Falwell U

By JERE REAL  |  August 3, 2006

Did the conflict between evolution and creationism pose problems for him while he was working on his doctorate? “You have to understand,” he says, “that at the time I was in Ohio State, I was still an unsaved person. That came later. I was steeped then in the typical evolutionary thing.”

He says attendance later at a “Bible-believing church” forced him to reconcile his conflicts. “ I came to see that either my pastor and my Bible were wrong, or that my professors were wrong.”

“Ultimately,” he continues, “ a person either views creation as a naturalistic process or as a super natural process by God.” While he uses what he calls an “evolutionist text” at LBC, Weaver says the “creationist view is brought in supplemental discussion…. We take the facts and simply ask the question, which is a better interpretation? A supernatural creation? Or an evolutionary one? We feel the supernatural, the creationist view, fits the facts better.” Asked about one major sticking point in the controversy — the dating of the age of the earth — Weaver says he can accept the view that the earth is only about 10,000 years old. “Yes, I do. I have no trouble accepting a view of man’s origins, of creation, that is compatible with the literal interpretation in Genesis.”

Many may find this intrusion of faith into academic inquiry odd. At LBC, the faculty do not. As one professor says, “I am in the world; I am not of it.” This same attitude can allow a literature professor at LBC to say that Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye would not be thought because its language is offensive to the Lord.

A Lynchburg resident who later continued her academic work at another institution tells of a general psychology course she took at LBC in its early days. Unaware of the school’s heavy fundamentalism when she signed up, she was surprised when her professor talked about Jesus and salvation in the first night’s class. “He talked a lot about ‘being saved.’” She says. “ I recall one discussion on marriage in which he said the devil had broken up a marriage between a ‘saved’ person and an ‘unsaved’ one…. After about a week of that, I dropped the course.” The people in her class sometimes responded to the professor with “Amen.”

Admittedly, there has been an attempt to build up the academic credentials of faculty in the school’s first 10 years. But this attempt, too, has been marked by some confusion. The president of LBC is Dr. A. Pierre Guillermo, formerly president of Southern Methodist College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He came to Lynchburg in 1967 to serve as “administrative consultant” for Falwell’s Christian academies. News articles appeared at that time stating that Guillermine had a PhD in psychology from the University of London. Falwell also wrote in one of his books, Church Aflame, that Guillermine had such a degree: “Guillermine’s PhD from the University of London and scholarly approach to the Bible” satisfied an atheist’s questions and led to his salvation. Today, Guillermine does not claim such a degree. Queried, his office recently stated, “Dr. Guillermine said to tell you his degrees are not earned doctorates.” His BA and MA are from fundamentalist Bob Jones University, and he has two honorary doctorates.

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