When an alleged sex scandal breaks, it draws attention. When it’s surrounding a vocal Christian, it’s the top news story for the week.
Jerry Falwell Jr., the now-resigned president of conservative Christian university, Liberty University, made headlines for an alleged sex scandal surrounding his wife Becki and Giancarlo Granda, a former pool attendant-turned-business partner he reportedly met in 2012 according to Reuters.
The news site conducted an interview with Giancarlo, who alleged that he had a quote “intimate relationship” with Becki for around seven years, from 2012-2019.
Giancarlo, stated that Jerry allegedly, quote, “enjoyed watching us in person and also remotely through video cameras. He also listened to our phone calls.” He also alleged their meetups happened “multiple times a year,” including at the Falwell’s home.
Jerry has denied the participation claims by Giancarlo, but did acknowledge his wife had an affair with the man, who owns a Miami hostel the two were in business over.
In an interview with The Washington Examiner, he stated that his wife Becki had a quote “inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved. It was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about.”
Becki has since come out in support of her husband, acknowledged her affair, but said that Jerry Jr. has nothing to do with it.
Reportedly, Giancarlo shared an audio recording between himself and Becki, of which also included Jerry.
Becki appeared to have taken issue with Giancarlo’s alleged hooking up with others. During that phonecall, she seems to have addressed her husband, who then addresses Giancarlo.
Becki allegedly to Jerry:
“He’s like telling me every time he hooks up with people. Like I don’t have feelings or something.”
Jerry allegedly to Giancarlo:
“You’re going to make her jealous.”
Giancarlo allegedly to Jerry: “I’m not trying to do that.”
News of the affair appears to have come after a business deal gone sour. Jerry claimed the story of his wife’s affair was allegedly part of an extortion plot cooked up with Giancarlo, while Giancarlo insists he was only trying to come to an agreement over a buyout plan he had with Jerry and Becki.
Friends, if you’re wondering how we as Christians should respond to this, there are several things we must do.
We have to acknowledge sin and call it out, while coming from a place of humility. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and the only perfect person is Jesus. Well you might say “Well I haven’t committed a sin like that!” I used to say that too. But that can lead to a spirit of legalism, a works-based religion, and deny us the true realization of what Christ did on the cross for us. Hint: He sacrificed himself on the cross by dying for us. Even if we committed only one sin of a little white lie, we STILL couldn’t be united with Christ. Why, because he had ZERO sin. It’s like this. You have a white piece of paper. Completely white. One black dot, and it’s no longer completely white.
Now after acknowledging the sin, We must forgive others when they ask for forgiveness. That’s our job as believers. It’s not a “if you feel like it.” It’s a “ya gotta do it,” just as God forgave you.
The person involved in sin must ask for forgiveness from God, while also expecting to suffer the consequences for his/her actions. Forgiveness from God doesn’t mean we get to escape earthly repercussions. It’s what we suffer for choices we’ve made. That’s why we have jail, prisons and the death penalty, for example. And honestly, we can’t expect to grow and change otherwise.
If Becki’s alleged affair is true, and according to Jerry and recordings provided by Giancarlo, it is, then it is best she acknowledge it, and seek a path to redemption and change. If Jerry’s involvement in it is also proved true, according to accusations against Giancarlo, then he needs to acknowledge it as well and also forge a path to redemption and change. Then, both should publicly apologize to Liberty students, donors and others whom they deem fit.
Now in regards to their sexual allegations, friends, the Bible calls for sex in marriage between one man and one woman, and that does not include third party participants. All of us, every single one of us, has been faced with or engaged in some sort of sexual immorality. This can be anywhere from looking at someone lustfully to…the list goes on.
I think each and every one of us who proclaim the name of Jesus need to put ourselves under a microscope. Claiming to be a “Christian” has become a simple line in our bio, or something treated like it’s an ethnicity we were born into. But true Christianity calls us to die to self, and that takes some serious, life-changing habits. It also calls us to tame the beast of sin we were born into. Every single one of us, even the people we consider the most “holy” needs to fight off sin daily. I guess why there’s that whole, put on the full armor of God verse!
The Bible says we will be known by the fruit we produce. We can’t call ourselves believers, condemn others around us while showing no grace, but choose to live a life like the world. Our fruit we’ve produced doesn’t match the tree we claim it grew on. If we were really rooted in Christ, yes we would struggle no doubt, but we’d be more likely to make wiser decisions both publicly and privately.
I’m an entertainment journalist. I understand the scrutiny celebrities or people of influence face. I do acknowledge that they really do have it harder, as each move they make is documented by a sideline of people ready to throw stones by blasting their lives…both the good and the bad…for the entire world to see. While no one really is perfect, people in leadership should be well aware that they need to take extra precaution with the choices they make. Still, I’ve got to make it clear. Whether or not you’re in a position of leadership should not determine your willingness to actively avoid sin. As believers, we should want to “cling to what is good” (scripture). But the fact that all eyes will be on you as a leader should give one extra boost of accountability, in making sure you really desire, and actually DO follow the Lord.
The reality is this: media and non-believers are waiting…waiting…for a Christian to make any mistake. I will acknowledge though that sometimes, they just need you to open your mouth for a chance to distort what you’re saying, even if it is the truth said in love, or is something said or done that was clearly taken out of context. But if we engage in actual behavior that gives others the ammunition they’ve been DYING to get, who can we blame but ourselves? We have to realize what’s at stake here too. Imagine the shame we can bring on positive programs, policies and people we boldly support, when we engage in sinful acts. And whether we believe it or not, when we claim to be Christians and then engage in sin, people will “judge” Christ based on his followers.
For those who do so and are ready to tear down Christianity because of another human’s deeds, you’re clearly mistaking that person for the real person whom a true Christian actually serves. Believers, please don’t lose faith in Christ because a famous Christian is involved in a scandal, seriously, no matter how disgusting. Should you be upset and call out sin if their alleged actions prove true? Yes! But it is not them whom you worship and serve. It is Jesus. And the sooner you can separate the two, the sooner you will understand the seriousness and whole point of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
And once you grasp that, you’ll also separate the person involved in the scandal, from what they publicly support. For example, another famous person allegedly involved in a sex scandal was Josh Duggar, a man who also proudly professed Christianity. Like Jerry, both also support traditional marriage, pro-family, pro-life and biblical concepts. They KNOW it’s true, because it IS true. But Satan also knows God is God. He just doesn’t live a life that ackwoledges it. Now I’m not saying Josh and Jerry are Satan. This is what I’m saying. Knowing what is true, doesn’t mean you’re still gonna do, no matter how much in your heart you know the truth. How many of us know that a specific diet works and well even tell others to do it, but we constantly fall off the wagon ourselves? Parents, how many of you have told your kids to do one thing, but don’t practice it yourselves? Christians, how many of us have told others what we know is right, but have done the opposite? How many of us have been the hypocrite, or preached the “do as I say but not as I do” mentality? All of us? OK cool. Well what are we gonna do about it now?
My last question for you is this: What are your thoughts on this Jerry Fallwell Jr. story? Tell me in the comment section box below.
By the way, if you’re wondering if Christianity is even true, or if Jesus actually existed…check below for a list of videos I’ve done addressing those very questions, as well as additional resources to access in the amazing rabbit hole world of Apologetics.