has been ill this year, we've drawn even closer because -- you know, Larry, I've never seen my daddy weak. And my daddy was always strong, he could do anything.
And then this past year to see him in his weakness was a real tender thing for me, personally. And yet in his weakness, I've seen his sweetness, and his really, his spiritual strength come out. It's been a blessing to be needed by him this past year. But we're praying this next year he'll be strong enough and he won't need us in quite the same way. KING: Anne, how do you think your brother is going to do?
LOTZ: I believe my brother is called of God not only to preach as he just said, but I really believe God has called him to lead my father's organization, and I think God's hand is on him and I told my daddy, I think he could have looked all over world for somebody who would be faithful to the Gospel and who had administrative gifts, and he could have found somebody in Franklin and been thrilled to have him, but the blessing of God is that it's his own son.
So, I think it's a wonderful thing to have that combination -- somebody who is gifted; who's got a heart for the Gospel, but who's also in the family. I think he'll do great.
KING: Nancy, there are so many things that we've -- so many times we've seen Billy at the White House, and pictures of him, and at tragedies, we remember him from Oklahoma City and other areas. Did he counsel you? Was he involved at all when Ron was shot?
REAGAN: Oh, yes. Yes, Billy came there. Yes, I should say so. He's always -- he's always there for us. Always. He has been by here to see us now, and I mean I really -- I really depend on Billy a lot.
KING: One would not be surprised at that. Billy, do you fear -- do you -- you often told us this -- but now facing the Mayo Clinic, and what went on with the brain and the like, do you fear dying?
Billy? Does Billy hear me? Are we connected in?
Well, let's get a break. We may have had a problem with the phone and we'll reconnect.
B. GRAHAM: No, I don't fear dying.
KING: Oh, you're right there. OK, you don't fear it?
B. GRAHAM: No, I feel like living for years to come and preaching the Gospel in many parts of the country.
KING: Oh, we've got some news then. Let me take a break. You're going out again, Billy?
B. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
KING: OK, hold right on. We'll be right back. We'll keep Billy and Nancy another segment, and then we'll continue with Franklin and Anne. We'll be taking your calls as well. Billy Graham is home. He's going to work again. We'll be right back with Nancy Reagan, Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz on this tribute to Billy Graham, home today, back in North Carolina at age 82. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM: I do not believe that any man, that any man can solve the problems of life without Jesus Christ. There are tremendous marital problems. There are physical problems. There are financial problems. There are problems of sin and habit that cannot be solved outside the person of our lord, Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," DECEMBER 16, 1999)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: But Billy Graham is a fabulous man.
KING: And he did it for you?
BUSH: Well, he planted the seed, is the way I like to describe it. He planted a seed in my heart that grew over time. I got into the Bible. I read scripture. I read the Bible every day now. I'm into prayer. There was a gradual warming of the heart, as we Methodists like to say. For Billy Graham there was an overnight acceptance of Christ.
KING: Walking in the field.
BUSH: Absolutely up in, like, Illinois or Minnesota. It was an overnight experience.
KING: That didn't happen to you.
BUSH: No, but for me I felt something change when I had a talk with him at Kennebunkport, Maine and, you know, it just -- and the only thing I can tell you is the Lord works in mysterious ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Billy, before we ask you about what you're going to be doing, do you remember that conversation with young George W. Bush?
B. GRAHAM: Well, it was a privilege to spend some vacations with them at Kennebunkport on a number of occasions, and the president would ask me or Barbara would ask me if I would conduct a little Bible study and they would ask questions about the Bible. And then we would go out and talk or play or something. Yes, I remember being with the president-elect several times and having discussions with him about spiritual things, and I don't remember that particular one, perhaps.
KING: Well, obviously, you affected his life. There are parallels, Frank, between your young life and George's young life, right?
F. GRAHAM: I would say there are some parallels, Larry, but I just thank God for wonderful parents that have loved me and prayed for me and set the example at home for not just myself, but for all of our children, and so we're thankful to God for my parents. We -- my sisters, my brother myself, we really love our mom and dad.
KING: I know we discussed this in the past, Billy, how much Frank has turned around. There were times you were very concerned about Frank, as President Bush was concerned about young George. Am I right, Billy?
B. GRAHAM: Yes, we used to be a bit concerned about him, and we trusted God. We always prayed. I don't think I ever got on Franklin about doing anything wrong in his teenage period. I thought a lot, but I didn't -- I let him do his thing because I knew he would soon come around because too many people were praying for him, and it wasn't long until his life changed and he turned around, and has become a man of God.
KING: Nancy, have you ever, frankly, with all the trouble you've had, doubted your faith?
REAGAN: Oh, no. No, No. Uh-uh. I must say as I said earlier, Billy has -- was at the White House for us, and here since we've come home, and if he can't come, he'll call me, and we'll talk, and it's really meant a lot to me.
KING: Anne, what kind of father is he?
LOTZ: He's a wonderful father, and my father would disagree with that, but, you know, he wasn't there to tuck me in bed at night or to take me to school in the morning or, you know, do my homework with me in the afternoon, but he showed me what God is like by his example, by his demeanor, the way he taught us.
In fact, I remember the day I graduated from high school, he gave the message to my senior class, and on the way I had a car wreck. And when I came back up to the house, I was terrified to see him and to confront him with this car. It was my mother's car, and I had crashed it. And so I snuck into the kitchen, but he was standing right there waiting for me, and I was just scared to death and finally I just threw my arms around him and I said, daddy you won't believe what I've done.
And so I told him what I've done, and he looked at me and he said, Anne, he said I knew all along. The lady you hit came up and told me, but I've been waiting for you to tell me yourself, and he said I want you to know I love you, and we can fix the car and you're going to be a better driver because of it.
And right there, he taught me that when I would have wrecks in life and I would have accidents, you know, we all make a mess of things sometimes, but that if I would run to my heavenly father instead of hiding from him and if I would just confess my sins, and tell God what I'd done, God would say Anne, I know what you've done. I saw you when you did it.
But I'm just waiting for you to come to me, and if you confess your sins, I'll tell you that I love you. I can fix it. I can take the consequences and make them better than if you hadn't gotten involved in the mess and I'm going to make you a better person because of it. And that's just one example, Larry, of how God has trained us through my father and he's given us that example. KING: Billy, before you and Nancy leave us, just a couple quick questions. Billy, before we ask about that you're going to go out and do a crusade again, you almost -- you just about endorsed George W. Bush, didn't you. I know you've never endorsed a president, but this was the closest you've came, isn't it?
B. GRAHAM: Well, I have always had a strong affection for George W., as well as his whole family, and I felt like for years, that Ruth and I were members of their family we were with them so much. And, of course, I keep remembering also talking to Nancy Reagan, that he would have never been vice president or president had it not been for Ronald Reagan choosing him, so it goes back to the Ronald Reagan days, and so much we owe to Ronald Reagan and to Nancy Reagan, and, I love the Bush family. I love every one of them. We used to spend days and hours together in...
KING: Did you...
B. GRAHAM: ... discussion and in a lot of fun, and riding the boat in-between the lobster traps off the coast of Maine. I'll never forget those scary experiences that the president took me through.
KING: Is it safe to say then you were very -- pretty much endorsing him.
B. GRAHAM: Pardon.
KING: You almost -- it sounded like an endorsement.
B. GRAHAM: Well, it might have sounded that way. I certainly endorsed him in my heart -- I wrote Al Gore a letter, one of the best letters I think I ever wrote to everybody, after the election was over, and told him how much I admired him for the statement that he made after the election. That was election -- that was a statement that he and President Bush elect -- both of them helped pull the country together at a time of great division, and I'm very proud of both of them.
KING: Nancy, what did you make of all of that -- that whole election thing and the way it ended?
REAGAN: Well, I -- you know, I think I, along with millions of other people, were so glad when it was all over. It just seemed to never end. And -- but now, it's ended and I think we should put it all behind us and get on with it.
KING: Now, Billy, you're going to crusade again?
B. GRAHAM: Yes.
KING: You are going to go on a crusade again?
B. GRAHAM: Yes, we're going to have two or three this coming year, God willing. They're already in a state of preparation.
KING: Do you know the cities yet?
B. GRAHAM: We're thinking about two or three cities at the moment such as Louisville and Fresno, California, and one or two other cities that we are talking with at the moment that have invited us.
KING: Are you you're sure up to it?
B. GRAHAM: Pardon?
KING: Are you sure you're up to it?
B. GRAHAM: Oh, yes. I will be by that time. I wouldn't be up to it tonight. I just got out of the hospital.
KING: Well, we're going to let you get some rest. The amazing Billy Graham keeps on keeping on.
B. GRAHAM: Thank you.
KING: And Nancy, so much and best of luck at home and as you know on February 6th, we're going to do a tribute. Ronnie will be 90 years old.
REAGAN: Doesn't seem possible.
KING: We look forward to that night, too. Thanks Nancy. Thanks, Billy.
REGAN: Thank you. Thank you, Billy.
KING: Thank you, Billy.
B. GRAHAM: Bye.
KING: Billy Graham and Nancy Reagan. When we come back, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz. They carry on the legacy, and your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM: I have been praying for this crucial election, and I think it's a crucial election, a critical election in the history of America. And I think that I've been praying that God's will shall be done. I don't endorse candidates, but I've come as close to it, I guess now, as any time in my life because I think it's extremely important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) B. GRAHAM: But I want to tell you before you leave this stadium tonight, you can find an answer to the dilemmas and the problems and the perplexities of life. Your life can be changed. It can be transformed. You can become a new person from this moment on: by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Billy Graham.
Anne Graham Lotz, are you surprised at how well your father seems to be doing health wise? We were all very, very concerned a little while ago.
LOTZ: Well, you know, we were all concerned -- and in the family also. But those procedures, he had three of them done this past summer. And then this one, I think they went in to correct one that wasn't working properly. And it is amazing, Larry, the difference it has made. It's like having our daddy back. He can get up out of a chair without struggling.
He can he walk across the floor without stumbling. He can eat without dropping his food. His mind is clear. He is sharp. It is really wonderful. We just thank God for it.
KING: Franklin, do you think -- are you at all concerned about him going out and crusading again? That is not easy work.
F. GRAHAM: No, Larry, he will be able to do it very well. I was just with him a few weeks ago in Jacksonville, Florida. And, on a Saturday night, he spoke to 70,000 young people. These are 70,000 kids who stood to their feet and cheered as this 82-year-old man walked to the pulpit. And he was as clear, and as articulate, and as strong and forceful in the pulpit as I have ever heard him. What my sister said about this procedure, it's called normal pressure hydrocephalus, is the problem that he has.
And the shunts that they have put in his brain have made a tremendous difference. It is night and day. And I'm excited. You know, he got other problems that an 82-year-old man is going to have. But the problems that he has been experiencing for the last 10 years, most of those have gone away. And we are just thankful to God for this -- really, this renewed strength that he has.
KING: Anne mentioned that, despite the fact he wasn't always home, he was a great father. And I want to pick you up on that, especially at this time of year. Let me take another short break. And we'll be right back with Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz. We'll be taking your calls as well. Billy is home. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1957)
B. GRAHAM: I am deeply touched and moved and choked. I do not have tear ducts that work, so I can't cry. But I cry on the inside. And I deeply appreciate the introduction that Franklin has given, because I feel I deserve it so little. I don't think I've been a great, huge success as a father, but I know that my wife has been a great, huge success as a mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Anne, he said he hasn't been a success, you said he was absentee a lot. It's hard for an absentee father to be a good father, so explain.
LOTZ: Well, he was good father, you know, by the example that he set. He's a man of integrity; he loves the Lord with all of his heart, and that's why he left home to serve him.
In fact, I just bumped into somebody -- he was soldier in Vietnam, and I was thinking about that this afternoon because we're coming up to Christmas and it was Christmastime and the soldier was taking some supplies across the base and he went by the officers club. And there were so many cars, Larry, he stopped by and he went in. There was this young American preacher who was preaching, and he listened, and that night he gave his heart to Christ.
And the preacher was my daddy. It was Christmas Day in Vietnam and we gave him up that Christmas and, clear across the world, this man received Christ the savior and he'll be in heaven one day because my daddy went to Vietnam for Christmas. And so my daddy, he kept his priorities straight. All of his life he's been faithful to the gospel and he's not strayed in his aims, his priorities; his focus has been on the gospel.
And I think -- not only that, but in the home, Larry, I'll tell you personally, for me he's very affectionate, he's very loving, he's interested in what I'm doing, he's supportive. When I would go into his study he always gave me his full attention.
And so there are things that he didn't do for me, you know, the way my husband might do for my children because my husband has been a full-time father -- but he was a father in every sense of the word as far as the standards and the values that he set. I praise God that my father is Billy Graham. I don't feel short-changed at all.
KING: Frank, what about you? Do you feel at all that -- was there a time in your life when he was away when you needed him?
F. GRAHAM: No, Larry because I think he made up for it when he came home. There are the times that we went out in front yard and we played ball together, we went camping together and went hunting together. We did a lot of things together, growing up.
But yes, he was gone for periods of time. And like my sister, I have met people all over the world who come up -- and they're a little bit apologetic and they say, we know you hear this all the time, but I want you to know that when I was a young man or woman I heard your father speak when he was in London or when he was in Australia, and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and my life was changed; thank you for sharing your father.
And every time I hear that, Larry, there's a warmth in my heart. And I just say "God, thank you that my father was faithful, even though we missed him and he was gone." The were work that he was doing, I feel, was far more important. And all of his children, I believe, are supportive of what he's been doing.
KING: Anne, do you think Franklin will do well stepping in?
LOTZ: I think Franklin will do very well. I think he's going to be an excellent administrator as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And he's an excellent preacher, Larry.
We had him in our city several years ago, and he held a crusade. They had about 20,000 people per night, and the gospel message, I'm telling you, is just as clear when it's presented by Franklin as it is by my daddy. And, you know, some of the sermons can be a little different, but the message is just as clear; and I believe the power of God is there and people's lives are changed.
KING: We'll be right back with Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz. Billy Graham is home and he's going to be on crusades again; and we'll be taking your phone calls as well.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, Don Imus; and on Saturday night, Cuba Gooding Jr. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, PRESIDENT NIXON FUNERAL)
B. GRAHAM: Shall we pray? God of all comfort in the silence of this hour we ask Thee to sustain this family and these loved ones, and to deliver them from loneliness, despair and doubt. Fill their desolate hearts with Thy peace, and may this be a moment of rededication to Thee, Our Father. Those of us who have been left behind have the solemn responsibilities of life. Help us to live according to Thy will and for Thy glory so that we will be prepared to meet Thee.
We offer our pray in the name of Him, who is the resurrection and the light: Jesus Christ, our lord.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was the funeral of the late president Richard Nixon, attended by the four living presidents, and Gerald Ford, I believe, was also there but not on our camera shot.
By the way, in that regard, on the eve of the inaugural, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower will be among our guests.
Our guests tonight are Franklin Graham, the first vice chairman, recently named CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, chairman and CEO of Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief and development organization that works all around the world. As we said, he's the fourth of Billy and Ruth Graham's five children. And Anne Graham Lotz, who's the author of "Just Give Me Jesus." She preaches throughout the Angel Ministries, the second child of Billy and Ruth Graham.
Before we take some calls, how's your mom, Franklin?
F. GRAHAM: She's doing pretty good, Larry. She's had a real difficult year. She had a hip replaced earlier in the year and has some complications, but you know, Larry, she never complains. If you were to see her...
KING: I know.
F. GRAHAM: ... she would have a big smile on her face and she's just wonderful.
KING: And if you get a headache, she's more worried about you than what's happening to her.
F. GRAHAM: That's right. That's exactly right.
KING: Anne, through all this, when you see your father in pain -- I mean, it has to be asked honestly -- don't you ever doubt your faith? Don't you ever ask God why he's giving your father pain?
LOTZ: No, I don't think I ask why, but you know, sometimes you ask what is the greater purpose in it. And I think possibly one of the greater purposes that God has in this is to keep my daddy and mother dependent on Him. Otherwise, you know, if at the end of their life, with all of the accolades and with the position that Daddy has achieved, you know, he possibly could get out of focus. And there's nothing like physical pain or weakness or perhaps your spouse having difficulty to cause you to stay on your knees in prayer and stay close to the Lord.
So in a sense, it's something -- you know, the Apostle Paul said that we could praise God not necessarily for our weakness and our infirmity, but in it, because then we know the power of God and the strength of God in our lives.
And one of the blessings for me has been to see, as my daddy has grown weaker, to see the character of Christ coming out in him. And that's wonderful thing: At 82, instead of being cranky, and you know, selfish and grumpy, to see the Lord Jesus Christ in his character, in his kindness and thoughtfulness and grace, you know, it's really remarkable, and I just thank God for that example I've been able to see up close.
KING: Let's take a call. Manassas, Virginia for the Graham kids, Franklin and Anne. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was just curious what the other three children were doing.
KING: Good question. Franklin, the other three kids, who are they and what are they doing? F. GRAHAM: My younger brother, Ned, lives in the Seattle, Washington area. He's involved in a ministry called East Gates. They take Bibles and they do relief work inside of China. I have another sister, Bunny, that's next to me. She's a year and a half older than I am. She lives in Virginia. She's married, has children. She's working as a director of development for a university there in Virginia.
And then my oldest sister, Gigi, she lives in Florida. She's a writer, an author. She speaks all over the United States, and she's got a large family with a lot of grandkids.
KING: Do you -- let me get another call. New York City, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello. My question is what is the future plan for the crusade. Is it for the children of Dr. Graham to step in, and you know, eventually take over, or will Dr. Graham be continuing...
KING: We know he's going to try to do two or three this year. What's the future of the crusades as we go into this new decade, Franklin?
F. GRAHAM: Larry, I think there is a tremendous opportunity to continue crusades. My father will continue not only through this next year, but I believe he has the strength for the next two or three years.
Larry, I believe there's a great hunger with people today: They want to know the truth. They want to know is there a god, does he love us, does he care about us. And I want people to know that yes, there is a god, He does care, and He loves us so much that he sent His son from heaven to this earth for our sins. And if we confess our sins and repent, God will forgive us and cleanse us, and if we're willing to receive His son by faith into our hearts, into our lives.
And people will come to a crusade, Larry, they'll come to a stadium before they might come to a church. Lots of times people are afraid if they get inside a church, somebody's going to hit them over a head with a Bible and lock them in there and they can't get out. But they'll come to a stadium, they'll come to an arena where they've been for sports or whatever, and they feel that that's neutral territory.
That's one the reasons we go to these stadiums.
KING: Yes. So, that's going to continue.
F. GRAHAM: I think so. Yes, sir.
KING: What do we mean -- before we take the next call, Anne -- what is your definition of "born again"? Franklin says he was born again. President-elect George W. Bush says he was born again.
Anne, what is to you "born again"?
LOTZ: Well, it's a term really that Jesus used in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3 when he was talking to Nicodemus, who was a very religious man who kept the law, very moral. And he said, Nicodemus, if you want to see the kingdom of God, you must be born again.
And you know, we're at Christmastime, and we know the Christmas story. And Mary one day -- you know, the Virgin Mary had the angel Gabriel come to her and say that she would conceive physically the life of the son of God within her. And she submitted to that, and she conceived the life of Jesus within her, and Jesus was born of Mary. And today, just as that happened to Mary physically, it happens to us spiritually when we place our faith in Jesus Christ alone to forgive us of our sin and to be our savior and lord.
He comes into us, and we conceive within us in a spiritual sense the life of the son of God. And it's a miracle. It's hard to describe a miracle, but I know it took place in my life when I was about 5 or 6 years of age. And it makes a difference.
KING: Obviously. Gratz, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: It won't work They can't hear the TV...
CALLER: ... through the phone.
KING: Hello. Can you hear me?
KING: Pennsylvania, go ahead.
CALLER: My question is to what would the whole family attribute boldness, the boldness of their witness and their -- they have no fear in putting people to a decision for the Lord, and I wonder what they attribute that to.
KING: Yes, Frank, where does that come from, do you think? It's a good word for your family, boldness.
F. GRAHAM: Larry, I just think it's -- it's just the Holy Spirit of God. I don't know. I think maybe also the example that our parents, my mother, she's as bold as a lion. My father, the same way. They just never back down. They've always...
KING: Perhaps genes?
F. GRAHAM: ... been very clear.
Well, they just -- maybe it is, but they've always been very clear in what they have to say, and we're just raised that way, Larry. Maybe it's -- maybe it's we're from the South, and that's a Southern thing. I don't know.
KING: Anne, is any of the Grahams shy?
LOTZ: Well, I'm one that's shy, but I'd like to follow up on... KING: You're shy?
LOTZ: Yes, I am...
F. GRAHAM: Don't believe that for a second, Larry.
KING: Yes. You're shy?
LOTZ: Well, I am in my natural personality, but I tell you, I wanted to add something to what Franklin said, and I think it's a conviction of the truth. You know, I can't be bold about something I don't really believe. But I know Jesus Christ personally. I know He's alive. I know He lives in my life. I know He's forgiven me of my sin. I know He's the one that's opened heaven's door. One day He'll welcome me inside.
And there's a deep conviction about that so that I can't back off of it. And if somebody asks me or if I have that opportunity, I'll just say it like it is.
KING: So when your father passes, that will be sad because you will miss him, but you, both of you, will have no doubt in your mind he is somewhere?
F. GRAHAM: Yes.
LOTZ: Not just somewhere. We'll know exactly where he is. For the first time in my life, I'll be able to say where my daddy is for sure.
He'll be in heaven with Jesus.
KING: Good line.
We'll be right back with more calls for the Grahams, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM: And Jesus is saying to us in 1969 take up your cross, deny self, follow Me, and we can change the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
F. GRAHAM: For those of you that are watching by television, you can make that same commitment right now as you watch. All you have to do is say: "God, I have sinned, I'm sorry, forgive me." You come, wherever you are right now, just get up out of your seat and you stand here, you come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Father like son.
West Frankfort, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: My question is: Is this world working towards one universal religion?
KING: Any of you believe that -- Franklin?
F. GRAHAM: No, I don't; not right now. But the Bible does speak about, Larry, about one universal government and we -- the Bible speaks of an Antichrist who will come in the end times. And so I believe the scriptures are true in that sense.
KING: Do you fear the end times, Anne.
LOTZ: No; in fact, I think, perhaps, we could be living at the end of human history and the end times are a time of challenging -- you know, challenges for everybody; in particular, for God's people, because the Bible says there will be enormous persecution of those who really place their faith in Christ but, at the same time, enormous opportunities for the gospel. And so it doesn't matter, you know, whether it's the end time of human history or the end time of our own lives, or wherever we are in life -- you know, anytime we step into eternity -- it could be through a car accident, it could be through a health crisis -- you know, we can step into eternity. We need to be ready to stand face-to-face with God.
KING: Do you believe, Anne, that those of other faiths are wrong?
LOTZ: I believe what Jesus said. And Jesus said in John 14:6, that I am the way, the truth, the life and no one will come to the father except they come through me. And so Jesus...
KING: So they are wrong?
LOTZ: ... said you must place your faith in him.
Wait, did you say...
KING: I'm sorry, go ahead; I don't want to interrupt -- finish.
LOTZ: No, that's all right. Jesus' words, I think, were very clear. And I think that's why Franklin and I and my father would feel so burdened to leave our homes and families and present the gospel to the whole world, because Jesus Christ is the way of salvation. The Bible says there's no other means of salvation that's given unto men under heaven, just through Jesus Christ.
KING: So, Franklin, they are wrong; or they haven't learned?
F. GRAHAM: Larry, I believe exactly what Anne said, that what Jesus said is true. And Jesus Christ, he died for the African, he died for the European, he died for the Asian, he died for the whole world.
And when Jesus Christ shed his blood on Calvary's cross, he shed his blood for our sins, for my sins. And Larry, you can be -- no matter what your background is, if we're willing to confess our sins to God and tell God we're sorry and, by faith, receive his son Jesus Christ into our heart, into our life, God will forgive us and cleanse us, regardless of what our background is, regardless of what our religion is, and regardless of what our ethnic background or our color of our skin.
KING: The most difficult question your father's had to deal with, and you have to deal with is, to those who don't have that, they will not get that salvation, right?
F. GRAHAM: Larry, I believe God is supreme. God -- and he's a judge, he's going to judge fairly. And I believe he's going to judge each man and each heart. And I cannot say who's going to be in heaven, who's not going to be in heaven; all I know is what the Bible says. And, in the words of Jesus Christ, that I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes unto the father but by me. And I believe that, Larry, with all my heart.
And that's why, Larry, I'm so convinced that -- and it's so important that people realize that Jesus Christ died for them, shed his blood for their sins. The Bible says we've all sinned. I'm a sinner, and I've sinned against God, I've broken his laws, but he's forgiven me. Not because I'm the son of Billy Graham, but because I confessed my sins to him, asking for his forgiveness; and by faith I received his son Jesus Christ into my heart, into my life and he changed me.
He forgave me, but he changed me. And I thank God for his son Jesus Christ, who died for me.
KING: Miller Park, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: My question is, how does it feel to have your father be Billy Graham? I mean, it's just so cool that so many people know who he is and that they can listen to them preach...
KING: Well put; Anne, what's it like to be the daughter of?
LOTZ: I think -- you know, there have been some wonderful things. there have been some hard things, to tell you the truth. To be real honest, it meant that I was pretty much raised by a single parent and by grandparents.
And so we did have an absentee father, and that brings its own hardships and, you know, difficulties. And there were times I wanted my daddy and needed my daddy and he wasn't there. But psalm 27:10 gives a promise that says, when your mother and father forsake you, then the Lord will take you up. And I personally believe that I have a relationship with God today that I wouldn't have except my father had left like that because it thrust me into a personal relationship with God that's the primary focus of my life.
KING: To quote the caller, though is it "cool"?
LOTZ: You know, I can't answer that because a I don't have any other father. You know, that was the family I was raised in, I don't have anything to compare it with. But it's wonderful, and I love my daddy. I don't see him as Billy Graham, I see him as my daddy.
KING: We'll take a break, and we'll be back with more; don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOTZ: He is unsurpassed and he's unshakable; he is the lofty idea in philosophy; he's the highest personality in psychology; he's the supreme subject in literature; he's an unavoidable problem in higher criticism; he's the fundamental doctrine of theology; he's the cornerstone, the capstone, the stumbling stone of all religion; he's the miracle of the ages.
Just give me Jesus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM: That blast was like a violent explosion ripping at the very heart of America. And long after the rubble is cleared and the rebuilding begins, the scars of this senseless and evil outrage will remain.
But we come together here today not only to pray and forgive and love, but to say to those who masterminded this cruel plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Billy Graham at the memorial service for the dead in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Texarkana, Arkansas, hello. CALLER: Yes, my question, to either of them, is this: As a newcomer to the faith in Christ, you hear of a lot of ministries and leaders that -- the things are not good. As a young believer, how do you handle that?
KING: Do you understand the question, Franklin?
F. GRAHAM: I'm not sure, Larry, I think they were asking...
KING: All the scandals of the church, you know...
F. GRAHAM: The scandals?
KING: ... of people of faith who are suddenly find themselves -- no other way to put it, hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do.
F. GRAHAM: Well, Larry we're all -- you know, we're all human, Larry, and we all make mistakes and ministers are not exempt from making mistakes, and yes, we've seen churches fail; men of God fail; but at the same time, Larry, we're all sinners before God. I have failed many times in my life and -- but yet, God has forgiven me and when we do fail, I go to a father who loves me and is willing to forgive me, and I just confess my sins to him and ask him to forgive me, and I'll go forward. Larry.
KING: Anne, don't you think, though, that scandals hurt the movement?
LOTZ: Well, of course they do. I think any time we profess something with our lips and we don't back it up with our lives, you make a mockery of what you say you believe. You know, if what you believe ought to directly affect the way you behave and so I would say to that caller, I think it's important that you get into God's word, and that you keep your focus on Jesus and the truth of his word and don't get side-tracked by what you see in other people.
I remember somebody told me that they loved the shepherd, it's just the other sheep that gave him fits, you know. So, if you keep your eyes on the shepherd and keep your eyes on Jesus and then, you know, we have to be patient with each other. And one day when we get to Heaven, it's going to all be -- it'll come out all right. But in the meantime, we just have keep our focus on Jesus.
KING: Let's get a break, come back, get another call in, and have some closing comments from two good people, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz on this happy occasion -- their father's come home from Mayo. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM (singing): Jesus loves me this I know/for the Bible tells me so/may the ones who hear me long/they are weak/but he is strong/Yes, Jesus...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. GRAHAM: My daughter Anne is here somewhere, and she's the best cook in our family. And when she comes to home, we always ask her to make us an apple pie. My goodness, I can taste that pie right now. Anne, maybe you can find out which hotel I'm in and come over and back us a pie there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Anne, the apple pie maker. Arroyo Grande, California. Hello.
CALLER: I'd like to speak with Anne.
KING: Go ahead, she can hear.
CALLER: Anne, what does your father think about you preaching, as it against the Bible, I believe?
KING: Oh, about women preaching. Is it against the Bible, Anne?
LOTZ: I don't believe so. I have searched the scriptures and my study of the scripture has, you know, revealed something else to me. I believe you're probably referring to the passage in Timothy that says, I permit not a woman to teach or have authority over a man, and I felt that God showed me that the emphasis was on the authority, and so I feel within ministry, within the church that, you know, I'm not to have a position of authority over a man.
But Jesus himself told Mary Magdalen after the resurrection, he said Mary, you go back to Jerusalem and tell my disciples, tell 11 men, you know, what you've experienced with the risen Christ, and tell them to go up to Galilee and give them my word. And so, he commission a woman to give her personal testimony to 11 men, plus to go up to Galilee to give several hundred men his message and so, you know, I feel that woman have been commissioned to give out God's word and to share their testimony just as men have been, and my father is very supportive.
He has supported me from -- almost from the beginning. At the very beginning, he and my mother weren't supportive. They didn't want me leaving my husband and leaving my children, but when they saw the impact of the ministry and saw the support of my family, they've been very supportive.
KING: Anne, do you still make the apple pies?
LOTZ: I do. You know, that was so funny because that was in Jacksonville and boy, that next morning I went out -- and my son lived there with his wife, and I borrowed their kitchen. I made an apple pie and I took it to daddy that morning.
KING: And Franklin, I don't want to -- I don't want -- well, I don't want to make Anne feel any less, but, as you know, we were singularly honored, you and I -- Anne, I don't know if you know this, but the National League of Junior Cotillions includes both Franklin Graham and me on its list of the ten best-mannered people of the year 2000. I hope that humbles you, Franklin. It shocks me.
F. GRAHAM: It shocks me, Larry.
LOTZ: It shocks me too [laughter]
KING: I think Billy just had a relapse.
F. GRAHAM: And especially my momma.
KING: Franklin, continue good work. I know you're traveling all the time and Anne, always good to see you. You'll be with your dad on Christmas, Franklin.
F. GRAHAM: Yes, sir, and I hope my sister Anne makes one of those pies because I'm going to help daddy eat it.
KING: Anne, if you can't get there, ship it.
LOTZ: That's right. Merry Christmas to you, Larry.
F. GRAHAM: Merry Christmas.
KING: Thank you. Thank you both very much.
F. GRAHAM: God bless.
KING: Franklin Graham, first vice chairman, recently named CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Anne Graham Lotz, author of "Just Give Me Jesus." Franklin was with us from New York; Anne from Raleigh, North Carolina and earlier on the phone, Billy Graham, who came home from the Mayo Clinic today and the former first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan.
Again, Ronnie Reagan -- President Reagan will be 90 years old on February 6th. Stay tuned now for Perri Peltz and "CNN TONIGHT." We'll see you tomorrow night with the I-Man, Imus. I'm Larry King. Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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