Monday, May 30, 2011

Repost: Legacy of Jerry Falwell

Repost from May 16, 2007 (originally title, "Jerry Falwell dead at 73")

Liberty UniversityImage via Wikipedia
Perhaps I'll just be another blogger posting on Falwell's death, but I do have some things to say about this. To those who praise his death, making all sorts of obscene and unnecessary comments, SHAME ON YOU, your time is coming. To those who may feel like they cannot go on and are feeling down and out, I ask a question. Are you worshiping a man, or God? Falwell was just a man, and as such, was subject to death, just like all of us are. I may not agree with most of Falwell's theology (he was clearly an Arminian, and I am clearly a Calvinist), but he did appear to love God and love his fellow man. I was talking with a co-worker yesterday, who also happens to go to my church, who used to work for both the Moral Majority and the radio station at Liberty University. He said that when he got laid off from the radio station, Falwell sent him a personal not, asking if there was anything he could do. I believe Falwell went into the presence of Jesus yesterday, but I also believe he probably has some things to answer for and probably found out he was wrong on a lot of things.
  1. His support of the current nation of Israel was wrongly placed. Whenever someone wholeheartedly supports Israel, I have to question the motives. Falwell is known to have received a Leer jet from the nation of Israel for his support in 1979 from Prime Minister Begin (the same Begin accused of the King David Hotel bombing in 1946). At one point, Falwell was also shown on the cover of the Jerusalem Post with the title "Israel's Best Friend." As a Christian, I am disturbed by all this. A careful study of how the current nation of Israel came into being will show all the deceit and lies it took to get to where they are. Millions of Arabs were displaced as the Zionists deceitfully were handed a piece of land. Did the Arabs react in a good way? No, they tried to attack. But to lie, and accept lies that there were none, or very little people, living in the land, is to deny that many of the Zionist leaders cared not for people of other races. I'm not against Jews, only Zionism, and especially Christian Zionism.
  2. Falwell's sermons were little more than political ideology laced with scripture. If he wasn't preaching on supporting Israel, he was preaching on the judgment on the terrorists, homosexuals, and anybody else who seemed to be in sin. He did not seem to recognize (as most Christians apparently do not), that all sins are equal. Homosexuality is the same as lying. At least according to my Bible. Yet, Christians are quick to accept lies and start lies all the time. Christians are quick to accept collateral damage of civilians dying in the Lebanese war with Israel last Summer, because we dare not speak against Israel. Falwell was at the forefront of those supporting Israel's incursion. The kidnapping of the two soldiers by Hezbollah was wrong, but so was the response of Israel.
  3. Falwell refused to do more study on Islam in order to be better informed. He relied on what Ergun Caner has told him about Islam. Ergun is a former Muslim who grew up in America. He may have grown up in a Muslim family with a father who was a cleric, but he has no idea what life is like among Muslims around the world. His view is a skewed view of Islam, that knows no practicality. He converted to Christianity when he was a teenager, but pretends that he is a foremost expert on Islam. He is yet another Christian convert who uses sensationalism to sell his conversion story. If I sound cynical, it's because I am. Ergun has also preached against Calvinism as if it is of the devil itself, with all sorts of misunderstandings. Falwell believed in Ergun's view of Islam, and as a result, I believe he alienated lots of Muslims from Christianity. We need to be careful not to judge Muslims because of a few radical elements. Falwell's and Ergun's views have hurt the cause of Christianity in the Muslim world.
Parting thoughts:
Falwell preached the Gospel of Christ. He was faithful to his family, church, and the school he founded. Falwell sinned. We all do. As I said, I may not agree with him on a lot of things, but he was a man as fallible as we all are. I pray for his family as they go through this grieving process and that they would not look at this as the end, but only a beginning. God Bless.

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