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Panel of Christians Speaks Out on War With Iraq

Aired March 11, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, what would Jesus do about war with Iraq? Here to debate that issue, Conservative Christian leader Bob Jones II, president Bob Jones University.
Max Lucado, minister of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio.

Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of the international TV show "The Word in the World."

Pastor John MacArthur of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, also a syndicated radio host.

And Bishop Melvin Talbert, ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church. President Bush is a Methodist, but Bishop Talbert, who went to Iraq a few months ago, opposes the war.

Christians debating war, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We will be entertaining your calls later on this important edition of LARRY KING LIVE with prominent Christian clergymen discussing it. We'll start with Dr. Jones. He's in Saginaw, Michigan tonight. The president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. What would Jesus say?

DR. BOB JONES III, FOUNDER, BOB JONES UNIVERSITY: Well, the Lord met a centurion once, a Roman centurion in his earthly ministry, and he never rebute the centurion at all for being a warrior. The Lord said that the world will always know wars and the rumors of wars right up until the end times.

The Lord knows that there's war in the world because there's war in men's hearts and hearts that are full of sin are always going to be full war. The Bible says, "You lust and you have not. You kill and desire to have because you have not and you ask not." And...

KING: Does that mean -- does that mean, Dr. Jones, that because there always is war Christian leaders will support war?

JONES: War's a part of man's sin nature. The sinful nature of man makes a sinful world and war is going to be a part of this world right up until the very end.

And it's not a matter of Christian supporting war. The Christians support peace. And in order to have a just peace, sometimes you have to have a war. We've been at war in America since 9/11 and there's been no peace in this nation and until those who are -- the responsible parties and the participants and the supporters of terrorism in the world, the world's not going to know any peace. And the war in Iraq will help to do a lot to address the source of a lot of this terrorism.

And I don't see how anybody who loves peace could really be against this war and those who did destroy peace.

KING: Father Manning, what would Christ say?

FATHER MICHAEL MANNING, HOST, "WORD IN THE WORLD": I'm very strong against that. What I experienced Jesus in the Bible I experienced a man, for example, who had a Greek friend in John the Baptist, who was killed by a tyrant.

He was executed at a birthday party. He knew what Roman subjugation was, and in the midst of all of that and all of the terrible things, what did he do? He brings in Simon the Zealot who was a terrorist as one of his apostles. He also brings in Matthew who was a tax collector with Harrod who was in cahoots with the Romans. He's bringing in all of these diverse people, bringing unity, bringing peace and bringing understanding.

And his response was not, OK, let's go get him. Although many of his followers wanted him to be that King David that was going to be that great warrior to overcome things and he resisted that.

KING: You think he would be opposed?

MANNING: Oh, he would be very much. Peace, let's move with peace. Let's talk, let's move and move with strong force to a peaceful resolution.

KING: Max Lucado, what do you think Christ would have said today?

MAX LUCADO, AUTHOR, "HE CHOSE THE NAILS": I think the Father's making a good point there. And I think that war is always something to be avoided. It's always dreadful. It's always awful. It's -- it leaves a scar on the people. It leaves a scar on the country.

The only time that it seems to me that any type of international combat is justifiable from a scriptural point of view would be when innocent people need to be protected.

And this is the assignment, I perceive, given by God to the government. And if the government perceives that innocent people are want being protected and that evil must be punished to protect them, that's the only justifiable case.

KING: So you would see going to war in Iraq as, under your concept, justifiable?

LUCADO: I would see that this is a decision that really can only be made by those in authority and we have to trust their decision and rely on their character and pray earnestly for them that God would lead them in the right direction.

KING: Do you have a personal opinion?

LUCADO: I do have a personal opinion about trusting those in authority. I feel like the president has done several things to earn our trust. And I don't see men like General Franks as men who are war mongers.

They have, I think, demonstrated themselves as men who have pursued peace especially over the last 12 years. And if we engage in this battle, it will be because they are convinced it is the last alternative.

KING: Bishop Melvin Talbert in Atlanta. Ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, member of a religious delegation that traveled to Iraq in December, appears in an anti-war commercial -- here, I want you to watch this commercial in which Bishop Talbert appears and then we'll ask him a question. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we invade Iraq, there's a United Nations estimate that says there will be up to a half a million people killed or wounded. Do we have the right to do that to a country that's done nothing to us?

BISHOP MELVIN TALBERT, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: No nation under God has that right. It violates international law. It violates God's law. War only creates more terrorists and makes a dangerous world for our children.


KING: Do you think, Bishop Talbert, that men like President Bush, a strong Christian, devout Christian and like Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell are -- are somehow immoral?

TALBERT: No. I wouldn't say they are immoral. I would say that they have not used all possible choices for bringing about a solution of this without war.

KING: So, in other words, you think there are still other choices open to them rather than starting a war within ten days?

TALBERT: Yes, I do. I believe we have the United Nations there and rather than assuming that we have the right to go in unilaterally, to fight this all on our own, we need to use the apparatus of the United Nations. That's why it exists.

We are the most powerful nation in the world, we can always wait, we don't have to rush to war and we can use that power in a way of mobilizing nations to work together rather than pitting ourselves against those nations. and...

KING: John MacArthur -- excuse me -- John MacArthur is a pastor, teacher at Grace Community Church, best selling author and syndicated radio show "Grace to You." He's president of the Master's College and the Master's Seminary. Is it difficult for a Christian to support a war? Internally?

JOHN MACARTHUR, GRACE COMM. CHURCH: I think it's always difficult when you consider the loss of life. Any loss of life is...

KING: All people are the same.

MACARTHUR: Yes, because every soul is precious.

KING: So the Iraqi child is not more important than the American child in the eyes of God.


MACARTHUR: Absolutely. But I really find myself on the other side of the fence from what we've just heard. I don't think we're starting a war. I think a war already started. The only question is what are we going to start a war that has already started.

KING: What war did Iraq start?

MACARTHUR: Well the war on America based upon the terrorist attacks on America...

KING: Oh, 9/11.

MACARTHUR: Sure, 9/11. Which intelligence tells us can be traced in some measure back to Iraq.

It's only a question of how you fight the war. The war has already started. I don't see a big moral dilemma here at all. Scripture indicates...

KING: Why is there so much, then, conflict, do you think, in the Christian community?


MACARTHUR: Yes. Maybe we need to go back to the Bible and see what the Bible actually says. In the Old Testament God tells Israel to go to war against Amelik, tells Saul to go in there and destroy the Amelikites because they were a blight on humanity.

God told the children of Israel to go into the land, destroy the Canaanites. The Canaanites used to bury a living baby in a jar in a wall when they built a house or a building as a offering to the gods.

There are wars of protection. There are wars of just retribution and just punishment and then there are wars of evil aggression.

KING: Didn't everybody who ever started the war think they were just? Didn't Hitler think he was just?

MACARTHUR: I don't know any everybody who started a war...

KING: Tell me -- but didn't most people when they start a...

MACARTHUR: Yes, but the verdict on Hitler is not up for discussion.

KING: He thought he was just.

I mean when you use it -- that's an opinion. And actually we feel we're just in our action.

MACARTHUR: Right. But, I mean, what level of justice was Hitler exercising in massacring 6 million Jews?

KING: Beats me.

MACARTHUR: Yes, there is no justice there. That isn't a just war by anybody's definition. It isn't a just thing that the Stalin did to perhaps even 50 million.

So I mean it's pretty clear that nobody would come down on the side of Saddam Hussein as being a paragon of international justice, an example of righteousness.

KING: More when we continue. We'll be interspersing a lot and we'll be taking your calls. Don't go away.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The comment I hear the most from our fellow citizens, regardless of their political party or philosophy is, Mr. President, I pray for you and your family and so does my family.

That's what I hear. I turn to them without hesitation and say it is the greatest gift you can give anybody, is to pray on their behalf.

BUSH: I pray for you and your family and so does my family. That's what I hear. I turn to them without hesitation and say it is the greatest gift you can give anybody, is to pray on their behalf.

I especially feel that because I believe in prayer. I pray. I pray for strength. I pray for guidance. I pray for forgiveness. And I pray to offer my thanks for a kind and generous almighty God.




BUSH: My faith sustains me because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength. If we were to commit our troops -- if we were to commit our troop, I would pray for their safety and I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives as well.


KING: Dr. Jones, is this a moral issue?

JONES: No, I think it's a national issue.

I'm glad we have a president who prays and seeks the face of God when so many lives are at stake. It must be a frightening thing to be in his shoes. I don't envy him, and, you know, he wants peace. And sometimes war is the price to pay for peace.

I was reading something General Sherman, the Union general in the Civil War said. He said "the legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." And war is something that the world has always known and always will be known. You know, there is only two times that I know of that there was not war in the world, and both of them are in the scripture.

The first two chapters of the Bible before men fell into sin, was there no war in the world, and the last two chapters when The Lord Jesus comes back and wages war, by the way, against the nations and becomes the rumor of the world, the next great world ruler, there will be perfect peace for the next thousand years that he sets himself up as the ruler of the world and except for those instances, the world his never known anything, but war is a tragedy -- war is a heartbreak, but it's a part of the reality of the world.

KING: Backing up what he said, Father, isn't it moral to go in and take out a despot, a despot who has killed his own people -- killed his own son-in-law, who has wrought havoc in the region.

MANNING: You know what I believe? I believe that one of the greatest forces of the downfall of Saddam Hussein is the goodness of what it means to be a loving, patient caring person.

If we come in, and our soldiers instead of with bullets and forces, why don't we build hospitals? Why don't we build bridges? Why don't we build schools? Why don't we bring in a brand new force, let that force, that passion that the soldiers are exerting now, move it into a new direction and isn't in the goodness and peace that would come that Saddam Hussein is going to be threatened?

He's going to have to fall because there -- when people are educated --

KING: Max Lucado, would kind acts work?

LUCADO: You know, C.S. Lewis said that to love your enemy doesn't mean that you never hold him accountable for his deeds.

The risk of what the Father is describing is that evil is going unpunished and who are left vulnerable. Again, I come back to the fact that if the president, I think, has a moral obligation to protect innocent people here and abroad, but especially here. He's given supervision over us and he is privy to information that, to be quite candid, I'm not and my trust must be that if he engages us in this conflict it's because he sees that we are in threat, which I think we are, we are in danger and at some point you have to protect the people here from that type of despot and that danger. KING: You want to add something?

MANNING: How can -- isn't a democracy, the beauty of a democracy that we can disagree? And I -- that I can say I...

KING: It's what we're doing here tonight.

MANNING: I really have a problem in the direction of the war that the president is going and I don't feel I'm un-American to say that. I think the care and the love...

KING: I don't think he was saying you were un-American.

MANNING: The thought can be that. That if you're -- suddenly you say, Well, you're not following the president, let's just follow that path.

KING: You didn't mean that, did you, Max?

LUCADO: No, not at all.

KING: I mean, you don't have to agree with him.

LUCADO: Absolutely not. In fact, I pray that at the end of day the five of us would be in the same place and that's on our knees.

You know, we all kind of feel about this a little bit darkly, but -- and I appreciate very much what the Father is saying and the sympathy and the desire to reach out and love your enemy is exactly what Christ calls us to do.

The question is at what point do you do so at the risk of innocent people here in the United States?

MANNING: Well, what are the investigators going around doing? They're -- and if a 100 are not enough, let's get 200 in there. Let's get 20, 000 investigators, wouldn't that be more reasonable?

KING: I want to bring the Bishop and John MacArthur back into it and include your phone calls.

Don't go away.


KING: This debate is wide among many religions and certainly among the Christians and we're trying to get the Christian position here and there can be differing views and we'll be including to your phone calls. We'll go in a moment.

But John MacArthur, what is the Christian position? is there a Christian position on this war -- the pending war.

MACARTHUR: Yes, Larry.

The singular Christian is Jesus. So the question needs to be asked, what was Jesus' view? And I think explicitly in scripture you have a number of things. In the gospel of Luke, Chapter 14 and Verse 31, he said, When a king goes to war, he is careful to count the cost knowing he has 10,000 soldiers and he's going to go against 20,000 so that he doesn't get in a battle he might lose.

Jesus uses that illustration to compare a person, counting the cost to become a Christian, therefore elevates war, makes a noble illustration.

In Luke 22:36...

MANNING: That he endorses war?

MACARTUHR: Well, let me finish.

He said, "He who has no sword," to his disciples, "let him sell his garment and buy one," Because he was sending his apostles out. He knew there would be hostility. He knew there would be persecution and he knew that could go to a level of some one endeavoring to take their life. And told them, Get a sword because you may have to protect yourself.

KING: So he endorsed war. He endorsed...

MACARTHUR: He endorsed the fact of protection and just war.

KING: Bishop Talbert, how do you respond to that?

TALBERT: I respond to that absolutely not.

Jesus followed in the footsteps of the prophets Joel, Michael and Isaiah and they were the prophets of God in the Old Testament and those prophets challenged nations to beat their swords and spears into pruning hooks and plow shears and that meant using investments for war, for feeding children.

Jesus himself said to his own apostles, as he gathered them around the mountain, in Matthew 5. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."

KING: How do we know, depending on what verse anyone reads, you can back up anything, John? That's the problem as an interviewer, we face. Anyone can...


MACARTHUR: That's a very typical way that people view the Bible because there are people who use the Bible to try to prove everything.

KING: Right.

MACARTHUR: What Jesus says is explicit. Jesus said in John 18:36, out of his own mouth, "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight." In other words, he said my kingdom is not of this world. It's a spiritual kingdom, so we're not engaged in a Holy War. But if someone were coming after us to attack us and to crucify me and this was an earthly kingdom, my servants would fight.

KING: But he might answer, the United States, if it gets into this, is starting this war?

MANNING: Precisely. It's going to get worse and worse. The threat becomes greater.

MACARTHUR: I don't think we can say the United States is starting this war. This is not a war of evil aggression. This is a war of protection. This is a war to protect our people.

You know, we once felt strongly about that after 9/11.


TALBERT: You've said that many times and I think it's important for you to understand that we have a United Nations that's a process for us and we can use the power that we're talking about to go through the United Nations and use that as a vehicle for solving conflict as the first option rather than deciding that we need to move in unilaterally to take this nation.

JONES: Could I say something?

KING: Yes, go ahead, Dr. Jones.

JONES: Could I saying some, Larry?

KING: Yes. Sure.

JONES: The United Nations is a threat to our national sovereignty. It always has been. It always will be.

When Jimmy Carter decided to side with Iraq in the war against Iran, he didn't go and ask the United Nations permission. When Bill Clinton dropped bombs on Serbia, he didn't ask the United Nations 'permission. When France sent troops recently into the Ivory Coast, France didn't ask the United Nations' permission.

The United Nations is a menace to our national sovereignty. We have to do what we feel is best in our national interest and we have leaders who are concerned about the peace and the well-being of this nation and our borders' safety and using the best judgment they have if they feel like this nation should go against the terrorist stronghold and an evil man who is controlling us over there in Iraq.

I think, in loyalty to this nation's leaders, this nation -- the people of this nation especially the Christians, because we are told to obey every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. We need to get behind our nation at this time.

TALBERT: We're not here to defend Saddam Hussein. I don't think -- I'm want here to defend him at all. The question is how do we resolve the conflict? I believe that a nation like ours need to use every means possible except war and war should always be the last resort. I don't believe --

LUCADO: I agree.

KING: Max Lucado, would you agree war is the last resort?

LUCADO: Agree with that 120 percent. War has to be the last resort.

My thinking is, Who knows when it's the last resort, better than those in authority. According to Romans 13, the government and those in authority are really ministers appointed by heaven to protect and to punish, and you know, I agree very much with the concept that we have to let it be the last resort, but somebody has to make that call.


KING: Hold on. One at a time, gentlemen. John?

MACARTHUR: Can I weigh in on that and just say I agree with that. Absolutely,. War is a last resort and at that point exactly what has been said is true. The government exists primarily to punish evildoers and protect innocent people. It bears not the sword in vain. The Bible says it uses the sword for that protection and that justice, but it is and always must be the last resort.

KING: Barstow, California -- start to include some calls. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.

Larry, my question is -- is on the human shields. My question is, Larry, when Americans -- I'm hitting on Americans only. When Americans are over there being a human shield for buildings and that and they get killed, who's responsible for them or will we just look at it and say they picked their own destiny and let it be?

KING: Father?

MANNING: I think we bear a big responsibility to them.

KING: We all do when any one dies in war.

MANNING: Sure we do.

I think that we should stop bombing just for that very sake.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come right back with more, reintroduce our panel, take more phone calls.

Don't go away.



BUSH: We face a continuing threat of terrorist networks that hate the very thought of people being able to live in freedom.


BUSH: We face a continuing threat of terrorist networks that hate the very thought of people being able to live in freedom, that hate the thought of the fact that in this great country we can worship the almighty God the way we see fit.


KING: Lets reintroduce our panel in Saginaw, Michigan, Dr. Bob Jones, President of Bob Jones University. In San Antonio, Max Lucado, his latest book "A Love Worth Giving." In Los Angeles, Father Michael Manning , Roman Catholic priest, Society of the Divine Word. In Los Angeles, John MacArthur, pastor, teacher, best selling author and host of his own radio show, "Grace to You." And in Atlanta Bishop Melvin Talbert, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) officer of the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops.

New York City, hello?

CALLER: Hello. I'm on.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: My question is with absolutely no proof linking 9/11 with Saddam Hussein and also, we don't even have proof that they possess any weapons of mass destruction outside of this administration's word, why would this administration think that God is possibly sanctioning the senseless slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent lives, both American, Iraq and Kuala?

KING: Max?

LUCADO: Why would the administration lie to us?

I would agree if the administration is misleading us that this would be an inappropriate action. I haven't seen anything myself. I'm not privy to any inside information but you have to trust somebody.


MANNING: Powell made this big thing at the United Nations. He was going to reveal what it was and I listened to it and I found I'm not convinced.

KING: Are you convinced there are weapons of mass destruction there?


KING: Not at all?

MANNING: No. I don't know. That's my worry. Let's send in more investigators. Let's find out what it is rather than send soldiers.

KING: Port Richie, Florida, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have to agree with Dr. Jones and everything he has said.

My question it your panel is do they think Hussein believes in religion or actually cares about prayer when he kills members of his own family and father...

KING: He says he pray, John MacArthur.

MACARTHUR: Saddam Hussein. I'm sure he does.

KING: He prays five times a day.


KING: He believes right. He must be praying to something.

MACARTHUR: Well, it's the wrong God unfortunately. There is only one true and living God, and that's the God of the scripture. The God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And if you aren't praying to that God, you are praying to no one.

KING: He doesn't believe that.


KING: How do you deal with that? I mean, how do you deal with that? His belief may be as strong as your belief.

MACARTHUR: You could believe that you did fly and jump off a five-story building. It doesn't make it real. Unfortunately, false religion is the ultimate deception...

KING: Is the Muslim world all false?

MACARTHUR: Well, the theology of Islam is false. It's the wrong God. It's the wrong view of Christ.

KING: When they hear that, don't they get that as an anti- American thoughts...

MACARTHUR: It has nothing to do with America. I would say if they were French. It has nothing to do with America.

KING: They think yours is the wrong God.

MACARTHUR: I see what you are saying, Well, they, do. But there has to be truth, and untruth and once you've established the truth and I think the word of God has been established as true, I think it can hold up under the most intense scrutiny and other book do not.

KING: Bishop, don't you believe, Bishop Talbert, that Christianity is the right path?

TALBERT: I do believe for Christians, but we're not here to settle which religion is right. That settle -- that dispute belongs to God. We are here to practice what we preach.

KING: Do you believe your religion is right.

TALBERT: Yes I do.

KING: Or else why believe it.

TALBERT: That is right.

KING: So therefore the other religions have to be wrong.

TALBERT: No, I don't say that at all.

KING: If you believe your religion is right. The other religions are wrong.

TALBERT: I believe my God is large enough to be inclusive of all human beings who were created in god's image and that includes those religions that are not Christians.

MACARTHUR: I want to ask a question. Why did Jesus say -- why did Paul say if any man preaches any other Christ than the true Jesus Christ, let him be a cursed. Let him be an (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Why does the Bible say neither is their salvation in any other name than Jesus Christ. Why does the scripture condemn anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and the gospel of Christ? Why is the message so exclusive?

TALBERT: For me, salvation in Jesus Christ is the way, and what I try to do as a Christian is to live that example. My responsibility is not to convert all other religions, but to live the Christian faith in the face of those religions. Are you going to say that my -- our friend on the show tonight who is Jewish is on the wrong path? That's god's choice. That's god's judgment, not mine.

KING: Bellingham, Massachusetts. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, what I'd like to say is that -- listening especially the last few moments to what's being said is -- I feel as though what's going on the panel as a matter of fact is a war within itself. A religious war. I don't want like war, however, I do trust the wisdom of our president, but what I'd like.

KING: What's your question, dear.

CALLER: What I'd like to ask the bishop as well as the father is, why according to what they're doing in their belief now with regard to the war, didn't they take a stand when Bill Clinton went after Milosevic?

Why didn't the Catholic Church take a stand when Hitler persecuted countless number of Jews and he wasn't even excommunicated from the Catholic Church? I just find such hypocrisy here that I believe that this is coming out after Bill Clinton, and this is a Christian war on the panel tonight. It's not a war -- it's not words of a war against what's right and wrong and hurting people.

KING: The subject is Christians debating it, but Father Manning, you going to comment?

MANNING: I'm in no way going to say that it was OK to look the other ways when Jews were taken off from Rome. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) should have done something about that and that's to the shame of what happened. But that doesn't mean that all of a sudden if that was true that I disregard what I believe is right right now. We shouldn't be going into a war. We should wait until things really get clear. We can use many other means. And as Pope John Paul II had said "war is the defeat for humanity."

KING: Laceiba, Honduras, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Look, glad to be on the show. Considering the fact that the Bible is riddled with violence from the old into the New Testament, what has happened to the concept of love, compassion and turn the other cheek?

KING: Dr. Jones, fair question. What happened turn the other cheek?

JONES: Very fair question. If I have a personal enemy the Bible tells me that I should turn the other cheek to that enemy. I should suffer their reproach and the rebuke of men without retaliation, but the Bible also says as Max has already talked to us from Romance 13, the Bible says that the government does not bear the sword in vain. God gives to nations the right to wage war. And God says these people are our ministers for good against evil and for the protection of that which is good. And the Bible nowhere condemns war, nor does the Bible promote war. War is a product of perverse, sinful human nature.

And as long as man's nature is apart from Christ, there's going to be war because the war is in man's heart. Nobody can blame the Bible for war or could blame Christians for war. Christians aren't for war. I'm not for war, but man's heart is for war and until that issue is addressed in Jesus Christ, the man is transformed through the blood of drive the and made into a new creature, he's going to be a war mongering creature. And there will be evil people like Saddam Hussein who want to destroy others and harm others. And good people, decent people, peaceful loving people should rise up against those despots and say we don't like this kind of war mongering in our world. And those who are for peace must engage the enemy and do everything possible to bring the despots to their knees.

KING: We'll be right back with more calls. Don't go away.


KING: Berlin, Germany, hello?

CALLER: Hello. Good afternoon, good morning, good evening. I don't know what the time is there. KING: We're in all time zones. Go ahead.

CALLER: My question is to the panel, the whole panel. What are their views about Islam? Is it a terrorist religion or maybe if they unite there is no other super power, but Islam -- because Islam -- sorry, and that's what U.S. don't want. And that's why they're going to the different parts of the world where Islam is...

KING: Fair question. Max, what is your view of Islam?

LUCADO: Well, I guess it depends on if he's asking it from a political or religious point of view.

KING: I guess from religious.

LUCADO: Religious point of view, it is a different approach to God than the Christian approach to God. My understanding as a Christian is that we're saved by what Christ did for us whereas the Islamic faith we're saved by what we do for God.

So you've got two different angles, two different approaches to God. I prefer to trust God to save me than to depend on my words to save myself.

KING: But do you think, Bishop Talbert, that these differing opinions are leading to lots of conflict in the world?

TALBERT: I believe they're leading for a lot of conflicts because we do not open ourselves to each other and learn and grow.

I have talked with Muslim leaders. They are -- the ones that I have met are very fine people. They are on their way just as certain as I'm on my way. And what we need to do is to be tolerant with each other and not assume that our way is the only way.

KING: John MacArthur, you believe that Muslim people, the Islamic people are wrong. Their beliefs are wrong.

MACARTHUR: That's right. And this is not some personal belief of mine. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life..."

KING: Yes, but if they don't believe that...

MACARTHUR: If they don't believe that, no man comes to the Father but by me.

KING: You must believe that, too, Father.

MANNING: I believe very much that the love of God is strong. Jesus -- Jesus loves all people. Jesus died for all people and I can't imagine...

KING: He died for the Islamic, too?

MANNING: Of course he did. Of course he did. And he loves them with a passion. KING: You believe that, too, right?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe God loves his creatures, his creations.


MACARTHUR: But in the end he's going to condemn to an eternal hell all those who reject his son Jesus Christ.

MANNING: And he rejoices, and Jesus rejoices...

KING: All of them?

MACARTHUR: All who reject his son Jesus Christ, the Bible says, are condemned to eternal punishment.

MANNING: Jesus rejoices when his father is glorified. And when a Muslim or Jew glorifies the father I can't imagine Jesus coming and saying, Oh, well. When are you going to look at me? The joy of Jesus is the glorification of God.

KING: Philadelphia, hello? Philadelphia, hello? Philadelphia, good-bye.

Anaheim, hello? Anaheim, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, I'm here.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, my question is for the entire panel. It seems that most Christians in the United States support the president, support of the war in Iraq. So do Christian leaders in the United States.

It also seems that many Christians in Europe, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the pope, don't really support the United States, don't really support the war in Iraq.

How do we as Christians -- what do we do with that? How do we process that? How do we reconcile that chasm?

KING: Fair question, John, and we'll go around. What do they do? Christian leaders in other parts of the world opposed.

MACARTHUR: Yes, again, you know, Christian leaders giving their opinion or the official opinion of their institution or their denomination doesn't carry any real weight when it comes to Christianity.

KING: But he's asking as a Christian what does he do if two esteemed Christian leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury and you.

MACARTHUR: Yes, very simple go back to the word of God, compare everything with what the Bible says.

KING: And what if his conclusion is the war is wrong?

MACARTHUR: I don't think it's that difficult.

Well, I can't say whether this war is right or wrong nationally or whatever. All I can is say is God instituted government to carry a sword to protect the innocent people and to punish the evildoers...

KING: But you don't know if it applies to this war.

MACARTHUR: Well, you know, I don't have that information and I don't need to weigh in on that because I'm not giving that information...

MANNING: I agree completely. I'm not against an army. I'm not against police. I think that's a God given right to give us security and peace. But I share with him deep, deep questions and doubts as to whether or not this is really a war situation.

MACARTHUR: And I think where I come in on that is I've got to trust my president and his cabinet and intelligence and military people. George Bush doesn't want to throw away life.

KING: What do you trust, Dr. Jones, if great Christian leaders around the world disagree?

JONES: Well, as to this war, and I totally agree with what John has just said, is to this war there is no Biblical direction for any of us to say whether it is of God or it isn't of a god. No one can approach any war on that basis.

And there is perfect reason to have legitimate disagreement, but the issue that we can't disagree on is the authority of the Bible, the exclusivity of the savior, Jesus Christ, who alone can say, even there's no under name under heaven, given among man whereby we must be saved.

And I do think we have to agree that moral issues must be addressed in this world, and crime and bombing and terrorism are unjust and immoral. And where innocent people are threatened by terrorism, terrorism must be addressed. And our government is trying to do that for the good of the whole world, not just for the good of America, because these terrorists are a threat to everybody on the face of the earth.

KING: Charlotte, North Carolina...

JONES: The people of this world ought to be glad we have a president like we have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry, you didn't give me a chance to chime in on that.

KING: All right, go ahead, Bishop.

TALBERT: Yes, this president, I'd like to trust him, but I question the kind of advice that he's getting from the religious community. He has not seen fit to receive a delegation of his own bishops. And if he's a member of the United Methodist Church, seemingly he would seek the counsel of the bishops of his church.

KING: He has not agreed to see them?

TALBERT: He has not agreed to see us. He has not agreed to see 40 religious leaders who wrote letters to him saying give us an audience to talk to you about the debate that's going on in this nation about this war.

KING: He met the emissary of the pope, though.

MANNING: Yes, Pio Laghi.

KING: Charlotte, North Carolina, hello?

CALLER: Yes, Larry, I have a question for the panel here. I actually I have a comment, suggestion and recommendation.

The comment I have is we are supposed to be the peacemakers if we're the ones that truly inhirit the kingdom of God. And the suggestion I have with this potential war is paramount for us to find a solution to what's going on over there in the Middle East. And the suggestion I would like to make is to remove Saddam Hussein from power legitimately, try him for the war crimes that he committed 12 years ago...


KING: How do you get him? How do you get him, sir?

CALLER: How do you get him?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Through a legitimate international court through United Nations and continue with the...

KING: Do you think that is possible? To get him legitimately?

MANNING: Well, I think the only way is hemming him in as we're doing with these people that are investigators. Let's keep pushing him back. Let's keep pushing him on.

KING: Let's take a break and come back with some more moments and more phone calls. Don't go away.


BUSH: Religious faith not only comforts, it challenges. Faith teaches that every person is equal in God's sight, and must be treated with equal dignity here on Earth.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back. Geneva, Switzerland, hello?

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Larry.

KING: Yes?

CALLER: Please as Mr. Bush, he insists that the Muslim community should separate, the jihad which is the religion call for defend their country against the enemy, separated from the region and from even their culture.

KING: Right.

CALLER: Why now some bureaucratic church -- insist that Christian or Christianity encouraged this invasion to Iraq. You know this...

KING: What's the question, sir? You're not being clear and I'm running out of time. What's the question?

CALLER: OK. The question, Mr. Bush encouraged the Muslim community after the 11th of September to separate the...

KING: Their faith. Right. What's the question? What's the question?

CALLER: Why is this bureaucratic chance which Mr. -- .

KING: OK. Why is Bush -- I don't understand the question, but why is Bush calling Christians to go to war?

MACARTHUR: Let me respond to that. It is important to say this is not a Christian war. Whether George Bush sends the American troops into war has nothing to do with Christianity. I has nothing to do with the Bible. It has nothing to do with him being a Christian.

KING: But he talks about praying.

MACARTHUR: Well, he prays because he (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the implications of it. He's not saying I'm praying and god's telling me to go to war. I think he's praying as any Christian would, that he doesn't have to do this. Than lives will be spared. That wisdom would be granted. But there is no Biblical mandate or divine mandate to go to any war. This is a matter of wisdom on the part of leaders

KING: He was also clear to not blame Muslims for 9/11.

MACARTHUR: And I don't think you can blame them all.

MANNING: It's scary, isn't it? That all of this is happening from a Christian country and the implication is that this is what Jesus wants?

KING: Apex, North Carolina -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello, Larry? KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: My question is to all of the panel. My question is do we really feel like that as a nation we have according to what the scriptures say to us, have we really repented as a nation? When I look at what happened September 11, I noted that we called Billy Graham one of our popular religious leaders to the nation and it was a time of prayer. But it seems to me that it's been a token of time of repentance, that we really haven't looked at it ourselves. And it seems that as a nation we have really pursued what I would say is like an empire building status and we...

KING: Do you agree with that father?

MANNING: Think so. We've got to be very, very careful we don't get into a new colonialism. And this is what happened. We are going to take control in order to have resources of a nation.

KING: You fear that, Dr. Jones?

JONES: No, I don't subscribe to that at all. We're going over there to try to make our borders safe and the whole world safer. We're not going to occupy Iraq.

KING: Max do you fear it?

LUCADO: I think what the caller is saying that we have to be careful and not think that we are righteous or smug. We do, we have a lot of mistakes ourselves that we need to deal with. And I think he's making a good point.

KING: Don't you agree with that, John?

MACARTHUR: Absolutely. We're getting back to the blurry line here. This is not about Christianity. This is not about the Bible. This is about international issues.

KING: Christian leaders are divided.

MACARTHUR: Just happens that George Bush is a Christian. This is not a Christian war.


MACARTHUR: Yes, he's a Christian, so he talks to the lord about the, of his life. This is not about Christianity. It's not tied to national repentance or national revival or any spiritual issue in our country.

KING: What do you think's going to happen, bishop?

TALBERT: I, unfortunately, I believe that the people in the Muslim world will see the -- a war led by the person from America as a Christian crusade. Having been to the Middle East and talked to the religious leaders there, they are very fearful that that's the way it's going to be read. And it's going to push the feeling of the people from the moderate to the more radical leaders in the Muslim world.


KING: I'm running out of time. I'm running out of time.

MACARTHUR: What are the people in Iraq who are Muslims going to think when they are liberated from Saddam Hussein?

KING: All right. We've got to do lots more on this. We thank Dr. Bob Jones, Max Lucado, Father Michael Manning, John MacArthur and Bishop Melvin Talbert and I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night right after this.


KING: Tomorrow on LARRY KING LIVE we are going to relive a sad chapter. It all happened a couple of years ago. Russell Yates will be with us. He lost his five children under the hands of his own wife who killed them. She is in jail. Russell Yates will be with us tomorrow night. And we'll also get an update on Iraq, as well.


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