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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Encore Presentation: Interview with Billy Graham

Aired May 29, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he's been the spiritual adviser to presidents, religious inspiration to millions, the Reverend Billy Graham is next as we kick off LARRY KING LIVE's 20th anniversary.
Thanks for joining us. This week, our program turns 20. And boy have we got a special week ahead.

We're going to start our anniversary celebration with a look back. We did a lot of shows on religion. They've have verbal sparring, accusations, and more than one fall from grace, but we've always enjoyed talking with Reverence Billy Graham. He makes you feel good about yourself no matter what your faith is.

Our last hour was with him Christmas Day, 1998. And we want to begin our anniversary week by looking back at that special show.

The commercialization of Christmas. Has that...

GRAHAM: Terrible.

KING: ...bothered you over the years?

GRAHAM: Yes...

KING: It gets worse.

GRAHAM: ...bother -- it gets worse and we've lost the real meaning of Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas is not the birth of Jesus, it's his death, and...

KING: But that's Easter.

GRAHAM: And there are three things that I think you can' separate in the life of Jesus Christ. One is the cradle -- his birth -- and the next thing is the cross where he died for our sins, and the third is the resurrection.

KING: Well, that's Christmas and Passover and Easter, right?

GRAHAM: Right. That's exactly right.

KING: So -- but when you say we celebrate it -- it's wrong to give gifts?

GRAHAM: No. Oh, my. It may be wrong to receive as many as I sometimes receive -- we get a lot of Christmas cards -- but we love them and we love Christmas. KING: But when we see advertisers and Christmas sales and Christmas stores and people relying on Christmas for an entire year's income, you don't like that.

GRAHAM: Oh, I don't mind that at all. I think there's a place for it.

KING: All right, then what don't you like about what we've done with Christmas?

GRAHAM: Well, I think we've taken the meaning of Christmas out. People don't stop and think about Jesus or the birth of Jesus. When they think of Christmas, they think of Santa Claus and -- for the children, and they think of giving gifts and out-giving the next person of spending their time looking for the right thing for somebody who has everything. That's a very difficult thing.

My wife has about everything I can think of. I told a woman...

KING: What'd you get her?

GRAHAM: I haven't gotten it yet. I think it's going to be -- when I unwrap it -- my daughter bought it for me, and it's a stereo which she loves that.

KING: It is...

GRAHAM: She always listens. Every single night we have that stereo on with beautiful music until 9:00 and then comes Larry King, and that is a...

KING: Ritual.

GRAHAM: ... just as much a ritual in our home as reading the bible or prayer.

KING: Speaking of prayer, I wrote a book called "Powerful Prayers," and -- not to plug the book, but I want to get into the subject of prayer. Are prayers different at Christmas? Should we feel differently about how we pray, if we pray?

GRAHAM: Yes, because, you know, Christmas is the loneliest year of -- day of the year for millions of people.

KING: If you're alone, there's nothing worse.

GRAHAM: And this is a day that we can have -- we can spend in prayer for the lonely, or we can go out on the street or wherever we live and visit people that we think may be lonely. And we have done that. We go and carry them a fruitcake or we take them a little something, and that's the greatest part of Christmas is delivering some things in the community.

KING: It does, though, cause, as you say, for the lonely people -- it becomes a bad day.

GRAHAM: A bad day.

KING: It works in reverse of what it's intended.

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: They feel alone.

GRAHAM: They feel alone, because Christmas is usually celebrated in families and with groups and -- or in some event like a ballgame or something. But when a person has nobody to celebrate Christmas and he has all these memories of years past and the tears begin to flow and I've seen some of those people on a Christmas day and have always felt sorry for them and prayed for them, that God would make it up in some way.

KING: Can you explain what happens when you pray? What do you do, who you're talking to, are you asking for something?

GRAHAM: I believe that -- no. I believe that the greatest form of prayer is praise to God. We are to praise Him, because He is the mighty power back of this vast universe. Even Hubble hasn't found yet the end of this universe, and we don't know that it has any end.

But back of all of that is a supernatural being that we call God. And if I know God personally, as I believe I do, that is so overwhelming I -- there's no way to conceive it, no way for me to think about it, it's so beyond me. So that's the reason I have to come by faith and believe it.

KING: All right. And when you pray, what occurs? Do you speak out loud? Do you pray at different times of the day?

GRAHAM: No, I pray in my mind. I'm praying right now that I'll say the right thing to Larry King, and -- on this program. And my subconscious is praying. And at night, my wife and I have prayer together every single night. We read the bible, pray and turn on Larry King. Really.

And then the next thing is that we do ask for things, specific things in the lives of other people.

KING: Like health for someone?

GRAHAM: Yes. KING: Not for yourself?

GRAHAM: No. Oh, well, we pray for ourselves, too.

KING: So you'll ask God not to see that you don't have pain, right, physical pain? You'll...

GRAHAM: No. I say, "Lord, Your will be done. If you want me to have physical pain and you want to teach me a lesson, I'm ready." And it doesn't bother me at all. I'm looking forward to that.

KING: Do you realize how hard that is to understand for most people?

GRAHAM: Yes, I do. I do. It's hard for me to understand, but it happens, and that is what the bible teaches. You see, people don't read the bible, they don't know what the bible teaches about God.

And the biggest thing that you could do is take just a study of God in bible and see what He's like, because when you pray and you say, "Your will be done," and "I come to You in the name of Christ" -- I'm not coming in the name of some other priest or some other religion, I'm coming in the name of Jesus Christ -- and "I ask You to do this if it's Your will."

I have a friend here in the studio with me, and he asked that he could get on a plane back in the days when you couldn't get on during the end of the war. And he wanted on that Eastern Airlines so bad to go where he was going. And he went on home, because there was no room. And about an hour later, his father came in and said, "That plane just crashed and everybody on board was killed." Now, what about the people on board? We have to ask you that.

KING: And were they praying?

We'll be back with unanswerable -- not all questions are answered, although the Torah says they are. We'll be back with Dr. Billy Graham after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Dr. Billy Graham and when we were discussing on this Christmas that birth was not the key factor, it was, in fact -- just to elaborate -- the birth of Christ was the beginning of a story. The story had to end the way it did...

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: ... or there would be no story.

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: So the birth was the just precursor...

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: ... of the death and then the resurrection.

GRAHAM: Right.

KING: Now, we're not going to talk about difficulties involving the president in this concept, because this is too joyous a time of the year, and that -- that -- we got a lot of turmoil going on in the country, I don't want to bring you into turmoil.

But how do we deal, at this time of the year, with grief, with a bad year? How do we deal, as a family or as a group, if bad things have happened to us, through our own fault or others'? How do we get it back at Christmas time and then keep? GRAHAM: That's the big question. We get it back by coming to God and saying, "Oh, God, I've sinned against You, I'm sorry for it. I'm willing to change my way of living. I give my life to You by faith. I can't prove" -- I can't even prove the existence of God. I can't prove it scientifically, that there's a God, but I believe. The evidences are all there that there is a supernatural being. We call Him God, and I believe that He is God.

KING: Do you ask for understanding of why what happened happened to you, or forgiveness if you did something wrong? What do you do with the problem?

GRAHAM: Well, I'm told in the bible what happens. "Be sure your sins will find you out" -- that's one thing the bible says, and I think that they are going to find us out. I don't think that any of us escape. If we have sinned against God and sin...

KING: We're going to pay for it.

GRAHAM: Sin means the breaking of the Ten Commandments, and in the bible it says if you've broken one commandment, you've broken them all. So we are all sinners, and that's the reason the bible says, "All have sinned." And we all need to pay for it. We'll have to pay for it either in judgment from God or by repentance ourselves and say, "Lord, I give all of my sins to You." And that's what Jesus did. The bible says he became sin for us.

KING: Does God, in your opinion, read our thoughts?

GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: Therefore, God knows if the sinner, when he or she apologizes, is honest, right?

GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: He knows honest prayer, as opposed to "foxhole" prayer, or "Help me out today and I'll take care of it tomorrow." So shouldn't everyone try to -- well, I guess it's logical. Everyone should try to find this path, then.

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: But you're living in a tough setup there. You can't even think it.

GRAHAM: Yes, I can think it.

KING: No, but you can't fake it.

GRAHAM: Oh, no, you can't fake it with God, of course not.

KING: Does He get angrier at that, do you think? Mad at the person who feigns piety?

GRAHAM: Well, the people that Jesus judged the hardest were the hypocrites. They were the people who said one thing, but lived another or did another. And those are the people that, in our devotions this morning that we had with my friend, T.W. Wilson, that's what we talked about was the hypocrisy of -- that Jesus spoke about. And that was one first sermons he ever preached...

KING: Really?

GRAHAM: ... was repentance and against hypocrites. And that's one reason that people stay away from the church, I think, today. They say there are so many hypocrites in the church.

KING: And there have been.

GRAHAM: And there are and have been and always will be. There were hypocrites in Jesus' little crowd of disciples that he took around with him, and there were hypocrites, people with Moses. They're people who profess one thing, but they really believe another or they live another life, and that is a very dangerous thing.

KING: Your late friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, once said that the most segregated hour in America was 11:00 Sunday morning.

GRAHAM: And I answered it in the "Reader's Digest." I wrote a long article in the "Reader's Digest" on that very statement that he made.

KING: You've come a long way.

GRAHAM: Well, I...

KING: Haven't we or haven't we?

GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: Actually, we've come a long...

GRAHAM: Yes. Oh, my, I think so. Look at the television with the people of color that are on the television today, the African- Americans, all the others. We're a diverse society, and I think the TV is doing a great job in showing that we're all human beings, that we can all get along, that we can all be together, and I think that's a marvelous thing.

KING: More with Dr. Billy Graham at Christmas time after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This Christmas is one Christmas away from a millennium. What do you think is around the corner? You think your savior is coming back? What do you think?

GRAHAM: He's coming back, but I don't know when. Many people are saying that it could be the beginning the of the millennium, the year 2000, but we don't know. And I'm not making any plans in that area at all as far as date-setting is concerned, but 2000 for me is going to be a marvelous thing, because we're planning to have one of the largest audiences of clergy and evangelists and church leaders of all denominations -- Catholic, Protestant, and so forth -- in Amsterdam in the Rai (ph). The Rai is the largest conference center in the world and can accommodate all these people, and we're setting that up right now.

KING: For when?

GRAHAM: For the -- July and August of 19 -- I mean, of 2000.

KING: Two -- so you're going to have this big conference of leaders, and the topic is the millennium?

GRAHAM: It's going to be -- no. The topic is going to be how can we evangelize the world in this millennium? Because we may have a hundred years, we may have a thousand years. We don't know. And at the rate science is going, I have some friends that are presidents or CEOs of the computer companies and so forth, and some of things they tell me that is going to happen in the next generation is just unbelievable.

And I think we're on a road today to solve many of our problems, but every time we solve a problem, it creates another kind of problem, because we have new instruments of warfare that are very dangerous, and the world is getting very dangerous because you've got what's happening in several countries in which they are building the nuclear weapons again, and the small nations around them are frightened, and America is the only superpower left to try to solve some of those problems, so we're going to be involved whether we like it or not.

KING: Do you fear the possibility of a third world war?

GRAHAM: I fear it for the people who don't know God. For me -- and I'm selfish -- I'm going to be with Him.

KING: When you're with Him, what is that going to be? Are you going to be a body? Are you -- you know, what do you believe the next world is?

GRAHAM: I'm writing a book on that right now, and I've been doing a lot of reading and studying on it. I believe that the next world, for me, will be where Jesus is. That's...

KING: You will know Him. GRAHAM: I'll know Him. He'll know me. He will receive me. I believe the moment that I die, an angels comes and takes my hand and leads me into His presence.

KING: In your body or through a soul?

GRAHAM: Both -- maybe both, because we have been resurrected. Remember, this body's coming back to together again. Nothing ever disappears. You know, if you're destroyed in a motor car crash, those elements of your body...

KING: Molecules.

GRAHAM: ... they're still there. I don't know about that. KING: All right. You'll meet Jesus and then what will it be like? What will paradise be like?

GRAHAM: It's going to be like paradise. It'll be the -- everything that you ever wanted for happiness will be there. People say that the bible teaches there's no sex in Heaven. If sex is necessary for our happiness and fulfillment, it'll be there. And then, if certain other things that we think are pleasurable will -- it'll be there.

KING: Do you ever doubt this?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: Never doubt it?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: Our guest is the extraordinary Dr. Billy Graham. We're all wishing you a very happy holiday season. We'll be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Dr. Billy Graham at Christmas time.

How's Frank doing and does he inherit the mantle?

GRAHAM: Yes. God willing, he will inherit our organization. He has one himself almost as big as ours, and he's been in Honduras the past few weeks since they had the terrible Mitch hit there. The wife of the president of the Honduras was in our home just two weeks before the storm came, and he has worked like that in various countries of the world where there are disasters and where people are suffering, and he spends his time helping them, very much like the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

KING: Did he always want to preach?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: There was a time, boy, he gave you problems.

GRAHAM: Well, you know, I never thought about that very much. I just let him do pretty well what he felt he should do and...

KING: Really, you aren't a demanding father? You didn't...

GRAHAM: I don't think so.

KING: ... reprimand a lot? No?

GRAHAM: Well, I felt like it, and I left most of that to my wife, and I'm sorry for that, because she's a very disciplined person herself and she believed in discipline and so did I. But I'm afraid, as a coward, I stepped back and let her do the discipline. KING: Frank turned out OK, though.

GRAHAM: He's just wonderful.

KING: You ought to be very proud of him.

GRAHAM: I am very proud of him.

KING: All right, back this family concept. So Frank continues on. You will only do two crusades this year. Do you eventually see yourself not doing any public things at all?

GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: Do you eventually see yourself just watching the dancers, sitting out by the tree?

GRAHAM: I don't know what I'll be watching, actually.

KING: I think Adlai Stevenson said...

GRAHAM: One of it will be the LARRY KING, but I try to keep up with the news. I try to keep up with what's going on, because I've been to 105 countries, and I've been to most of the places that they talk about.

And my great interest is in the Middle East, because that's where all the bible is located. And Baghdad, I believe, was ancient Babylon. And at the -- where the Tigris and the Euphrates come together was the Garden of Eden, and that's the center of our earth is the Middle East, and I'm always interested in what's going on there.

KING: Is it funny -- funny may be the wrong word -- that in the center of our universe, the prince of peace, is where there's been the most hostility, neverending hostility?

GRAHAM: Right, neverending.

KING: How do you explain that to yourself?

GRAHAM: I can't explain it. KING: These are cousins, right?

GRAHAM: These are cousins, that's right, and it breaks my heart, because I love those Arab people, some of them. Some of them have thrown rocks at me and stones at me from time to time. And I love the Jewish people, and I've been the guest of three or four prime ministers there. And Rabin, I guess...

KING: Great man.

GRAHAM: ... was the closest one I had, and he gave lunches for me. Mrs. Golda Meir, she went -- the last time she came to this country, she brought a bible with her and inscribed it to me. She said, "Billy Graham, a friend of Israel," and I wouldn't take anything for that bible. And I just have loved all of those people, and I think the greatest thing we need now -- and I hope the emphasis at this Christmas Day -- will be love. That's the greatest need in the world, to love one another, to love our neighbors, to love the black people, the brown people, the people of different languages.

KING: We have always said that and don't practice it. Love is much better than hate.

GRAHAM: Right.

KING: Obviously, it works better. Most people who love are happy. Most people who don't love are not.

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: Why wouldn't we all just love? Why would we be sour or angry or...

GRAHAM: Because we have something in our hearts that we inherited, called sin, and that...

KING: And nothing to do with it?

GRAHAM: And -- what is that?

KING: We inherited it?

GRAHAM: We inherited it. The bible says, "In sin did my mother conceive me" -- David said, King David. And when Adam and Eve sinned, it was passed on to Cain and Abel. Cain sinned and was jealous of his brother, killed his brother -- that was the first murder and the first jealousy -- everything right there in the very beginning. And it's been handed down from generation to generation.

It's this capacity, and we can't seem to stop it. We have nothing to stop this except the power of God.

KING: Is it tough to separate when we hear -- you don't say it as much, but many, many Sunday morning evangelists say, "Hate the sinner -- hate the sin, love the sinner." We don't like what he did, but we love him. Do you believe that? Do you believe that you can separate it like that? "I don't like what you did, but I love you"

GRAHAM: Yes, I think so.

KING: How do you do that?

GRAHAM: I don't know. I think God must give it to you, because I do -- there are people that have done some terrible things that are really low, but I can't accept them into my circle of friends or so forth. I go see them in the prisons or wherever it is, and pray with them.

KING: The pope visited with the man who shot him.

GRAHAM: Right.

KING: The ultimate forgiveness. You bear hatred or toward no one?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: The person who threw a rock at you?

GRAHAM: No. I loved him. He was just a young kid. I went over to him and put my arm around him.

KING: Feel sorry for him?`

GRAHAM: (Unintelligible) talking about...

KING: Yes. Feel sorry for him?

GRAHAM: I feel sorry for both of us. He missed.

KING: We want to talk more about how you deal with your own illness in the face of this, 'cause we're still fascinated by that.

Our guest is Dr. Billy Graham at Christmas time. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tell me about these youth programs that started out of crusades, I understand.

GRAHAM: Yes, we have had youth programs ever since I began, but they've gotten more and more extravagant. We have -- we are trying to bridge a gap between my generation and the future generation. I don't understand their songs, they don't understand some of ours, and so we've tried to compromise and tried to reach more of them.

And we are breaking every stadium record. There's hardly a major stadium in America that we don't hold the record for the largest crowd, even the Los Angeles Coliseum or Madison Square Garden or any of these places. And even...

KING: And these young people turn out.

GRAHAM: The young people turn out.

KING: But the music is not the old-fashioned, right? There's a rock Christianity, isn't there?

GRAHAM: No, I wouldn't call it rock, but some of them do, and we're cutting that out in our programs. We're not going to have -- we've had some that have gone too far, and we're just saying, "We can't have you back," because we want -- we love the grand old hymns.

KING: Have you noticed the youth -- a great number of youth returning or coming to faith?

GRAHAM: Oh, they are. They are. They are. There are many organizations that work with youth. There's the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and you can hardly go to a major football team that you don't find four, five, six or seven or ten or twelves...

KING: Yes, basketball.

GRAHAM: ... that meet in prayer -- football, basketball -- and they -- I watching last night the coach of the Buccaneers, and what a wonderful Christian he is, because I had come on...

KING: Tony Dungy.

GRAHAM: ... just before he did, and I had had -- we had had him up to tell what Christ meant to him. And he told all that, and then he came on a little bit later and played a game.

KING: Tony Dungy.

GRAHAM: Tony Dungy.

KING: You don't believe that God favors one team over the other, though.

GRAHAM: No.

KING: Some athletes always look and say, you know, "God was with me today, that why I won." I don't think God is interested in who wins a game.

GRAHAM: No. And sometimes I find it difficult to be understood.

KING: You're not a sports fan?

GRAHAM: Yes, I'm a sports fan, but I'm a sports fan for the team where I live or where I've just visited.

KING: Oh, yes, they're have been rough year in Charlotte.

GRAHAM: How terrible. I'm going to go down there and try to -- well, I dedicated that stadium, I know the family that owns it...

KING: Maybe you didn't talk to the right person. One day, you forgot to talk (unintelligible) and look at them.

GRAHAM: I know. We're going to have to do something.

KING: Now, dealing with health. What do you say to people -- they -- obviously, it would be very hard to reach your plateau to accept health -- bad health as a gift thing. What do you say to people who are terminally ill and they ask to see you? That would be the hardest thing any minister has to do.

GRAHAM: It is. I would say it depends on the background, it depends on their family, it depends on what I've been told before I go in to see them, what their spiritual condition is, what their moral condition is and so forth as well as the physical.

And when I go in, I'm nervous. I'm -- because I'm so anxious to say the right thing to encourage them and yet to tell them the truth. I've had to tell people, you know, that "You won't make it." I've had patients tell me that they won't make it, and I'll say, "Oh yes, you will." You try to encourage them. You know, "God is with you."

And I had a man, for example, who was a strong, muscular man down near where I lived. He was in the hospital, and I went to see him, and he said, "I'll be dead in three months." I said, "Dead in three months? Why, you look the picture of health," and he did. He was a great athlete. And he said, "I'm going to show you something." and he turned over and pulled up his pajamas and right there was a great big sore. He said, "That's a melanoma," and he said, "It's going to get me," and it did. He was dead in two months.

KING: So do you give him hope? Do you try to establish a faith for him that there is something after this?

GRAHAM: Yes. Oh, yes.

KING: What does...

GRAHAM: He was a professing Christian, to begin with. Because you're a Christian or because you're a follower of God or believe in God doesn't mean you're not going to get terminal illness, because every few days we get a telegram or we get a word of someone who's a close friend of ours, who's a great Christian or a great minister or something like that who died suddenly, that dropped dead.

We were talking on the way over here about one of my son-in-laws who was just coming in off his bike. He was -- had had one heart trouble and he was trying to help himself, and he was standing there, talking to some doctors, and he just fell over, dead.

KING: How?

GRAHAM: And that's very, very difficult to understand.

KING: Are funerals the hardest? Was Oklahoma City very difficult for you?

GRAHAM: It was in a way, but the joy that the governor and his wife had in their hearts, the sadness and the grief was there. President and Mrs. Clinton were there, and we went into meet just with the families and to see Mrs. Clinton and President Clinton hug them and...

KING: And you were magnificent that day.

GRAHAM: I don't know about that.

KING: And you were magnificent.

We'll be back to talk to Dr. Billy Graham. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: It's Christmas time with Dr. Billy Graham. You're going to speak at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in February.

GRAHAM: Yes.

KING: What are you going to talk about?

GRAHAM: I think I'm going to talk about things that science has not been able to solve, that I believe God can solve and has already solved. I don't know. I spoke it to them before.

KING: What do you think science hasn't solved that God has solved?

GRAHAM: The evil within people -- where does it come from?

KING: It doesn't know -- science doesn't know.

GRAHAM: Suffering -- what we've been talking about -- and death. They haven't solved those. We're still waiting, but science is making progress in many of these areas, but we're not -- we haven't solved them, and I don't think they ever will be solved by man. I think this is man's day, but there's coming a day when it's going to be God's day.

And Jesus, we believe who to be the Messiah, the Jewish Messiah, is going to come back and set up his kingdom, and we're going to be ruled with peace and all of our problems are going to be in the past. The bible says there'll be no more tears. KING: Do you know why not now? Why not today?

GRAHAM: I don't know. I couldn't answer. That's in God's hands.

KING: Your own death -- you have a special request? You have someone you want to preach at your funeral? Do you want...

GRAHAM: I haven't given that -- I haven't gone that far yet.

KING: I mean, yours is going to be a worldwide story. We all die, so let's hope is happens when you're 110, but it's going to happen, right?

GRAHAM: Of course. KING: OK. Do you ever think about it, what it's going to be like? I mean, people have burial plots and...

GRAHAM: Yes, I've got the place picked out. We're going to be buried -- my wife and me will be buried at a place we built, a conference center in North Carolina where thousands of people come in the summertime to sing, to worship, and it's all marked out. In fact, my colleague, Cliff Barrows (ph), who leads our music and so forth, his wife died. She's buried there. And there'll be a...

KING: Do you think in death you will see God?

GRAHAM: I don't know that, but I think so, but that's just my own thought. I have no proof.

KING: That you might be able to see the life of -- that goes on after death.

GRAHAM: In fact, I've been giving some thought to preaching my own sermon. In other words...

KING: How are we going to do this part?

GRAHAM: Well, by tape, you see, or we could video. There are many ways -- or we could put it on the Internet...

KING: Well, but what would you say? "He was a good man, he lived a good life"?

GRAHAM: No, I don't think...

KING: But you'd have to have a message you'd have to leave.

GRAHAM: I would say that I was not a good man...

KING: Not a good man.

GRAHAM: ... but I didn't need to be a good man, because Jesus Christ was the good man for me. He took my place on that cross and I can put my confidence in Him. And He took my sins, my burdens on that cross, and then when he bowed his head and said, "It's finished," he meant it was finished as far as I'm concerned, as far as everybody's concerned who would put their faith and confidence in Him. And it's a wonderful thing to have that kind of peace and assurance and joy and certainty.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Dr. Billy Graham after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK).

KING: We're back with Dr. Billy Graham. We've asked about you. Your wife went into that car thing. How is she feeling?

GRAHAM: She's not feeling very well. She has -- but you'd never know it. If you ask her and she's in terrible pain, taking a number of painkilling medicines a day and you ask her how she is, she says, "Great." She's always positive. She never would let you know how she really feels.

KING: Why?

GRAHAM: She's just...

KING: It's got to be painful.

GRAHAM: She's just been that way. I mean, she's made that way, and she lives in the bible. Every time I go into the room, she's reading the bible. She studies it. She's got...

KING: Why do people into the bible read it so much?

GRAHAM: Because you can take once verse and go over it a hundred times and get something new out of it every time. You see, the bible is not just a book like other books. It's a book that's been inspired by God, and He inspired those men to write it, and they put in there things that appeal to your heart. And people today are searching for something -- they don't know quite what it is -- and that certain something, I believe, is God.

KING: Do you have any idea how many people you have brought to Christ?

GRAHAM: We have some idea of how many did it publicly.

KING: Yes, that's -- how many, would you guess?

GRAHAM: Well, it's not a guess. I think our people in Minneapolis have kept the accounts. There are several million.

KING: Yet once you told me -- I never forgot this -- in Miami years ago, "I am a failure. I have not done enough." Do you still feel that way?

GRAHAM: Yes. I do. I feel that if I had stayed home more, studied more, I would have -- I would have done more for God and my soul. I needed to grow inside more. I traveled too much, went too many places, accepted too many invitations, not only to speak but just to be at a social or something like that. And I needed to be preparing so that when I do come and talk to a person that he sense something is coming to him that is supernatural.

KING: When you said you got a calling that day on a hill somewhere, right?

GRAHAM: Florida.

KING: Now, what was that? Did someone speak to you?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: What was it? We hear the term a lot, "calling." What is a calling?

GRAHAM: A calling is you feel -- you look out and see the need -- maybe it's the need for the poor, to help poor people. Maybe it's the need to get involved in the race problem, as Martin Luther King was -- felt called. I saw souls, people who are live for eternity, lost, away from God.

KING: You saw this in your mind's eye?

GRAHAM: In my mind. And it seems to me that another voice was speaking inside of me -- not audibly, but inside, saying, "You could do something about this. God has given you certain gifts, and one of those gifts is the gift of an evangelist, and you can win some of those people to Christ.

"And in addition to that, you can help their bodies as well. You can build hospitals, you can help the poor. You can help the race problem, all these things." And we've tried to do all of that.

KING: And when you started, did you like it right away? Did you like preaching to large crowds?

GRAHAM: I didn't start on large crowds. I started on the street corners of Miami -- I mean, of Tampa.

KING: Street corners?

GRAHAM: Street corners. I'd stand in front of a saloon and preach as loud as I could to...

KING: Now, we tend to walk by and laugh at people on street corners.

GRAHAM: Of course, of course,

KING: Of course, they laughed at Christ, I guess.

GRAHAM: But always -- but always very sincere and I learned a great deal. I learned how to speak and I learned how to communicate, and I had one bartender come and throw me out 'cause I stood too far in the door. And when Bob Graham -- Senator Bob Graham came down to dedicate a big historical marker there where I used to preach, this man claims he was the man that did that, came out and wanted to shake my hand and get my autograph.

KING: So that's where -- you went to Florida Bible College, right?

GRAHAM: Right.

KING: So you started in Tampa.

GRAHAM: In Tampa.

KING: What was the biggest crowd -- the first really huge crowd you worked? Was that in L.A.? GRAHAM: Probably.

KING: 'Cause Hearst heard about you and...

GRAHAM: That is correct, and we came here to stay three weeks and we stayed eight to ten weeks -- 12 weeks, I believe. And every night that tent got bigger and bigger and bigger, and the crowds came, and a lot of the film people began to come and...

KING: And the rest is history.

GRAHAM: ... and when we went other countries -- and we've been to 105 countries.

KING: It's an honor having you as a friend.

GRAHAM: Oh, thank you.

KING: Tomorrow night, Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States. Former president Bush and Barbara Bush on Tuesday. Wednesday night, former president Bill Clinton. Thursday night, Dan Rather.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Have a great night. And stay tuned for more news on your most trusted name in news, CNN. Good night.

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