I miss D James Kennedy

Opinions about D James Kennedy are never mild. But some things are clear. One, he was clear. Unlike Brian MacLaren and company, Kennedy did not find comfort in holding contradictory positions at the same time. For him this was not the mark of intelligence.

Two, his patriotism was a sophisticated patriotism. Not a fundamentalist, he yet took positions that could make a conservative feel warm all over. When Kennedy was speaking there was the wise use of words, the sense of drama and a clear call to the new birth through Christ. He was never far from the crucified Christ.

Three, his insights into significant Christian figures in the founding of this country continue to stand against the secularist attempt to make men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln their own. His two sermons on Lincoln and Washington I continue to view for my own inspiration, particularly the one on Washington.

Four, he was a capable Bible teacher. Though he was increasingly known as a significant figure in the culture wars, at root he was a Bible teacher and apologist. His TV productions on the bible and on Jesus continue to stand as first class representations of the true evangelical faith.

Fifth, he was an evangelist. Evangelism Explosion has been one of the premier evangelistic training programs in the US. I have been trained in EE and became a trainer in EE. Such a style of evangelism is not popular today, but it will come back when evangelicals finally figure out that the transformation of society is not rooted in congress, parliament, social structures or any number of faddish justice issues. Kennedy’s essential theme was “transforming America one heart at a time.” Regeneration of the sinner is the root of the new world Jesus is bringing to pass.

I am not pleased by the way the new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church continues to hype in the midst of all the the criticism being leveled at him how he is rescuing that church from its latter day decline under Kennedy’s pastorate. It might be so, but such things should be whispered. The man’s influence was otherwise so great and so good.

I feel about it as King David did when he was told of Saul’s and Jonathan’s death on the field of battle. “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.” (2 Sam 1:20)

Intelligent evangelical voices for a conservative worldview are fading. Men like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels cannot be depended upon in the clutch. You get the impression that taking moral positions is not something they are comfortable with. The trumpet they blow has an uncertain sound. They inspire and edify but I have the sense that risk taking in committing to moral positions is not their bag. Strange for pastors. But it’s a different day.

7 thoughts on “I miss D James Kennedy

  1. Well-written. I miss him too. That’s why I’m glad that we are still able to re-air many classic sermons of his on the Coral Ridge Hour, while also making new programs, such as our special on socialism, that embody his teaching.

  2. everything you wrote was spot-on until you publicly attack the new pastor of Coral Ridge. do you attend Coral Ridge? did you actually hear him say these things with your own ears? or did you read about it from someone else who didn’t hear it for themselves either? there are a lot of rumors that float around the church at large disguised as “caring for the body”. but i find it completely unbiblical when the church attacks itself like some type of an auto-immune deficiency. does this type of banter really edify or does it tear down? perhaps instead of publicly voicing your “opinions” you should follow scripture and speak to the man himself. if he doesn’t repent then go back to him with two and then three witnesses until he does. matthew 18.

  3. I have read the pastor’s comments more than once in major interviews given through evangelical organs. I consider this as “having heard these things with my own ears.” It is not the best foot forward. We don’t build our reputation on some one else’s grave. Other than these public comments, I have no criticism of the pastor as person or minister. I wish him the best.

      • Don’t have time to go back and find the articles. Look for previous interviews with the people at Christianity Today – the magazine, Leadership Journal, etc. I believe it was the major interview CT gave after the dust was settling following the establishing of the new church.

  4. Thank you for that accurate description of Dr. Kennedy. I was his executive assistant for over 30 years and I know what you have said to be true. He was a man of the highest integrity and his greatest love was sharing the gospel with people. I am one of the many thousands who will spend eternity in heaven because he took the time to introduce me to Christ so that I might receive Him as my Savior and receive the free gift of eternal life. His wonderful teachings live on through the ministry of the New Presbyterian Church and Coral Ridge Ministries. His messages are even more relevant today than when he preached them. He was a man of great courage, who said what needed to be said regardless of the consequences. He did not fear the faces of men and gave all the glory to God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s