Liberal Grace

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jerry Falwell Turned Me Lib

He considered himself the great protector of American Christianity. I think he was a heretic.

Jerry Falwell made me a liberal.

OK, it wasn't exactly that simple.

I was raised in a fundamentalist church and graduated from one of the more famous fundamentalist bible schools. I took from this experience a deep appreciation for the fundamentals of our Christian faith.

I was taught again and again that it is heresy to either add or subtract from the central doctrines of the bible.

Then along came Jerry Falwell who added a politics to American fundamentalism.

Although, to this day, I strongly believe in the "fundamentals" of Christianity, I am viewed with suspicion or outright rejected if I reveal that I'm a registered Democrat.

This is clearly heresy, according to what I was taught in my fundamentalist church and bible school.

That became clear to me, way back in the early 80s and during the Reagan administration, I stopped calling myself a fundamentalist Christian since it no longer described my personal Christian fundamentalism (which I still adhere to.)

Probably, you could guess the arc of my Christian transformation from conservative to liberal. But Jerry Falwell stands as the single most significant person in my personal journey to liberalism.

Now I am convinced that the liberal vs conservative divide is the great heresy of the American church. It's fine that Christians identify as either but it's heresy to divide over it as Jerry Falwell worked so hard to do.

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