Thomas Road Baptist Church

Last updated

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



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]

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]

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]

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.

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Moral Majority

The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right and Republican Party. It was founded in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell and associates, and dissolved in the late 1980s. It played a key role in the mobilization of conservative Christians as a political force and particularly in Republican presidential victories throughout the 1980s.

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.

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.

The Landover Baptist Church is the website of a parody fundamentalist Baptist church. The church lampoons fundamentalist, Independent Baptist churches and Biblical literalism, and originated as a satire of Liberty University.

Liberty University private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia

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

Virginia University of Lynchburg

Virginia University of Lynchburg is a private, historically black university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The university currently offers instruction and degrees, primarily in religious studies, including a Doctorate of Ministry program. The campus is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Liberty Christian Academy school in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States

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.

B. R. Lakin American minister

Bascom Ray Lakin was a Baptist preacher and evangelist.

Jerry Falwell Jr. American lawyer

Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr. is an American lawyer and university administrator. He serves as the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, appointed in 2007 upon his father's death.

Brookville High School is a high school in Campbell County, Virginia, United States.

Elmer Leon Towns is an American Christian academic, pastor and writer who co-founded Liberty University, the largest private non-profit university in the world, alongside Jerry Falwell in 1971. Towns is also a prominent Christian leader and speaker on the principles of church growth, church leadership, Christian education, Sunday school, and prayer and fasting. He has written over 170 books, eight of which are listed on the Christian Booksellers Association Best Selling List. In 1995, his book The Names of the Holy Spirit received the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Booksellers Association for Book of the Year in Biblical Study. Most recently Towns has served as Dean of the B. R. Lakin School of Religion, Dean of Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary, and Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Liberty University. In fall 2013, Towns announced he would be taking a sabbatical from his teaching and administrative duties to focus on speaking and writing.

Jonathan Pate Falwell is the senior pastor at the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

<i>The Year of Living Biblically</i> book

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to follow the Bible as Literally as Possible is a book by A. J. Jacobs, an editor at Esquire magazine, published in 2007. The book describes a year that the author said he spent trying to follow all the rules and guidelines he could find in the Bible, which turned out to be more than 700.

John B. Cartwright is a Baptist pastor who first achieved acclaim as a record-setting quarterback at the U.S. Naval Academy in the 1960s. After a tour of duty in Vietnam, he became head football coach at Lynchburg Baptist College while attending seminary at the school in Virginia. He then left football to start a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that he has pastored for over three decades.

Edward G. Dobson was a Northern Irish-American pastor, at one time an executive for the Moral Majority. After becoming disillusioned with the Christian Right, he became the pastor of a megachurch in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a nationally known author and speaker, especially after being diagnosed with ALS in 2000.

Robert "Bobby" Brewer is an American pastor, author, and talk radio personality who is based in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to being the co-host of a Christian radio show and pastor, he is known for being an Evangelical Christian who witnessed the 1997 Phoenix Lights. In 2002, he wrote an article for the Christian Research Journal. In 2006, he wrote a book, UFOs: 7 Things You Should Know (ISBN 9781413744170), in which he gave his assessment of the phenomenon.

Ergun Caner American minister

Ergun Michael Caner is a Swedish-American academic, author, and Baptist minister, who became well known for his book, co-authored with his brother, on Islam and his claims that he was a devout Muslim trained as a terrorist, claims since proven to be false. He emigrated to the United States at age four and claimed to have converted to Christianity in the early 1980s.

River Ridge Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in Lynchburg, Virginia. Opened in 1980, the mall features JCPenney, Belk, and Regal Cinemas as its primary anchors, with Jo-Ann Fabrics, T.J. Maxx, and Planet Fitness serving as secondary anchors. Three restaurant outparcels include Red Lobster, Steak 'n Shake, and a local restaurant named Shakers, with a fourth outparcel being Salem, Virginia based Kemba Roanoke Federal Credit Union. A Residence Inn by Marriott is the mall's first on-site hotel.

Jerome Richard "Jerry" Johnston is an American evangelical Christian pastor, author, and docu-filmmaker. Johnston is currently vice president for Innovation and Strategic marketing at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas, and director of Christian Thinkers Society. Johnston and his wife Cristie Jo Huf Johnston are professors of theology and co-producers of a documentary in production about the "Nones" phenomenon.


  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

Coordinates: 37°21′27″N79°10′24″W / 37.35750°N 79.17333°W / 37.35750; -79.17333