Is encouraging “spiritual revival” the task of a university president? Thoughts on today’s Liberty University press release

Liberty_University_LaHaye_Student_Union_IMG_4121 (1)

Here is the press release:

On Friday, Aug. 21, the Board of Trustees held a special meeting and affirmed both the terms of Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s indefinite leave of absence and Acting President Jerry Prevo’s terms of employment.

The full Board unanimously ratified the directives previously issued by its Executive Committee for Falwell during his paid leave, including the directives that Falwell may not act as President, use any powers of the University president, and may not communicate with employees to manage, direct, or interfere with the operations of the University.  Falwell may be called upon by Prevo for consultation and background information.

The decision to vest all the powers of the University president in Prevo during Falwell’s indefinite leave of absence and approved the Acting President’s salary and benefits. Board members asked Prevo to use his time of Christian leadership to reset the spiritual focus and emphasis at the University and expressed support for the spiritual revival plans Prevo announced.

The decision whether or not to retain Falwell as President has not yet been made, and the Board requested prayer and patience as they seek the Lord’s will and also seek additional information for assessment.  The University and its Board members have decided to not publicly comment on the various rumors and claims about Falwell at this time.  Instead, the Board intends to use this time of leave to look into them as part of the process of determining what is in the best interest of Liberty University.  The Board and its Executive Committee contemplate this being a careful and deliberative process, but one that will yield a result that honors God and is befitting one of the largest Christian universities in the world.

The Executive Committee asked Falwell to go on an indefinite leave of absence on Aug. 7, to which he agreed.  While the full Board had previously been briefed by the Executive Committee on its actions, Friday was the first opportunity for a formal Board meeting to be held where business could be conducted.   The next scheduled Board meeting is Oct. 30.

The Board has “asked Prevo to use his time of Christian leadership to reset the spiritual focus and emphasis at the University and expressed support for the spiritual revival plans Prevo announced.” What does this mean? Is it possible to “announce” a spiritual revival?

The spiritual climate of a Christian college campus is always important. Jerry Falwell Jr. once said he plays no role in this dimension of Liberty campus life. But is encouraging “spiritual revival” the task of a university president?

Falwell Jr. was most concerned about building the sports program and using his platform to promote Donald Trump. Prevo wants to foster a “spiritual revival.” Neither of these Liberty University presidents seem to be concerned about building a strong and thriving academic institution.

Can Liberty University really be a place of spiritual revival when their most vocal spokespersons engage in gutter politics from their seats as Falkirk Center “fellows?”

If a spiritual revival leads to more Christian Trumpism, is it really a spiritual revival? Or is it something else?