“I’m saddened by the passing of one of our nation’s great leaders,” said Janet Folger, President of Faith2Action, who served with Dr. D. James Kennedy for five years as the National Director of the Center for Reclaiming America from 1997-2002. Dr. Kennedy died peacefully in his sleep last night.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and senior pastor for 48 years of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Dr. Kennedy passed away peacefully in his sleep at approximately 2:15 a.m. at his home with his wife and daughter at his bedside, following complications from a cardiac event last December. He was 76.
In 1974, Dr. Kennedy started Coral Ridge Ministries, an organization that shares the Gospel through radio and televised broadcasting. His audience today stands at 3.5 million people weekly and is carried by over 750 radio outlets and more than 600 radio stations.
“He was an inspiration, a mentor, and an example of unwavering integrity,” said Folger. “Beyond spreading the Gospel through Evangelism Explosion around the globe, he shared the message of Christ’s love and redemption to everyone he met.”
Beverly LaHaye, Founder and Chairman of Concerned Women for America, knew Dr. Kennedy as a man of remarkable faith and a friend for many years. “Jim Kennedy left a legacy of profound spiritual leadership and effective evangelism. His dedication to spreading the Gospel and discipling the nation touched the lives of millions. I was honored to work with him to restore a culture of life to the nation we both love so dearly. The members of CWA join me in praying for his family, friends and congregation during this time of genuine loss even as we rejoice together that he is now with the Savior he loved and served so faithfully.”
“I remember one time he shared the Gospel over lunch using his silverware,” Folger recalled. “Pointing to a knife on a napkin representing the letter ‘I,’ he proclaimed, ‘that’s every religion in the world except Christianity–what must I do? How can I earn my way to Heaven? I need, I should, I must…’ He then placed a fork over the knife to form a cross and said, ‘Christianity is the only religion in the world about what God did to reach man and make a way for us to be with Him.'”
“He spoke the truth in love–even in the face of adversity,” added Folger. “His legacy of being salt and light in a dark and decaying culture changed the face of America and lives on today.”
“Dr. Kennedy was one of the nation’s most respected Christian leaders,” says CWA President Wendy Wright. “His teachings on the positive influence of Christianity on Western Civilization and America have motivated modern-day Christians to influence our culture and country. Dr. Kennedy’s work will live on long past his earthly body. We honor his legacy of faithfulness to Christ and commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission.”
“Dr. Kennedy’s passing, like that of Jerry Falwell’s, signals the rise of a new generation of Christian leaders in America. Our predecessors prepared us well and we feel confident about meeting that challenge,” states Rob Schenck, president of the Washington, DC based Faith and Action and president of the National Clergy Council.
David Cerullo, Chairman and CEO of The Inspiration Ministries, said about the death of D. James Kennedy, “For more than forty years, Dr. D. James Kennedy has influenced our culture in countless ways ranging from education to politics. He was a pioneer in evangelism and a bold champion for Christian principles. His strong intellect and firm grasp of history made him an important apologist for the Christian faith. He demonstrated that being a Christian meant standing up for our beliefs, and also living with integrity. As the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida he set a high standard both for local churches and national ministries. His public service has left a lasting legacy for the Christian faith that will be felt for generations to come. He was a personal friend, and a friend of our ministry. For many years, it has been our privilege to telecast ‘The Coral Ridge Hour,’ a program he hosted. We count it an honor to have worked closely with Dr. Kennedy and his staff. Our prayers are with his family and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church during this time.”
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