The president of the second largest Christian university in the world is at it again.
Falwell Jr. has blocked me on Twitter, so I cannot embed his recent tweet. But this is what he wrote:
“Sorry to be crude but pastors like @plattdavid need to grow a pair. Just saying.”
Falwell was responding to this tweet from Fox News radio host Todd Starnes:
Church members “hurt” after pastor prays for @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/GKSI9HAPY0 Maybe they should take the plank out of their own eyes before casting stones — lest they hit the wrong person. #StarnesCountry #MAGA
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 4, 2019
Apparently Falwell was not happy with pastor David Platt’s letter to his congregation that explained how he handled the Trump’s visit to McLean Bible Church on Sunday. Falwell’s tweet suggests that Platt’s decision to explain himself to his congregation made him appear weak and not manly enough.
- First, a word about his language. Falwell begins by “apologizing” for his crudeness. It is worth noting that he is the president of a university. Most university presidents are able to communicate their ideas without being crude. In other words, they have civil language at their disposal. But Falwell knows that his base–conservative evangelical Christians–love this kind of language. In some ways, Falwell’s use of language says less about him and more about the kind of evangelicals that gravitate toward him. I would not be surprised if there was a small spike in donations to Liberty University today.
- This tweet reveals that Falwell views the world primarily through politics, not Christian reconciliation or unity. Remember, Platt wrote this letter as a way of dealing with conflict in his congregation–McLean Bible Church. It was a pastoral epistle. Platt was trying to heal wounds and keep his church body together after a difficult day. He knew there was some division in his church after Trump’ showed- up unannounced and he wanted to explain why he handled the president’s visit in the way he did. For Falwell to criticize Platt for trying to maintain unity in his congregation suggests that the divisive rhetoric of Trumpian politics (or any politics for that matter) is more important than unity in the body of Christ. But this is nothing new.
- It is also worth noting how Falwell responded to one of his critics on Twitter. Winfield Bevins, a professor a Asbury Theological Seminary, called Falwell out in a tweet: “What an unbelievable statement from someone who calls themselves a minister of the gospel. @LibertyU should call on you to repent.” Falwell responded on twitter with this: “You’re putting your ignorance on display. I have never been a minister. UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 years. Univ president for last 12-years–student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6 new construction in those 12 years.” Trump couldn’t have said it any better.