Friday, May 18, 2007

Rod Parsley: Dr. Falwell's Successor?

Speculation about Dr. Falwell's "successor" abounds in the blogosphere and across the Internet. It seems that Rod Parsley, Pentecostal megachurch pastor in Columbus, Ohio, may be positioning himself to do just that.

In a recent statement on his website, Moral Majority clone Center for Moral Clarity, he stated his profound admiration for Dr. Falwell and claimed that Dr. Falwell was a mentor of his in the early years of his ministry, having grown up Southern Baptist. Parsley has been given nicknames like the "raging prophet," the "patriot pastor," and a "talibangelist" by severe leftists. This past Friday evening, an honorary doctorate of humanities degree was conferred upon Parsley at commencement exercises at Liberty University. Parsley was saddened that Dr. Falwell would not be able to hood him himself, because Falwell was a "gracious friend and patient teacher."

What saddens me is the parroting of the religious right rhetoric.

Like Falwell, Parsley believes Christians must be the moral watchmen for their nation. "The liberal left media continue to pound away and tell the church to get back within the confines of its sanctuary walls," he asserts, "and if there's anything Dr. Falwell taught us, it's that we, having an experience with Christ, must be salt and light and infuse ourselves into every strata of society. And it is not only our privilege but it is our God-given right in
this Judeo-Christian worldview nation to vote -- to vote our values."

Parsley says one way conservative, Bible-believing Christians can carry on the legacy of Dr. Jerry Falwell is by staying active in the public square [emphasis mine].

Have God and conservatism merged into one? I agree that Christians should make their presence known in the public square, but if Christians are only making their political views known, then of what benefit is it? Being involved in politics as the sole source of transformation is to hack the Gospel off at the knees. To "vote our values" makes Christians nothing less than proselytizers, not witnesses. Too often Christians have substituted voting values for testifying to God's work of grace in their lives. It cannot be the only thing you do for Christ! This is not the only voice conservative Christians should have.

I also must remind everyone that Parsley is the same man that not too long ago, called for the imprisonment of adulterers. Never mind that Jesus actually released an adulteress, and if Parsley is consistent in his application of this belief, then three of the top contenders for Republican nomination for 2008 would therefore be in jail, the party he has historically endorsed.

Christians should be salt and light, but in my opinion, this misuse of Jesus' command has become code and has been divested of its true Scriptural meaning. We are failing in what it means to be salt and light. What was it that turned the world upside down in the first century church? It certainly wasn't Paul's and Silas' engagement of the Roman Empire in diplomatic and political discourse. It was by the faithful proclamation of the Gospel, both individually and corporately. That alone will bring the transforming power of God into our midst, not proselytization into
religious clones.


Steve Sensenig said...

I am SO with you!

Streak said...

This is not progress as far as I am concerned. Parsley is much worse than Falwell. Parsley is one of the most hateful people in the religious right.

BTW, Tony, I am not sure what "severe leftist" means but I don't think that anyone on the left called him a "patriot pastor." I think that was the movement he himself started. He sees absolutely no disconnect between his radical theology and his radical political views.

Have you ever watched his "telesermons?" This guy is scary.

Les Puryear said...


Parsley for Falwell? That's a bit too much spice for me. :) Sorry, I couldn't resist.

BTW, thanks for the prayer note your folks signed for Rob. It really meant a lot to him.


Tony said...


Glad you're on my side. :)


I did not communicate that one sentence well. The only tag I know of given to him by the left is that of "talibangelist." The other two have been dubbed upon him by the right.

His "sermons" are crazy. They look and sound like a choreographed performance. For Parsley to step in this void is definitely going backwards, but with an honorary doctorate from LU, it looks to me like he is purposefully going that direction.

If Dr. Falwell confused me, "Dr." Parsley more so.I am still scratching my head over this fundamental/charismatic mix; definitely a gargantuan two-headed monster.

You're a PhD--what is up with honorary doctorates and what do they mean anyway? Will you give me one?


You're welcome on the prayer note. I pray he is doing well.

Streak said...


The honorary degree thing is really funny. During my graduation I was more than a little bemused at people who were awarded a doctorate while I had paid dues in sweat and blood and tears to earn mine. Some are deserving of credit, but most are donors who give enough to get that kind of attention. I really don't mind, but it bothers me if they use the title. Was Falwell's honorary? Will Parsley call himself Dr. Parsley now?


Tony said...

Dr. Streak,

Falwell had three, yes THREE honorary doctorates, one from an unaccredited school, not that that really matters.

While I was running that little tidbit down, I discovered that Falwell bestowed upon Sean Hannity an honorary doctorate in 2005.


Streak said...

So Falwell's Dr was fake? Wow, I really didn't realize that. Again, I don't really mind them as some kind of ritual celebration of someone's contribution, but when people use that title as if they are really a Dr., that stinks. Seems like somewhere in the Bible there is something about bearing false witness?