The former president of a leading US evangelical Christian university has sought to clarify his beliefs after saying he was not a "religious person" in a recent interview.
Jerry Falwell Jr, who led Liberty University from 2007 until 2020, took to Instagram to outline his beliefs following remarks made in a feature with Vanity Fair, which he says other media outlets have misconstrued.
The Vanity Fair interview quoted Falwell, the son of famed evangelical preacher Jerrry Falwell Jr, as saying that he was "not" religious.
“Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not," Falwell told the magazine. "My goal was to make them realize I was not my dad.”
Given Falwell was the leading figure at America's largest and most influential Christian university for 13 years, this surprised many and led to some follow-up coverage.
But Falwell believes his comments have been taken out of context. On Instagram, he claimed that "misinformation" about his personal beliefs had been circling on social media.
"Recently there have been false media reports published that have led some to conclude that I am not a Christian," he wrote.
Clarifying his stance on faith, he wrote that whilst it is right that he doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve "to be seen by others", he has held "a strong faith in Christ and his teachings since college".
Falwell went on to make a number of clear declarations about his Christian beliefs:
"While I am far from perfect, let me be clear: I believe Jesus was born of a virgin.
"I believe in the Deity of Christ as the only Son of God. I believe that, even though He lived a sinless life, He suffered a brutal death on the cross vicariously to atone for all of our sins.
"After three days, I believe Jesus rose again and will return someday. I believe that whoever believes in Christ will have eternal life."
Falwell resigned from his position as Liberty's president in August 2020 amidst an alleged sex scandal involving his wife and a business associate which received widespread media attention.
In April 2021, Liberty University sued Falwell for $40 million in damages for breach of contract and violation of fiduciary duty.
Prior to this, in October 2020, Falwell filed a lawsuit against Liberty for damaging his reputation following the scandal that ended his tenure.
Falwell dropped the lawsuit in December 2020.