It’s been a week since Jerry Falwell went off into the next phase of life. Some thoughts have been roaming around about his life. I did and do not ascribe to his form of fundamentalist theology. Having said that, his life and ministry seem to me to try and bring together what is often a dualism of Church and State. As a pastor, he entered into the realm of politics where the church has been so silent while the American state has become secularized.
He has passed and followed a rather contemporary cultural practice of leaving his ministry to sons. As I understand it, one son will become pastor of the church in Lynchburg while the other will assume duties as the head of the university. This is just another incident in which father-son inheritance in ministry secession has occurred. I am sure there are many. Some come to mind: Oral to Richard Roberts, Robert Sr. to Robert Jr. Schuller, Billy to Franklyn Graham, John to Joel Osteen. I wonder why that is.
I also wonder why there are not more pastors involved in political situation at the local, state, and national level. The belief of the founding fathers that there should be no regulated church by the state has turned into a dualism of Church and State. There is now a deep ugly ditch between the Church and the State.
I’m not advocating that we return to a former state of being that caused our forefathers to seek church freedom. In England today, N. T. Wright, who is Bishop of Durham, is also a member of the British Parliament and actually attends session of the Parliament while remaining a pastor of his local church in Durham. I realize that is an English model.
What I wonder is: what if pastors of USAmerican churches entered the realm of politics and remained pastors of their congregations at the same time. How would that change the ugly ditch between Church and State?
Well, Dr. Jerry Falwell has gone on to his life after death awaiting his life after life after death. I wonder what he thinks about where he is and if it is what he thought and taught it would be. I wonder if he could return what he would believe and teach differently. I wonder!