I have had this book on my shelf for a while now and just felt the urge to read it this past week. There are several people who God has used to inspire me in my life and ministry and Dr. Jerry Falwell is one of them. The first knowledge I had of Jerry was hearing The Old Time Gospel Hour and getting one of the Faith Partner Bibles. From there I eventually enrolled in the Liberty Home Bible Institute which is a two-year Bible course that is non accredited. It took me more than two years to complete it but I eventually did. Somewhere along the line I read his book “Strength for the Journey” and through that book I found motivation to do great things for God. It was there I first read about Thomas Road Baptist Church starting in a Donald Duck Orange Juice Factory with 35 people and growing to thousands. It was in that book where I learned of Jerry’s commitment to knock on 100 doors a day until he covered Lynchburg. Jerry had a dream to take his city for Christ.
I became interested in earning my college degree in early 2000 and graduated from Liberty University in 2004 with a BS in Religion. Dr. Falwell handed me the Diploma I had earned from a great university. I remember walking through the parking lot of Liberty and being startled by a vehicle that ran up to me rather quickly and when I turned around it was Jerry and he was laughing boisterously because he had startled me.
I ran a children’s home in Virginia for 5 years and Dr. Falwell came to Hillsville and spoke at our banquet. It was during that time that I met the man for who he really was. I had the honor of having dinner with Jerry that evening and hearing stories about what God was doing in his life and he was genuinely interested in what was happening in my life.
I know a lot of people didn’t like Dr. Falwell and I know that a lot of people didn’t understand him but I knew him and I loved the man and I loved the work he did for the Kingdom of God. I wouldn’t say that I agreed with all that he ever said and did, as a matter of fact we didn’t see eye to eye on some things. I always joked that he had a Methodist in a Baptist college but that honestly didn’t bother Dr. Falwell, he really loved all people. I truly believe his one goal was to build the Kingdom of God and if he had felt he could have done that best under another banner other than Baptist he would have done so. I honestly don’t believe the denomination had much to do with what Dr. Falwell accomplished in life.
The book is written by Dr. Falwell’s wife Macel Falwell and is about their life together in ministry. You can feel the love that was shared between Jerry and Macel in every word that is written in the book. I was touched most by the stories that are told about his time spent with family. The fact that he always put his family first, that he worked very hard and made sure that overall he was present with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Dr. Falwell had a great sense of humor, a great faith in God, a HUGE work ethic, and a Pastor’s heart. It is amazing the ability he had to lead a mega church while also leading the largest evangelical university in the Country.
Here are a few meaningful quotes that I have taken from the book.
Speaking of when Jerry first met the Lord. “Jerry wanted a Bible of his own, one he could study and underline.”
Everybody starts at the same place!
Early in Jerry’s ministry when they were starting out in the Donald Duck Orange Juice Factory, this happened.
“Hello, Jerry said to the man who opened the door, my name is Jerry Falwell, and I’m pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. We would sure appreciate it if you came by and visited our services.” Well pastor, I would like to go to church but I don’t have any shoes.” Moments later Jerry left the house without any shoes and he made visits the rest of the day in his sock feet. One Sunday not long afterward the man visited Thomas Road and to this day is a faithful member.
“Jerry was convinced that he could never out give God.”
“When Jerry became president of the Moral Majority, he traveled 250,000 to 400,000 miles a year.”
“The real secret of Jerry’s faith was that he refused to focus on the problem. He focused on Jesus.” Elmer Towns
“I might as well have waved a red flag in front of a bull as tell Jerry he couldn’t do something.” Macel Falwell
“Once he made up his mind that God wanted him to do something – anything – it was a good idea to get out of his way.”
There are just too many good things to state them all. Jerry Falwell is a man who I believe followed God as he felt led and he obviously changed the course of a lot of lives by doing so. There is no question in my mind that he was a man of God. No doubt there has been and will be criticism but I rest easy knowing that no woman or man has accomplished what this man did without their critics.
P.S, Buy this book and devour it.