Guest / Limited Access /

My only personal encounter with D. James Kennedy did not go particularly well. I was still a somewhat wide-eyed marketing and radio writer at Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale in 1987 and 1988. About a year and a half into my job of producing copy for his radio and TV broadcasts, study guides based on his sermons, program notes, product catalogs and the like, I had decided I would go to the very conservative Columbia Biblical Seminary in South Carolina to study world missions.

As Providence would have it, one day I met Dr. Kennedy, who was striding briskly to an appointment with several members of his retinue. Screwing up my courage, I said hello and told him I would be going to Columbia for grad school.

Dr. Kennedy physically recoiled and thundered in his trademark baritone preacher's voice, "Columbia? I wouldn't send my worst enemy to Columbia!"

It felt as if I had been slapped in the face. But recovering quickly, I figured out he was talking about that bastion of liberalism, Columbia Theological Seminary—not Columbia Biblical Seminary. With that matter cleared up, he wished me well, and we went our separate ways.

Dr. Kennedy always was one to dream big, act decisively, and let the chips fall where they may. His melding of conservative politics with his role as pastor rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He could sound and look a little imperious—though part of his stiffness was probably from the brace this former Arthur Murray dance instructor wore to control chronic back pain.

All who knew him, however, talked most not about his views on abortion or school prayer but about his integrity and warm pastor's heart. To me, that heart is most exemplified not in the imposing Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueDaily Bread and Bombs in Ukraine
Subscriber Access Only Daily Bread and Bombs in Ukraine
A snapshot of Christian witness in the world (as it appeared in our June issue).
RecommendedWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
Christianity Today
A Passion for Souls
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.