Pastor Jerry Falwell has passed away in Virginia after being found unconscious in his office at the age of 73. As one of the first televangelists, Falwell reached millions on his programme The Old Time Gospel Hour. He was regarded as the father of the conservative evangelical political movement and founded the Moral Majority and later Liberty University.
Doctors gave Rev Falwell emergency treatment at Lynchburg General Hospital but could not revive him. Falwell had a history of heart problems and had survived two serious health scares in 2005.
Ron Godwin, executive vice president for Liberty University, said Falwell was found unresponsive in his office after missing a morning appointment.
Many Christian leaders have made statements in his honor.
The following is a statement released by President Bush on the Death of Jerry Falwell:
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Jerry Falwell, a man who cherished faith, family, and freedom. As the founder of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, Jerry lived a life of faith and called upon men and women of all backgrounds to believe in God and serve their communities. One of his lasting contributions was the establishment of Liberty University, where he taught young people to remain true to their convictions and rely upon God’s word throughout each stage of their lives.
Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Macel and the rest of the Falwell family.”
Pat Robertson commented, “My wife and I have sent our condolences to Macel Falwell and her family. Jerry has been a tower of strength on many of the moral issues which have confronted our nation. Liberty University is a magnificent accomplishment and will prove a lasting legacy. Jerry’s courage and strength of convictions will be sadly missed in this time of increasing moral relativism. I join with the tens of thousands of his friends to mourn the passing of this extraordinary human being.
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, made the following statement:
“In the mid-1970s, when most of the evangelical community was asleep concerning political matters, Reverend Jerry Falwell masterfully integrated Christian ethics and political duty in a way that resonated with Evangelicals. As a result, millions of Evangelicals entered the political fray with great passion. The supreme result from these efforts was the election of Ronald Reagan.
“One of Reverend Falwell’s great gifts was his ability to have an ecumenical political front; fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and biblically sound mainline Protestants work side-by- side for the election of Ronald Reagan, Both Presidents Bush, and a host of candidates at the local, state, and federal level. His vision and leadership will be sorely missed.
“The Modern Christian right as a political force is the largely the fruit of Jerry Falwell’s work in the Moral Majority. Moreover, abortion as a political hill to die on became a fixed part of America’s political landscape because of Rev. Falwell’s efforts. He was not afraid of controversy – in fact, he knew its value, and helped create it.”
Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council in Washington, DC, and chairman of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance, America’s oldest association of Evangelical ministers, churches and institutions, released this statement today:
“Dr. Falwell defined himself. He was a bold, unapologetic, uncompromising voice for Biblical truth that pushed the envelope and challenged secular culture to its limits. He was a great inspiration to younger leaders like myself. Jerry Falwell’s legacy will long outlast him, but many of us will miss him as a father in the faith and a religious Dutch uncle.”
CWA issued the following statement by Beverly LaHaye, founder and chairman:
“Dr. Jerry Falwell is a long-time dear friend who had a tremendously positive impact on America. His bold leadership helped change the course of Evangelical engagement in the public square. Dr. Falwell made big dreams reality – by inspiring millions to political involvement, by dedicating himself to higher education, and most importantly, by fostering Christian outreach to the spiritually and physically needy through Thomas Road Baptist Church and its myriad ministries. Though he is now with the Savior he loved, Jerry Falwell’s legacy will continue through the lives of those who were so profoundly touched by his vision.”
Wendy Wright, president of CWA, said, “Dr. Jerry Falwell had a profound impact on America by reviving Evangelicals’ involvement in the broader culture. He gained the authority to be heard on key issues of our day because of his work to help people in need and train leaders for the future. All of us at CWA are praying for his family and those who worked with and loved him. We take comfort in the words of Jesus Who promised eternal life to all who believe.”
Greg Stier, President of Dare 2 Share Ministries attended Liberty University twenty something years ago and recalls the impact Dr. Jerry Falwell had on him:
“I couldn’t wait to hear him preach every week…twice. He commanded absolute respect in the pulpit. It wasn’t just his booming voice or hulking frame, it was his presence. I’ve never seen anyone take command of a pulpit like Jerry Falwell. I was in awe of his absolute, unshakeable faith in the power of God. That faith poured through every pore of his presence.
I am convinced that Jerry Falwell had full faith in God and was living in line with that great faith. There is a powerful line in the movie Braveheart where Robert the Bruce, speaking of William Wallace, exclaims, “He believes. I want to believe like he believes.” The same can be said about Dr. Falwell. He believed. I want to believe like he believed. And to the best of my knowledge he lived what he believed.
Maybe some of your political or theological views are different than Dr. Falwell’s. But may we all have the integrity to live what we truly believe like he did. Goodbye Dr. Falwell. Thank you for the impact you made on me.”
Christian Activities is on MySpace at:
Swag out with Christian Activities Merchandise!
Visit the CHRISTIAN ACTIVITIES MUSIC & BOOK STORE
Use this link to shop Amazon.com and support Christian Activities