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Three Christian Leaders Talk About Religious Issues
Aired April 6, 2007 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, our very first full hour Easter special. We`ll talk with some of America`s top Christian leaders and discuss the story behind Easter. Its history, its themes and what it really means to Christians today.
And, as confusion and ignorance about religion threatens to tear our country apart, tonight, we`ll try to set the record straight. A full hour of honest questions and honest answers starts now.
BECK: Well, in spite of all the insanity that`s going on in the world, there are some good things that are going on that we should be thankful for. It`s Holy Week. The 15 British sailors who were held captive are home celebrating Easter with their families.
And, you know, I wanted to take a minute just to talk about the real meaning of the holiday. Without Easter, there would be no Christmas. And to reflect on the role that faith plays in our society, or maybe, should play or the division that sometimes it causes.
To most kids, Easter is about colored eggs and a giant bunny and that stupid plastic grass. But do they also know it`s about redemption and forgiveness? Have we lost our way, and have we lost the meaning of this weekend?
Joining me now is the daughter of the Reverend Billy Graham and founder of AnGel Ministries, Ann Graham Lotz. Also with me, theologian Dr. Anthony Padovano, and from San Antonio, author of "Facing Your Giants", Pastor Max Lugado.
Hi, guys. Happy Good Friday.
PASTOR MAG LUCADO, AUTHOR, "FACING YOUR GIANTS": Thank you.
BECK: Let me just set some ground rules. I don`t want this to turn into the church hour, because I get church every Sunday. What I want to do is just have a conversation about the history, at first, and then the meaning of it.
Tell me about Jesus, the man. First of all, we know he lived, right? What was the world like when he was 20 years old? Where did he live and what was it like? Anthony.
ANTHONY PADOVANO, THEOLOGIAN: Well, he was living in Galilee, a place a little bit more like Iowa than Manhattan. So, whenever he came down to Jerusalem, he seemed to have been a little bit nervous. He was not as comfortable, it seems, in an urban environment. A lot of his parables make reference to this more or less agrarian fishing area that he came from.
He`s there at a time of tremendous tension because certainly, the Roman soldiers are occupying the country. They had been there, well, from the time he was 20, they had been there for some 70 or 80 years. And they ruled somewhat tolerantly, actually, very surprisingly.
The Romance did almost what no other occupiers ever did. They were tremendous empire builders. So they never interfered with people`s religion. They knew that that was a no-no.
They made it quite clear that as long as you paid your taxes and as long as you didn`t create civil disorder, you could pretty much do what you wanted.
BECK: And at the time, a lot of people -- I mean, the evidence of his life, actually, is found in Josephus, in Jewish antiquities, if I`m not mistaken, where he`s just kind of mentioned as almost a passing reference. "Hey, they killed a guy this weekend. He`s another one of these messiah figures."
Because there were a lot of people at the time living in the hills just outside the city saying, `The world is going to end and come follow me." Right or wrong -- Max.
LUCADO: That`s right, that`s right. One of the most remarkable things about the silent years of Jesus of Nazareth is the anonymity in which he dwells. He chose to. Of course, the Christian belief is that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. That`s our conviction.
And to think that Jesus would choose such a one camel matt town out on the edge of nowhere as his home base and then that he would be content to live, you know, 30 years in relative anonymity, quietly going about the business of a human being, is great comfort to those of us who follow him, because it tells us that he knows how we feel. And he`s been down the same path.
BECK: And we don`t have any idea what he was doing in his 20s.
ANNA GRAHAM LOTZ, FOUNDER, ANGEL MINISTRIES: You know, I think it`s - - you mentioned Josephus, who does have a paragraph about Jesus, but the only real record that we have of his life is found in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those are the four biographies of Jesus in the Bible.
And Max has referred to something that I think is very special, just as a mother and a housewife, that for 30 years, he lived within the home. Some people think his father, Joseph, or his stepfather, Joseph, died when he was younger after he was in the temple at the age of 12. So he would have been the oldest son in a family with responsibilities, a carpentry shop, all the things that...
BECK: He would have been -- he would have been kind of a misfit in society, though, back then, because he wasn`t -- most people believe he wasn`t married. And 30, unmarried in that community, freak, right?
LOTZ: Well, that would be a better question for you, but he was very focused. And so -- and was in the carpentry shop. I think he would have blended into society for 30 years.
PADOVANO: The question of marriage is a tricky one. Most likely he was not, but that`s not certain. And the New Testament actually never makes any reference to the celibacy of Jesus, and he never makes any reference to his marital status.
There is a strong Christian tradition, and I think that we need to stay with that, by and large, but it is not totally convincing or overwhelming.
BECK: But it is -- to me, this argument about whether he`s married or not, it doesn`t -- I don`t really care. To me, it doesn`t make a difference.
LOTZ: That contradicts what the Bible says, though, because the Bible, he is the unique son of God. He was not just man, he was God-man. He was as fully God as he was fully man.
And he was not married. He had -- didn`t have a family as has been portrayed in some of the things today.
LOTZ: He was the savior who came to die to take away our sin. He was God`s lamb, sacrificed to take away the sin of the world, perfect and blameless.
BECK: So -- so then Max, let me go to you. If he was God-man, how could -- you just said a minute ago that he, you know, he went and did all of these great things, et cetera, et cetera, and how could it really mean anything? How could he be fully man if he knew?
Did he know who he was? Did he have full recollection? And if so, at what time? And if he did have full recollection, I mean, if I`m God-man, what difference does it make?
LUCADO: Well, the best answer, the best place to go to answer that question is Jesus in the temple at the age of 12. If you remember the story, that he separated from his mother and father. And for three days they looked for him. And they find him in the temple and he`s carrying on a dialogue with religious leaders.
And Jesus` response to a surprised Joseph when Joseph finds him, is, "Did you not know that I must be about my father`s business?" There`s a sense there that Jesus recognizes that he truly is the one and only son of God, something said about him.
BECK: Do you believe that that is -- I mean, there are a lot of people that have a sense of who they are, and that drives them. Do you believe that, because there`s nothing in the scriptures that say that he had a revelation, that he, you know, there was some moment where angels opened up. Or was it just a calling within him that he recognized who he was, that leaves a little bit of human doubt in you?
LUCADO: Well, there are several times in which Jesus received from people some statements that really set him apart as unique. He allowed them to call him the lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world.
He said that "I have come to seek and save the lost." And so he positions himself, he postures himself in a unique role in society. As exactly when he knew this, did he know it at the age of 2 or at the age of 10, I don`t know if I can answer that.
BECK: Right. OK. So Ann, let`s go and move to the people that he surrounded himself with. Here he goes out and he gets a bunch people to follow him. And then he performs, according to the Bible, all of these miracles, and they still don`t get it. I mean, they don`t have any -- according to the Bible, he walks on water and they still don`t know. How is that possible?
LOTZ: You know, I don`t know except that I think people today are similar. In that we can see the things that he does and the things that he does in my own life and the answers the prayer and the things he`ll do for me. And then the next day, I find myself doubting that he`ll do it again.
BECK: But there`s a difference between walking on water and having -- I mean, we just had a powerful miracle in our life happen, a personal miracle that we know came from years of praying and, you know, following, following the promptings.
There`s a difference, though, between that and someone walking on water, or is there?
PADOVANO: I think the real miracle of Jesus is his humanity. And I think that that humanity is so unbelievably rich. I think what captures the contemporaries of Jesus and the disciples is the compassionate Jesus, this incredible capacity -- the word compassion means, when you`re hurting, I people the pain as well, is what it means etiologically. And I think that that was absolutely astonishing.
The other thing that was astonishing and that I think was miraculous, far more importantly than any extraordinary phenomenon like walking on water was the inclusivity of Jesus, his capacity to relate across an incredible spectrum.
The real challenge of Jesus to my humanity, I believe, is not doing a miracle. I can`t do that, really, except in very extraordinary circumstances. And I`m not sure that that really solves anything.
But if I can be compassionate and if I can be inclusive, then I`m doing exactly what God created human beings to be for. And I am truly a disciple of Jesus. If people get a sense that, in my presence, I feel their pain and that, at the same time, that I -- that they`re really part of my family, part of my concern, not excluded, not marginalized, not pushed to the edges.
And Jesus is constantly dealing with the people who were pushed to the edges. And he goes right there and identifies with them. And I think that this was unbelievably astonishing, gracious and miraculous.
BECK: OK, we have to take a break. Much more on this after we come back. Don`t go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: What is Easter weekend really all about? I mean, because it hasn`t been over commercialized by the people, you don`t really know what Easter`s about. It`s not -- it`s not been marketed.
There`s a few people that really understand Easter, because they needed Easter so desperately. I`m one of them. Easter`s really truly about the atonement; it is about forgiveness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: You know, I`m tired of watching specials on television about Jesus and Easter and Christmas and everything else and, you know, they always try to balance it with, well, Christianity`s probably a hoax. This program`s not going to do that.
Everybody at the table, like it or not, are believers and, you know, if you want to get the Christianity is a hoax thing you can get there, I`m sure, on is a million other channels this weekend. But I wanted to take it in-depth and get to know the guy Jesus a little bit, not the -- you know, the painting but the guy.
With me, Ann Graham Lotz, founder of AnGel Ministries; also theologian Anthony Padovano; and from San Antonio, author of "Facing Your Giants", Max Lucado.
Anthony, you -- we were talking before we went in to break, you know, the miracle is to teach you how to be compassionate. And that`s really so true. And I think that`s maybe the role that religion is supposed to play is, you got the teachings. Now what`s the structure to get you to do it?
Because the natural man is an enemy to that. It`s just not natural. You know what? I`m an alcoholic. And if I -- I really truly believe, if service was bad for me, I`d be addicted to it. You know what I mean? It is -- that`s one of the real miracles, is to try and get you to do that and be a good person.
LOTZ: Our lives should be a miracle in a sense. Our lives should be a demonstration of who Jesus is.
LOTZ: And the miracles is what we were talking earlier, each miracle that Jesus did was a sign. In fact, the gospel of John calls them -- he doesn`t call them miracles. He calls them signs.
For instance, when Jesus healed the man who was born blind and gave him -- he created sight in a man born blind, and then he said, "I`m the light of the world. I`ve come to open your eyes so that you can see the spiritual truth."
And then when he fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, he said, "I`m the bread that has come down from heaven like the manna that God fed his people with in the wilderness."
He`s satisfied. He`s gives fulfillment, deep satisfaction. Just in knowing him in a personal relationship.
BECK: So let`s -- let`s go to Good Friday. It was on this day, and we know historically, Anthony, right, it was on this day. It was -- it coincides with the Jewish holidays. And Jesus was a Jew. What happened on this day? What was that really like?
PADOVANO: As well as we could put it together, Glenn, there seemed to have been a violation by Jesus of one of the supreme norms in the Roman control of Jerusalem, which was political disorder.
Whether that occurred because of enthusiastic reception or something he had done in the temple, he`s charged on two different counts. In the Jewish trial, he is charged with blasphemy, not respecting God`s divinity. And in the Roman trial, he is charged with political disorder.
LOTZ: Actually, he was found innocent in the Roman trials. Seven different times they said, this man is innocent. He wasn`t convicted really of anything in the Roman trials. They found him again and again, Pilate and Herod said, this man is innocent. This man is innocent.
BECK: Max, this is probably -- this is exactly what would happen today, isn`t it? I mean, if he came today, this is -- this -- we haven`t changed.
LUCADO: And the drumbeat of the message in the gospel is that the crucifixion was staged not by the Jews or by the Romans, but by God himself, that God was giving his son.
So no matter what the players in the scene thought was happening, it was actually God who was orchestrating this moment. And the great Christian hope is that, on the cross, God placed upon his son, Christ, all the mistakes that have ever been made.
And Christ who had never made a mistake, never sinned, died a sinner`s death so that we who are sinners could take the place of Christ in righteousness.
Martin Luther called it the great reversal, that the one who should have lived died and we who should die can live.
PADOVANO: Two of the deepest things or greatest challenges that I see in the life of Jesus and the crucifixion for me, or for all of us, is, first of all, the ability to stay with something, regardless of what the cost is, because you think it`s right.
And I think, fundamentally, what Jesus does is refuse to retreat from what he understood had to be said, even if that meant his death. And that element of endurance and courage, I think, is incredibly important. It`s so easy for us to be cowards.
And the other thing I think the cross represents is one of our deepest needs. The vast majority of us do not feel accepted. The vast majority of us do not feel that we`re good people. And the fact that Jesus, in a moment of absolute desperation, is still accepted by God, that this whole idea of acceptance is demonstrated on the cross itself. It`s -- hopeful.
BECK: I have a -- just a minute here before we have to go to a hard break, but real quick, can anybody answer: One of the things that, in early days, they really had a hard time solving was, if it was God being nailed to a tree, which it was, was the -- that is total humiliation. In the Middle East that is, in many ways, what fuels so many problems, is humiliation.
LOTZ: But the Bible says that Jesus became a curse for us. He took that curse upon himself.
LOTZ: And so that he wasn`t murdered. Nobody took his life. He was the creator, the Lord of life, the resurrection of life. He gave his life.
On the cross, he just refused to take the next breath, and he gave his life for Glenn Beck and for me. And that we could have our sins taken away that we could be reconciled to God, the Father.
So Easter -- Good Friday is a wonderful day, as you said, of redemption, forgiveness, but also testimony to the love of God for you and me.
BECK: OK, more in just a second.
BECK: We`re back with the founder of AnGel Ministries and the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham, Ann Graham Lotz. Also with me, theologian Anthony Padovano; and the author of "Facing Your Giants", Pastor Max Lucado.
Why do you suppose this message has lasted this long through everything that it has? I mean, this is a -- this is a guy who, when you think about it, three years is all he`s opened his mouth about, three years, and what a powerful movement this has been.
LOTZ: Because it`s the truth, Glenn.
PADOVANO: I think also because it answers two things that have haunted the human heart from the beginning, namely, why do we have to face something as terrifying as death. And, secondly, is anything left of us after it?
And probably, there`s been no other story in human history that has hit so hard on those two things, that death ultimately, even in the horror of the crucifixion, is not a terrifying experience.
BECK: Right. And you don`t have to...
PADOVANO: And has a kind of meaning and the second. And last thing is that there is something of us left afterwards.
LUCADO: And you don`t have to check your brains at the door to believe in the resurrection.
The great question that we wrestle with is what happened to the body? If Jesus really wasn`t resurrected from the dead, who took the body? If the Jews took the body, they could have paraded it and killed Christianity in its infancy.
The Romans didn`t want to have Jesus resurrected. They could prove that Jesus was still in the tomb, if indeed he was.
The disciples didn`t take the body, because they died for their belief that he rose from the dead. There`s a logical consequence to the resurrection.
BECK: I know that there are a lot of people -- in fact, I just talked to somebody, I don`t know, about a month ago. Good, decent human being, you know, great person, Christian, yada, yada, yada and said, "Well, I don`t really -- you know, I don`t know. The whole resurrection thing, I don`t buy into."
And I looked at them and I said, "OK, I got to understand that -- I can understand how you don`t buy into it and you`re a good person anything else. But how can you call yourself a Christian? I mean, wouldn`t Jesus just then be Gandhi?"
LOTZ: Well, the apostle Paul said that if you don`t believe in the resurrection, then you die in your sins. So you don`t have a right relationship with God.
So the belief in the resurrection of Jesus is absolutely critical to your relationship with God from God`s point of view. You can`t just pick and choose what you will and won`t believe. He`s savior and he`s risen Lord. He`s not one or the other.
LUCADO: And the resurrection is proof -- I`m sorry...
PADOVANO: Go ahead. Go ahead.
LUCADO: And the resurrection...
BECK: That`s all right. You`re the politest panel ever.
LUCADO: It`s the proof and preview of our own resurrection. It`s proof that Jesus can -- Jesus conquered death and controls death and can defeat the grave. But also a preview that we will be risen from the graves in a physical fashion and live with God forever in heaven.
BECK: Anthony, let me take you another direction real quick, because I only have 30 seconds. You know, you could -- the apostles -- you could make the argument the apostles didn`t even get his last words the same in the gospel.
How, I mean, how do I trust that this is accurate? Historically speaking.
PADOVANO: I don`t think the history of it is in the details. It`s in the larger truth of it. And I think, to a very large extent, what they`re trying to do is recall and interpret, and one at the same time.
The astonishing thing about the resurrection, Glenn, is that the disciples do not expect it. And they are the ones who are its first and strongest denier.
BECK: And closest.
PADOVANO: And that turnaround, I think, is one of the most remarkable parts of the story.
BECK: OK. Anthony, Max, thank you very much for being here. We`ll be back in just a second. Don`t go anywhere.
BECK: We`re continuing our discussion on Easter as a time for forgiveness. I hope that this program presents the Easter message properly, and it is tough to do some of these subjects. Just one of these questions, we can spend about an hour on, so we`re kind of skimming the surface here.
We have Anne Graham Lotz. She`s the founder of AnGel Ministries. She`s back with me. We`re also joined now by Dr. Fred Luskin. He is the author of "Forgive for Good."
Doctor, you`ve done some medical research at Stanford, and you have found -- I think that we can all agree that the real message of Easter is forgiveness. You have found in medical research that forgiveness literally changes lives.
FRED LUSKIN, DIRECTOR, STANFORD FORGIVENESS PROJECT: It does, and we`ve been able to show that you can teach people to forgive and that will have very positive consequences on their health.
BECK: OK. Before you go into teaching people, let me go here. Tell me the medical benefits. I mean, I watched the Amish last year when they had their children shot, and the forgiveness that they had immediately was so unbelievably powerful. What are the medical benefits of being a forgiving person?
LUSKIN: Well, the medical benefits are, in part, because you don`t drive yourself crazy and cause so much stress. So, you reduce, you know, the blood pressure, agitation and the nervous system disequilibrium.
But on the positive side, you can actually heal people`s emotions and bodies. That is, there`s a study that showed that people who had back pain, who forgave had less back pain. We have shown that people who are angry and have high blood pressure, we can lower their blood pressure. It works on the entire nervous system to kind of tone it down just a bit.
BECK: I mean, I think many people believe that, as I do, that the spirit and the body are woven into one. You can`t do spiritual wounds on the spirit and then not have it affect the body.
Now, you say you can teach it. This is like a 12-step program?
LUSKIN: Yes, we have a nine-step program but, yes...
BECK: Oh, I`ve been doing 12 for the alcohol, jeez!
LUSKIN: There you go.
BECK: For 21, I`m fixed.
LUSKIN: You know, the really good news is that, what you can do is you can make it more likely that people will forgive. So you teach them, when they`re talking about who harmed them, to talk about it in a quieter, gentler way.
You teach them to manage the stress of being angry. You teach them to look for the good in their lives so they don`t over-focus on who hurt them, and all of these things impact both physical and emotional health.
BECK: You know, and you said to me during the break, and I found this fascinating, because one of my questions that a friend of mine and I have been going back and forth on -- I`m a guy who needed the atonement. Man, I messed my life up six ways to Sunday, and I couldn`t carry the load anymore, and I really needed it, and it totally transformed me.
And I have a friend who lived a great life and, you know, no real problems, et cetera, et cetera. And I asked him, I said, can you even really appreciate atonement, because you didn`t really need it? And you said to me in a break, you said, yes, this is a special day for me because I really found it on a Good Friday. And I`m thinking to myself, you grew up with Billy Graham as a dad.
ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ, FOUNDER, ANGEL MINISTRIES: But, you know, the Bible says that we`re all sinners. We all have a moral dilemma. We`re born into the human race, like I have a little, new grandbaby, and she`s perfect and she`s innocent. But if she grows, that little sin nature in her is going to come. And she`s a sinner. She`s going to make wrong choices and she`s going to do wrong things, even though they`re not maybe drastic things, you can do small things that displease God, and it just means that you`re a sinner.
For instance, my daughter, when she was young, she came running up to me and said that she had a little bite on her stomach. So I looked at it, I changed her shirt. She came up a minute later and she said, "Mommy, whatever it is, it`s bit me twice." So this time I changed her shirt again. And then she came up and said, "Mommy, it`s bit me all over." She had chicken pox, and the first little spot showed me that she had the disease. And so you can have one little spot of sin, and some of us have less obvious sins than others. Maybe you had more obvious chicken pox.
BECK: I had scarlet fever, malaria.
LOTZ: But the disease of sin is the same, and it requires an atonement. It requires a sacrifice. And the Bible says, without the shedding of blood, there`s no forgiveness.
The wonderful thing about Good Friday -- it was about 50 years ago on this day that I heard the gospel story on a movie, on TV, and I told God I was sorry for my sin, asked him to forgive me and cleanse me and come into my life. And he did. You can start over again.
BECK: She`s got Billy Graham tucking her in at night, and she`s watching a movie going, "That guy makes sense." I mean, jeez.
LOTZ: It was a movie. You know, it was a portrayal of the life of Christ. And that`s why I think this day is so powerful, it`s because the cross is Jesus, the son of God, son of man, giving his life as a sacrifice for your sin so that God can forgive you. And it`s because God forgives you, Glenn, that can you turn around and choose to forgive somebody else.
Now, Fred, you are -- I mean, you`re doing research, medical research at Stanford. How`s that going for you? I mean, a lot of people don`t like the mixing science and religion. I don`t think they`re apart from each other. I think, just like the body and the spirit, they`re one. They don`t disprove each other.
LUSKIN: Ten years ago, when I started this, I wanted to show that you could make spiritual qualities true on different levels as well, so that, if forgiveness was, say, good for you, it would show up in psychological and health terms.
One of the things that we found -- and I`ve taught this to people who have had their children murdered and people who have been raped and people whose families were killed in 9/11 -- the amount of pain and hurt that people experience on this Earth is staggering. And without having available to them the quality of forgiveness, it can be overwhelming.
BECK: I`ve got to tell you, again I`m bringing up the Amish. I think that is one of the greatest examples I have seen in many years, quite possibly in my life, that they -- people were sending them money to have their kids, you know, help the kids in the hospital, and they took some of that money and they gave it to the family of the truck driver that killed them.
LOTZ: ... way to overcome, I think, some of the pain and the hurt. And when you extend forgiveness, and you do that for somebody else, it`s amazing how it comes back on you.
BECK: I just heard a story this weekend. Somebody was speaking and they said that they knew somebody whose child was killed by a drunk driver. And the press was just on them, and one of their sons lashed out, and the father realized at that moment, he said, "We`ve got to forgive this guy or it`s just going to fester and eat us alive."
You can`t, Fred, you can`t make it your whole life, or can you? I know I couldn`t, with that just festering inside of you. It will kill you, won`t it? You`ll die of that, won`t you?
LUSKIN: You will be impacted greatly by that. One thing that I want to educate people about, though, is, for most people, as opposed to the Amish, you need a period of suffering and grieving before you can let it go.
We have worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people, and almost all of them require some place to scream, emote, feel sorry for themselves, be angry. And when that passes, when the immediacy of that passes, I believe forgiveness is what we have been asked to do as the next step.
BECK: Hang on. Do you buy into that? Because I know my faith teaches me eternal, eternal families, everything else. So I have noticed, when people pass on, it`s not necessarily a sad thing, because you have such a strong belief that you`ll see them again. It is just -- it`s one phase. Do you believe that, Anne?
LOTZ: That`s the hope of the resurrection. That`s the living hope of the resurrection, that because Jesus died and rose again, as we said in an earlier segment, that one day we`re going to rise again, that we`re going to be in Heaven, that Heaven is opened because Jesus died and rose from the dead.
But I want to flip this over, because you`re talking about injustice done like to the Amish families and their pain. Well, what about the injustice done towards God? All of our sin is against God, and God sets the example, in a sense, in that he sent his son -- he so loved you, Glenn, that he sent his son to die on the cross as his payment for his own judgment for your sin.
So God demonstrates forgiveness to you and me, in that he`s sending his son to die for us to take away our sin and so, because he forgives me, then I forgive somebody else.
BECK: I think a powerful message, too, is it was on the cross that he said, "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?" There were so many people -- and I was one of them -- that you felt so isolated and alone.
Fred, I mean, you see that, as well, that, as a psychiatrist, you must see it, that as you see people that are just alone, and they feel completely empty, and that`s a sign to them that he suffered that, as well.
LUSKIN: I have to tell you, the two things that make this relationship between religion and science difficult, from my human encounter with it, is, one, so many people feel out of touch, abandoned. They`ve lost faith because they`ve been hurt so badly.
And, second, one of the things that some of the religious practices don`t do as well is provide a technology for doing that. I can`t tell you how many religious people I have worked with -- and I`m a religious person myself -- who say, "I want to do it. I know I`m supposed to do it. But when it says forgive seven times 70, exactly what does that mean?"
The only place we`ve tried to come in and say, "Here`s a, you know, reproducible technology that you can take with you and enfold it into your spiritual beliefs."
BECK: Thanks. More in just a second. Don`t go anywhere.
BECK: We`re talking with the founder of AnGel Ministries and the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz. Also joining me now, Christian recording artist and author of "The Prodigal Comes Home," Michael English.
And I just want you to know, as a viewer, that I`m trying to do an hour on Christianity, and I`m a believer and a profound benefactor of the redemption of Easter. However, I`m trying to do an hour here that doesn`t make people`s skin crawl, because there`s something about talking about God that makes people uncomfortable.
But, Michael, you have a remarkable story. You started very young as somebody who believed in God, but you had more of a fear of God, right?
MICHAEL ENGLISH, CHRISTIAN RECORDING ARTIST: Yes, I mean, that`s just kind of the way I grew up. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. I traveled and sang on weekends with my father. And I heard a lot of different preaching over in North Carolina. And most of it was a lot of just fire and brimstone-type thing, and pointing the finger, and, "You better live right or you`re going to go to Hell" type thing. You know, it`s just pretty simple, but yet scary at the same time. And that`s...
LOTZ: Hey, I was raised in North Carolina, too, so let me just say, some of it`s not all like that.
BECK: Yes, I was going to say, I`ve seen your dad. I remember watching your dad on television, you know, with my grandparents, sitting on my grandparents` floor and watching him, and he hasn`t had...
LOTZ: I know some of it. I just -- Michael, I didn`t want to interrupt you, but not all the preaching in North Carolina is like that.
ENGLISH: Oh, trust me, I know. I didn`t go every place, either. I was just in the eastern part of North Carolina and a lot of small churches, because we were just a small group, anyway.
BECK: So then what happened?
ENGLISH: Well, I mean, I just sang every weekend. And then, I started - I got a call to go out and to sing professionally, and started singing more in mostly North Carolina and different places, South Carolina, Georgia, different places like that, until I got a chance to travel with the Gaithers, and then that just took me abroad everywhere.
BECK: And then your life started to spiral out of control.
ENGLISH: Yes. I mean, I did a solo project, and everything just went so great, so quickly for me. And I just wasn`t at a place that I needed to be with God, and I didn`t have a great understanding of God, either. And about we serve a god of love and forgiveness and all that, and, you know, so I was going on this kind of blind, and even though I`d been a Christian, you know, since I was 13, that`s when I accepted Christ as my savior, in a revival meeting there in North Carolina.
And so I ended up in an affair with a background singer and a whole tabloid-type news thing and lost everything, everything. I mean, I was making a lot of money, and I was winning all kinds of awards. It was just -- it couldn`t have been going any better, I guess you`d say. And then the bottom fell out, right after the biggest night of my life, which was the Dub awards (ph) in 1994, I think it was.
BECK: And then you, with the scandal, you fell into drugs and...
ENGLISH: After that, it just went downhill. You know, because like I said, I grew up singing on weekends with my dad, and I never really did anything other than maybe talk back to my dad, which he said I did a lot. But I talked back to him, and that`s pretty much all I can remember doing that was really bad.
I didn`t go out on weekends. I didn`t party. I didn`t do any of that stuff. But after this, after this happened, I just basically just gave up. I just thought, you know what? If I don`t have Christian music, I can`t be anything.
BECK: So we have similar stories. I was successful when I was young. And by the time I was 30, I was an alcoholic and everything else, and I completely fell apart. What was the turning point for you?
ENGLISH: Well, I guess you`d say the bottom. I was not home, because I was basically homeless. I ended up living with some different people, and I had a car, and that`s pretty much all I had.
And I was at home or at a friend`s house on the couch, and something happened miraculously. I have no idea until today. I said in my book, I just don`t really know. All I know is, I believe it was God with all my heart. I know it was God, as if God sobered me up for a moment in time, and I could see myself, and I saw myself lying on a couch.
And I couldn`t believe what I`d become. I was swollen. I was dirty. I hadn`t showered in weeks. Everything around me, it was just -- the stench of it was awful, you know, just to even look at. And I just really heard God say, "Is this the way you want it to end and is this you want your daughter to remember you?" And that`s pretty much where I came to grips with where I was and what I had to do.
BECK: You know, I have to tell you, I had a similar moment that I don`t think I`ve ever shared, except with my family and friends, and it was extraordinarily powerful. And one time, I was speaking at a church. And I`ve had several moments where I just feel like, you know, the windows were opened up to me, and I could glance inside, and I was talking about that kind of a little bit.
And this woman came up to me. She was 80 years old. And she was crying, and she said, "I`ve wanted to have those experiences my whole life, and I followed God my whole life, and I`ve never had that kind of experience." And she said to me, you know, "Why? Why did you have that experience and I didn`t?"
And she was really searching for the answer. And, you know, I don`t know if you guys have the answer. My answer was, "Because I`m so dumb and stubborn that God had to beat me over the head," you know what I mean?
BECK: Some people look for that miraculous moment, and it doesn`t necessarily come that way.
LOTZ: It doesn`t necessarily come that way, but anybody can have it, Glenn. That`s the miracle of this weekend. That`s the message of the cross, that God so loved the whole world that he gave his only son that whosoever, that means anybody, who puts their faith in Jesus alone for their salvation, for their forgiveness, for their reconciliation with God, for their eternal life, can be born again into God`s family, can come into a personal relationship with God, can know they`re going to Heaven when they die.
And, you know, the one thing, we`ve talked about religion for over this past hour, and I would like to say that, bottom line, it`s not religion that I`m trying to talk about. It`s a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. And because of Easter, I can know God on a personal level. And I can know my sins are forgiven, and I can know I`m going to Heaven when I die.
BECK: Yes, it`s kind of like the doctor we had a little while ago, and he has this nine-step program, and that`s kind of the job of religion, to help us live these principles.
Thank you very much. Final thoughts in just a second. Don`t go anywhere.
BECK: Back with Anne Graham Lotz and also Michael English from Nashville, Tennessee.
Michael, we left it off with you, and I want to pick it back up. The clarity that you received through faith, what was it?
ENGLISH: The clarity through faith, what was it?
BECK: Yes, what was -- I mean, tell me about the moment of clarity, the moment, how things have changed for you since that couch.
ENGLISH: You know what? It`s still a process for me. It`s a daily thing for me.
Earlier, you guys were talking forgiveness about the power of forgiveness and stuff. Even after all this has happened to me, and now I have a home, and it`s not a big home, but it`s my home, and I`m proud and happy. I have a wife and a little -- two children now.
One day, I`m home, and I had remembered a friend told me this, if I can say this real quickly, about a pastor in Nashville who -- he tried to get me to go to this church, my friend did. And the pastor said, I`ll never have Michael English in my church.
And so when my friend told me that, it broke me up. So I held a grudge for a long time against this pastor. But through this process and through this deal with my life and me getting back with where I`m supposed to be on the right road, one morning, I`m watching a pastor preach on TV about forgiveness.
And I just said, "You know what? I have to do something about this," because I watched this guy come on a commercial, and it hit me all of a sudden, right after I got through watching this other pastor talk about forgiveness.
And right there, I got on my knees and said, "Lord, I want to pray for this man, pray for his ministry, that you`ll bless it." And ever since, that moment, not every -- and if I see this guy on television anymore, I don`t have any of that on my shoulders anymore. I don`t worry about it. In fact, I don`t hold any...
BECK: It`s very strange, isn`t it? We have less than a minute now. Shoot, we`re running out of time. It`s strange how we separate each other and we divide ourselves when, really, the message is: unite.
LOTZ: The message of the cross is that God loves the whole world. And because he loves us, we need to love each other. But, you know, people are always asking, is Jesus the only way? And I think, if there had been any other way than the cross of Jesus Christ, that God would have found it, and he sent his son to die on the cross because that`s the only way you can have your sin forgiven, only way you can be reconciled to God, only way you can know you`re going to Heaven when you die. So praise God for the cross!
BECK: What a pleasure meeting you.
LOTZ: Thank you, Glenn.
BECK: And thank you for everything you do. Michael, same, thank you.
Happy Easter. From New York, good night.