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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Justin Torres; Panel Discusses Meaning of Christianity
Aired August 4, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOW: Tonight, charisma, controversy and Christianity. Meet the megapastors of America's megachurches, preaching to thousands at a time. Max Lucado of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, also a best selling author. Dr. Michael Youssef of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta. He also speaks to millions around the world on radio and TV. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, also seen worldwide in TV broadcasts and Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, with a congregation of some 15,000. One of America's 10 biggest churches.
But first, a brain dead woman with terminal cancer kept alive long enough to have her tiny miracle baby six months into her pregnancy and her husband takes her off life support and says one last good-bye. Family and doctors update us on this incredible story, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Before we meet our ministers and talk about mega ministries, let's get caught up on a story that ended incredibly yesterday. Joining us in Washington is Justin Torres. His sister-in-law, Susan Torres, who was brain dead, gave birth to a daughter Tuesday and taken off life support yesterday and you remember when Justin was on the show with his brother and pastor as well some time back and also in Washington is Dr. Donna Tildon Archer, who is treating Baby Torres, the medical director of neonatology to at the Virginia Hospital. What was it like, Justin? Were you close by at the birth?
JUSTIN TORRES, BROTHER IN LAW OF BRAIN DEAD MOTHER: I was actually not close by at the birth. I was with other family members away from the hospital, but we checked in with Jason pretty quickly afterwards, and, you know, it was -- it was a wonderful day. That's what we had been working for and hoping for, for 12 weeks. And to get the opportunity to see the baby, was wonderful.
KING: So all those prayers worked. Where were you when they, for want of a better term, pulled the plug?
TORRES: Well, the family had gathered in the ICU room and we gathered together and said some prayers and said good-byes, and then the family members, including myself left the room and went to a room just down the hall and Jason and Susan's parents and my parents remained in the room at that time.
KING: And did they tell you what they do? Is it actually pulling a plug?
TORRES: I don't know, to be honest. I don't know what the exact procedure is.
KING: Did they tell you it was peaceful?
TORRES: It was, it was peaceful and very quick, and there was -- you know with family by her side.
KING: For the benefit of the audience that doesn't know this, she suffered a stroke, right, that was eventually turned into, something happened with her heart?
TORRES: Well, she suffered a stroke, which we later discovered had been brought on by melanoma, which had metastasized in the brain and throughout the body. So the effort was to keep her alive long enough to bring the baby to a time when the baby could be delivered safely. And so you were fighting a melanoma, and fighting the effects of the stroke.
KING: And there was absolutely no chance for recovery, right?
TORRES: It was fairly clear early on in the process that we were not going to get Susan back, yes.
KING: By the way, this information on the internet about Susan Torres and the fund-raising effort for her family. The address is www.susantorresfund, all one word, dot org. With us is Dr. Donna Tildon-Archer treating the baby. How is our little baby doing?
DR. DONNA TILDON-ARCHER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF NEONATOLOGY, VIRGINIA HOSPITAL CENTER: Baby Susan is now a little over 60 hours old and she's doing quite well for a baby born 13 weeks early. She's breathing on her own, and just a few hours ago, she got off of all oxygen, and she had her first feeding of a little bit of milk, and she's very active and very alert when she's awake. She's doing quite well.
KING: At this tender age and tender weight, what are your biggest worries at this point?
TILDON-ARCHER: Well, our biggest worries are helping her to grow and to do that, we have to get her eating, and get her tolerating formula and a baby who is that premature has an immature gastrointestinal system so that can be quite a challenge and we're also worried about infection because her immune system is very immature as well. And she's susceptible to infections bigger babies might not be susceptible to. And then obviously we're also worried about her growth and development and her neurologic development on down the line.
KING: How long will she be -- assuming all things go well, how long will she be in neonatal care?
TILDON-ARCHER: We usually estimate that a premature baby will be with us until their due date. So that would give us about close to three months. So we're estimating about 2 1/2 to three months.
KING: Justin, how does your brother feel? TORRES: It was -- yesterday was a very difficult day, obviously. And he's thrilled by the arrival of the baby, and we're all thrilled by that, the fact the baby seems to be doing so well, but it -- you know, we had 12 weeks to prepare for yesterday, and that was not enough time. We -- it was a difficult day to lose Susan, but all in all, he's doing well, I think, and he's spent some time at the hospital and spent some time with his son and with parents and grandparents. And it's going okay.
KING: How is the little son doing? He's two years old, right?
TORRES: Two years old. He's doing well. He actually met the baby yesterday afternoon late for the first time, at the hospital again today. He's a 2-year-old boy, so he's not -- he's not real interested in babies. But he spends a lot of time with his cousins and grandparents still, he's a very happy boy.
KING: Dr. Archer, I mentioned Virginia Hospital - it's the Virginia Hospital Center. Is that in McLean, in Arlington, where is that?
TILDON-ARCHER: Yes. It's in Arlington, Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia.
KING: Were you present at the birth?
TILDON-ARCHER: Yes, I was. I was present at the delivery. I was the one that received the baby, along with one of my neonatology colleagues and we took care of her in the operating room.
KING: That had to be quite a scene. You had a brain-dead mother and you're delivering a live baby. What was that like?
TILDON-ARCHER: It was thrilling because the minute she was born, she let out a squeal. And she was very active. She was breathing on her own right away, which is not always common with a baby born at 27 weeks. And the more we stimulated her, the more she cried. That was very, very positive and encouraging.
KING: Thank you very much. Justin, will you give our best to Jason and all the rest of the family and continued success with this and watch her grow to be a healthy loving baby, in great memory of her mother?
TORRES: I will. Thank you.
KING: Thank you and thanks for your appearances before. Justin Torres, his sister-in-law Susan was brain dead and taken off life support yesterday, gave birth the day before, the little baby being cared for by Dr. Donna Tildon-Archer, the others at the Virginia Hospital Center.
When we come back, we'll meet Max Lucato, Dr. Michael Youssef, Pastor Rod Parsley and pastor Greg Laurie for the major figures in what has become what we call mega ministries. Don't go away.
KING: Four of the major figures in Christianity have joined us tonight. In San Antonio, Max Lucado, he is pastor of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Named America's best preacher by the "Reader's Digest" and author of more than 50 books including the newest, "Come Thirsty."
In London is Dr. Michael Youssef, founder of the Church of Apostles in Atlanta, speaks daily on both radio and television to millions of people in 191 countries, he is author of "Leading the Way."
Here in Los Angeles, Pastor Rob Parsley is pastor of the World Harvest Church, suburban Columbus, Ohio, author of "Silent No More," he heads up the Center for Moral Clarity and also in L.A. is pastor Greg Laurie, senior pastor of the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, California, author of "Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners."
Max Lucado, what is your opinion of the case we just discussed, the brain dead woman and birth of the baby?
MAX LUCADO, PASTOR OF OAK HILLS CHURCH: I think it's a remarkable story of advances of science, number one, these people were able to protect the child. I really applaud the family doing all they could do to make sure the baby was brought into the world safely. The sanctity of life was upheld. It seems to me under the circumstances, this story ended as positively as it could have.
KING: Dr. Youssef, by the way, what are you doing in London?
DR. MICHAEL YOUSSEF, RECTOR, CHURCH OF THE APOSTLES: We have been broadcasting here about seven years. I have been doing call-in shows in London on mornings, breakfast show, trying to speak to our listeners as they call in. This is a very tough time for London. And so many people are tense and afraid. So trying to bring a word of healing and a word of comfort and a word of encouragement to so many listeners here.
KING: Rod Parsley, what did you think of the Susan Torres story?
PASTOR ROD PARSLEY, WORLD HARVEST CHURCH: I think it's an example of life matters more than anything else. And it was thrilling to watch the sanctity of life upheld like that and let the little baby come forth and for you to encourage those around to make sure they think about that baby. Let's protect life because life matters more than anything.
KING: You had no problem, Greg, with the fact she was brain- dead, right? That they can pull a switch in that kind of situation, or did you?
PASTOR GREG LAURIE, HARVEST CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP: What's that?
KING: have a problem with the fact they pulled the plug. LAURIE: Well, I'm unfortunately not totally up on all the details of what happened. I was really glad to see that child survive that. I was just thinking as I was looking at that baby being born, how easily a baby that age could be aborted still in the womb and that's going to be allowed to live and that's going to be a living human being. And that's a wonderful thing.
KING: Max Lucado, your position on right to life is what?
LUCADO: I believe god this giver of life and that there is no case ever we have the authority or the prerogative to take life. I understand the difficulty that this suggests for people, but I think that the driving value has to be every human life is created by God, we're created in the image of God and in any possible circumstance we can save a life, we certainly do so.
KING: Dr. Youssef, what do you think would happen if Roe Wade were overturned? Do you think there would be panic, you think there would be butchering?
YOUSSEF: I don't really know what - that's a hypothetical, question, Larry, but.
KING: It's not hypothetical, it's direct. What would happen if it were overturned?
YOUSSEF: I am one person who was nearly aborted when I was five months old in my mother's womb, because three doctors told her that her health cannot take having another child and the night before, I was to be aborted. The pastor of our church came and convinced my parents to trust in God and sure enough, my mother really trusted God and I came into the world so I am very much pro-life. And I would encourage everybody to think in terms of adoption, because that's really -- I have members of our church who are desperate for babies to be adopted. They're going to China, they're going to the Ukraine, they're going to different parts of the world to adopt babies. There is a need for adoption. And we want to encourage a culture of life.
KING: You do agree, Pastor Parsley, you would have a hectic situation, if it were overturned?
PARSLEY: Well, I think you might have a whole lot of people in this country that were very hectic about thanking God that the innocent slaughter of 44 million babies since Roe versus Wade since 1973 was overturned. I often wonder what would happen to the Social Security system if those babies were allowed to be born, what would happen in the United States economy, what would happen in the world economy.
Life is precious. The Bible teaches we're all created in the image of God, imageo dei, in the image of God were we created. And life as we've just seen, we celebrate that little tiny, I think she was what, one pound and a few ounces being born. And how many babies have not had the privilege of being born, no funeral and no remembrance service? I know my wife and I lost a child. There's a difference between an unwanted pregnancy and the unwanted loss of one. And we lost our third child, Abigail and we had a memorial service for her.
KING: Lost in fetus?
PARSLEY: Yes. Miscarriage.
KING: I don't want to be smart or smart-alecky. It wouldn't have been bad if Hitler's mother had one or Osama bin Laden's mother had one.
LAURIE: We can never know how this will turn out. We have to leave it in the hands of God. The Bible says in the womb we are wonderfully and fearfully made. We can use new verbiage and call it a fetus but obviously that fetus, that embryo, is going to become a child, become a human being.
KING: Let's say if it were overturned and discussing Roberts and we'll bring up the selection of Justice Roberts and he has said on the questionnaire he stands on precedent which will lean people to think he will not vote to overturn it, if he is someone who stands on precedent, they have already set the precedent. Don't you think you would have a lot of problems if it was overturned?
LAURIE: I don't know about problems.
KING: Women going to butchers.
LAURIE: Think that has been exaggerated situation to begin and something that I think will be utilized to say this is what would happen. I think the reality is a lot more children would be born. As Rod was saying, if you can't have that child yourself, put the child up for adoption. People don't talk about the suicide rate among young girls that have abortions or the high depression, clinical depression rates among women that have abortions because they know, even if they deny it at the time when they see a girl 10 years or 12 years down the road or a boy that would have been my child and that's what they would have been like at this age.
PARSLEY: I'd just like to add, Larry, the butchering part is already going on. 4,300 of these babies a day in our estimation are butchered.
KING: A woman doesn't die, it's safe procedure.
PARSLEY: Partial birth abortion isn't very safe. It leads us also ...
KING: If every child is precious, then the child of rape is also precious?
PARSLEY: Absolutely. They have the right to live.
KING: We'll be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Pastor Parsley, we'll start with you this time around. I know you told "USA Today" you consider yourself nonpartisan in a political sense but don't you think your opinions affect politics?
PARSLEY: Well, I hope that they do. I hope they affect the culture at large.
KING: Do you hope they elect a certain president you like and not a president you don't like?
PARSLEY: I think our job as gospel preachers is to stand in the middle between the right and left and say there are times you both get it right and times you both get it wrong. Our job is to say we believe the only way to get it consistently right is to come from a biblical Judeo-Christian perspective.
KING: That's not pro-Republican?
PARSLEY: No. I don't think it is. Nothing would make me happier to see a lot more Democrats and a lot more independents embrace our issues, such as culture of life, family and religious freedom. I think that would be a happy runoff.
KING: Of course, the most recent president with religion was Jimmy Carter, who pastored a church.
PARSLEY: That's exactly right.
KING: what are your opinions of politics, Greg, Pastor Laurie, and the entrance of ministry into politics?
PARSLEY: I think as a pastor, you will address every subject. It's not something I major on, political issues, but as I'm teaching from the Bible, if we come to an issue where the Bible has a clear perspective on it, I'll address that. But I won't tell people how to vote or who they should elect, but I believe people of the biblical worldview will make the right decision. And frankly, whatever party will support that decision, that's the way they should go.
KING: Do you think you affect politics, Max, when you take stands on public issues?
LUCADO: I think the big privilege of my life is to talk about the greatest person who ever lived, and that's Jesus Christ. And my focus needs to be on what he said and what he did. What he said in terms of loving our neighbor and what he did in terms of dying on the cross and then coming out of the grave to authenticate his divinity. That's the headline news, not just of the church, but of the whole world and that's what we really want to promote.
And then the overflow will affect the policy decisions of life. I don't think, though, a church needs to get into a position of telling people how to vote. I do believe the purpose of the church is to exalt the great work of Christ, the great claims of Christ and invite people to be his followers and disciples. KING: But when you take stands on issues like gay marriage and the like, two men are running for governor of state and one says he would favor it and one says he would not, you take a stand against it, you are affecting that election?
KING: You agree with that.
LUCADO: Absolutely. There are times you want to speak clearly with compassion on certain very difficult issues but you want to speak clearly, with every desire of impacting the social river of our day.
KING: And what's your stand on politics in the ministry, Dr. Youssef?
YOUSSEF: I refuse to call myself liberal or conservative because these are political terminology. But in reality, the Bible does speak those of us who have a prophetic ministry in the footsteps of the Old Testament, prophets we must declare, "Thus says the Lord and we need to speak it and speak it clearly."
But then people need to make up their minds. We don't tell people how to vote. People are too intelligent for us to direct their minds and tell them go this way or that way. We tell them, this is what God said in His word, and then let them be the people between them and God, and in their booth, decide which candidate they want to vote for.
KING: As spokesman of the ministry, Pastor Laurie, should any pastor be wealthy? Someone once said any person who got a calling from the Lord who has more than one suit while someone has no clothes is a cop-out.
LAURIE: You know, I guess wealthy is a relative term because as you travel around the world, I think an American on the lowest rung of the ladder would be considered wealthy.
KING: You know what wealthy means. Should a pastor have a large home? Should a pastor have a private airplane? Should a pastor have a limousine?
LAURIE: Well, I wouldn't be comfortable riding around in a limousine or having a private plane. But others have that. Maybe if they're going to difficult parts of the world, that they need to get there, it will enable them to do that, that's a decision they need to make with their people and with their ministry
KING: What do you think, Pastor Parsley?
PARSLEY: Larry, I do at least 150 nights a year away from my family. I believe in family, so our ministry, for about 20 years has owned one aircraft or another, to get me back and forth to those appointments.
KING: Don't you think poor people look upon that askance. You got a calling from the Lord and you're flying in a private plane?
PARSLEY: Everything's relative. If I can reach more people that way than any other way with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that he came to humanity to give them peace and purpose, then I think people are very supportive of that. I know the people that support our ministry have always been.
KING: So, Max Lucado, under that concept, Christ would have a private plane today, right.
LUCADO: You ask very good questions and I guess that's why we like coming on your show and like watching you. When my family moved back to United States from Brazil we had a moderate salary. Had a moderate salary in Brazil, it was very ample.
I started writing books so I quit receiving a salary from the church and kept selling books and kept selling more books and kept making more money. It was really never my aspiration as God is my witness to ever have a large salary. My wife and I have had to wrestle on regular basis with what's going on here. We've done our best to give things away, opted out or certain decisions other pastors opted for.
I don't think we always made the right decision but do think our hearts have been in the right place and I really feel like I can stand in front of our church and say, here's what we've done. I've been honest with it. Here's my records. If you have any question and I may have made a mistake or two and gone too far one way or the other, I'm sorry, I don't want to misrepresent the body of Christ, I don't want to embarrass the church, I just want my heart pure before him. That's what we've tried to do.
KING: When we get a break, we'll start the next go around with Dr. Youssef. We'll be including your phone calls. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
Art Linkletter tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with our distinguished panel of pastors. Dr. Youssef in London, let's touch some issues then we'll get to some calls.
What do you make of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?
YOUSSEF: Well, I think the federal funding issue is really -- was addressed by President Bush right in the middle. I think he took the right stand. He announced it after a heart searching experience. And he came out just with what was right, as far as I'm concerned. And I think trying to tinker with it one way or the other, he already threatened veto anyway, so it's a moot issue.
KING: Doctor Frist: were you surprised he changed his mind?
PARSLEY: I'm sorry, Larry, I didn't get the question.
KING: Bill Frist changed his mind?
KING: Says he's now in favor of it.
PARSLEY: I think it was surprising to a lot of folks. I think he made a very principled decision on, I believe, his medical background.
KING: Do you admit it's a dilemma?
PARSLEY: It is a dilemma for a lot of people. It's not for me, Larry. Because I've always asked myself the very simple question, when was I not me? After the point of conception, when was I not me?
KING: These embryonic cells are never made into babies.
PARSLEY: Well, but they could be. They have the potential for life.
KING: They have a potential for saving lives?
PARSLEY: Yes. That's absolutely true. But I don't think we should ever get into the moral decision of taking a life to save a life. I think that God's the author of all life. The thing about embryonic stem cell cell research is that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research -- you know, there's been no private fund investing in embryonic stem cell research? There have been no companies coming forward and saying we will endorse it. And the reason for that is because it's shown no promise.
On the other hand, adult stem cell research -- John Hopkins University has just -- I think CNN did a story on it.
KING: You know that most scientists think it shows great promise. California is spending $3 billion.
PARSLEY: And I think that was a mistake. I think that was a mistake. I think we should spend tax dollars for things that have a proven record of success.
KING: Then you'll never have research.
PARSLEY: Well, no. Let private industry come into the picture.
KING: Touch another base on guy marriage. If gays -- we have a gay say on this show, they want to enter the world of your world. They support family. They don't want to jump from one partner to another, they want marriage. Why deny it to them? They want what you have. What's wrong with it?
LAURIE: Because I don't think it's God's natural order that he created, Larry. The Bible says that God created men and women in his image. And not good is the aloneness of men, and he brought the woman to be the companion to the man, the man to the woman.
And, you know, as a Christian, as an American, I feel that gay people have the right to make their own choices. But at the same time, I think having a marriage is taking away from the original purpose intent of it as presented in scripture.
KING: But do you think gay makes a choice to be gay?
LAURIE: I do.
KING: Why would any choose it?
LAURIE: That's a good question. There's probably a lot of things that can get into it. I suppose it would depend on who you ask. I mean, i've talked to people and I've ask them. And they would say it's because they felt that perhaps they were oriented that way as a younger person. And others said, oh, you must be gay. But maybe they were oriented that way, maybe they weren't.
I have a letter from a person that wrote me the other day, who said they went to a guy rights rally in the afternoon and came to one of our events in the night and made a commitment to Christ and nine years have passed and that person is married, has children and is going to the Philippines as a missionary. So, if he is born that way and has no choice, how is it he was able to make that change.
KING: But we have had other changes occur the other way, too, right? A person married with four kids and one day wakes up and determines that he had homosexual leanings. How do you explain that?
LAURIE: Well, I think that we all have choices. And we all have leanings to do a lot of things. But that doesn't mean that we should give in to those leanings.
KING: Max, since your not -- we're all equal, I presume, you're not saying that a gay person is less than you, are you?
LUCADO: Not a bit.
KING: Not one inch less.
LUCADO: In a remote sense, I have -- I think I can relate to the dilemma a person with a gay preference or gay choice makes. When I was 15 or 16 years of age I discovered I have an insatiable appetite for beer. And for 16 or 17 -- and for the 16th and 17th and 18th year of my life, I gave into that.
I am very confident that had heaven not intervened with me, I'd be a mess right now if I were alive at all. And I often wrestled during those days with this question. God, why do I find it so difficult to walk away from alcohol? And today, I have to be very careful.
And I've sat there and talked with my friends who are out at the gay community and heard similar questions, you know, they say why do I have this desire? And I don't know what to tell them as to the origin of that desire. But I can tell them with confidence both from my life and with talking to many people, with God's help you can walk away from it, With God's help, there can be strength.
KING: When we go to calls. I'm sorry. Go ahead, Max.
LUCADO: The issue of marriage is simply this, and that is God has ordained sexual activity between a man and a woman in the boundaries and covenant and confines of marriage. You know, sexual activity is the explosive, the radiation of our lives. And we have to keep it in check in the right perspective.
And God's plan is to do that in the covenant of marriage. He's not anti-gay, in that sense, he's anti-immorality period. Anti- pornography, anti-pedophilia, he's anti any use of sex outside of the boundary and the covenant of marriage, because that's where it's safe. And that's where it honors God.
KING: Before we go to the calls, Pastor Parsley, what do you think of the Supreme Court selector -- selections?
PARSLEY: Well, I think the president did exactly what he said he'd do. You know, when he took -- accepted the nomination of his party in 2000, he said, I'm not going to be the kind of president that has to take your pulse to know what I believe.
I think he made a very principled decision. I think John Roberts is an extremely intelligent man, graduated suma cum laude from Harvard University in three years and was the editor of Harvard Law Review. I think he's a principled man, a man of great intellect. I think he's an impartial man. I think we just saw that today in the article in the New York -- in "The Los Angeles Times" that he is going to judge based not on starry devises, but rather as a strict constructionist.
KING: Anyone have a problem on him being a devout Catholic?
LAURIE: Not me.
KING: We will take a break and come back and go to your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: Here we go to calls.
Garland, Texas. Hello.
CALLER: HI, Larry.
CALLER: I was -- this is something about abortion. I'm 39 years old I have a 13-year-old daughter and I just now found out that I'm six weeks pregnant. And before then, I used to think it was a woman's right to choose, until I went to the doctor's office and i actually saw and heard the heartbeat of a six-week-old embryo -- if that's what you call it or fetus.
And now, the father does not want the baby. He thinks the right thing to do is for us to have an abortion and then we can get married. He says that' the right thing to is get married first and then have a child. Right now, I'm just -- feel like I'm being tormented with all of it.
KING: Who wants to respond?
PARSLEY: Well, that decision on the part of the father should have been made before we -- where do you want me, Larry, to you?
KING: Look right at the camera. Talk to her.
PARSLEY: That decision should have been made on the part of the father before you entered into the sexual covenant that you entered into. And you know, 80 percent of the women who hear the heartbeat of their baby in the womb, choose to not have an abortion. That's because life is so precious.
KING: So, she should have the baby no matter what? No matter what?
PARSLEY: Absolutely have that baby and God will give you the strength and the health to raise that child.
KING: Martinsville, Indiana. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Good evening, gentleman.
CALLER: Mr. King, you touched on a point that I wanted to make. You asked a question about the preachers getting so much money, you know, for their work and their private jets and the thing that the -- none of the pastors responded was that Jesus says to his disciples "go now and give freely for what I have given you freely. Do not take a meal, do not take clothes. Do not take a night's stay in someone's house. Go and give freely what I have given you."
And I think of a pastor that's not on the panel, Pastor John Hagey, who has a huge church in Texas and he preaches just like my father did. My father was a preacher except the only difference was my father never was paid any money.
KING: All right. How do you -- how do you respond to that? Do you want to take it, Greg?
LAURIE: Well, sure. You know those words that the caller is quoting are given by Jesus to his disciples as they were journeying from community to community.
KING: Aren't you a disciple?
LAURIE: Yes, I am, but I think that I have to have a place where I can sleep at night and have a meal to eat. And you know, the Bible says that a workman is worthy of his wage. It's a different situation...
KING: but -- aren't there something in the bible that fits everything?
LAURIE: Well, yes.
KING: Jesus says go out and do it free? The workman is worthy of his wage. Give up the -- Jesus give them to state...
LAURIE: Yes and we do freely. You know, we give the gospel message out freely, but obviously, when you're running an organization like a church even, you have hired staff. You have to provide for them. They have to have homes that they live in. And this is biblical as well. We're dealing with two separate situations.
And I think frankly, Larry, sometimes, we'll use this as an excuse so they can just say, "well, see it's all a sham." And there are those extremists that misuse this.
KING: Now, you know that there are many Evangelicals...
LAURIE: Well, I know.
KING: Who are money makers.
LAURIE: Yes. Absolutely. But I know that there are many...
KING: They hurt your cause don't they.
LAURIE: Yes, they do. But I think we want to be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, take a man like Billy Graham, take so many others who have faithfully preached the gospel; who've worked tirelessly as missionaries in third-world countries. We don't hear their stories. So, I say be open to the gospel and don't write it all off.
KING: Louisville. Hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry.
CALLER: Rod, if your wife were raped by a person and she became pregnant, would you tell her to go through delivering the child?
PARSLEY: Oh, I absolutely would. My wife, as I said, we lost a baby. We're looking right now into areas of adoption. My wife would pray for the person who had wronged her, as the Bible tells us to do, but that child had absolutely nothing to do with that situation and had abortion been legalized in Jesus' day, we might have been short one messiah. We'd raise that baby.
KING: Would the only reason you'd favor it, Max, would be the health of the mother?
LUCADO: I'm sorry. I didn't hear that. KING: Would favor abortion if it threatened the health of a mother? If the birth threatened the health of the mother?
LUCADO: In extreme cases like that, yes. But you know, again, as Rod has stated earlier, the vast majority of those cases even are jumped-to prematurely. And I think the value is that child that we're trying to save.
KING: We'll be back with more calls for our distinguished panel. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. Lake Elsinore, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Pastor Greg. My family and I used to attend Harvest and my oldest son started school there before we moved out of state in 1992. And my notes in my Bible are from listening to you, Pastor Greg and Luke 23:43, Jesus tells the thief on the cross that you will be with me today in paradise. My notes in my Bible say that Persian word for "abode of the dead." Where is paradise, Pastor Greg?
LAURIE: I don't know about that note, but paradise in the context of which was saying that to the thief, was heaven. Today, you will be with me in paradise. The Lord responded earlier, the man said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
And so in response to that, Jesus is saying today you will be with me in paradise and that's the hope of every believer, that when we die, we go straight to heaven into the presence of God and that's what Jesus is saying to that man.
KING: Do all of you -- Dr. Youssef, is there a heaven to you?
YOUSSEF: Yes. Absolutely. They are synonymous, paradise and the presence of God. Actually, what makes paradise, paradise is the presence of the lord Jesus Christ.
KING: Then, why, Max... Max, why then aren't we happy for someone when they die?
LUCADO: Well, we should be. The Bible says "blessed are those who die in the lord." Those who die in the lord, those who die in the protection of God, have trusted him to save them. Our concern is someone dies outside of a relationship with the savior. This is what separates the Christian faith from other world religions. Other world religions have wonderful things to teach, but leave salvation up to our own good deeds. Christianity has wonderful things to teach, but offers a savior, the perfect one, Jesus Christ who died for us, and consequently, he transfers his perfection on us. We give him our sin, and God by his love and grace, promises us eternal life in heaven with him.
KING: Pastor Parsley, crying for a dead person, is selfish? PARSLEY: Of course. You're crying because you are going to miss them. But as Max said to -- well the Apostle Paul said it, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Heaven is heaven because God is there, Jesus is there and hell is hell because it's a separation from God, from eternity. And the provision of Jesus Christ is death on the cross and his resurrection gives us the hope of eternity spent in heaven in the presence of God.
KING: Dallas, Texas hello.
CALLER: Hello. Good evening, gentlemen. And Larry, love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Pastor Parsley. I know you were a disciple by Lester Summerall (ph) in turn who was mentored by Smith Bogglesworth (ph). And I was wondering how much an effect that put on your in your ministry? I personally was almost positive I was supposed to follow you and go to World Harvest years ago, but due to circumstances and financial situations out of my control, wasn't able to. So, how do you know when you're supposed to follow someone in their ministry, but whenever your suppose to just do like what's quoted to Peter, and said, don't worry about him, you follow me?
PARSLEY: Religion is very organized. And we try to be very organic in our relationships. Certainly, spiritual genealogy is important just like natural genealogy. And you receive from ministries that God has opened your heart to and that they minister receive into your life.
It's important, very important to have someone that you look up to in the gospel. And so I just encourage everybody to find that person, a local pastor, and get connected to a great local church, and where you can be a part of the family of God. And bring your family to the church and be a part of the church family.
KING: Mission Viejo, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry King.
CALLER: The distinguished pastors. I have a question, why does God allow for terrorism, destruction that we're going through now, innocent people die, little children die?
LUCADO: Well, that same question could be asked about any type of human suffering. First of all, God permits free will. God has not made us robots, he made us people of choice.
KING: But he could prevent it, couldn't he?
LUCADO: Sorry? KING: He's omnipotent, so he could prevent it?
LUCADO: Absolutely. And everything passes through God's sovereign hand. And so God then can take what man intends for evil and turn it into something that's good.
KING: You all agree with that?
LAURIE: Yeah. You know, Larry, I had a lady come into our office Sunday morning after the service and she had breast cancer. And it was that suffering that got her attention to get her to come back to church and to start seeking a spiritual life and getting right with God. And I think of the psalmist who writes, "before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept your word." And CS Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts us to in our pain. Pain is God's megaphone."
KING: How do you know it's not a crutch? I mean, I have got breast cancer, I've got to pray to something. You know, every believe in the fox hole.
LAURIE: Thank God for that crutch. Larry, he's not a crutch to me, he's a whole hospital.
KING: We'll be back with more. Good line. Write that down. We'll be back with more moments. Don't go away.
KING: Oxford, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Greg Laurie. Greg, do you believe the Lord Jesus Christ is about to return? And why do so many people not understand that he's coming back?
LAURIE: Wow. Well, that's a great question.
KING: It's been 2,005 years.
LAURIE: Yes. And we're 2,005 years closer. And I believe he is coming back. And I believe there are signs of the times. And I think you can look at this conflict in the Middle East right now. And it's interesting to consider the fact that the Bible says that in the last days, the conflict will be in the Middle East, and specifically around the city of Jerusalem, there were gathering of the Jewish people in the promise land. Returning once again was a fulfillment of prophecy. And then their isolation. And the fact that world has largely turned against them, these are signs of the times.
KING: Dr. Youssef, do you believe he's coming back?
YOUSSEF: I do believe he's coming back. And his return is eminent. But I do not base my faith in Jesus's return on the headline news. I think he could come back in 1,000 years, or he could come back tomorrow. Jesus himself said no one knows the hour, but the father. And therefore, I do not put myself in the place to say, well, it's going to be next week, it's going to be this day, it's going to be this month, it's going to be this year.
I pray every single day, and I live every single day as if Jesus Christ is coming back this day. And I think for us to focus on all the headline news in the Middle East takes our attention away from the very primary calling of our lives, and that is to make Jesus Christ known around the world, which is a commission that he had given us.
KING: Let me get one more quick call in. Oklahoma City. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is Amy. I'm calling from Oklahoma City.
CALLER: I have a question for Pastor Rod Parsley.
CALLER: I wanted to thank you Patrick for your work with the Center for Moral Clarity. I love it. And I'm a stay-at-home mom. And I was wondering what you would say to someone like me who doesn't feel called maybe to be a pastor? What can I do to change my world around me?
PARSLEY: Well, for a long, long time we taught in the church the only thing to do was either take a microphone behind a pulpit and preach or if you could sing or maybe play the organ or the piano, there was a place for you. But what we're finding out is that God wants us infused into every strata of society.
There are basically seven strata of society. And what we've allowed is that religion has been marginalized to become one of those strata. God wants his people infused into every part of the culture, into the political system, into the educational system, into arts and entertainment.
One of the greatest things I ever heard, I heard a commentator who was interviewing a group of college students. And they said, how can we get involved in our world? And she said, well, one thing to do is maybe not go to theology, not go to a school of theology, but go to a school and learn how to be a broadcaster, like Larry King, because you have the ear of the nation and the world.
And so, get involved in whatever area or strata of life God has placed you in and lift high the name of Jesus Christ his love and hope to a hurting world.
KING: Thank you all very, very much for an illuminating hour. We will do it again soon.
Max Lucado in San Antonio, the pastor of Oak Hills Church. Dr. Michael Youssef, the founding rector of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta. He's in London. Pastor Rod Parsley, the pastor of the World Harvest Church in suburban Columbus, heads up the Center for Moral Clarity. And Pastor Greg Laurie, senior pastor of the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, California. He's author of "Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners."
Art Linkletter goes on. And is 95. He keeps on keeping on. Thank you guys.
Art Linkletter is our special guest tomorrow night. Aaron Brown is off tonight. Whoopie. And so we turn it over to a much prettier sight on the camera. There she is, Soledad O'Brien. She does the morning, she does the evenings, and I am hoping that tomorrow they give her 1:00.
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