by Jeff Johnson - One News Now
The voice of the man known as "most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world" is now silent. Officials with Coral Ridge Ministries confirmed to OneNewsNow.com Wednesday morning that Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away at around 3 a.m. Kennedy's retirement from his position as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was announced August 26. As OneNewsNow.com previously reported, Dr. Kennedy, who was 76, preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered a cardiac arrest four days later and had been unable to return to the pulpit since. A tribute honoring Kennedy's extensive ministry was planned for Sunday, Sept. 23. There is no word as to whether or not that service will now serve as a memorial for Kennedy.
Dr. Frank Wright, was a personal friend of Kennedy and president of National Religious Broadcasters. Upon the announcement of Kenedy's retirement, Wright described Kennedy as a "man of vision" who is committed to the Kingdom of God.
"With his godly wisdom, his courageous heart, and his consistent example, he has inspired millions to love, follow, and serve Jesus Christ," Wright said in a press release. "[He] is a man among men who will continue to cast a long shadow in the lives of those who know and love him."
Kennedy's bio, from the website of Coral Ridge Ministries, states that:
Dr. D. James Kennedy is the most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world today. His forthright and rational presentation of the Gospel is heard via television and radio throughout America and the world.
It all began on a Sunday morning in 1953, when he was startled awake by a preacher’s stern question on his clock radio: “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God, and He were to ask you, ‘What right do you have to enter into My heaven?’—what would you say?” Dr. Kennedy soon discovered the answer, was converted to Christ, and shortly thereafter was called into the Gospel ministry.
Today, Dr. Kennedy’s broadcast messages are televised from the 10,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to an audience of some three million people across the United States and into some 200 nations. A modest mission church of 45 people when Dr. Kennedy arrived in 1959, the rocketing growth of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church since then made it, for 15 years, the fastest growing Presbyterian church in America. Decision magazine named the church one of the “Five Great Churches of North America.” In 2005, Dr. Kennedy was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Beyond his leadership at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Dr. Kennedy’s energetic commitment to both evangelism and cultural renewal is demonstrated by four organizations he founded and now oversees: Coral Ridge Ministries, Evangelism Explosion International, Knox Theological Seminary, and Westminster Academy.
Coral Ridge Ministries — The radio and television outreach of Dr. Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries began in 1974 with the mission of bringing the Gospel via broadcast media to America and the world. Its programs are The Coral Ridge Hour, a weekly one-hour television program; Truths That Transform, a daily half-hour radio program; and The Kennedy Commentary, a daily 90-second radio feature.
Evangelism Explosion International — A lay-witnessing training program first developed in 1962 by Dr. Kennedy, Evangelism Explosion is now used in every nation and territory. EE has been used by God to spark explosive growth in congregations around the world.
Knox Theological Seminary — Dr. Kennedy launched Knox Theological Seminary in 1989 to prepare and equip Christians for ministry. Knox offers an education grounded in the historic Reformed faith and shaped by commitments to the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of the Bible, and obedience to the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.
Westminster Academy — Dr. Kennedy founded Westminster Academy in 1971 to help meet Fort Lauderdale’s need for quality Christian education. It is a fully accredited Pre-K to 12th grade academy with more than 1,270 students.
Dr. Kennedy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tampa, a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary (cum laude), a Master of Theology from Chicago Graduate School of Theology (summa cum laude), and a Ph.D. from New York University. He is the author of more than 65 books, including Evangelism Explosion (more than 1.5 million copies) What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, The Da Vinci Myth versus The Gospel Truth, and Cross Purposes: Discovering the Great Love of God for You.
Born in Augusta, Georgia, Dr. Kennedy was raised in Chicago and moved to Florida while in high school. He and his wife Anne have one married daughter and live in Fort Lauderdale.