Jerry Falwell 1933-2007
Jerry Falwell, the fundamentalist preacher who founded the Moral Majority and helped bring the language and passions of religious conservatives into American politics, died Tuesday, May 15, 2007, shortly after he was found unconscious in his office at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. He was 73 years old.
On my run this morning I listened to “A Tribute To Jerry Falwell” you can listen to it here catalyst_podcast_episode_281
I know a lot of people have a hard time believing that I was a fan of Dr. Falwell but the truth is, Dr, Falwell had one of the biggest impacts on my Christian Life of anyone in the Christian world.
He was one of the only television preachers that I could pick up, we had only networks that we could pick up with an antenna and as a matter of fact, in 2012 this is still all that we have. I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars a year to pick up more channels of trash and even the good stuff just serves to fill our already busy days with too much nonsense. I loved to hear him preach and for a kid who wasn’t raised in church and didn’t get the opportunity to go very often, I was touched by his messages. I have one of the faith partner Bibles that he would offer on the “Old Time Gospel Hour.”
At some point I decided to purchase the “Liberty Home Bible Institute”, it was a two year Bible Study Program that probably took me 10 years to complete but it was worth every penny that I spent. When I ordered this program I received a copy of “Strength for the Journey.” It was in this book that I read the story of Thomas Road Baptist Church and the miraculous work that God had done through a small group of people and turned it into thousands of church members and a Christian University.
I remember reading in the book that Jerry made a commitment when building the church to knock on 100 doors a day in Lynchburg until he had knocked on every one and he did it. One of the statements in the podcast is as follows, “He was out there running and you could either run with him or stay behind.” He wasn’t going to let the naysayers hold him back from accomplishing things for the Lord.
You may not have agreed with Dr. Falwell on very much, I personally loved him and agreed with much of what he did and taught. There were certainly things he did that were controversial and things I would not have went along with but, I believe he was a man who loved God and accomplished so much for the Kingdom of God.
I knew him personally, though not well. Yet what I knew of him was exactly what is communicated in this podcast. I was the recipient of some of those slaps on the back. He was a practical joker and he would just haul off and hit you hard, our oldest son Mike was also on the receiving end of a slap or two. Dr. Falwell came and spoke for me at a fundraising banquet where I served as the director of a Children’s Home. It was mentioned in the podcast that he loved to run up close to people walking in parking lots with his vehicle to scare them, he did this to me the day I graduated from Liberty University in 2004. He was a fun person, a kind person, and someone you would love once you met him. Even Larry Flint, publisher of Hustler Magazine said he was a man who truly cared about everyone.
I learned a lot about passion from Dr. Falwell, I learned a lot about leadership, I learned a lot about God and His love from this passionate preacher. I will never forget the day I heard he had died, my heart was broken and I felt as though I had lost a family member. I still miss him and can’t wait to see him again in Heaven. I pray that God will use me as he used Dr. Jerry Falwell, maybe not in the same way but that I could be as effective at winning people to Christ.
Listen to the podcast and learn a little more about one of the hero’s of the faith in the 20th Century. There is really no way to know the millions of lives Dr. Falwell has and will continue to impact through the work that he did.