Kennedy, Dennis James
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Time Period
11/3/1930  - 9/5/2007
Description
D. James Kennedy was an evangelical pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in north Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his tenure, which lasted until his death 47 years later, his church grew to some 10,000 members.

Kennedy later founded a private high school (1970) and Knox Theological Seminary (1989). He also started the "Coral Ridge Hour" in 1974, a weekly radio and television that reached a potential audience in the millions, for which the National Religious Broadcasters inducted Kennedy into its Hall of Fame in 2003. Kennedy used his show to support the rise of the New Christian Right. He was a founding board member of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" and would form his own conservative political action organization called the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ in 1996.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
D. James Kennedy converted to evangelical Christianity in 1953 under the influence of radio preacher Donald G. Barnhouse. He left his successful career as an Arthur Murray dance instructor for Columbia Theological Seminary. Upon finishing a Masters of Divinity in 1959, he accepted the pastorate of a mission church in north Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his tenure, which lasted from 1960 until his death in 2007, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church grew to some 10,000 members. Kennedy developed his experience in door-to-door evangelism into a widely used curriculum called "Evangelism Explosion."

Kennedy later founded a private high school (1970) and Knox Theological Seminary (1989). He also started the "Coral Ridge Hour" in 1974, a weekly radio and television that reached a potential audience in the millions, for which the National Religious Broadcasters inducted Kennedy into its Hall of Fame in 2003. Kennedy used his show to support the rise of the New Christian Right. He was a founding board member of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" and would form his own conservative political action organization called the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ in 1996. Kennedy worried about the advancement of a "homosexual agenda" and the erection of a "diabolical wall of separation" between church and state. He hosted Rousas Rushdoony and other Christian Reconstructionists on his show and wrote a book titled Reconstruction: Biblical Guidelines for a Nation in Peril, although later he would repudiate the theonomist position, which advocated that the U.S. follow Old Testament laws.

After Kennedy's death in 2007, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church elected Tullian Tchividjian to fill the pastorate. Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, decided to shift the church's focus away from overt political activism. In response, a significant minority of the church membership tried to oust Tchividjian and then left to form another church.
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
Jerry Falwell Helps Found the Moral Majority
Photographs

D James Kennedy portrait- D James Kennedy Ministries, Truth in Action

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church- Flickr- photo by Jimmy Baikovicius (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Balmer, Randall, 2004. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press.
Web Source(s)
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/septemberweb-only/136-42.0.html
Christianity Today's obituary for Kennedy.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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