Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Rick Warren

Aired December 02, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Pastor Rick Warren, author of the runaway best seller "The Purpose-riven Life," the book that inspired the Atlanta hostage heroine Ashley Smith. Natalee Holloway's stepfather gave a copy to the father of one of the suspects. And, Scott Peterson's ex-lover, Amber Frey, even gave him a copy. Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical superstar is with us and will take your calls.
And then later, Donald Trump and the beautiful real estate investor and one-time stripper that he calls smart, tough and cunning. Hey, it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening and welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. One note, we had been mentioning all week that tomorrow night I had taped earlier this week an extraordinary show about St. Jude's Hospital and Research Center in Memphis, a hospital like none other in the world with Marlo Thomas and patients and people, doctors and the like.

And we've decided that rather than show that on Saturday night when our audience is lower that show will air one week from tonight and I am, in fact, now wearing the official St. Jude tie and I'll wear it again next Wednesday night and next Thursday night as well in advance of a show I hope you make a note to watch this next Friday night.

We welcome Rick Warren, author of the number one "New York Times" best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life, What on Earth am I here for." He's the founding pastor at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. And, what were you doing last night? I'm looking at the "range County Register" here.


KING: And I got a picture of you and Wynona Judd and Wynona looks like she ain't too happy.

WARREN: She's saying keep your day job Rick.

KING: What was this about?

WARREN: It was a concert for World AIDS Day. We had about a dozen bands and Wynona was the closing act and she brought me out on stage to sing a song with her. We were doing a duet on the U2 song "All in the Name of Love." It was a little out of my range and she was clearly showing it there. KING: Did you lose your voice?

WARREN: A little bit. I've been -- we've had a three-day conference, Larry, on what the church can do about HIV AIDS and for the last two, three days we were -- we had about 2,000 leaders from around the world, 17 countries and about 38 states.

And, they came in and my wife Kay (ph) and I did this conference for three days. We actually had about 60 speakers, some of the doctors who discovered AIDS, kind of the who's who of authorities on that.

KING: In the past, Rick, you will admit the evangelicals and a lot in the church didn't look at AIDS.

WARREN: Oh, yes.

KING: Didn't deal with it and in fact called it God's revenge against gays.

WARREN: Yes, yes. Well, you know, they were wrong and we were wrong to be quiet. I never called it that but we were wrong to not speak up. The fact is AIDS is not a gay plague. AIDS is a human plague and it involves -- actually more women have AIDS than men do. You know the face of AIDS in America is usually a white, gay guy but the face of AIDS around the world is a black or brown woman and, to me...

KING: And most in Africa.

WARREN: Mostly in Africa. To me it really doesn't matter. The question isn't how did you get it? It's what do you do now? I mean if I'm driving down the street one day on the freeway and I see somebody laying on the side of the road bleeding to death and I go over to them, my first question is, was this your fault? No, I just help the guy, OK. If I go into the hospital with a cardiac, coronary, I don't want the doctor coming up saying, oh, been eating too many Krispy Kremes?

KING: Well, wouldn't you admit though that that's one of the things that turned a lot of people against the church?

WARREN: Oh, I think you're right.

KING: When they took this attitude of I'm right and you're wrong.

WARREN: No, I absolutely think you're right and actually in this conference we were calling the church, to use a biblical term, to repent to basically say we were wrong. We were just flat out wrong about this and it's time to speak up.

What I told these people at the conference was, you know, AIDS, I think it's an evil disease in that it sucks the life out of people. It's a terrible, terrible disease. But there are some evil attitudes that people have toward people who have AIDS too. There's the attitude of avoidance, which is -- I don't even want to talk about it. It has to do with sex or homosexuality. I don't even want to talk about it. There's the attitude of distance, don't get near me. There's the attitude of intolerance. I don't like you. I hate you. And, there's the attitude of ignorance or superstition. I'm afraid of you.

Well, all of those things have to be attacked and what we were saying in the conference was, you know, the church has to speak up on this because the church is the biggest organization on the planet.

People don't realize this. There are 2.1 billion people who claim to be Christians. That's one out of three people. If you were to mobilize just half of those people, a billion to do humanitarian things like care for the sick and assist the poor and educate the next generation...

KING: Something Christ would have done.

WARREN: Exactly. You know do what Jesus would do. Do what he would do.

KING: But how do you -- the late Harry Golden said that if Christ did come back the one thing he wouldn't be is a Christian. You will admit that the church has failed.

WARREN: Absolutely.

KING: And, segregation how could it have supported segregation?

WARREN: You know, in fact, I've actually used that analogy, Larry, in that if the church doesn't speak up right now about HIV AIDS and care for people who are sick, Jesus spent one third of his ministry caring for sick people, OK, so he didn't just care about their spirit. He cared about their body. And, it said he did preaching, teaching and healing.

If we don't speak up about this greatest pandemic in the history of mankind, I mean 40 million people have AIDS right now, 14,000 get infected every day, then I think we will look back on the church 100 years from today the way we look back on the church that allowed slavery and say what were they thinking?

KING: You will admit, though, strides have been made?

WARREN: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

KING: You took an HIV test?

WARREN: I did.

KING: And your wife?

WARREN: I did. Yes, she has. She didn't take one yesterday but she's already taken one and I did it publicly because one of the things I wanted to do is remove the stigma. I think as long as -- half of the people who have AIDS in America don't even know it statistically. So, you're in denial if you don't know your status and even taking a test is shown to proven that it actually helps us to be more health wise.

KING: We'll get back to AIDS. I want to discuss a couple of other things.


KING: And we'll take calls too for Rick Warren. Have you been in contact with the alleged courthouse shooter, Brian Nichols?

WARREN: I've tried multiple times to get through to him and I think they're kind of embargoing me or other people until it goes to trial because anything that he would tell me might be able to be -- I could be subpoenaed and while I've tried I haven't been able to get through to him.

KING: How do you feel about being mentioned in other crime cases, the case in Aruba?


KING: Scott Peterson.


KING: How does that make you feel, queasy (INAUDIBLE)?

WARREN: Well, no, you know, I've thought a lot about it and I think in every case people were looking for hope. They're looking for hope and when Amber Frey gave this copy to, you know, to Scott Peterson and she had written in it, you know, "Purpose-Driven Life, you need to read this. It will help you out." And when in the Aruba case and in Ashley Smith's case, in all three instances, people are looking for hope and this is a book about hope.

KING: Yes, it is.


KING: How come so many people don't have -- isn't it true that facts...


KING: Look at the world. I could make a case for not having hope.


KING: Strong case for pessimism.

WARREN: Well, you could make a -- you could make a strong case for fear too. When you think about all that's happened this year, think about, you know, the tsunami and Katrina and terrorism and the war in Iraq and the economy developing pretty good but it didn't for a long time, so there's a lot of fear I think in the world.

I think, you know, this is Christmastime. It's interesting that the angels came and they said, "Fear not." The very first thing they said was "Fear not." Don't be afraid.

KING: That's a smart thing to say to people.

WARREN: Well, yes, you know, if an angel appeared to me they'd need to say it to me too. It would probably scare me to death. But it's fear that enslaves us. I say fear, F-E-A-R, is False Evidence Appearing Real.

KING: The late Edward Bennett Williams, a brilliant attorney, one of the smartest men I ever knew, a devout Catholic, used to talk a lot. We'd spend a lot of time together. And I said to him once, "Ed, you're a pessimist." He said, "Of course I'm a pessimist. I'm bright." Isn't it logical?


KING: With all the things you just mentioned why be an optimist?

WARREN: Well, if I didn't have faith in God I would be a pessimist.

KING: Why do you have faith in God?

WARREN: Well, I have faith in God for -- because I see two tracks in life. I used to think life was like hills and valleys that you have a high point and you have a low point, a high point and a low point. I really don't believe that anymore.

What I found is it's like two rails on a train track that there are always good things in your life going on and there are always bad things in your life going on at the exact same time and no matter how bad things are there's something I could thank God for. And, no matter how good things are there's something I need to work on. And so, you don't focus on either track. You focus on the goal.

KING: More with Rick Warren, the book "The Purpose-Driven Life," keeps on selling right?

WARREN: Yes, it does.

KING: By the way, he gives away 90 percent of the money he makes, correct?

WARREN: Yes, yes.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Rick and Kay are two of the many U.S. citizens who work with Africans to provide treatment and services to men and women living with HIV AIDS and to children orphaned by AIDS.



KING: I'm going to hopscotch a lot of issues with Rick Warren. Back to AIDS and the gay community, you know there are some gay activists who are wary of this sudden evangelical interest in AIDS is the desire to change their sexual preference.


KING: Is it?

WARREN: You know, I actually invited one of the...

KING: It seems hard to do.

WARREN: of the co-founders of Act Up, actually invited him and paid his way to come to the conference. And, I said, "I want you to just check this out." He's not a Christian. I said, "Just come and check us out because I think we deserve the skepticism" and I think he heard me say it's not a sin to be sick.

Now people ask me all the time what do you think about homosexuality, OK? Well, I don't approach it -- I approach it like this. When you look at a female body and you look at a male body it seems that naturally certain parts go together.

KING: It seems that way, therefore how do you explain why someone is homosexual?

WARREN: I don't explain it. I don't explain it.

KING: Well, then that doesn't suffice.

WARREN: Well, and...

KING: Do you know why women, why you like women, just because the body is shaped differently?

WARREN: Oh, no, I'm sure I know why I like women.

KING: You do?

WARREN: I think -- I think I was wired by God to like women. I think they...

KING: So, what did he do to the gay person, God?

WARREN: I don't know that God did that. I really don't.

KING: You mean he did it to you but he didn't do it to them?

WARREN: You know, Larry, we all have instincts and we all have urges and we all have desires. That doesn't necessarily mean that I fulfill all of them. In other words, as a heterosexual man I might desire to have sex with 100 women. That doesn't mean I do it because that wouldn't be the right thing.

KING: All right, but if you desire another man and you're a man and you're an adult, who are you harming if the two of you agree and it's your life?


KING: It's not Rick Warren's life or Larry King's life. It's their life.

WARREN: Well, again, I would just say I think to me the issue is, is it natural? Is it the natural thing? I mean here's an interesting thing I have to ask. How can you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and homosexuality at the same time? Now think about this.

If Darwin was right, which is survival of the fittest then homosexuality would be a recessive gene because it doesn't reproduce and you would think that over thousands of years that homosexuality would work itself out of the gene pool.

KING: So, we take the reverse. The creator then approves of it.

WARREN: Well, I believe...

KING: Darwin's wrong. The creator is right. Gays are right.

WARREN: Yes well, of course, I believe that God created one man for one woman for life. A lot of the problems -- as a pastor I've notice that when God gives certain rules they're really for our benefit. They're not because God's capricious or just "I think that I'm going to make your life miserable."

I think they're always for our benefit and when I do certain things God's way I have fewer broken hearts. I have less STDs. I have -- and I'm not just talking about sex. I'm talking about if I followed God's will about the right things about eating, I wouldn't be fat and overweight. I wouldn't, you know, and I -- people say well there are lots of sins. Of course there are. And to me the greatest sin is pride. The Bible tells us that pride is what Satan got kicked out of heaven and so we're all in the same boat.

KING: All right. You used the word natural.


KING: Define it. For example, is it natural to like bananas? I like them. You may not.

WARREN: Yes. KING: Peanut butter, I love peanut butter. I know, I had a daughter, my daughter Chaia never liked peanut butter. Is that natural?

WARREN: No, I think the difference is do you like food or not, not what flavor of food because you can't live without food. Now you can live without sex. It's possible. Lots of people do. So, I wouldn't even put it in the same category. A lot of people live without sex. It's not an essential for life.

KING: As a bright man there have to be times you doubt. You have to. The world would make you doubt.

WARREN: Oh, sure.

KING: But you don't know. You don't know, know.

WARREN: Right.

KING: Right?

WARREN: Right. I think, you know, of course I've been a follower of Jesus Christ for many, many years and I still read the Bible and all the things and go what in the world did God mean by that? Why did he do that?

And, there are some things I doubt. I don't know why God did it, kind of like I finally figured out if I could figure out God, he wouldn't be much of a God. It's kind of like an ant trying to figure out the Internet. I don't think I've got the brain capacity to know why everything happens, in fact...

KING: Then why believe it all?

WARREN: Well, there are a number of reasons for belief. First, there is purpose in life. The alternative to belief is despair really. If there is no God, OK, if there is no God, you know, I'm betting my life that there's a God but a lot of people are betting their life there isn't, if there is no God...

KING: We're all going to find out, no? If there is no God you're never going to find out.

WARREN: I'm not going to find out that's right.

KING: You're going to die and not know.

WARREN: My question is if you're going to bet your life that there isn't a God that's a pretty big bet. I'm betting that there is a God because of several things. First, I looked around in the world and I see order in that Einstein once said the more we understand the universe the more it looks like one great thought.

And, even this whole idea of intelligent design, which aren't necessarily particularly people who happen to be Christians or people of faith, they're just saying the more we understand the universe, for instance the earth tilts on its axis at just the right amount so that if it tilted too much this way we'd freeze. If it tilted too much this way, we'd burn up.

If I'm walking down the street and I see a rock out of place I might say that's an accident. But, if I'm walking through a mountain and all of a sudden I see a Rolex, I'm not going to say that's an accident. I'm going to say that's evidence of some kind of design.

KING: Then, of course, Rick, who designed the designer?

WARREN: Well, again, I think God is not limited by space.

KING: There's no beginning.

WARREN: No, God -- well, time is relative and even -- even Einstein pointed this out. The reason we think of time is we're on a planet that circles around a sun and gives us 24 hour days.

What if you weren't rotating? OK, our whole concept of time is based on we're in a three-dimensional world. So, God is beyond those dimensions and so that's why it's easy for God to see the past, the present and the future all at once.

KING: So, he knows the future?

WARREN: Oh, without a doubt.

KING: Then how do you have free will?

WARREN: Well, I describe it like this. You ask such great questions, Larry. That's why I love to come on this show. I mean you really ask good questions. It's like this. If you and I got on a boat, a cruise and we're going from New York City to London, OK, on that cruise we could have a lot of freedom.

I mean we might get drunk one night. We might go to bed early one night. We might go fishing. We might, you know, you could have 1,000 different things you might do, stay up for the midnight buffet.

So, you have freedom on the cruise but inevitably the cruise is going to London and you're not going to stop it by anything you're doing. And so, in history, history is moving toward a climax. We don't know when that's going to be. I don't know when it's going to be and anybody who tells you, you can know they're wrong because Jesus said, "Nobody knows the time or the day."

KING: Let me get a break. We'll come right back with Rick Warren. We're going to be including your phone calls. Don't go away.


WARREN: You're going to have to take some financial risks in life. You're going to have to take some relational risks, career risks, educational risks. You got to take risks as a parent, as a person, as a partner, as a professional and you need to take them wisely. God doesn't want you making stupid risks but he wants you to take wise risks where you learn to trust him.



KING: Before we talk about Rick Warren's peace plan are you a fundamentalist?

WARREN: No. Actually, many journalists misunderstand the religious right is not a fundamentalist and a fundamentalist is not an evangelical. There are all kinds of fundamentalists, Larry, and they're all based on fear. There are Christian fundamentalists. There are Muslim...

KING: Watch out or I'll get you.

WARREN: Yes. There are Muslim fundamentalists. I've met some Jewish fundamentalists.

KING: You bet.

WARREN: You know what there are secular fundamentalists. Secular fundamentalists they're all -- all kinds of fundamentalists are based on fear and secular fundamentalists are afraid of God, like this recent thing about turning the Christmas tree into the holiday tree.

It's like, oh come on, get a life. Does anybody think anybody is ever going to convert to anything because we call it the Christmas tree? I mean it's like does anybody -- is anybody going to convert because we put "In God We Trust" on our money or "Under God"? That's -- those are such silly issues.

When I go to Thailand, it doesn't bother me when I see Buddhas out in front of their capital. It was founded by a bunch of Buddhists. When I go to Saudi Arabia, it doesn't bother me when I see a crescent on their (INAUDIBLE).

KING: So, what are you? You're not a fundamentalist. You're an evangelical.

WARREN: I'm an evangelical, yes.

KING: Meaning you preach the gospel.

WARREN: Evangelicals would say three things. Evangelical comes from the Greek word which means good news. Evangel means good news. And, I believe that the Bible is the word of God. I believe that Jesus is who he said he was and I believe I should share the good news with other people. I do not believe in coercion. I believe in conversion. If you have to force it, it's not conversion.

KING: Now you have a peace plan. You're wearing a band for it.


KING: For five global goliaths.


KING: They are spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases and illiteracy and education. Now, how does it work? What do you do?

WARREN: I was actually in Africa one time, actually it was a number of years ago and I began thinking what are the biggest problems in the world that everybody has failed to solve?

The U.N. has failed. The United Nations has failed. Multi corporations have failed. And, having trained so many thousands of pastors in about 162 countries, traveled a lot, I kept seeing these same five things come up, spiritual emptiness, people don't know they have a purpose; lack of leadership; egocentric leadership, who think that the...

KING: I'm right and you're wrong.

WARREN: Yes, I'm right, you're wrong. There are little Saddams everywhere, particularly in homeowners associations. You give a guy a little bit of power and they turn into Stalin.

KING: Or meter maids.

WARREN: Or meter maids. The less important the job the more power they think they have and poverty, half the world lives on less than $2 a day, disease and the thing that most of the diseases we know about we solved in the 19th and 20th Centuries we found the cure or at least how to prevent, and this is the 21st Century.

For instance this year, Larry, 300 million people will get malaria. Well, good night. That was the problem we figured out in Teddy Roosevelt's administration, you know, in the Panama Canal.

It takes quinine water and a little DDT and a bed net and remove the water. It's not rocket science. We don't have the leaders who have the courage and the conviction and the compassion to say (INAUDIBLE).

KING: And what does your organization do?

WARREN: Well, what we're doing is we're saying, and I recently spoke at the Global Health Summit sponsored by "Time," and I told them, I said the reason why it's not working, the solution is, is we only have two to three sectors mobilized.

There's the public sector, government. There's a private sector, business. And there's the faith sector, churches. Each of these are needed to handle these five giant problems and each of them has something the other doesn't.

Government has the ability to set agendas and to give permission and there are some countries I can go into they're easy to work in and others are very difficult to work in. They can make it hard or easy for you. Business has capital and has expertise. But, churches have two things the neither government nor business will ever have.

Number one, we have universal distribution. There's a church in every village of the world. I mean the church was global 200 years before anybody started thinking of globalization. I can take you to millions of places that don't have anything but a church. They're the only civil service society there.

And, the second thing churches have is this enormous pool of volunteers, 2.1 billion people, if you just mobilized a few of them that would be a lot. So, I began to say we need to figure out a way to work together and I have two goals in my life.

One is a reformation of the church in America and the other is a return of civility to society when people who disagree can still get along and like each other even if they disagree.

KING: You sound like a Mormon.

WARREN: I'm not a Mormon.

KING: But that's what the Mormons preach about.

WARREN: Really?

KING: They help each other. They have evangelicals. They send their...

WARREN: Send people out.

KING: ...young people out around the world.


KING: And they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

WARREN: Well, the Catholics, of course, have been doing it for 2,000 years and the Protestants have been doing it for 500.

KING: Billy Graham, one of your heroes...

WARREN: One of my mentors.

KING: ...told me once he failed. The world is still pretty bad off.


KING: Do you think you're failing?

WARREN: I think we do the best we can. I really do. My satisfaction doesn't come from what I do. My satisfaction comes from the fact that I know who I am. I was made by God. I have a purpose in life and that life purpose outlasts this life.

KING: We're going to take a break and when we come back your calls for Rick Warren, "The Purpose-Driven Life," one of the major best sellers ever, the subtitle "What on Earth am I Here For," over 20 million sold worldwide. We'll go to your calls right after this.


WARREN: They've got a surgery ward. The amazing thing, I don't know if you picked this up, there's no water here.


WARREN: There's no power or water at the clinic simply because nobody has ever connected it down to the clinic, so one of the things we're going to do with the peace plan is figure out how to connect that to this church-based clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants you to learn everything you can learn and God wants that for you (INAUDIBLE).



KING: One of our favorite guests, the founding pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, he's Rick Warren, author of the number one "New York Times" best seller "The Purpose Driven Life."

Let's go to some calls.

Gimli, Manitoba, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Mr. Warren. It's a pleasure to be speaking to you tonight. My question is, is everyone a child of God, even if we belong to different faiths, like Judaism, and Buddhism, are we all children of God?

WARREN: I think we're all created by God. There's no doubt in my mind. We're all creatures of God. I think to be a child of God, you have to choose to be a part of a family.

It's kind of like this. When I was born, I automatically became a part of the human race. I didn't have a choice. I was being born. I automatically became a part of it.

But I didn't become a part of a specific family until somebody chose to take me home with them, and I became part of that family, and I think God says, in fact, he makes very clear in the Bible, you want to be my child, I'll take anybody who chooses me.

KING: Does God love you if you don't believe in Christ?

WARREN: God loves everybody. There's no doubt about that. He'll never stop loving you.

KING: Edmonton, Alberta, hello.

CALLER: Hi there.


CALLER: I'd like to say Rick, I think you're truly an amazing person, and I'm reading your book right now.


CALLER: And I wanted to say that I'm on day 39 of the book.

WARREN: Wow. You're almost at the end.

CALLER: And I'm just wondering, my question is, when is the book -- like I noticed, while I've been reading the book that it's made me more aware of things around me, and my surroundings, and when I go out and just little incidents, like little things that happen, how I was like meant to be there for that reason or to whatever it is.


CALLER: But what is the true purpose, like you say in your book, you know, you can look at the world and be distressed and look within, you'll be depressed, but if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest. Like how do you get to that point, like how do you get there?

WARREN: It's more a matter of trusting, rather than trying. See, the difference between Christianity and other religions, other faiths can be summed up in the difference between the word do, and the word done.

All religions have their list of to-do, even Christianity has this list of you do these things, but you don't get God's approval by the things do you.

When Jesus Christ was dying on the cross, he said, it is finished. he didn't say I'm finished. He said it's finished. What did it mean? He had paid for all of the things that I had done wrong.

KING: You weren't born yet.

WARREN: I wasn't even born yet.

KING: So how could you have done something wrong?

WARREN: Well, he knew what I was going to do.

That's because God knows in advance. And so he was dying for me, even in advance, and that's why I believe those who were here on earth before Christ looked forward to his benefits, the coming Messiah.

And this is a good question I'd like to just say about, what is the place of Judaism in the whole scheme of things? God chose the Jews, as God's chosen people. Now why are they chosen? Were they better-liked by God? Were they more important than other people?

No, God chose them for three reasons. Number one, to give us the knowledge of the law.

KING: Torah.

WARREN: The torah.

Number two, is to give us the knowledge of God, that there is a God that exists.

And number three, as a Christian I believe, was to give us the Messiah.

I have known many people who believe in the Messiah of Jesus, regardless of what religion they are, because they believe in him. It's about a relationship, not a religion. You've heard this many times.

KING: Why hasn't he come back?

WARREN: The Bible says Jesus Christ does not come back because he's being patient. That he is being patient--he wants everybody to have a chance to hear the good news and respond.

You know, God could have made us all puppets. You know, we'd all just be like marionettes and we pray six times a day and we all do the right thing, but that's not real love. You can only love if you have the choice not to love.

KING: Is God a he?

WARREN: I believe he is.

KING: A he? Male.

WARREN: Well, the Bible says that God refers to God as a he, so I'm going to refer to God as a he. That is what he chose, but he is clearly more than just a he because the Bible says he made man male and female in his image.

So they are male attributes of God and there are female attributes of God.

KING: Sounds homosexual. Sorry for bringing it up.

WARREN: No, I'm not going down that path.

KING: Wouldn't that be a story?

WARREN: No, no, not going down that path.

KING: We'll be back with more calls for Rick Warren. Don't go away.


WARREN: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Notice, it is not just believe in your heart, it is speak with your mouth. God says faith comes when you state it.



KING: We're back with Rick Warren. Donald Trump in a little while.

And we go to Mission Viejo, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Rick nice to talk to you. I just wanted to make a comment quickly. I have pastored here in the same city with you for 20 years, and it has been a real thrill. And you've been a great example to the Christian faith.

Hey, listen, when you gave back your salary to the church, I'm sure unintentionally, but I trust the ideal that for pastors who don't have the opportunity to maybe write a best seller, what is the value of a church being responsible and a pastor's right to be able to live the gospel?

WARREN: That's a good question.

And actually, first Corinthians, chapter nine, says you ought to pay your priest or your pastor, or your minister. In fact, it says the workman is worthy of his hire.

And I know, I've never met a minister honestly in my life who does it for money. If you wanted to make money there's a whole lot easier ways than being a pastor.

It's a 24-hour a day job, as you know, and I think pastors are some of the most underappreciated, undervalued and actually underpaid people in our society for the amount of work they do.

Think about this. Who else in our society gets undivided attention all the time to lead minister, care for, through every stage of life?

KING: Houston, hello. Houston, hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes, go ahead.


KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: You want me to talk?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: How are do you doing?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: OK. I'm calling you from Houston and you have a great show. Happy Hanukkah to you. I'm Jewish faith.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And I would like to tell Rick Warren that I am right now reading his book. Unfortunately, I'm not able to read more than one chapter at a time.

WARREN: That's how you do it.

CALLER: That's right, but I just wanted to know one question. How did you get a turning point to get your purpose-driven life?

KING: What happened to you?

WARREN: I think it wasn't one turning point. I think over a period of time, as I began to study the Bible over and over, I kept seeing this concept that you are not an accident, that there are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. There are illegitimate parents, but there are no illegitimate children.

In other words, your parents may not have planned you, but God did. And honestly, it really doesn't matter whether your parents were good or bad or indifferent. The fact is the reason they were your parents is God chose them because they had just the right DNA that would create you.

And God was more interested in making you than he was in their parenting skills, so they might have been terrible parents or they might have even abandoned you, and that concept that you're not an accident, you're made to last forever, you were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life doesn't make sense.

KING: How do you deal with it when you know, he made Adolph Hitler, because you just said he made all the children.

WARREN: Larry, the greatest blessings in our lives and the greatest curse is the same thing, it's this free will that we have. It's a great blessing because it gives me lots of freedom to do what I want to do. I can choose to do things.

The bad part of it is, I often choose to do dumb stuff. And I choose to hurt people sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally. Some people take their free will like Hitler did and they destroy millions of people, destroy all of those 6 million killed in the Holocaust.

KING: And God could have prevented it.

WARREN: God could have prevented it, and the way he would have prevented it would be take away the free will of humanity.

KING: What if it was just Hitler?

WARREN: Well, if he just takes away--if he's going to take away every time we make a bad decision then that's going to take away all my free will.

KING: That's more than a bad decision, that's 6 million people.

WARREN: Six million people, and we don't downplay it.

Where was God when that was happening? He was weeping. I think people need to understand that not everything that happens on this planet is God's will.

In other words, part of it, in that God has -- God ultimately, as we talked about the ship is going to the other row, going to the other side of things. That's going there, but during the cruise, people are making all kinds of decisions and God says you shouldn't have done that.

I could go out there and get drunk and kill somebody and that wouldn't be God's will.

KING: Los Angeles, hello. Los Angeles, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, hello. Your program is always very interesting.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And I want to ask a question from Rick, and that is that according to the Old Testament, Moses is the greatest prophet that ever lived. How come Jesus is not the son of Moses than the son of David?

WARREN: Well, because David was a king, and Jesus was not a prophet. He came in the kingly line, not the prophetic line, and in fact, the genealogies that go through the New Testament took him to be a leader and a king and a Messiah, not a prophet.

KING: Let's check in with our man, Anderson Cooper, who will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour.

What tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thanks very much.

Yes, we're working on a number of stories. We're really trying to look at what happened in New Orleans Memorial Hospital on the days after Hurricane Katrina.

The question is, were patients euthanized, murdered by medical staff? We're getting new information into the investigation. Tonight we'll take you inside a forensics lab and show you how doctors are trying to trace that kind of crime. It is fascinating stuff. Also the Church of Scientology and their secret compound in New Mexico. There's a secret vault out there that allegedly holds the religious writings of the founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Let's take a look at those mysterious symbols carved into the desert outside the compound. We'll try to find out exactly what they mean tonight on "360"--Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. We will look forward to that at the top of the hour. We'll have a few more minutes with Rick Warren and then check in with Donald Trump and one of last night's losers. Don't go away.


WARREN: And so let me ask you, tell me how I can help you. Tell me from your perspective, what's needed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ain't got nobody by myself, and I could get on the sidewalk.

WARREN: And we don't know the future, but we know you hold it so we trust you and we ask you to just work a miracle in Jesus's name, amen.




KING: A few more minutes with Rick Warren. In this commercial world, what's Christmas mean?

WARREN: Well, the purpose of Christmas is two-fold.

First, Jesus came to show us what God's really like. There are a lot of things we know about God just by looking at the world. We know God's organized, you look at the universe. We know God's powerful. We know God likes variety. You can just look around.

But there are some things we wouldn't know about God without Jesus that God is loving, that God is forgiving, that God is generous, that God has a plan for our lives.

The second thing is he said, I sent you a savior. If we needed, if our greatest need was education he would have sent us a teacher. If our greatest need was finances he would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need was health, he would have sent a doctor.

But he sent us a savior because our greatest need is forgiveness. Now, you know, with Christmas we have the spirit of giving. And Larry you are always teasing me about my Hawaiian shirts. I want you to know bought you a Hawaiian shirt for Christmas.

That's your Christmas gift. I don't think you'll ever wear it.

KING: You got a good bet there.

WARREN: You've ridiculed me ruthlessly on my Hawaiian shirts. But I do want the people to know...

KING: I'll take this to Hawaii.

WARREN: You have a spirit of giving. We had a deal where Samaritan's Purse found some kids and who needed heart surgery in China. And we brought them to Saddleback, and your foundation paid for their...

KING: There they are.

WARREN: There they are. There are the boys. And those boys are living today because of your generosity and so I say Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you.

KING: So Christmas is giving?

WARREN: Christmas is all about giving. God gave the first Christmas gift in giving us his son.

KING: He gave us you, too, Rick.

WARREN: Thank you.

KING: Rick Warren. The book, "The Purpose-Driven Life." It has sold over 20 million copies.

As we go to break, Donald Trump will be joining us on the phone, and joining us from our studios in New York is Alla Wartenberg, the former "Apprentice" competitor. She was eliminated last night in the most watched "Apprentice" of the year. And why Donald asked her to leave is beyond me, but we'll find out right after this.


KING: Welcome back. Joining us by phone is my dear friend, Donald Trump, the real estate mogul, entrepreneur, "New York Times" best selling author, star and executive producer of NBC's "The Apprentice." Donald will be with us in person on camera the night of Friday, January 6th. We'll both be together in New York at our New York studios.

Now is Alla Wartenberg, the former "Apprentice" competitor, one of two people fired in last night's episode. She's a self-made multimillionaire. Why, Donald, did you let Alla go?

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, "APPRENTICE": Well, I have to start by saying she really was fantastic in so many ways, and she did a great job during the entire run. She had a very, very hard time being led, and I think Alla knows that. And sometimes to be a leader, to be a really great leader, you also have to be able to be led when it's your time, and she had a little bit of a hard time with that. And Alla, I hope you agree with that. ALLA WARTENBERG, FORMER "APPRENTICE" CONTESTANT: I do agree with that, Mr. Trump. I take full responsibility. I need to let go of control sometimes.

TRUMP: But you are fantastic. And Larry, this is going to be a very, very successful woman. She already is, by the way, but...

KING: You're a self-made millionaire, Alla. Why did you even go on "The Apprentice?"

WARTENBERG: Honestly, "Apprentice" is such an amazing phenomena, and I'm a huge fan, like, you know, lots -- millions of people out there, so it was a great challenge for me. I just wanted to do it to prove to myself that I could get the job, that I could compete against the best of the best in the country. As you know, there's a million people that applied for the job, and I was lucky enough to be one of the 18 contestants that were chosen.

So it's just an amazing, amazing experience, one I'm so happy that I did.

KING: Donald, you say that a successful person has to know how to be led. Were you ever led?

TRUMP: No, I never was. It's really terrible. Isn't it terrible when you're such a hypocrite, Larry? I mean, here I fire Alla, and I have the same problem that she has, right? So it's one of those little problems. So Alla, don't worry about it.

WARTENBERG: I'm not going to. If you tell me not to, I'll stay the way I am. It's worked for me so far.

TRUMP: I think you're terrific, I think you're terrific the way -- and she's got -- she has some interesting life, Larry. You know that, right?

KING: You were a stripper. What did you do, where did you make your money, Alla?

WARTENBERG: Right now I own a chain of salons and spas called Dolphin Court Salons and Spas in Las Vegas. So that's my primary business. I also heavily invest in land, in commercial buildings, a lot of real estate, and salons and spas.

TRUMP: Larry, I hear they're going to make a movie, a major movie on Alla's life, too. I mean, her life has been amazing.

KING: Donald, do you get what you would call successful people who try to get on?

TRUMP: A lot of successful people. I mean, we've had people worth in some cases up to $20 million that tried to get on, and you know, some of them actually came on the show. We've had some people that were very rich. In fact, Alla's quite rich, but in some cases they make it; in some cases they don't.

KING: How well have the winners done?

TRUMP: The winners have done great. You know, Bill Rancic has been terrific, and all of the winners have really, really been excellent. Kelly is a workhorse. She doesn't stop. And Kendra, you know, and I are building a house in Palm Beach and I'm going to put a price tag on it of $125 million. It's right on the ocean, in Palm Beach. It has to be as good a location as I've ever seen. It's going to be the most expensive house anywhere in the world, and have Kendra in charge of selling it.

KING: Alla, what was the experience like for you?

WARTENBERG: Honestly, I don't think I can even express in words how intense of an experience it was. I think leaving the show -- doesn't matter how well you do -- you know, I was fired. I took like the number three spot or whatnot, but anybody who does the show literally gains so much from it. It's intense. It allows you to kind of tap into your creative side that you perhaps have never had a chance to explore. It allows you to get so many different opportunities to work with so many amazing people, to me the most amazing Fortune 500 companies and executives. I mean, it's an opportunity of a lifetime. I cannot say enough great things about it.

I'm very, very happy I did the show, and I think it's a phenomenon, like you heard, we had the highest ratings, and I think the show will keep going and going. It's really something that America just loves to watch.

KING: The finale will be live on December 15th. The finals are Randall and Rebecca. Do you have a favorite among those two, Alla?

WARTENBERG: Absolutely. I am a Randall fan all the way. I think he deserves to be there more than anyone else, and my hat goes off to him. He is just an amazing, really, really educated, charismatic, good-hearted person that is worthy of the job to work for Donald Trump. I think he is great.

KING: Donald, the sixth cycle, we understand, will be shot in and around L.A. Why?

TRUMP: Well, it was an idea that Mark Burnett and I had, along with NBC, and as you're hearing, the ratings have been really extraordinary, continue to be extraordinary. You know, Larry, I fired 89 people, and we just can't kill the ratings, so what are you going to do? And Mark thought and I thought that it might be a little different. You know, takes about six weeks to shoot, so essentially I'll be living in Los Angeles for six weeks. I'm building a big golf course and a big housing development.

KING: I know.

TRUMP: In Los Angeles, so it's you know, I will be able to focus totally on that for six weeks.

KING: So after you're with us in New York on January 6th, we'll see you out here a lot. TRUMP: Yeah, probably. I'll be able to do your show from California for a change.

KING: Are you sorry you criticized Martha Stewart?

TRUMP: I didn't criticize. You keep saying that. You know, every night...

KING: I only know what I read.

TRUMP: I never -- what you read? I mean, where did you read it? I never criticized Martha. Her show did not do well. There's nothing we can do about that. She's a friend of mine. I love Martha. She's a very good friend of mine, Larry, and I never criticized her.

KING: I know. She said it when she was on. I'm glad you cleared it up, and she said she loves you.

TRUMP: I think Martha is terrific. She's the best, and I love her. But I never criticized her. I mean, her show obviously didn't do well. If the show doesn't do well, it's very simple, it's in the ratings. But I would never criticize Martha.

KING: I'm glad you cleared it up.

TRUMP: I'm glad you brought it up again.

KING: We'll see you on January 6th.

TRUMP: I look forward to it. And, Alla, keep up the good work. I will see you very soon.

WARTENBERG: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

KING: Alla, continued success. There's no doubt you're going to make it, Alla.

WARTENBERG: I already have. I feel like a winner just being on this show.

KING: Donald Trump and Alla Wartenberg. And don't forget, the finals, the two finalists, that will be live on December 15th.

Tomorrow night, we'll repeat our show, tribute to the late James Dean. And Sunday night, Jerry Seinfeld and the aforementioned Martha Stewart.

Right now, it's time to turn the podium, if that's the correct word -- podium -- to Anderson Cooper. He's going to host "AC 360," and there's still stories out in New Orleans, right?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": There certainly are. Every night, we're keeping on that story. We don't want people to forget. Larry, thanks very much.