Vanity Fair recently published a lengthy article about Dr. Jerry Falwell that is the most damaging I have read about my longtime friend. His black sheep son Jerry Jr. gave the magazine distorted, duplicitous, and dishonest information about his family.
Dr. Falwell is depicted as a false Fundamentalist seeking to please his hardline Baptist wife! He allegedly pretended to believe general Fundamentalist values to keep peace at home. Thus, Dr. Falwell didn’t really believe the values he preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church and on national television. Moreover, Jerry Sr. knew he could not build a large university espousing liberal or loosey-goosey Evangelical positions, so he assumed biblical or Fundamentalist positions. Therefore, according to his wayward son, Jerry Sr. was a very successful hypocrite.
That is asinine, abominable, and far from accurate. It is also tommyrot, baloney, balderdash, and a very generous portion of hogwash. Moreover, even if it were true, why would a son purposefully try to destroy his father’s reputation? After all, Jerry Sr. gave Junior life, but also a very gracious childhood and when grown, a substantial position and financial security. Junior is not only an ingrate but a perfect example of a religious jerk.
Jerry Sr. was a faithful, strong yet gentle leader of his home, church, and Liberty University, as those who knew him better than I will contend. We know his egg-sucking son is attempting damage control since his life has been out of control for decades. The thought of Jerry Sr. permitting his wife to determine what he preached and to order him around is supercilious.
I believe the article dipped into viciousness and a defamatory attack on Dr. Falwell when it alleged: “Looking back, Jerry said his dad adopted militant stands against drinking and homosexuality to prove to his wife that he would be a conservative Christian. ‘My mother was the only reason my dad became puritanical,’ Jerry said. Jerry said his dad also knew that there was a lucrative market for such beliefs. ‘He became a different person to build a church and a school,’ Jerry said.”
How silly for him to make such a charge that Dr. Falwell taught what he did, not because it was biblical, but to satisfy his wife! Moreover, he became a Fundamentalist not because that is what Christians are supposed to be, but he knew it would be easier to sell than Liberalism or soft Evangelicalism.
First, that is an assessment by a disgraced son who has proved to be a scoundrel, a liar, a fornicator, a drunk, a hypocrite, etc., who is trying to find some redemption, not at the cross of Christ, but in the court of public opinion. Jerry Jr. said that being on the receiving end of Evangelicals’ scorn has turned him away from that movement. He said he believes in Christ, but not the church. But then he has another problem since Christ is head of the church, having died for it. No one can declare to be a Christian and disavow the true church, but the weekly gatherings of many religious people worldwide are another matter. Many of them are poor examples of a failing, cheap, three-ring religious circus.
Most churches are contemptible since falsehood is always repulsive.
Jerry Sr. made some mistakes, as even his beloved church members admit. In 1985, I heard him say, during his original announcement, that his highest goal was to have 50,000 students on Liberty Mountain. Goals are good, but the goal should have been qualified not to compromise to reach his desirable result. That was one of Dr. Falwell’s worse mistakes and some of his future decisions were corrupted by that faulty goal.
Most of my disagreements with Dr. Falwell were with his university decisions and some of his association with religious lunatics. With his supreme goal in mind, he began to appeal to an ever-expanding student pool. Not only Baptists were sought, and not only Baptist professors were hired. The narrow door was expanded to include almost any student, even homosexuals. Moreover, he hired non-Fundamentalist professors with a Ph.D. to satisfy the secular accreditation agency.
It is always organizational suicide when a Christian association permits, for whatever reason, a secular agency to sit in judgment on its purpose, policies, people, or program.
Few church people understand the problem with Christian schools that seek secular accreditation. Accreditation is always deadly to any school, as a cursory look at history will prove. I opposed these major compromises without breaking fellowship with Jerry. He didn’t lose any sleep because we disagreed since his gracious (often too gracious) attitude was very accommodating.
In 1987, he showed an eagerness to meet his goal of 50,000 students when he courted the PTL crowd following the sex scandal involving Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker. He actively sought to do a “friendly” takeover of the PTL Network. The PTL people are fine individuals but not Baptists.
I disagreed later when Liberty became a Southern Baptist-approved school in 1999 which opened the door for conservative Baptists who disapproved of the lethal liberalism in the SBC.
Furthermore, I disagreed with many of the Liberty student rules that were far too loose, in my opinion.
My other differences with Dr. Falwell are debatable. Accepting $3.5 million in 1994 from the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s organization can be hotly debated.
Of course, no one questions Junior’s ability, but it seems everyone questions his discretion, honesty, morality, etc. Jerry admitted to Vanity Fair that he drank a few beers while a student at Liberty and his dad should have expelled him if he was informed.
The Vanity Fair article deals with Junior and his wife Becki’s meeting, mating, and marriage. “They fell in love. Becki dropped out of Liberty after her freshman year and got a waitressing job in Lynchburg. She stayed with Jerry in Charlottesville on her days off.” Jerry was in law school at the University of Virginia.
If words still mean what they used to mean, Jerry Junior was a fornicator while in graduate school at the University of Virginia. His church was obligated to bring him up for disciplinary action to restore him to proper godly living if and when they were aware of his actions. His church failed him and disregarded biblical teaching. His dad was his pastor at the time, and if Jerry did not seek to bring Junior under church discipline, he failed his son in that regard. If Junior had left the church membership, then his dad should have (and possibly tried) to discipline his adult, rebellious son.
Jerry said, “I became a true Christian in college,” but that didn’t mean he had to follow the evangelical rules. “After all, Jesus was a rule breaker too.” Evidently, Jerry did not know Christ kept biblical rules—all of them, but He did disregard some man-made rules.
Jerry is quoted as saying, “Organized religion says you have to earn your way to heaven. What Jesus said was, ‘You just have to believe,’” That is correct as far as it goes. Following one’s personal salvation experience, he is expected to live what he possesses. Jerry Junior never did that. He was a hypocrite while young, a hypocrite in middle age, and probably will die a hypocrite.
Junior is obviously a certified jerk.
The people who refuse to make any judgments will accuse me of being unloving, which is a sin; however, no one knows my motives. Love always deals in truth, never falsehood. Jerry Jr. has proved by his words and lifestyle to be a hypocrite. And frankly, a blatant hypocrite.
Although I hope not, even pray that he does not die in his present condition, that is his decision. He can’t blame that on daddy, and it is a sure thing that he won’t get to Heaven because of his name, lineage, education, baptism, or because he finished the work his father started.
Some of us will question Jerry’s salvation since Christians should live clean, dedicated lives rather than give ammunition for the enemies to use against us. As others, seeking to justify evil actions, Junior will say the Bible records major leaders who did terrible acts, such as King David. However, while David committed adultery, he did not live in adultery, and he came broken-hearted before God and wept copious tears in repentance.
Even if one is stupid enough to discount every other charge against Jerry Jr., he is obviously without discretion, which indicates immaturity. As president of the number one Christian university in the world with student behavior rules, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself with his arm around a pregnant woman with his and her shorts unzipped, and stomach exposed. He was holding what seemed to be an alcoholic drink. Becki and daughter Caroline were horrified and told him to “take it down.” But Jerry “didn’t see the big deal.”
He couldn’t see because he was blind.
Compromising photos that Jerry had taken years earlier showed Becki posing topless on a tractor, but Jerry said, “We were just playing around.” Such an attitude shows shallowness or stupidity or maybe he thought he was special.
Maybe I was wrong to call Jerry a jerk.
Make that a double jerk.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. Boys authored 20 books, the most recent, Reflections of a Lifetime Fundamentalist: No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets! The eBook is available at Amazon.com for $4.99. Other titles at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D., and visit his blog. Send a request to DBoysphd@aol.com for a free subscription to his articles and click here to support his work with a donation.)
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.