This week the church lost one of its great generals, Dr. D. James Kennedy. Kennedy, senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, chancellor of Knox Theological Seminary, founder of Evangelism Explosion (and a stack of other ministries), made Satan more frustrated than Ted Nugent would be watching Dianne Feinstein attempt to shatter the Guinness Book of World Records’ longest break dance.
Yes, Dr. Kennedy was a disaster to El Diablo and his defeated ilk.
Having been a student of Knox Theological Seminary, I had the honor of meeting Kennedy on several occasions and listening to him preach at his church and teach in our classes. He / KTS even bought a massive (and beautiful, I might add) painting I did of John Knox which hangs in the seminary today.
Being the sardonic skeptic that I am, I’m not easily impressed by ministers nowadays. I am especially jaded toward the megachurches that are run by the super-coifed, Colgate-grinning, Rembrandt veneer type of guys. Most of these boys are preening narcissists, snake oil opportunists par excellence who are in the ministry simply because they can’t be Bon Jovi. Kennedy, on the other hand, impressed me. He was an old school reformer of a different stripe.
Here are two things I liked about Dr. D. James Kennedy:
1. He was driven by the Great Commission and the cultural mandate. Kennedy kept his sights locked on what the scriptures tell Christians to focus on, namely the saving of souls and changing culture.
Most postmodern pastors don’t do either anymore. Why don’t they preach the gospel Kennedy style, you ask? Well Spanky, it is offensive and most ministers, with their ragged little egos, would rather be liked than right, so they dilute the message and thus delude the masses with something other than that which Christ and the apostles preached. Kennedy didn’t do this. He was God’s UPS man; he simply and faithfully delivered the package he was given: the gospel uncut, which is the power of God to transform people and nations.
Speaking of nations, Dr. K loved the U.S.A. and that for which it stands (or I guess used to stand for). This love for our God-kissed country caused him to fight to uphold its original Judeo-Christian roots and the continuity of our religious liberties.
Jim Kennedy didn’t buy the notion that Christians shouldn’t be involved in influencing local, state and federal government, or the arts, or the educational system or anything else that goes down on God’s green earth. And no, he wasn’t a theocrat or a Christianist (whatever that is. Just make it up as you go, Lefties).
Yes, DJK believed that Christians should have a voice, a vote, and a right to speak up and out regarding what happens from Hollywood to Washington D.C. just as much as any freak group on the left does.
However, preachers of late have been cowed away from influencing culture for several reasons. Two indictments will suffice for now: 1. cultural influence demands hard work and, 2. it brings persecution.
Presently we have way too many ministers who are lazy and thin-skinned. Yes, they’d rather just let society go to hell rather than get off their glutes, dust off their brains and Bibles and get into the fray to stand for what’s right and forever refuse to sit in the back of the secularists’ bus. That’s too painful. Yep, forget that. Going to Night of Joy in Orlando is much, much easier and so much fun! Pass the cotton candy.
2. He believed that sound doctrine matters. Doctrine was important to the good doctor. Kennedy appreciated the ministerial duty of dishing out the apostolic goods and believed that Christianity isn’t a make it up as you go, whatever the cattle want, thang. Dr. Kennedy understood that the truths of the gospel were to be deeply understood, powerfully proclaimed and conscientiously preserved even if it was unpopular at the time. And this he did.
Contrast that with ministers today who place little or no value on sound doctrine because in our milieu it is all about feelings…nothing more than feelings. Oprah carries more weight with these cultural capitulators than Obadiah does, and you can bet your tithe check I’m right. Check it out. I’ll bet you a lot of ministers are reading Donald Trump, Jack Welch and Tony Robbins more than they are Augustine, Luther or Calvin, as these guys are just so…so, like…yesterday. Kennedy, on the other hand, deeply imbibed scripture and the writings of the greats of the church. Also (and this is weird) Dr. Kennedy actually earned his doctorate. Y’know, as in he went to grad school, studied and wrote a bunch of papers and stuff. Freak out, right?
Yes, in an age of flighty gimmick-laden Christian loosey-goosey-heretical-can’t-scrape-this-stuff-off-your-shoe religious schlock, Jim Kennedy was semper fidelis to Christ and the eternal gospel.
I have to admit that I am sad with Kennedy’s passing. I’m sad not because Kennedy passed away, since he’s in heaven now straight tripping having his mind blown like none of us can even imagine. The thing that makes me sad is that Kennedy’s absence represents a loss in a near-extinct breed of preachers who can truly throw a weighty temporal and eternal spiritual punch.
Thankfully at Knox Seminary, the torch has been successfully passed to their profs and to the hundreds of young men who have graduated from its hallowed halls. So I guess I’m not that sad because the DNA, though scarce, is still alive.
Matter of fact, boys contemplating ministry, if you feel called to God’s service why don’t you blow off that easy, greasy, cheesy school you picked out and have KTS rake you over their coals? It will be hard. They won’t allow you to skate. And they won’t give you “life credit,” little darling, but they will equip you to reach the lost and shake this nation for the glory of God.
Y’know, when I think of Kennedy and the righteous legacy he left for God and Country, for some bizarre reason (probably because I am bizarre), I call to mind an interview I saw with Nikki Sixx, the former bass player for Motley Crüe. The interviewer asked Sixx what his band’s “goals” were, of which Nikki replied, “I wanna leave a scar on the planet.”
Dr. Kennedy left a scar. Not an unrighteous one, as Sixx hoped to leave, but a scar nonetheless. Yep, I believe Dr. D. James Kennedy left a searing and sizable blemish on Satan’s sagging and haggard backside.
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