WASHINGTON – With decades in the spotlight as a performer, TV host, and singer-songwriter, Kathie Lee Gifford has never shied away from speaking openly about her Christian faith. It’s a topic she boldly proclaimed in a recent interview segment with NBC’s Megyn Kelly that quickly went viral – seen by millions.
During a recent book tour swing through Washington, DC, she told CBN News the reaction to her testimony has been phenomenal.
“I just felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit that day on Megyn Kelly’s TV show,” she said, providing background to her Feb. 21 appearance on the “Today” show to discuss the death of the Rev. Billy Graham.
“I’d been sharing the Lord with her on a weekly basis at lunch,” she explained, detailing how the two had been discussing the topic of faith well before Graham's passing. Those conversations set the stage for Gifford to proclaim the Gospel message on Kelly’s program:
“What just happened for Billy, happened for my husband; happened for my mother; for my father. Everybody that dies in Christ goes immediately into the arms of Christ for eternity. That is the hope of the Christian faith,” Gifford said on “Megyn Kelly Today.”
“I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for too many centuries we have been,” she told CBN News. “Jesus said if you are my followers you will be chastised; you will be persecuted; you’ll be hated, but call it all joy!”
Gifford is out with a new book, called The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi, in which she takes her faith and her readers back to the basics, challenging conventional biblical wisdom with simple questions like, “What was Jesus’s occupation before he started his public ministry?”
“Everybody thinks Jesus was a carpenter,” Gifford told CBN News during a book signing at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
“He was not a carpenter. There was no buildable wood in Israel in the first century,” she explained. Gifford used the Greek word “tekton,” translated from Hebrew to offer a more accurate reflection of Christ's occupation, which she told CBN News was more closely aligned with the idea of an “architect” or a “builder.”
“He was a stone mason,” she continued. “So now the scriptures come alive and you go: ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church,’ and, ‘Let you who are without sin cast the first stone,’ and, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’”
This and other revelations are uncovered in her book, which she co-wrote with Rabbi Jason Sobel after many visits to Israel on what she described as rabbinical trips. “I love Israel the land – the Holy Land, where all the stories began,” she said.
“There’s so much in the scriptures that we kind of miss the Bible in high definition when we don’t connect the old and the new, and we talk a lot about that in the book,” added Sobel, Gifford’s co-author.
She told CBN News the writing project reignited her devotion to follow Christ.
“It’s thrilling. It relit a fire in my heart for my faith, because I had become lukewarm,” she explained. “There were too many questions I had about it. Too many things didn’t make sense. And, now, I had come back from these rabbinical tours . . . changed, transformed, learning.”
Gifford also recently completed an I Am Second film project, sharing her testimony and speaking candidly about loneliness. Through it all, she continues to lean on her faith, which gives her hope and joy.
“She’s amazing,” Sobel offered describing what it was like to work with Gifford. “She loves the Lord so much. She’s so bold in her faith.”
“What I love is that she has so much wonder. She just wants to learn, and she just wants to go deeper, and she's a real student of the scriptures,” he added.
“I’m not the least bit interested in religion,” she said. “What I’m interested in is a relationship with the Living God."