Larry King’s Great Tragedy

Posted on January 25, 2021

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By David Ettinger

The Great Question
Television journalist Bryant Gumbel once interviewed Larry King on national television, and one of his questions was: “Larry, if you could meet God and ask Him one question, what would it be?” Mr. King said, “I would ask Him if He has a Son.”

Larry King, the legendary talk-show host, died 2 days ago at the age of 87. Though born and raised Jewish, Mr. King referred to himself as an “agnostic atheist.”

Despite his doubts and disbeliefs, it appears he retained some belief there could be a God who created all things and that this God may have had a Son – which he would understand to be Jesus Christ.

I say this because – and this I greatly admired about Mr. King – when hosting programs on religion, he would invite legitimate, bona fide, evangelical believers, the foremost of whom was John MacArthur.  

I admire Mr. King because this is a rarity for secular TV. I have watched a number of religious-centered shows – particularly on PBS – and found myself getting frustrated that their “Christian” guests were not Christians at all, but unbelieving professors, historians, and heretical pastors.

Mr. King, on the other hand, was a real journalist. Whenever the discussion involved Christianity, he would invite a true believer to defend the faith, and let the audience make their own decision. Other TV shows – again, most notably on PBS – work off the premise that both God and the Christian faith is a sham, and only booked guests who upheld that view.

The Great Tragedy
And in a way, this makes Mr. King’s question about whether or not God has a son, plus calling himself an “agnostic atheist,” that much more tragic.

Because Mr. King engaged with evangelicals – professionally if not personally – I am certain he understood the core elements of the Gospel. My guess is that he had an understanding of the Christian belief that:

  • All human beings are born sinners (Romans 3:23);
  • All human beings are destined for eternal damnation because of it (Roman 6:23);
  • There is nothing human beings can do to save themselves (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • Jesus Christ came to the world to die for the sins of human beings (1 Peter 3:18);
  • And that if human beings accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation by accepting His Lordship, they will spend eternity with Him in Heaven (Luke 23:43; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10).

Mr. King probably didn’t know the verses, but he knew the basic truths.

I say this because he made that amazing statement to Bryant Gumbel: “I would ask Him if He has a Son.” Most “agnostic atheists” would have totally dismissed the issue. Tragically, however, it would appear Mr. King never really investigated the issue, or perhaps he did but came to the conclusion that there either is no God, or that if there is one, he does not have a Son.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that in the waning days of his life Mr. King looked back at his long and honorable career. I hope he recalled the testimonies he heard from such evangelicals as John MacArthur and pondered them, saw the truth in them, and gave His life to Christ.

If he didn’t, it is now too late. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment …” There are no second chances; there is no purgatory. We have THIS life, and THIS life only, to bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

If you are unsure of the reality of God’s Son – the Lord Jesus Christ – then see to the issue quickly while you still have the breath of life in you. As we are told in 2 Corinthians 6:2:

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”!