Falwell Dead

Jerry Falwell dead at 73.

Many images come to mind. I first heard him on the radio in the ’70s, before he founded “The Moral Majority.” Through the ’80s, he was the face of that movement, much pilloried in the press. In the wake of the PTL scandal, he assumed the role of “elder brother” who stepped in to try to salvage a ministry–a much publicized picture showed him going down the water slide of the Heritage USA park in his suit.

The term “fundamentalist” is overused and abused these days. The press speaks of “fundamentalist Hindus” and “fundamentalist Muslims” with no regard to historical use of the term. But Falwell was a Fundamentalist in the genuine sense, and he was proud of the title: he defended the fundamentals of the faith, including the inerrancy of the Bible, the Virgin birth of Jesus, his physical resurrection, atonement by his sacrificial death, and his Second Coming. But he changed Fundamentalism, too. It had been a separatist movement, a reaction to the Modernist controversies of the early 20th century, but he helped lead it back to engagement with the world, unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

Perhaps that would be the phrase he’d have wanted as his epitaph.

4 thoughts on “Falwell Dead

  1. Just channel surfing, it’s the secular media that’s covering Falwell, not the religious media.

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