CORAL RIDGE MINISTRIES
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Coral Ridge Ministries was founded by pastor James Kennedy who was born in Augusta, Georgia.
He was raised in Chicago and moved to Florida while in high school. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mrs. Anne Kennedy, and his daughter, Mrs. Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy.
Dr. Kennedy (November 3, 1930 - September 5, 2007), was an American
James Kennedy began Coral Ridge Ministries in 1974, which produces the weekly television program, The Coral Ridge Hour, carried on various networks and syndicated on numerous other stations and a daily radio program, Truths That Transform, heard on radio stations in the United States and also available as a pod cast on the program's website.
During his lifetime, the Church grew to a US $37-million-a-year non-profit corporation with an audience of 3.5 million.
Dr. James Kennedy last preached at the Presbyterian Church on December 24, 2006. His retirement was officially announced at the church on August 26, 2007, and he went to be with the Lord ten days later.
D. James Kennedy was born in Augusta, Georgia but moved to Chicago, Illinois, in childhood. His father was a glass salesman and his parents were United Methodists. Kennedy joined the Boy Scouts and later moved with his family to Tampa, Florida, where he graduated from Henry B. Plant High School in 1948 and then began studying English at the University of Tampa.
After two years, he dropped out of college and began working as a dance instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Tampa, winning first prize in a nationwide dance contest.
On August 25, 1956, James Kennedy married Anne Lewis, whom he met while giving her dance lessons at Arthur Murray. They had one daughter, Jennifer, born in 1962. In December 1955, Kennedy decided to quit his Arthur Murray job to enter the ministry.
He resumed his studies at the University of Tampa (graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1958) and began preaching at the small Bethel Presbyterian Church in nearby Clearwater, Florida.
receiving a Master of Divinity degree. After his ordination in 1959, Kennedy became the pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries Presbyterian Church, where he remained until he was called home.
In the 1970s he earned a Master of Theology summa cum laude from the Chicago Graduate School of Theology and in 1979 a doctorate in religious education from New York University.
His doctoral dissertation was on the history of an evangelism program he founded. Kennedy said that he earned a Ph D. "to dispel the idea there is an inconsistency between evangelism and education...evangelical ministers need to be thoroughly educated and equipped to meet on equal terms anyone with whom they come in contact".
Kennedy was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, having transferred his membership there in the late 1970s from the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
He was considered a conservative evangelical minister who was often involved in political activities within the Christian right and has been termed a leader of the Dominionism movement.
What if America Were a Christian Nation Again? and The Rewriting of America's History, arguing that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.
Critics contend that James Kennedy was excessively conservative on certain politically charged topics such as abortion and homosexuality. Kennedy started the Center for Christian Statesmanship, an evangelical ministry on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Center awards a "Distinguished Christian Statesman Award" annually to high profile Christian political leaders. Past recipients include Tom DeLay, Sam Brownback and John Ashcroft. In April 2007, the Center shut down and was reopened two weeks later as "Evangelism Explosion International."
He espoused a traditional Calvinist theology. His theological works include Why I Believe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born, Skeptics Answered, and Truths That Transform.
Kennedy developed the "Evangelism Explosion" ("EE") method of evangelism in the 1960s, which emphasizes the training of church laypeople to share their faith by home visitation in the community.
Starring Chris Robinson as Kennedy, it portrayed the Evangelism Explosion story at Coral Ridge Ministries Presbyterian Church.
In 1971, James Kennedy founded the Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale and, in 1989, Knox Theological Seminary. In 2006, the National Religious Broadcasters association inducted Kennedy into its Hall of Fame.
When Kennedy founded Coral Ridge Ministries in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1960, it began with 45 attending a typical Sunday service. It became the fastest-growing Presbyterian church in the U.S. in the 1960s and had 1,366 members by 1968.
By the 1980s, its membership had grown to almost 10,000. In February 1974, the church's present sanctuary with a 300-foot tower and seating 2,500 was dedicated by Billy Graham.
A large Fratelli Rufatti pipe organ that has 117 ranks of pipes is regularly featured on the television programs with virtuoso organist Diane Bish.
which now has a weekly audience of 3.5 million people. The Coral Ridge Hour airs on more than 400 stations and four cable networks, including the Trinity Broadcasting Network, The Inspiration Network (INSP) and the NRB Network, and is broadcast to more than 150 countries on the Armed Forces Network.
On the evening of December 28, 2006, James Kennedy experienced prolonged ventricular tachycardia at his Ft. Lauderdale home, leading to cardiac arrest which deprived his brain of adequate oxygen for six to eight minutes.
As a result, he sustained a loss of short-term memory and speech impairment. Despite several months of rehabilitation and convalescence, he was unable to resume preaching and his retirement was announced on Sunday, August 26, 2007, at the Coral Ridge Ministries Presbyterian Church by his daughter, Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy.
Coral Ridge Ministries announced the development of the D. James Kennedy Legacy website in tribute to the life of the Christian evangelist.
James Kennedy went to be with the Lord while in his sleep at his home in the early morning hours of September 5, 2007. The White House issued a statement the following day, saying that U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were "deeply saddened" by Kennedy's passing away, calling the Florida-based televangelist and author "a man of great vision, faith, and integrity ... Dr. Kennedy's message of love and hope inspired millions through the institutions he founded...".
James Kennedy is buried at Lauderdale Memorial Park Cemetery in Ft. Lauderdale.
Since James Kennedy's passing away, the Coral Ridge Ministries program has been dropped by the Trinity Broadcasting Network and several television stations, and in many other markets the program's time slot has been cut to only 30 minutes.
Kennedy's daughter, Jennifer, stated on the program in February, 2008, that viewers' donations to the broadcast ministry have declined significantly in the wake of the founding pastor's passing away and that the ministry faced serious financial crisis.
James Kennedy was strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and called for a constitutional "Firewall" to protect the nation from "counterfeit marriage."
then it is a massive fraud and hoax perpetrated by evil men bent on making the world a place where Christ's commandment to 'Love thy neighbor' reigns supreme, which is the antithesis of the criminal mind, and hence the theory that Christianity is a fraud is entirely incompatible with logic and human nature.
Constitution Restoration Act: a bill promoted during the 2005 Confronting the Judicial War on Faith conference that sought to authorize Congress to impeach judges who fail to acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government" and to limit the power of the federal judiciary to rule in religious liberty cases.
Creation-evolution controversy: Kennedy was a Young Earth Creationist and supporter of intelligent design who rejected the theory of evolution and believed that it "led to the death of nine million people in Nazi Germany.... The greatest mass murderers of all time [are] all compliments of evolution," an idea reflected in Coral Ridge's controversial documentary Darwin's Deadly Legacy in 2006.
Darwin's Deadly Legacy is based on the 2004 book From Darwin to Hitler, Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany by Discovery Institute Fellow Richard Weikart.
The Discovery Institute is the hub of the intelligent design movement and the Institute's Fellows are frequent Coral Ridge guest speakers. Phillip E. Johnson, considered the father of the movement was a featured speaker at Coral Ridge Ministries 1999 Reclaiming America for Christ Conference. There he gave a speech called How the Evolution Debate Can Be Won which was widely promoted by the Ministries' Truths that Transform.
sent to President George W. Bush in October 2002 which outlined a "just war" rationale for the military invasion of Iraq. Kennedy sought to "reclaim America for Christ" in which government policies and laws would be consistent with evangelical Christianity.
Many of his public messages on this topic focused on his assertion that the Founding Fathers of the United States were Christian and had intended to establish a Christian constitution.
James Kennedy was a notable member of the Moral Majority political movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AUSCS, "Americans United" or simply AU), a religious freedom advocacy group, has criticized Kennedy's founding of Center for Reclaiming America for being "just another Religious Right outfit obsessed with opposing legal abortion and gay rights and bashing public education."
AUSCS also says that "Coral Ridge Ministries has always promoted right-wing politics," and "it isn't uncommon to tune in to "The Coral Ridge Hour" and hear him preach against legal abortion, anti-discrimination protections for gays or the teaching of evolution in public schools."
for frequently sending out appeals such as: stopping PBS stations from airing a 'homosexual-propaganda program' called It's Elementary."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has strongly criticized the neo-creationist documentary produced by the Coral Ridge Ministries Darwin's Deadly Legacy, which attempts to link evolution to Hitler:
"This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis."
The ADL further denounced Kennedy as "a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to 'reclaim America for Christ' and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."
who was cited in the show as supporting its views, repudiating it, saying he was "absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory,".
Coral Ridge described the ADL's criticisms in a press release as "harsh" and "unfounded" while reiterating points made in the documentary, along with citing Scottish anatomist and anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith who the center cites as saying in the 1940s, "The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist.
He has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution". Coral Ridge Ministries released a statement responding to the ADL's quote of Francis Collins saying he was misled in the documentary.
Collins had signed a "Talent release," giving the center rights to use his statements. The ministry also denied the assertion made by the ADL that Collins had "NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler".
Though James Kennedy has hosted Christian Reconstructionists John Rushdoony and Gary North on his program he has denounced any attempts to link him to a Reconstructionist or to the Dominionism movement as a McCarthyist technique of guilt by association, and that he does not approve of their theology.
Dominionism represents the political theory which springs from Christian Reconstructionism. Frederick Clarkson argues that despite his denial, Kennedy meets the criteria for being a dominionist.
In spite of all this, Coral Ridge Ministries, "The Coral Ridge Hour," is an award-winning weekly television broadcast that is seen nationwide and around the world, offering viewers messages from Dr. D. James Kennedy.
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