Jerry Falwell Jr." by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

After Jerry Falwell Jr.’s departure, Liberty University faces questions about faith, power, accountability

Aug 31, 2020

By Susan Svrluga, Michelle Boorstein, and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Liberty University students watched their first all-school convocation of the semester one day after their high-profile president, Jerry Falwell Jr., resigned amid personal scandals.

Falwell has been “an inspiration,” said Jerry Prevo, a powerful, fundamentalist pastor from Alaska serving as acting president. He told students that Liberty’s leaders are committed to the spiritual mission of the university. He also said Falwell had been the “builder of this great campus, which all of us can be proud of.”

Then Jonathan Falwell, pastor of the Liberty-affiliated Thomas Road Baptist Church, spoke. He did not mention his brother by name. But he told his audience, in Lynchburg, Va., and around the globe: “So many times we see Christians that are more focused on building their own brand than they are about building the kingdom of God.”

There are a lot of universities out there, Jonathan Falwell said, but Liberty is different: It was built to change the world with the gospel. He urged students to be faithful, trust God and avoid temptation.

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