- Dr. Jerry Falwell (born 1933) has been pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia since its founding in 1956 (with 35 charter members), and is chancellor of Liberty University, a four-year in residence undergraduate college founded by Falwell in 1971 as Lynchburg Baptist College (with four full-time faculty and 154 students). The church now has 22,000 members (Falwell is planning to build a new 12,000 seat sanctuary; he currently preaches only one Sunday morning service in the church's present 4,000-seat auditorium), and the school has 14,000 students (5,600 in residence) from all 50 states and 52 countries. Falwell seeks to develop Liberty University into a 50,000 student school which will "challenge Harvard in academics and Notre Dame in athletics." [1,200 of Liberty's alumni have become pastors and 700 are missionaries, but the school has yet to live up to Falwell's aspirations. The 1996 annual U.S. News & World Report regional rankings put Liberty in the fourth, or bottom, tier. Among 30 Southern schools, Liberty tied for last in the academic reputation category and it had, by far, the highest student-to-faculty ratio -- 37 to 1. Business attracts the largest number of academic majors at Liberty, followed by psychology (12/6/96, Christianity Today).]
Falwell is also chancellor of the Liberty Bible Institute, a two-year non-degree Bible program (for $5,000 tuition) that is part of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and is chancellor of the Liberty University School of LifeLong Learning, a correspondence school with more than 16,000 students. He is the speaker for the Old Time Gospel Hour on radio and television. (The Old Time Gospel Hour went off the air in 1991, but is now back on 225 television stations.) He founded and led the Moral Majority and its successor, the Liberty Federation, and founded the Elim Home for Alcoholics and Liberty Godparent Home for Unwed Mothers.
Falwell is a graduate of Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and has honorary doctorates from Tennessee Temple University and the California Graduate School of Theology. The proper religious taxonomy of Dr. Falwell has been a subject of considerable debate. He loudly proclaims himself a fundamentalist, yet his actions are those of a new evangelical; he would be better designated a "pseudo fundamentalist." Falwell's political action efforts of the 1980s (through his leadership in the "Moral Majority") have tended to lead him away from a clear presentation of a separatist, fundamentalist gospel to one steeped in pop psychology and ecumenism. Falwell has no problem in comfortably working with charismatics, Southern Baptists, Catholics, etc.
- In 1981, Falwell declared his position on fundamentalism and new evangelicalism in a book titled, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon. Actually, the book was written by two of Falwell's compatriots whose names do not even appear on the book jacket, Ed Dobson and Ed Hindson (both of whom are now well-known pop psychologizers in their own rights). Falwell wrote the concluding chapter titled, "Future-Word: An Agenda for the Eighties." It spells out the social action platform of the Moral Majority. It makes a twin appeal -- to the fundamentalist and to the new evangelical alike. The main thesis of the book is spelled out on page 222:
"As the English theologian James Barr has already pointed out, non-evangelicals view Evangelicals and Fundamentalists alike anyhow. We have so much in common. Only the radicals among us (to the left and to the right) divide us. I say it is time we denied the 'lunatic fringe' of our movements and worked for a great conservative crusade to turn America back to God."
By the "lunatic fringe" of the Fundamentalist movement, Falwell means any fundamentalist who still believes in Scriptural separation. Like the new evangelicals, he seems to shed vicarious tears of repentance for the great warriors of the past who wrote "Ichabod" over the doors of apostate denominations and walked out to begin anew with a pure church. Since Moral Majority could not hold together if godly men practice separation, those who do must be sacrificed to facilitate Falwell's merger (New Neutralism II, pp. 90-91).
- The first hallmark of new evangelicalism is a repudiation of Biblical separation. Falwell's personal contempt for separation is demonstrated very clearly in his cooperation with unbelievers in the organization of the Moral Majority, and his willing involvement with charismatics in the PTL episode (see below). The problem of separation is obvious in the case of Moral Majority. If a majority is to be built, it must be much broader than the circle of brethren. Falwell recognizes this and answers: "Moral Majority is a political organization and is not based on theological considerations" (The Fundamentalist Phenomenon, p. 188). The Moral Majority has now been succeeded by the Liberty Federation, which is supposed to provide a larger platform for international issues (New Neutralism II, p. 92).
- Falwell's greatest deviation from fundamentalism has to do with his
part in the PTL Network scandal. On March 20, 1987, Falwell announced that the
reins of the charismatic PTL conglomerate had been turned over to him by the
Jim Bakker. Falwell was quoted as saying that Bakker's resignation was a
"blow to the cause of Christ," that "God would not want me to
allow the collapse of this ministry," that he was "trying to save a
sister ministry," that his goal was to "rebuild the credibility and
guarantee the ongoing testimony of Jesus Christ," and that "the entire
cause of Christ is at stake." All of these statements gave credibility to
an enterprise which had been a spacey combination of tongues, healing,
prosperity gospel, success testimonies, and unabashed deceit. Later revelations
exposed all types of immorality, drug addiction, high living, and
misappropriation of funds. In the takeover which ensued, Falwell personally
chose new board members including new evangelicals such as Ben Armstrong of the
National Association of Religious Broadcasters, Southern Baptists such as Sam
Moore of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Dr. Baily Smith and Richard Lee Common, and
charismatics Richard Dortch, Rex Humbard, and James Watt (New Neutralism II,
- Reggae, gospel, and rock bands entertained at the 4/96 Washington for Jesus (WFJ) rally -- organized by hyper-charismatic John Gimenez, pastor of the Rock Church (Va. Beach). Women preachers and tongue-speaking were featured. Falwell promoted this "Christian Woodstock" rally in his 4/96 National Liberty Journal. He, Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Hagin, Jr. were featured speakers. Following the lead of Oral Roberts Univ., Falwell said Liberty would give $5,000 for the expenses of the WFJ meeting. He earlier told Gimenez: "We must network together or we will lose this country." Falwell sat on the platform while Richard Roberts was publicly claiming that God had physically touched him and given him a prophecy that needed to be delivered at this WFJ rally. The rally concluded with a Signs and Wonders Miracle Service led by Benny Hinn. (Reported in the 6/15/96, Calvary Contender.)
Jerry Falwell remains very friendly with the Charismatic movement. Charismatic leader Stephen Strang, editor of the Charismatic movement's main magazine (Charisma), paid a "bridge-building" visit to Falwell in mid-1997 and came away praising Falwell's "open[ness] to Pentecostals and charismatics" ("Revival in Lynchburg: Jerry Falwell Now Open to Charismatics," 10/97, Charisma). Rob Jackson, Vice-President for Spiritual Life and Senior Campus Pastor at Liberty, says, "We thank God for the hundreds of Pentecostal and Charismatic students that God continues to send to be a part of our family ... We are not anti-charismatic in our doctrine, but we are non-charismatic and we say so openly" (11/98, e-mail on file).
- Falwell is scheduled to speak at a "Revival Fires Celebration" hosted by Cecil and Linda Todd in April, 1999 (Charisma, January 1999, p. 97). Other speakers include Rod Parsley, Tommy Barnett, and Jesse Duplantis, all of whom are proponents of Word-Faith doctrine and who are closely aligned with false teachers such as Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, and Oral Roberts. Tommy Barnett is one of the trustees of the Charismatic Bible Ministries (CBM), which was founded by Oral Roberts. Ads for CBM conferences at Oral Roberts University appearing in Charisma magazine promise "miracles, signs and wonders." The men Falwell is honoring by appearing at their conference are those who have promoted such unscriptural and hurtful teachings as "tongues speaking," spirit slaying, healing in the atonement, the prosperity gospel, end-time prophets, the laughing revival, and spirit drunkenness. These are not minor doctrinal aberrations, and Falwell's fellowship with such men sends the message that he agrees with their doctrine and that these men are "safe" to follow. (Reported in a 1/19/99 FBIS article.)
- Falwell has always had a strong tie to the Southern Baptist Convention. In the July/August 1989 issue of Falwell's now defunct Fundamentalist Journal, approximately 18 pages were devoted to extolling the virtues of the SBC. In the 9/15/89 issue of the Sword of the Lord Falwell is quoted as saying: "Forty percent of the Liberty University student body comes from SBC churches. ... More SBC pastors speak here at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University than from any other fellowship of churches, and I personally speak for more SBC churches than any other one movement." In late-1993, Falwell said that he thought more cooperative meetings are ahead for independent and Southern Baptists. He said: "I would say we're a couple of years away ... but I don't think there's any question that we're heading toward some major mergers that will probably surprise a lot of people" (12/15/93, Calvary Contender).
Falwell and a group of members of Thomas Road Baptist Church attended the 1998 Southern Baptist convention in Utah and voted as messengers. They gained voting status by donating to the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV). In the 7/98 issue of the National Liberty Journal, Falwell praised the SBC, claiming that its six national seminaries "have fundamentalist presidents and faculties." Falwell erroneously defines fundamentalism merely as a belief in key Biblical doctrines such as the inerrancy of Scripture and the deity and vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ. In reality, fundamentalism has always been characterized not only by commitment to Biblical orthodoxy, but also by separation from unorthodoxy. By the latter definition, neither Falwell nor the SBC are part of fundamentalism.
The SBC does not practice Biblical separation or discipline, and even its most conservative leaders reject the label of fundamentalist. SBC congregations are literally filled with heretics. Former president Jimmy Carter is a Sunday School teacher in an SBC congregation, yet he is modernistic in his theology and believes that Mormons are genuine Christians. President Bill Clinton is a member of an SBC congregation, yet he has done more than any former president to defend abortion and to exalt homosexuals to power in the United States government. Evangelist Billy Graham is a member of an SBC congregation, yet he has done more than any other man alive to break down the walls between true churches and false and to confuse the Gospel by holding hands with heretics such as the Pope of Rome.
The SBC recently confirmed its relationship with the very liberal China Christian Council and with the very liberal World Baptist Alliance, through which SBC congregations hold hands with modernistic Baptist groups such as the Baptist Union of England. The SBC even has a formal ongoing dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the state conventions aligned with the SBC are openly modernistic in spite of the so-called "conservative takeover," and all of them represent an unscriptural mixture of modernism and orthodoxy.
The SBC prominently supports radically and unscripturally ecumenical organizations such as Promise Keepers (which has a Roman Catholic on its board of directors). SBC pastors are supporting members of ecumenical clergy associations throughout the land, and through these forums they hold hands with modernists, Catholic priests, Seventh-day Adventists, charismatics, baptismal regenerationists, and other false teachers. The SBC also has several hundred women pastors, and hundreds of SBC pastors are Freemasons. Falwell evidently does not oppose women pastors or pastors being Freemasons. Former SBC president Jerry Vines is chairman of Liberty's board of trustees. (Adapted from the 7/7/98, FBIS.)
- Falwell's 1996 Super Conference had Wheaton College Prof. Robert Webber as leader of the Praise and Worship Conference. The 9/30/80 Blu-Print called Webber "an ardent New Evangelical turned Episcopalian," and quoted him as saying: "The authoritative basis for Christian truth does not rest on a doctrine of verbal inerrancy, but Apostolic tradition"; and: "The Church, to be apostolic, ought to have within her all the charismatic gifts that were present in the primitive church practiced within the body." The 2/3/86 Christian News quoted Webber from a 1986 book: "We may not all agree that the Bible is inerrant, but we can agree that it is the authoritative apostolic witness to Jesus Christ"; and: "In the Episcopal church I find a healthy sense of unity and diversity." The apostate Episcopal Church has hundreds of women priests, is a member of the NCC/WCC, and let its bishops and priests ordain practicing homosexuals. (Reported in the 6/15/96, Calvary Contender.)
Other new evangelical visitors to Falwell's pulpit have included Josh McDowell, Harold Lindsell, Adrian Rogers, Warren Wiersbe, Woodrow Kroll (Back to the Bible), E.V. Hill, Billy Kim, Jesse Jackson, Clyde Narramore, Eldridge Cleaver, Charles Colson, Chuck Swindoll, Howard Hendricks, Larry Ward (World Vision), and Jack Wyrtzen. Billy Graham was the Liberty University 1998 commencement speaker. Perhaps the low point of Falwell's guest list came in 1983 when he wined, dined, and dialogued with Senator Edward Kennedy and featured him in an address to the student body of Liberty Baptist College -- shades of Jehoshaphat sitting down with Ahab! (New Neutralism II, p. 93).
- In June of 1997, Falwell visited porn king Larry Flynt for coffee and a friendly chat in his Beverly Hills office. Falwell had unsuccessfully sued "sleaze merchant" Flynt over a 1983 smutty Hustler magazine cartoon which suggested Falwell had sex with his mother. But at the meeting they acted like long-lost pen pals (6/11/97, L.A. Times). Falwell praised Flynt: "He is a warm-hearted, very talented and very generous person whom I believe has much to offer the world." Hardly the language of Spurgeon or Paul to a "child of the devil" and "enemy of all righteousness" (Acts 13:10)! (Reported in the 7/1/97, Calvary Contender.)
- In a 10/2/87 letter to Christian bookstore owners promoting a film on the Catholic pope ("The Power of Faith -- The Planet is Alive"), Falwell said he was "deeply moved" by this film. Falwell claims that it "is not a Roman Catholic film." Technically, Falwell's correct. It's a New Age, "Global Peace" propaganda film. It is supported by the "Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose." This group consists of a broad international group of organizations founded in January, 1981, a coalition of over 200 organizations whose motto is "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally." Their intentions are to create a positive "force" for change. The film is a production of Robert Evans Productions and the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It is a journey through the life of Pope John Paul II. The film is a "visual musical" which Robert Evans says "speaks directly to the heart without the benefit of words." The film portrays the pope as the personification of love and forgiveness.
In his letter, Falwell extols the pope: "... this man's commitment to the dignity of human life and his strong opposition to tyranny and bigotry provide a shining light for the people of our generation who need such reinforcement." At one point in the film, the image of Jesus is shown, then it dissolves into the image of the pope. At another point we see a cathedral or church, then that, too, becomes the pope's image. Finally, we see the globe which becomes the pope with outstretched hands, blessing the viewers. The main message of the film is that the pope will be, or is, the savior of the world.
- Falwell continues to be involved in ecumenical (Catholic) causes:
(a) In his January 1985 Morality Majority Report, Falwell called the pope and Billy Graham great moral and religious leaders. Falwell has also said that the pope is "the greatest in my lifetime," and that he knew "... many Catholic priests who are born again and who preach the same message I do."
(b) In the 2/21/86 Christianity Today, Falwell stated that Catholics made up the largest constituency (30%) in Moral Majority. At that time Moral Majority had 500,000 active contributors and a mailing list of six million people. Falwell was also one of the speakers at the 4/80 "Washington for Jesus" rally. Fellow speakers were Catholic priests John Bertolucci, John Randall, and Michael Scanlon.
(c) Falwell and New York Cardinal John O'Connor publicly joined forces in their addresses at Unity '90, a nationwide conference of anti-abortion leaders in Chicago in June of 1990. Falwell said, "I remember some years ago when evangelical Christians were not in the movement and the Roman Catholics and a few other groups ... were carrying the burden ... But that's in the past." He called on conservative Protestants to join with Roman Catholics "in the 1990s to bring an end to the nation's sin before the 21st century." (Reported in the 7/1/90, Times Union.)
(d) Pat Robertson started the American Center For Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law group providing free legal counsel for Christians in battle with "anti-God, anti-family groups." Executive director of the ACLJ is former Ohio prosecutor Keith Fournier, currently a charismatic Catholic activist, Dean of Evangelism and legal counsel at the Roman Catholic (Franciscan) University of Steubenville in Ohio, and author of Evangelical Catholics (which book is a plea for Protestants to join Catholics in a joint evangelization effort; i.e., an "evangelistic endeavor" that will "evangelize" the world by the year 2000). Fournier, speaking of Falwell and others in Evangelical Catholics: "I found not only a tremendous openness to my presence but also a growing respect for my church and a thawing in what had been hard ice in the past." Fournier also specifically praised Falwell for his (Falwell's) inclusion of "great Catholic churchmen" in his efforts to influence public policy, and for his "refreshing openness." [See the end of the Charles Colson report for a summary of the teachings in Evangelical Catholics.]
(e) There was a full-page ad in the 6/5/93 World by the CEBA for ten Freedom videos. CEBA president and series moderator is Liberty University professor Bob Mateer. Falwell is a speaker on one of the videos. Roman Catholic Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua and other Catholics are speakers on some of the other videos. These are advertised as "for use in the classroom, church or home, featuring the nation's leading economists, educators and pastors." So now "conservative" videos by Romanists are being recommended for use in evangelical and other churches (7/1/93, Calvary Contender).
(f) Falwell endorsed Catholic-sympathizer Chuck Colson's 1993 book, The Body: Being Light in Darkness (which is also endorsed by Bill Hybels, J.I. Packer, Pat Robertson, Jack Hayford, Carl Henry, and Cardinal O'Connor). Colson, ever ecumenical, calls on evangelicals to join forces with orthodox Catholics and charismatics in the "common cause to combat cultural relativism [atheism & secularism]," praises the Catholic chain of command, and includes the Catholic Church as a part of the body of Christ. He also says, "the body of Christ, in all its diversity, is created with Baptist feet, charismatic hands, and Catholic ears -- all with their eyes on Jesus." In blindly praising the Roman Catholic church Colson says it, "to its great credit, does call heretics to account." One commentator (4/93, Berean Call) responds: "Indeed she does, having burned more than a million at the stake!"
- Have Falwell's associations with unbelievers affected his personal convictions (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:33 -- "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners")? The 7/24/88 Washington Post Magazine carried a long story on Dr. Falwell and stated the following:
"He has changed his mind about attending parties where booze is served, about sharing the stage with Catholics or Jews or people who speak in tongues. He now says God answers the prayers of all people, no matter their faith. For this, hardened fundamentalists have attacked him. He has even changed his mind about who can go the Heaven -- with not only fundamentalists but Catholics and other Christians of all faiths now having a chance" (New Neutralism II, p. 92).
- Falwell was one of the original founders of the Moral Majority, which was one of the classic examples of "the good cause syndrome" -- the persuasion that Christians can cross Scriptural lines of demarcation if the cause is good enough. Falwell clearly believes that Christianity and morality can be separated; i.e., that union between believer and unbeliever can be sanctioned as a political union rather than a religious one, as long as the cause is a moral one. [One Christian school administrator correctly observed, "Morality is a matter of religion; a man's morality is based upon his religious beliefs." Men do what they do because they believe what they believe. An organization established upon common moral beliefs has to be religious in nature.] In actuality, the Moral Majority joined believer and unbeliever, Mormon and Methodist, Catholic and charismatic, in an unholy union "to save the country." But rather than the country being saved, the cause of Christ was damaged. The line of demarcation between the godly and the "do-gooder" was blurred beyond recognition. (Reported in New Neutralism II, pp. 70-71.)
Falwell sought to circumvent this unequal yoke with unbelievers in the Moral Majority (and in its successor, the Liberty Federation) in several clever ways. He attempts to distinguish between what he does as a private citizen and what he does as a pastor:
"Moral Majority for me is definitely a movement in which I am involved as a private citizen ... period. I do not involve Thomas Road Baptist Church ... The largest synagogue in this country has invited me to come and speak on Moral Majority. As a gentleman, that is all I would speak on. I would not go there as a pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, but as president of Moral Majority, sharing what I think would be our points of coalescing. The same thing is true with Mormons."
Falwell is saying that there are places he can go as a citizen that he cannot go as a preacher! Yet when he goes to these places, he is going to speak on things that will cause a growth and union between him and Jews and Mormons! (But what fellowship does light have with darkness?) Falwell has another clever response. He says he is not experiencing fellowship with Catholics, Jews, and Mormons, but rather, friendship:
"There is not theological agreement in Moral Majority ... Fortunately, fundamentalists like me have been growing up over the past 20 years. We have been finding we can have fellowship only with truth, but we can have friendship in many other affinities."
This is religious double-talk. There is no difference between fellowship and friendship with those with whom you are in agreement and are organizationally united in a common religious cause. Notice how Christianity and morality become strangely blurred when "friendships" with apostasy are formed. On 3/20/85, Falwell on television favorably quoted Bishop Fulton Sheen. According to Falwell and this "other affinity," if the church is not willing to care for mothers and babies, she has no right to condemn abortion. Amazingly, Falwell is saying that unless and until the church becomes a social agency caring for unwed mothers and illegitimate babies, preachers have no right to declare that murder is morally wrong!
- One of the supposed experts in the "church growth" movement is Dr. Elmer Towns, dean of the School of Religion as well as professor of Systematic Theology at Falwell's Liberty University. Towns advises churches to concentrate on the crowd called "the baby boomers" -- those in the 18-35 age bracket. Towns says that the boomers are not attracted to religion through the old ways of guilt, fear, and tradition. He suggests that churches should drop Sunday evening services in favor of adult education or social programs. He suggests that pastors preach "fix-it" and "how-to" sermons on sexual topics. He thinks churches ought to get rid of the choir and use electronic music instead of traditional hymns on the organ and piano. He suggests that churches do more hugging. Such is the upbeat stuff of new evangelicalism. According to Towns and Falwell, baby boomers do not come under repentance in the standard Bible way (New Neutralism II, p. 72).
- Falwell has obviously bought into the lie that the psychological gospel is a necessary supplement for a life of Spirit-filled Christian living. As chancellor of Liberty University and its correspondence school, Liberty University School of LifeLong Learning (LUSLLL), Falwell advertised on the Old Time Gospel Hour (Falwell's weekly television program) in August of 1989, that one good reason to enroll in LUSLLL would be that successful completion would, "improve your self-esteem," and that "maybe a psychology degree is for you if you're interested in people and you want to help them." Falwell not only billed LUSLLL as "The PSYCH CONNECTION" for those desiring training in general psychology, but he also initiated a new degree program in so-called "Christian" psychological counseling (details below).
The LUSLLL course catalog offered more than 30 different psychology courses, taught by psychologizers such as Paul Meier, Ron Hawkins, and Gary Collins, all with known training in Freudian and humanistic psychology. Moreover, LUSLLL touted itself as "The PSYCH CONNECTION" -- "... enroll today in LUSLLL, the Psych Connection, LUSLLL's Bachelor of Science in Psychology meets a number of needs with a variety of concentration -- GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY, for example. Accreditation assures a sound reputation nation-wide for this degree and those holding it ... These assets make LUSLLL your Psych Connection. Stop reserving your gift for close acquaintances only. Get the training necessary to deal with others as a professional -- ministering to a hurting world" (LUSLLL Update, May, 1989). What makes LUSLLL the Psych Connection? -- "In the past six months similar attitudes and experiences have motivated 2,400 students to enroll in LUSLLL's Bachelor of Science program in Psychology ... These 2000 students particularly enjoy the flexibility within the Psych program, which features concentrations in three important areas: GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY" (LUSLLL Update, April 1989). (Emphasis added.)
- In October of 1989, Falwell announced another new psychology program, "The Liberty Institute for Lay Counseling" (LILC) in order to train by correspondence courses, laymen interested in helping "victims" of such "psychologically damaging afflictions" as child abuse, stress, family crisis, AIDS, depression, addictions, drug abuse, aging, etc. Courses offered included (all with a heavy emphasis on Freudian and humanistic approaches to counseling):
- Overcoming a Painful Past
- Building Self-Esteem and Self-Control
- Counseling and Mental Illness
- Helping the Sick and Grieving
- Focusing on Feelings and Depression
- Managing Stress and Anxiety
- Counseling Hurting Parents
- Identifying and Counseling Victims of Family Violence
Gary Collins, a licensed clinical psychologist, left the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to head up the LILC program. [Collins has since left Liberty University also.] Twelve other licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, clinicians, and/or medical doctors made up the remainder of the faculty. Included on the LILC faculty -- Dr. A.D. Hart, Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, and a certified biofeedback practitioner! LILC advertised that Dr. Hart brings to LILC his "expertise in the treatment of stress and depression."
The stated purpose for starting the LILC program was because, "There are simply not enough trained Christian Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Pastors to meet the counseling needs of the teeming masses who are crying out for help. Liberty Institute for Lay Counseling will provide the necessary training so lay people can now be equipped to do something about the hurt, confusion, neglect, abuse, and suffering that is sweeping this nation like a sinister plague" (10/89 letter to prospective LILC enrollees). (Emphasis added.)
- Psychology 200 (General Psychology) has been a required course of all students for AA and BA degrees at Liberty University since at least 1985. The course text has been Introduction to Psychology by Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, and Hilgard. That book boasts that psychology has been able to redefine morals for society, even changing what was once viewed as perversion to normal. It treats humans as highly evolved animals, promotes situation ethics, and neither acknowledges God nor sin. It exalts self and legitimizes sodomy. A student wrote in 1989, "I have completed the entire General Psychology course [with] grade of A (I add this to show that I closely listened to and studied the material presented) and never heard the professor even once, to my recollection, correct the false, devilish, unbiblical claims of the textbook." (3/89, Berean Call).
- It is clear, Liberty continues to be the Psych Connection, as evidenced by the course offerings and the degree requirements in its various 1998-1999 Course Catalogs: Liberty University Catalog (Psychology Department and Counseling Department); Liberty University External Degree Program Catalog (same faculty and course offerings as in the regular Liberty University Catalog); Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Catalog; and Liberty Bible Institute Catalog. The Liberty University Psychology Department employs eleven psychologically-trained faculty and offers three major programs of study with twenty-five psychology courses. Likewise, the Liberty University Counseling Department employs six psychologically-trained faculty and offers two Master's Degree programs (one "regular" 36-hour program and one 48-hour program for certification/licensing) with twenty-nine psychology/counseling courses.
Perhaps the following excerpts from the Purpose statement from the Counseling Department's 1998-1999 Catalog best depicts the psychological bent of Liberty University (emphasis added):
"In accordance with the mission of Liberty University, the Department of Counseling provides master's level training to prepare persons for service as professional counselors, within both the Christian and world communities. ... within the framework of a reasoned Christian world view.
"LEARNING OUTCOMES: (1) Students understand and appreciate the importance of counselor professional identity; (2) Students evaluate counseling information and acquire knowledge to become professional counselors or to pursue more advanced graduate studies; (3) Students integrate Christian faith and values with counseling theories and practice; (4) Students apply counseling techniques, skills, and assessment tools.
"The 36-hour program [the "regular" program] is intended for those who use psychological information or do some counseling in their work, but who will not be seeking licensure as professional counselors. This includes pastors, personnel directors and those who plan to work in student development services in a college or university setting. ... These courses adhere to the content requirements of CACREP and NBCC and of most states, so that by taking the 48-hour program students will meet the academic licensing requirements for most states."
- Falwell has endorsed Rapha Hospital Treatment Centers of Houston, Texas (along with other so-called evangelicals as D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley, and Beverly LaHaye). Rapha is an organization that heavily promotes Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step codependency/recovery programs as a "Christian" methodology for the cure of "dysfunctional" relationships. Rapha specializes in the "treatment" of so-called codependent and/or addicted Christians by employing an amalgamation of Adlerean-Maslowian need psychology and the Bible. Rapha debuted in 1986 and claims to have treated over 30,000 psychiatric in-patients since then. Rapha also claims that over 3,500 churches in the U.S. are using its materials. Falwell is quoted as saying that, "It has been good to know that we now have a place to refer persons we counsel who are in need of hospital care for emotional, spiritual and substance abuse problems." (Must reading for anyone desiring a fuller understanding of the "codependent" heresy sweeping the church today would be 12 Steps to Destruction: Codependency/Recovery Heresies, by Martin and Deidre Bobgan, EastGate Publishers, Santa Barbara, CA, 1991, 247 pages.)
- On Falwell's 6/23/93 radio program, he praised German neo-orthodox theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer for his stand against Hitler's Nazism. (Bonhoeffer was a rank apostate who denied or questioned nearly every major doctrine of the historic Christian faith! He was also one of the fathers of the "Death of God" theology.) Falwell did this in the context of praising pop psychologist James Dobson for calling on Christians to stand publicly against America's social ills. Falwell read much of Dobson's 3/93 "prayer letter" on his program. Consider an excerpt of what Falwell read:
"... Thank God for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who refused to go along with this wickedness. He protested loudly, to his own peril. ... Their silence will echo throughout eternity! So will the words and deeds of Dietrich Bonhoeffer."
One should not be surprised that Dobson would make a statement such as this. New evangelicals have long praised Modernists. But this is an amazing statement for a supposed Fundamental Baptist to endorse. It is fine that Bonhoeffer stood against Nazism, but in reality, he was part of the problem, not the cure; i.e., Bonhoeffer was one of the key proponents of Neo-Orthodoxy, which is merely the old rationalistic Modernism in new garb.
- Cult leader Sun Myung Moon is the founder of the Unification Church (the "Moonies"), and is the self-proclaimed Messiah to the world. In 6/85, one of Moon's organizations held several rallies, one of which was in Washington, D.C. Falwell joined a group of religious leaders at a Washington news conference dubbed as a "welcome home" party for Moon, who had just been released from prison after serving 13 months for evading federal income taxes. At this conference, Falwell suggested that President Ronald Reagan issue a pardon to clear Moon's name.
Moon hosted another of his D.C. vanity banquets at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel on
7/26/94. The occasion was his founding of the Youth Federation for World Peace,
another of Moon's Socialist front organizations for young radicals. He lined up
an all-star cast of political has-beens to lend his self-aggrandizement some
much-needed credibility. Alexander Haig, Walter Fauntroy, Edward Heath, Maureen
Reagan, and Jerry Falwell sat at the head table with the convicted felon.
Falwell is featured in a front-page photo along with Moon and his wife and a
group of other public figures (9/30/94, Washington City Paper).
In December of 1995 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Falwell spoke at a conference sponsored by Moon's Inter Religious Federation for World Peace and Washington Times Foundation, and titled, "Christian Ecumenism in the Americas: Toward One Christian Family Under God." In his speech, Falwell said, "It is my observation and personal conviction that conferences and seminars like this one can be very beneficial for building bridges of communication." ("Bridges of communication"? What does that mean! Christ didn't say, "Go into all the world and build bridges of communion." He commands us to "preach the gospel"! Any lesser "communication" is compromise and a denial of our Lord.) (Source: 5/96, TBC.)
Falwell continues to remain close to Mr. Moon and his money -- the following is a report from the 4Q Personal Freedom Outreach Journal ("The Deep Pockets of Rev. Moon") (See also the 2/9/98 issue of Christianity Today):
It was revealed that the Moon-Falwell relationship had deepened when the Korean church leader's charity was accepted in a sizable way by Falwell. According to Cornerstone magazine, "In 1994, Jerry Falwell quietly accepted a $3.5 million donation from a Unification Church front group, the Women's Federation for World Peace, to help bail out Falwell's then-insolvent Liberty University." The magazine also reported that Robert Parry, a journalist for I.F. Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, revealed that Moon had funneled the donation through the Christian Heritage Foundation (CHF), a non-profit group that had bought the school's debt, which at the time amounted to $73 million. The reporter had used an IRS tax form to track the donation's source. Rumors about the Unification Church-Liberty University relationship had circulated for months. Falwell's group labeled the reports as "smoke and mirrors" and claimed that a wire service report in November 1997 contained "an unfounded statement that reported Liberty University had also accepted funds from the Unificationists." Falwell's newspaper, National Liberty Journal, said it "wishes to set the record straight by assuring readers that Liberty University has never solicited or received funds, directly or indirectly, from the Unification Church." [Nevertheless] Falwell himself added: "If the Unificationists, the American Atheist Society, or Bill Clinton himself ever send an unrestricted gift to any of my ministries, be assured I will operate on evangelist Billy Sunday's philosophy of: 'The Devil's had it long enough' ... and quickly cash the check!" [Apparently, Falwell has never read 3 John 6-9 -- "Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth."]
- Promise Keepers is the gigantic new (1991) "men's movement" among professing evangelical Christians. Its roots are Catholic and charismatic to the core. PK's contradictory stand on homosexuality; its promotion of secular psychology; its unscriptural feminizing of men; its depiction of Jesus as a "phallic messiah" tempted to perform homosexual acts; and its ecumenical and unbiblical teachings should dissuade any true Christian from participating. Promise Keepers is proving to be one of the most ungodly and misleading movements in the annals of Christian history. Nevertheless, Jerry Falwell is a promoter of this ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement as evidenced by the following:
(a) Over 10,000 men attended a Promise Keepers Men's Ministry Leadership seminar held 3/25/95 at Liberty University's Vines Center. Southern Baptist Adrian Rogers was the main speaker. (Source: 3/95, National Liberty Journal.)
(b) Liberty University vice president Elmer Towns wrote a long article in Falwell's 4/95 National Liberty Journal praising Promise Keepers.
(c) Falwell's 11/98 NLJ has an article reporting PK's financial woes, and its redesigned new millennium approach of utilizing local churches similar to Billy Graham's method. The article stated that PK is "back on solid footing" and ready "to minister to men in pursuit of godly living. ..." (Reported in the 11/15/98, Calvary Contender.)
- Mel White (a homosexual) ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's 1987 autobiography, Strength for the Journey. (White also wrote Billy Graham's Approaching Hoofbeats; and Pat Robertson's America's Date with Destiny.) It is not known whether Falwell knowingly allowed a homosexual to help write this book. However, he says he still considers White a friend and has no regrets about their collaboration on two books. A paragraph on p. 371 has Falwell saying: "Although I see homosexual practice as a moral wrong ... I do not want to deny [them] their civil rights or take away their civil rights or take away their right to accommodations or employment or even their right to teach in public schools as long as they don't use the classroom to promote homosexuality."
White has also been installed as dean of the 1200-member Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, billed as the world's largest homosexual congregation. During his first sermon to the sodomite congregation, White railed at his former associates, saying they are, "wrong about the Bible, wrong about Jesus, wrong about God ... and seriously wrong about gay and lesbian people." White says he will now dedicate himself to help the "suffering" sodomites in America and "to help cut off that suffering at its source, the Religious Right." (Reported in the 7/19/93, Christian News.)
- Falwell has apparently become quite the fan of so-called Christian rap music. A 4/9/91 Wall Street Journal article reported that Falwell can take some credit for rap's rebirth -- the popular "Christian" rap groups DC Talk and Transformation Crusade were started by undergrads at Falwell's Liberty University in the 1980s. Falwell calls himself a "convert of rap," and says, "I'm for it." DC Talk says it uses rap to "cool with the Creator and 'dis' with the devil," and yet claims that its lyrics are "based on the Word of God," while set to a "beat you can dance to." (DC Talk's "music" is a mix of soul, rap, hip-hop, and rock, performed with strobe lights and psychedelic smoke.) The article also refers to Transformation Crusade's "throbbing rap beat" and its borrowed "hip-hop rhythms and slanging styles."
Falwell's 1/96 National Liberty Journal reports: "Hot on the heels of their [DC Talk's] Free At Last tour, the group is launching its Jesus Freak tour in the spring. Liberty students are already excited about welcoming the group back to Liberty University for their second concert [4/5/96]." DC Talk has also recorded an album with the Jesus Freak name.
- Falwell's schools continue their multi-year struggle to survive financially. By 1990, Liberty, which has an $80 million annual budget, found itself $110 million in debt. This triggered a series of cash-flow crises and ushered in a new era of austerity that continues today. The debt load also caused Liberty's external degree program to be placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1990-91. In 7/92, employees were given two weeks off without pay to save $1 million. (Falwell's ministries at the time employed approximately 1,200 full-time and 600 part-time workers.) Falwell had personally guaranteed millions of dollars worth of loans for Liberty University which he could not cover. A plan was originally worked out to give Liberty seven years to pay back about $72.6 million of debt. And the Securities and Exchange Commission sued a now-defunct securities firm that loaned nearly $13 million to Falwell's television ministry in the late 1980s. This fraud suit charges that a $3 million advance to Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour was an unlawful sham. (Reported in the 7/15/92, Calvary Contender.)
Falwell told the faithful who bought Liberty University bonds that there would be no more interest payments, but "promised" that some day the principal would be repaid, though he didn't say when. In 1990, the campus of Liberty University was valued at $55 million. That was when Falwell tried to sell tax-exempt Industrial Development Revenue bonds to refinance the existing debt. Liberty is now valued at about $5.2 million. Plus the Old Time Gospel Hour is $16 million in debt. With total debt of $89 million and assets of $5.2 million, Falwell's religious empire was about to collapse under its own weight. As of 4/15/95, Liberty University had reduced its total debt by $31 million, thanks to two Lynchburg business-partner trustees who forgave the loans they made to Liberty.
Christianity Today (12/9/96) gave a special report on "Jerry Falwell's Uncertain Legacy." The article focuses on the chronic indebtedness of Liberty University "stuck at around $40 million" (the largest portion of which is owed to a group of around 2,000 individual bondholders). The school defaulted on bonds in 1991, made late payments of $340,000 to bondholders in 1994 and 1995, missed payments in March and September of 1996, and avoided the threat of foreclosure on 11/11/96 by making an overdue $1.1 million payment to the bondholders. Yet, Falwell told Christianity Today, "We have mammoth building needs right now. I don't ever see the university being debt-free."
The SACS again placed Liberty University on probation in December of 1996,
stating that Liberty's financial situation has impinged on the education
program"; the SACS review "found more than three dozen violations by
Liberty, including in the areas of academic freedom, faculty compensation, and
faculty loads." But that hasn't stopped Falwell's grandiose schemes --
Falwell plans to relocate Thomas Road Baptist Church and 20 other ministries to
a 1,400-acre site on Liberty Mountain. Phase I of the Jerry Falwell Ministries
world headquarters is set for completion before Christmas 1999 and includes a
new 12,000-seat sanctuary (largest in America), adjacent to Liberty University.
Total cost is projected at $200 million (9/1/98, Calvary Contender).
- Because of these monetary problems, Liberty University has compromised whatever "Christian" standards it might have had left. In 1993, Falwell's Liberty University relaxed evangelical requirements in an effort to preserve state of Virginia tuition assistance grants for students. As requested by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education, Liberty amended its publications and informed faculty members and students of its new policies. New school policy now specifies that faculty members are free to take positions in their teachings or publications that may be contrary to Liberty's doctrine. Neither faculty members nor students will be required to sign any statement that they believe or accept Liberty's doctrinal positions.
The Council also asked Liberty to drop compulsory attendance at campus religious services -- the Council said Liberty could keep about $1.3 million in yearly state tuition aid (roughly $1400 per student) only if the school met a list of requirements, including the dropping of compulsory attendance at religious activities. (Under Virginia law, students who attend schools that have a primary purpose of religious or theological training are banned from receiving financial help from the state under its Tuition Assistance Grants program.) The day the agreement was announced, Falwell issued an incredulous statement that University officials were pleased the state "made no effort to require Liberty to compromise its Christian convictions." [In reality, Liberty has basically agreed to exchange its unique religious character for a government handout. Even liberals were surprised at this compromise, but Falwell said the policy change will not alter the University because the regulations never were enforced (7/19/93, Christianity Today).] (This is not the first compromise for Liberty in conforming to state of Virginia requirements. It changed its name from Liberty Baptist College, "convocation" was substituted for "chapel" in its catalog, and "community service" was substituted for "Christian" service requirements.)