Noted evangelist Jerry Falwell went to be with our Lord on Tuesday, May 15, shortly after he was found unconscious in his Liberty University office and rushed to the hospital. Falwell is best known in the secular world, perhaps, for his staunchly conservative Christian views and for his political influence through the Moral Majority, an organization he led in the 1980s.
Falwell has influenced many more people through Thomas Road Baptist Church, which he established in Lynchburg, VA, in 1956, as well as through the Old Time Gospel Hour radio and television ministries, and Liberty University, founded in 1971.
Dr. Falwell strongly advocated a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. The doctrinal statement of Liberty University reads, in part:
We affirm that all things were created by God. Angels were created as ministering agents, though some, under the leadership of Satan, fell from their sinless state to become agents of evil. The universe was created in six historical days and is continuously sustained by God; thus it both reflects His glory and reveals His truth. Human beings were directly created, not evolved, in the very image of God. As reasoning moral agents, they are responsible under God for understanding and governing themselves and the world.1
In an interview with CNN that aired on February 1, 2004, Dr. Falwell spoke on the issue of teaching creationism in school. When asked whether he thought that scientific beliefs and religious faith could coexist in the classroom, he responded:
I do, indeed. As a matter of fact, I think creationism is creation science. And I believe that people like Dr. Kenneth Ham at Answers in Genesis in Florence, Kentucky, Dr. Henry Morris at the Institution Creation Research out in San Diego, and thousands of scientists…they're all creationists. And there are thousands like them who teach creationism as science and science as creationism, and likewise, teach the evolution model. Young people, when they hear the facts on both sides, or what are proposed to be facts, overwhelmingly, like 80 percent of the American people, accept and adopt creationism.2
Our prayers go out to Dr. Falwell's family, friends, and co-workers in this time of their loss.
* Beth Mull is Senior Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.