The National Council of Churches published the following statement on the death of Rev. Jerry Falwell.
New York City, May 15, 2007--
The National Council of Churches USA expresses to the family, friends and colleagues of the Rev. Jerry Falwell our sympathy in his sudden passing today. Rev. Falwell was a prominent and controversial figure on the American scene for many years. He often made public statements with which other Christians strongly disagree, including his contention that the terror attacks of September 11 were God's judgment on sinful America, and his support of apartheid and the Iraq War.
"Some media pundits tended to think of Falwell as representative of American Christianity, but most church leaders, while claiming him as a 'brother in Christ,' strongly differed with many of his outspoken views, including his puzzling denunciation of the Teletubbies children's TV program," said the Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the NCC.
"He did perform the valuable contribution of taking stands that forced mainstream Christians to re examine their positions and test their convictions," Edgar noted.
"Acts 15:2 records that apostles Paul and Barnabas 'had no small dissension and debate' with fellow Christians in Jerusalem, but their debate was clarifying and advanced the cause of Christ. We may never understand why Jerry Falwell felt apartheid and war were consistent with Christ's teachings, but we are grateful he was there to force us to examine our own consciences and strengthen our commitment to justice and peace," Edgar said.
"It is clear that my Brother Jerry now knows the Truth we are all seeking, as he rests in the arms of a kind, loving and forgiving God," Edgar concluded.
The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.