Posted by: Taylor | May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell, More Alive Now Than Ever!

Jerry FalwellEarly this morning Pastor Jerry Falwell past away at the age of 73.  I never met the man personally, but I knew him well.  He loved Jesus with a passion few others have demonstrated in their lives.  He was uncompromising in his faith to Jesus our Lord, and unwavering in his pursuit to share the gospel so that all men might know God.

Pastor Falwell had many critics.  I have always thought of him as a modern day Peter because of his bold and unflinching convictions (he also had a tendency to allow his mouth to get him into trouble too).  So, I was not surprised to read and see the coverage of his death to be so blatantly hostile towards him.  In fact, many websites and blogs today are celebrating his death.  Seeing his passing as some sort of victory.

This celebration reminds me of those in Palestine celebrating immediately after 9/11.  America was reeling from these attacks, but the people in the Gaza Strip were celebrating the death of 3000 Americans.  I find it sad that such hate can live in those who claim to be so tolerant and understanding.  The jubilant think they have finally defeated a might enemy and that the war is over and they have won.

The reality is Pastor Falwell was just another man.  Yes, he did great things, and he was a catalysis for great good.  But, even if he had not been born, God would have raised up another person for this same task.  Falwell’s critics don’t seem to understand what the great Jewish teacher Gamaliel told the Jewish Sanhedrin regarding Jesus’ Apostles and their refusal to stop teaching about Jesus.  He said nearly 2000 years ago, “if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

Read his argument below from the Book of Acts.

But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.  35  Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.  36  Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.  37  After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.  38  Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  39  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Acts 5:34-39 

The celebrations of his death demonstrates more concerning the character of his critics than it speaks of Falwell.  Falwell’s critics in their celebration do not just show their hatred toward him, but more so their hatred towards the God he loved and served.  I would ask these critics, “Where do you find your love, where do you find your compassion, and where would you find you grace, forgiveness, and mercy?”

Love, compassion, grace, forgiveness, and mercy were the things which marked Falwell and his worldview.  How about these who hated him so?  If we logically worked out their worldview, what would it look like?  Considering what they are celebrating and how they are celebrating, I would suggest their worldview would include the following list:

  1. Hatred to those who are not like them.
  2. Intolerant of any who disagree with or condemn their views.
  3. Celebration of death, and an abject hatred of the sanctity of life.
  4. Talk of being compassionate, but in reality doing nothing to help those who are in desperate need.
  5. Talk of being loving and tolerant, but instead hating and condemning other who differ with their views.
  6. Making a big show of showing mercy, but in reality never forgiving, forgetting, or trying to resolve a dispute in a gracious way.
  7. Promoting “Tolerance”, but all the while not willing to tolerate any accept those who believe as they do.

Those of you who are so glad that Pastor Falwell has past, do you not see how hateful and vicious you are being.  Most every persons life deserves to be honored because each of us no matter how we lived our lives were created in the image of God.  Being created in God’s image is what gives us worth and value.  So, when you attack, criticize, disparage, and dehumanize a person, you are not just attacking that person and his value, you are attack God and His value.

Furthermore, Pastor Falwell’s battle might be over with you, but your battle with God has just begun.  Pastor Falwell may not be around to remind you that God is God and you are not, but fear not, God is still God.  He is not dead, and the battle continues.  The servants of God will come and go, but God always has another man, woman, or child who is willing to live and die for Him.  And this will continue until Jesus returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I would encourage those of you who are celebrating death today to consider what you are celebrating.  I would invite you maybe for the first time to consider the claims of Christ.  You know who you are.  You know the darkness which lies within.  And you also know that you desperately what someone to come along and tell you that you have value, purpose, and worth.

You can find all this today in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God in human form.  God knew we could never be like Him, so He became like us.  When Jesus came, He lived a perfect life on our behalf, and then He died a sinners death in our place.  Finally, He raised Himself to life never to die again, demonstrating that He was God, and that God had accepted His sacrifice for our sin. 

Now you can know God because of what Jesus did for you.  Jesus is righteous because He perfectly obeyed all of God’s Laws.  He now offers you the opportunity to trade your unrighteous life for His righteous one.  In other words, if you believe in Him and ask forgiveness of your sins, God will look at you as though you had lived a righteous perfect life.  Jesus’ perfect life will be exchanged for your imperfect life.

You will then no longer be considered an enemy of God.  Instead, God will call you friend, beloved, son or daughter.  Won’t you accept Christ love?  Today can be the beginning of a new life for you and your family.  God is love.  Please consider Jesus.  Read His book.  If you don’t know where to start, start with the Gospel of John.  There you will read the story of Jesus and His life.

Finally, as I close this long article, allow me to share with you some verses from the Bible which originally inspirited these thoughts.  These verses came to mind as I continued to hear one assault after another against a man who tried to live his life in service to his God, family, and country.  There was a time when men like Falwell were honored, but no longer.  Thinking upon these attacks against Pastor Falwell made me think of the following verses.

Read and mediate on these thoughts from God.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:11 & 12

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved…A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Matthew 10:22, 24 & 25

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

John 15:18-21

Blessed are you when men hate you,  when they exclude you and insult you  and reject your name as evil,  because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

Luke 6:22 & 23

Woe to you when all men speak well of you,  for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.  But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Luke 6:26-28

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

1 Peter 4:14-16

Pastor Falwell’s life in view of these verses was well lived for the glory of God.  He is blessed to have been cursed by the world because the world did the very same thing to the Son of God.  Remember, “if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

To Pastor Falwell and his family, I say thank you, and “well done good and faithful servant.”  Our prayers are with you, and may God’s comfort, peace, and compassion be with you as well.

In His Service and Strength,

Taylor

Copyright © May 2007 by Taylor W. Kendrick 

All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

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Responses

  1. I didn’t agree with everything that Falwell said and done (so I am not defending him). But I am certainly not knocking him like so many in the blogosphere are doing. I don’t think reveling, like some are doing, in his death is appropriate. It certainly doesn’t give them the moral high ground. How does it make them any better than the Westboro Baptist bunch and what they did at Matthew Shepard’s funeral? The level or rancor and venom out there is very sad, very sad indeed. Rev. Falwell is in the loving arms of his sweet savior. May God’s comfort be with his grieving family.

  2. Bill, I too did not agree with all that Falwell said and did, but who can that be said of. I can commend him for a life well lived, and for living out his faith in the public as well as in private.

    Those who celebrate over a mans death or misfortune have forgotten Proverbs 24:17 & 18.

    “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.”

    Thanks for your thoughts! Taylor


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