Thomas Dunne Books
After teaching for a number of years, John Killinger, eager to be a pastor, was offered a church in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was in the 1980s when Jerry Falwell had a congregation there. Falwell had just started the Moral Majority movement and had helped to get Ronald Reagan elected president. In 1983, a Good Housekeeping national poll rated Jerry Falwell the second most respected man in America after Reagan.
John Killinger’s new book is in part a picture of Falwell and an exploration of his influence from the unique standpoint of a “rival” minister who says that his experience of his Lynchburg years is what soon turned him into one of Fundamentalism’s most trenchant and outspoken critics.
This is a fascinating story told with great grace and style about two very different men of faith, both struggling to capture hearts, minds, and souls.
I had grown up in the Southern Baptist tradition and always intended to be a pastor, not a teacher. Things being what they were in the South, though, my training at Harvard Divinity School was suspect—as was my having earned a Ph.D. in English literature before going to Harvard—and I wasn't called to a church. So I had come back South as a professor of English in Georgetown College, a small Baptist school in Kentucky. After two years at Georgetown, I had gone to Princeton Theological Seminary to work with Paul Scherer, a famous Lutheran
My Life Across Town from Jerry Falwell