What is going on with Dr. Jerry Falwell and Liberty University? He has come a long way since the days of the Moral Majority.
There have been many instances in the last several years to raise concerns, but none more disconcerting that the ones that I have taken note of in the last 18 months.
In early 2006, it was Dr. Falwell’s president of Liberty University that declared from the pulpit that Calvinism was “cancer” on the body of Christ. Dr. Falwell has affirmed Dr. Caner’s position on numerous occasions.
Most recently, Dr. Falwell’s made an appearance on a CNN special entitled What Would Jesus REALLY Do?, in which during his interview he praised Pope John Paul for his leadership and stance on abortion.
Now comes the report that Dr. Falwell has declared that the teaching of limited atonement is heresy. In a blog post by Dr. Thomas Ascol of Founders Ministries, entitled Jerry Falwell’s Friday the 13th declaration: Limited atonement is heresy :
Last Friday at the “College for a Weekend” emphasis at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Jerry Falwell preached a chapel message to 1828 prospective new students along with current students, faculty and staff. Under the title of “Our Message, Mission and Vision,” Dr. Falwell declared his purpose to be to communicate who Liberty University is in order to persuade prospective students to matriculate there.When he came to articulating their belief in the “substitutionary atonemement of Jesus Christ for all men,” however, he added a statement that I find tragic. Here it is (about 10 minutes or so into the video):”We are not into particular love or limited atonement. As a matter of fact we consider it heresy.”
Dr. Ascol goes on:What I regret is that he finds particular atonement to be “heresy.” This must mean that he and Liberty believe that those who hold to particular atonement to be heretics. Among the countless numbers of people whom he would brand with the H-word are many who would make any evangelical Who’s who list (including Bunyan, Owen, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Carey, Boyce, Mell, Dagg and Lloyd-Jones, to name but a few of the dead ones). I find this sad.
Does Jerry Falwell and Liberty University really judge John Piper to be a heretic? If we take his words seriously, as surely we ought if we are to honor him, then he believes that Al Mohler, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, D. James Kennedy, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Tom Nettles, Wayne Grudem, Sinclair Ferguson, James White and Fred Malone teach heresy.
And I fully agree with Dr. Ascol as he concludes:It is time for this generation of believers to learn how to disagree over substantive issues without falling into the sins of slander and bearing false witness. When the Word of God that we love gets trampled underfoot by those who profess to defend it in the very process of their defense, it is more than ironic. It is tragic.