If You Were on Larry King Live, What Would You Say?

I laughed out loud when I saw this video of Benny Hinn that was posted over at the First Things blog Evangel:

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But I got to confess, there were some moments that I wanted to punch the air in agreement and sheer joy.  Yes!  Amen!  Even though parts of it hilarious, like the organ music accompanying in places the rising tone of his rant, Benny makes a good point about the Gospel.

The most interesting comments ensue over at Evangel.  But I'm curious.  Watch this video and ask yourself, if you were on Larry King Live or Oprah and you were asked, "Is Jesus the only way to God?", how would you answer?

This is not the same question as "Can people who have never heard of Jesus Christ get to heaven?"   Imagine, you have a platform of hundreds of thousands of listeners or viewers.  Would you preach the Gospel?  Or would you answer like Olsteen did for perhaps pastoral reasons?  Why?

While I would have to trust that the Holy Spirit would guide me at that moment, I hope I would not be ashamed to preach the Gospel, come what may.  Even if people laughed at me the way many people laugh Benny Hinn to scorn.  But this time, I was not laughing out of scorn or derision.  I was laughing because it was so astonishing to hear someone being so frank, so unabashed, so uncompromising, so daring.

Years ago I went to a Benny Hinn rally here in Ottawa.  I found a lot of what he did troubling.  The white suit, the waving his jacket as he was "tossing" the "Spirit"  (I can't bear to write what he said he was doing concerning the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it seems blasphemous) and a whole section of the crowd would faint.  There were crowds of people in wheel chairs and stretchers hoping for a healing.

I spotted a good friend from my Baptist Church there, someone who is a lovely Christian.  I shared with her my misgivings over the loud music and she said, "I know, but the Lord uses him."

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (www.annunciationofthebvm.org) in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

12 thoughts on “If You Were on Larry King Live, What Would You Say?”

  1. "you were asked, “Is Jesus the only way to God?”, how would you answer?"

    I'd answer "Yes."

    Deborah, out of curiosity, did you understand the reasoning behind my comments over at Evangel? It seems that some may not have.

    I'll explain. (BTW, I'm not a Joel Osteen fan. Nor a Benny Hinn fan either). If Joel Osteen is going to get reamed for his answer to the interview question, then Dallas Willard and Billy Graham deserve to get a reaming too. And conversely, if Dallas Willard and Billy Graham get a pass, then Joel Osteen should get a pass too.

    And if you want me to demonstrate this as well, I can also show you that Cardinal Avery Dulles answers in the same way as Osteen, Willard, and Graham.

  2. The Larry King guest sounds like the apologists on EWTN's Open Line and Catholic Answers Radio. None of them can be accused of not being totally orthodox Catholics.

    Basically when confronted with this question they say if you don't know that the Catholic church is the true church and belong you can still get to heaven. As John Martignoni likes to say it's just that your chances of getting to heaven are better being in the Catholic church.

    Perhaps what the pastor told King falls under the baptism of desire teaching of the Catholic church?

  3. I listened to about two thirds of this sermon. May God be praised if this man has brought souls to Christ and a lifetime's Christian commitment.

    For myself, I felt my innards being "twisted" by this show of entertaining speech and something "not quite convincing", at least for me. If I were not a believer, I don't think this would move me to believe. I don't want to be denigrating to something that does good for many people, but I have to say that I found listening to this style of preaching painful, and had to stop.

    One thing it has brought to my mind is the necessity to write about beauty and its power to bring man to truth much more effectively than preaching and apologetics. I think this is something we will have to concentrate on in our Anglican Catholic spirituality.

    In our love for God, and our acceptance of His love, we need to recover a sense of the erotic (I'm not talking about sex, but eros in the old meaning of the Greek word). There is an interplay between eros (love that brings us fulfilment and pleasure) and agapé (the totally selfless love that is the caritas of St Paul) that brings Christ to our whole beings.

    I'll try to develop my thoughts more fully, and write an article over the next few days.

  4. Fr. Anthony, I think that your plans for an article are good, and I'm looking forward to reading it. The best Christian apologetics are certainly the ones that present the beauty of the Christian faith.

    Recently read Eric Mascall's The Christian Universe and was very pleased with how he did this. Lewis and Chesterton were gifted in this area as well. Tolkien did so supremely well, not by writing apologetics as such, but by creating wonderful fantastic worlds that he thought of as portraying a thoroughly Catholic view of life.

    Benny Hinn has indeed, I believe, brought many people to Jesus. I think of what St. Paul said, that he praised God that Christ was being preached, by whomever, whatever their motives. I also think of what TAC Bp. Robert Mercer said in one of his sermons, about how God is the "complete angler" – he knows how to catch every sort of fish, and can use any sort of bait.

  5. I love it how he says, "Who cares about Larry King…" and then the Organ pipes up to emphasize his words! LOL

    Did you know Benny Hinn was raised Greek Orthodox?

  6. BTW, I don't agree with everything Benny Hinn said on this video, by any means. I am not opposed to seeker friendly churches at all, for example, because some people, like I was, need to have that gentle approach.
    And I didn't hear Joel Olsteen and I don't even know who he is, really, so I'm not going to judge what he said on Larry King.

    But someone has got to be out there saying you are a sinner and here's what you need to do to get right with God. Now, it would be nice if that person weren't dressed in a funny suit and giving spiritually sensitive people the creeps. I totally understand Fr. Anthony's sensitivities.

    Thanks for your comments


  7. Yes, Truth Unites and Divides, I understand your reasoning.

    I also understand that our salvation is up to God, and that one is not saved by repeating the Sinner's Prayer as if it is some formula of repeatance.

    We also have to listen carefully to the question that people are really asking. If someone is asking if Jesus is the only way to God, is that in the context of are there many paths to God and everything is relative, we're all heading for the same destination? Is it in the context of–is Jesus the same as Mohammed and Buddha and Krishna and are they all interchangeable and not different from each other at all? Then we have to say, no Jesus is the only Savior.

    If someone is asking a sincere question about the justice of God condemning someone to hell who never had a chance to hear Jesus preached or heard Jesus preached through such a bad example that they were turned off towards Christians—then another answer might be in order. So I don't know the context of Dallas Willard's or Billy Graham's remarks. I know that Billy Graham did preach the Gospel.

    But the problem starts to come in if everyone is being pastoral and then it begins to look like cowardice and being ashamed of the Gospel.

  8. Deborah G.: "But the problem starts to come in if everyone is being pastoral and then it begins to look like cowardice and being ashamed of the Gospel."

    Curious. Is it possible to be so pastoral in an attempt to be "loving" and "sensitive" that the Gospel ends up being hidden, blurred, or obscured? I.e., is it possible to be too pastoral?

  9. When someone asks if Jesus is the only way a, "Yes", may turn them off to whatever Gospel you present after that. Also, we are reminded of how Paul preached by meeting the person where he was and then bring him into the Truth (being fed milk on the way to solid food). I understand this. But, when someone asks the same question on a television or radio show it generally is not as a genuine quest for the truth but a quest for better ratings. I see it more as a, 'Damned if you say yes. Damned if you say no. And double damned if you waffle' situation. In a situation like that I would hope I would choose to be a witness. The listening/viewing public may have their opinion/s of Jesus but, I believe a situation as this falls under the "Who do you say that I am?" category.

  10. Suppose the following happened:

    Larry King: "Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" means that there is no salvation outside the Church, presumably no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. President of Notre Dame (the one who invited Obama to receive an honorary doctorate), do you think that only members of the Roman Catholic Church have salvation?"

    President of Notre Dame: "That's up to God. That's in God's hands. I can't judge them."

    Would the President of Notre Dame be criticized for giving this answer? Why or why not? He's not denied EENS.

  11. Comment #110 from the Anchoress's blog supports Joel Osteen's answer:

    “All I can say is – if and when we get into the next life, we won’t have to worry about meeting Nancy P there.”

    No matter how sacreligious, insulting, distasteful, disgusting (take your pick of adjectives) Pelosi’s statement may be, or how abhorrent her willful twisting of Catholic teaching to serve her own political ends may be… it is also Catholic teaching that one must NEVER, ever, presume anyone to be damned.

    A person may certainly be in serious danger of going to hell — and it is our duty to warn them if that is the case — but in the end, only God knows for certain who, if anyone, ever actually went to hell or who will end up there.

    The Church does formally declare certain people to be in heaven (saints), but has never formally declared any individual to be damned — not even Judas Iscariot, Nero, Hitler, or Stalin. If they don’t make the cut, Nancy Pelosi probably hasn’t made the cut yet either.

    You all have every right to be ticked off at her, and to be disgusted by her actions and comments, and I can understand completely if you have a hard time even saying a prayer for her right now. However — and this can be one of Christ’s hard teachings at times — we must continue to hope and pray for her salvation and to desire it as long as she lives.

    [I second that. No one knows the state of another's soul, or what happens between a soul and Christ in those infinitismal moments before death. I don't like anyone saying someone will not be in heaven…that's Christ's decision. No one else's. -admin]

    So if Benny Hinn or anyone else wants to tear into Joel Osteen for his answer to Larry King, then to be consistent they also need to tear into Dallas Willard, Billy Graham, and Catholic Church teaching.

  12. It is not really a yes or no answer to that question. Joel Olsteen probably gave the best response for it as he didn't have time to go into details or nuances which need to be spelt out when answering such a question. I guess I would have said yes all who get to Heaven do because of who and what jesus is and did but many may get there who didn't understand who and what Jesus was and did in this life but sought to follow goodness and truth and beauty to the best of their understanding in this life. In some mystical manner all those who respond to goodness, truth and beauty are linked to the church as the mystical body of christ and the universal sacrament of salvation.

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