Thomas Road Baptist Church

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Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) is a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. It currently has 24,000 members. The pastor is Jonathan Falwell.

Megachurch very big church within some Protestant Christianity; specifically, one having 2000 or more people in average weekend attendance

A megachurch is defined by the Hartford Institute as any Protestant Christian church having 2,000 or more people in average weekend attendance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term, first documented in 1984, as a church with an unusually large membership, especially one preaching a conservative or evangelical form of Christianity and also offering a variety of educational and social activities.

Lynchburg, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568. The 2017 census estimates an increase to 81,000. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or the "Hill City". In the 1860s, Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not recaptured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.

Virginia State of the United States of America

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.



The Old Thomas Road Baptist Church OldThomasRoad.JPG
The Old Thomas Road Baptist Church
Markers in 2011 note the 55th anniversary of Thomas Road Baptist Church Thomas Road Baptist Church, 55th anniversary IMG 4114.JPG
Markers in 2011 note the 55th anniversary of Thomas Road Baptist Church

Begun in 1956 by a group of thirty-five, including Jerry Falwell, Thomas Road now claims more than 24,200 members. In 1971, the church founded Lynchburg Baptist College, now known as Liberty University, as well as Liberty Christian Academy (known as Lynchburg Christian Academy until it moved and was renamed in 2005). Until 2004, the church was the location for a nationally syndicated religious broadcast known as The Old-Time Gospel Hour . This program now airs only locally in Lynchburg. Selected sermons from the pulpit of the Thomas Road Baptist Church are now featured nationally on a syndicated program from Liberty University known as Live from Liberty. [1]

Jerry Falwell American evangelical pastor, televangelist, and conservative political commentator

Jerry Lamon Falwell Sr. was an American Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1967 and Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.

Liberty University private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University (LU) is a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Liberty Christian Academy

Liberty Christian Academy is a private Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia. Founded in 1967 by Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell as a ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church and a segregation academy, the school is recognized as an educational facility by the Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia State Board of Education, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Association of Christian Schools International. The academy consists of pre–K through grade 12.

The church occupied a new multimillion-dollar facility on July 2, 2006. The new building is connected to an over 800,000 sq ft (74,000 m2) facility formerly owned and operated by the Ericsson electronics manufacturer. The existing building has been renovated to house offices, university classes, the new Liberty University School of Law, and the Liberty Christian Academy. The Church offers a variety of events and speakers, such as a creationist conference by Answers in Genesis. [2]

Ericsson Swedish provider of communications technology and services

Ericsson is a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company headquartered in Stockholm. The company offers services, software and infrastructure in information and communications technology for telecommunications operators, traditional telecommunications and Internet Protocol (IP) networking equipment, mobile and fixed broadband, operations and business support services, cable television, IPTV, video systems, and an extensive services operation.

Answers in Genesis organization

Answers in Genesis (AiG) is a fundamentalist Christian apologetics parachurch organization. It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific promotion of young Earth creationism, which rejects those results of scientific investigation that do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative. The organization sees evolution as incompatible with the Bible and believes anything other than the young Earth view is a compromise on biblical inerrancy.

Founding pastor Falwell served as its senior pastor until his death in 2007. In a special business meeting called by the board of deacons on June 3, 2007, Jonathan Falwell was unanimously elected by the congregation to assume his father's duties as senior pastor of the church. Jonathan Falwell had previously served as the church's executive pastor since 1994. [3]

Jonathan Pate Falwell is the senior pastor at the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is the son and successor of the late Reverend Jerry Falwell and the brother of Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. His older sister, Jeannie, is a surgeon. During a 1974 family discussion about abortion as the 'national sin' of American, Jonathan asked his father why didn't he do something about it, which was the start of his father's reading of other evangelical writers such as Francis Schaeffer on the issue. As a young adult and minister in his father's church, the subject invested in video processing technology.

Jerry Falwell started Lynchburg Baptist College by selling bonds to a small group of private investors. However, in 1972, the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the bonds alleging Falwell's church committed "fraud and deceit" in the issuance of $6.5 million in unsecured church bonds. [4] The church won a 1973 federal court case prosecuted at the behest of the SEC, in which the Court exonerated the church and ruled that there had been no intentional wrongdoing. [5]


Thomas Road Baptist Church was initially affiliated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. However, since 1998, it has a dual affiliation with the Baptist Bible Fellowship and the Southern Baptist Convention, having entered the convention by way of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.

The Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI) is a conservative Baptist organization formed in 1950 by members who broke away from the World Baptist Fellowship as the result of a leadership dispute with J. Frank Norris. It is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri. In North America there are 4,500 congregations totaling 1.2 million members associated with it; an additional 10,000 churches are associated worldwide.

Southern Baptist Convention Baptist denomination in the southern parts of the USA

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a Christian denomination based in the United States. With more than 15 million members as of 2015, it is the world's largest Baptist denomination, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, and the second-largest Christian denomination in the United States after the Catholic Church.

Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia

The SBC of Virginia or "SBCV" is a fellowship of 700 Southern Baptist churches across Virginia and surrounding areas. It is supportive of the national Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It was formed in 1993 when conservative Virginia Baptists across the state founded the SBCV fellowship. On September 16, 1996, messengers that met at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia voted for the fellowship to become a new Southern Baptist state convention. On October 1, 1996, the SBC Executive Committee officially acknowledged SBCV as a new State Convention.

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Liberty Baptist Fellowship

Liberty Baptist Fellowship is a fellowship of independent Baptist churches that grew up around Jerry Falwell, Thomas Road Baptist Church of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Liberty University. Most pastors of the Fellowship are alumni of Liberty University. In 1994, the Liberty Baptist Fellowship had 100 churches, including the 21,000 member Thomas Road church, which was also affiliated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. In 1996, the Thomas Road church joined the newly formed Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, thereby aligning itself with 3 Baptist bodies.

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  1. "Our History". Thomas Road Baptist Church. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  2. "Answers for Darwin". Answers in Genesis. 2008. Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  3. Brown, Ron (3 June 2007). "Jonathan Falwell elected TRBC pastor". Lynchburg, Virginia: The News and Advance. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  4. Inskeep, Steve (June 30, 2006). "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell". National Public Radio . Retrieved 2007-01-04.
  5. "Jerry Falwell, Moral Majority Founder, Dies at 73", New York Times, May 16, 2007

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