So I just watched a bit of CNN’s “Larry King Live“, for I was still up. Today’s topic was “Christians debate war” – a hot debate, obviously, for religious America.
I only watched the last ten minutes. CNN probably invited a panel able to convey the opinions of most of the wide range of Christian denominations with respect to the possible war in Iraq. Among the panelists was John MacArthur, pastor at the Grace Community Churchin Sun Valley, California, and, according to the the show’s transcript, a syndicated radio host, who told CNN’s viewers that while Jesus loves all of God’s children, Muslims would certainly be condemned to burn in pergatory for eternity. Here’s the the transcript of that part of the show – note that MacArthurs remarks are opposed by Michael Manning, a Roman Catholic priest, and host of the TV show “The Word in the World” –
KING: John MacArthur, you believe that Muslim people, the Islamic people are wrong. Their beliefs are wrong.
MACARTHUR: That’s right. And this is not some personal belief of mine. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”
KING: Yes, but if they don’t believe that…
MACARTHUR: If they don’t believe that, no man comes to the Father but by me.
KING: You must believe that, too, Father.
MANNING: I believe very much that the love of God is strong. Jesus — Jesus loves all people. Jesus died for all people and I can’t imagine…
KING: He died for the Islamic, too?
MANNING: Of course he did. Of course he did. And he loves them with a passion.
KING: You believe that, too, right?
MACARTHUR: Well, I believe God loves his creatures, his creations.
MACARTHUR: But in the end he’s going to condemn to an eternal hell all those who reject his son Jesus Christ.
MANNING: And he rejoices, and Jesus rejoices…
KING: All of them?
MACARTHUR: All who reject his son Jesus Christ, the Bible says, are condemned to eternal punishment.
MANNING: Jesus rejoices when his father is glorified. And when a Muslim or Jew glorifies the father I can’t imagine Jesus coming and saying, Oh, well. When are you going to look at me? The joy of Jesus is the glorification of God.”
I am sure, MacArthur’s is a minority opinion. But given that he has been invited to a CNN panel broadcast not only in the US but almost globally, I doubt that CNN would have risked to invite someone representing a fringe ideology to be perceived as speaking for American Christianity.
So this is scary. I can’t imagine what would happen in Germany had some Christian leader told Muslims via national tv that they are doomed because they’re infidels. Oh wait, I think I know. He would be forced to resign by his own congregation.
The subtle trans-atlantic differences.