James Kennedy

September 06, 2007

With the recent death of influential preacher James Kennedy, many have offered their praise for his many years of ministry. His passion for reaching lost people through the local church and in teaching/inspiring Christians to witness was truly remarkable. His work with Evangelism Explosion (EE) led to many countless people hearing about and accepting God's love and sacrifice. Hopefully, that passion will continue with the next generations.

After hearing of his death, I recalled a recent article that had an important point about Kennedy following the announcement of his retirement. Here are some highlights from that piece:

The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, Coral Ridge's political arm, closed in April after lobbying for more than a decade against abortion and same-sex marriage. Coral Ridge will focus now on increasing its worldwide audience to 30 million by 2012, mainly by expanding its Internet, TV and print presence.

... The Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of the 12,000-member Northland Church near Orlando and briefly president of the Christian Coalition of America, applauded Coral Ridge's move, saying it was "the next stage of development of evangelical Christianity.''

''I absolutely believe more and more leaders and churches want to see the church mature beyond the agenda of what we are against and instead concentrate on what we are for,'' said Hunter, who resigned as president of the Christian Coalition last November over differences in strategy.

... Over the course of his 48-year tenure, Kennedy established Knox Theological Seminary and Westminster Academy, a Christian school from nursery through high school.

''People like Rev. Kennedy are likely to have a bigger impact through their religious ministries and the schools that they found than through their political action, as important as the political action was,'' said John Green, senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "The churches and ministries and schools are much more permanent.''
Green makes an excellent point about where the bigger impact comes from. Stan Guthrie makes this point very well in a Christianity Today column that is well worth reading. Hopefully, Christian leaders today will follow Kennedy's passion in reaching people with the love of Jesus and leave the politics to politicians (and actors). As I argued in my book (For God's Sake, Shut Up!), we as Christians have a much higher calling than anything that can be found in politics.

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