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Today’s question: Russell Moore wrote an article on Jerry Falwell addressing hypocrisy. Is this a correct view?
Very good question. Vanity fair magazine published an interview with Jerry Falwell Jr, former President of Liberty University. Then Russell Moore responded to it in the Christianity Today magazine. I gave the links to both, if you are interested to read them.
This whole Jerry Falwell episode shows us what is wrong with evangelicalism today. Let me show you some titbits from Vanityfair interview:
“Falwell told Jerry and Jonathan that he wanted to divide his empire in two.”
Jerry Falwell Sr called his sons Jerry and Jonathan and told them that he wanted to divide his empire in two. Daddy the preacher says he would like to divide his empire. When you are in Lord’s service, you are building a ministry, not an empire. Increasingly, our Christian leaders have been thinking that they are building personal empires for themselves and later for their children.
In the Roman Catholic Church, if you build a ministry, you should leave it to the church, not to your family. Maybe we should learn from them. Christian leaders bring in their children who are not following the Lord wholeheartedly. Yes, Samuel was a great prophet. But his children were not right in the sight of God. So, Jerry Falwell Sr brought in his son and made him the President of Liberty University. Now, what did his son say,
“Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not. My goal was to make them realize I was not my dad”.
So, Jerry says, he is not a religious person. He said that after he and his wife were caught in sin. He never said those words during his heydays at the Liberty. Then he always wanted to project himself as a good Christian leader.
Also, he threw his dad under the bus. His dad made him the head of his ministry even though he is not a religious person. If you are not religious, why did you become the President of Liberty University? Why did you take the job? We can see why. You can get a prestigious job, earn over a million dollars a year in salary, you can use the private jet, you can use the guest houses, you can be friends with governors and Presidents. If you are not a sincere follower of Christ, stay away from Christian institutions.
The article says
“Newly confident in his faith, Jerry decided believing in Christ didn’t mean he had to follow the evangelical rules. After all, Jesus was a rule breaker too. Organized religion says you have to earn your way to heaven. What Jesus said was, ‘You just have to believe,’ ” he said.
This is another most dangerous misconception that took over Christian faith. ‘I just have to believe in Jesus. Then I can live my life as I like.’ That is not true. The Bible emphasizes the importance of holiness in our lives. Sanctification must follow salvation. In fact, sanctification is part of salvation.
Jerry says that he believed in Jesus as his personal Savior. Then he said, ‘people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not.’
This kind of behavior is the product of a false teaching prevalent in our churches today. Many people say this, ‘Yes, I believe in Jesus, but I am not religious’. Believing in Jesus and having a religion are not two different things. Once you put your faith in Christ, you should become religious. You should follow Christ from that moment onwards. You should deny yourself and follow the Lord as His slave. Sadly, today many Christians behave like they are the masters and Christ is their slave. But the truth is, Christ is our master and we are his slaves. You cannot become a Christian without becoming a slave to Christ. You cannot say, ‘I believe in Jesus. But I don’t follow him. I am not a religious person’. This kind of thinking seeped into our churches. That is why we do not see any difference between Christians and non-Christians. You can see how that kind of thinking resulted in the lives of Jerry and his wife. He was watching while his wife was having sex with a pool boy. His wife was recording videos while having sex with her boyfriend. Both say they are Christians, but not religious.
Christian salvation and consecration must go together. A Christian marriage is a sacred union which God limited to only husband and wife. That union should not be shared with anyone else. Polyamory is not biblical. Then, look at their finances.
Corporatization displaced Consecrated Christianity
Falwells were taking loans from Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. Unification Church is a cult group. You should never accept donations from a cult group like that. But, Falwell did not think twice.
Jerry Falwell Sr was impressed how his son rescued Liberty from near bankruptcy and transformed the nonprofit university into a financial powerhouse with more than 100,000 students and a $1.7 billion endowment. Wow. Great. He rescued Liberty from near bankruptcy. 100000 students. 1.7 billion endowment. You see, that is our problem. We are looking for these CEOs who can bring in lots of people and lots of money. We are not looking for the true servants of God. God is not interested in these rescuers. We want these megachurches with celebrity musicians and celebrity pastors. No wonder, our churches are full of sex scandals and financial scandals.
Solomon built a magnificent temple for God. After a few generations, people were not worshiping God in that temple. They were worshiping materialism, money, sex and pagan gods. Israel went into bankruptcy. King Hezekiah was paying the foreign kings from his treasury and from the temple. God did not say, ‘I need someone who can rescue this place from bankruptcy. I need someone who can bring more people to my temple.’ God said, ‘this temple became a house of thieves. I will burn this down. In 586 BC, that is what happened. He is a holy God, a consuming fire.
God brought King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to destroy the temple in Jerusalem. The Israelites returned from captivity. They rebuilt the temple. Down the road, they became spiritually corrupt. Prophets came and warned them. They did not listen. Lord Jesus Christ came and warned them. They did not listen. They crucified and killed the Son of God. Finally what happened. God brought Romans and destroyed his temple.
He is a holy God who will burn his own temples when his people become corrupt and bring their corruption into his house. We forget that truth and bring in individuals like Jerry Falwell Jr into our midst. ‘If you can bring in people and money, we don’t care about your religious faith.’
Jerry Falwell should not have been allowed anywhere near the sacred precincts of a Christian ministry. He said, “I’d be the kid in the back of the auditorium selling my dad’s books and records to people while he preached. I would have all this money stuffed into every pocket. That was my life.”
The junior Falwell pocketed the money. The senior Falwell was not worried about it. This is another reason why Christian ministries are becoming corrupt family businesses. The dads wink at the sins of their sons. It’s my boy. Let him have it.
Vanity Fair writer wrote,
“Falwell’s back catalog of homophobic, racist, and misogynistic comments is as thick as the King James Bible.”
They are projecting their hatred of Jerry Falwell Sr and the Holy Bible through Falwell Jr. As thick as the King James Bible. They hate the Bible because it is what condemns their sin.
The article says that ‘he often ate alone in a Wendy’s parking lot, listening to Rush Limbaugh in his car. Talk radio became Jerry’s political religion. “Rush is the reason I became a conservative”.
Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson.
Our conservative values should be built upon the Bible. Just believe in Jesus and listen to Rush Limbaugh. Just believe in Jesus and listen to Joe Rogan. That is a recipe for disaster. Now, there is nothing wrong with listening to Rush Limbaugh but he should not be the reason for our conservatism. The Bible should be the only foundation for our faith and conservative values. There is no other foundation.
Then Jerry Falwell worried about the nude photos of his wife. He went to Michael Cohen, the personal attorney of Donald Trump to help him out. We often wonder why the Jews in our neighborhoods, the Cohens and Weinsteins never come to Christ. That is the reason folks.
Later on Russell Moore talks about the red flags. . He wrote that we ignored all the red flags coming from Jerry Falwell Jr. We should blame ourselves. Russell Moore is angry that Jerry Falwell supported Donald Trump. Most Christians supported Trump because they had to choose the better of two evils. Someone like Mike Huckabee was not on the ballot. So, they had to pinch their nose and vote for Donald Trump.
Another problem is that we are picking sides. We are divided along the party lines. We ignore the sins of our guys and we go after people in the opposition party. That is also not biblical. God does not belong to any political party. Are your beliefs and practices in line with what the Bible teaches? If not, it doesn’t matter which party you belong to.
If Russell Moore wants to point out the sins of Donald Trump, that is good. But he should not keep quiet when the next President goes to the White House. The prophets in the Bible called out the sins of all kings. They did not pick their favorites. In the same way, our leaders should condemn unbiblical things about politicians in both parties.
That is my answer to your question. Please share your comments. Like this video. Subscribe to our channel. Visit us www.doctorpaul.org