FT. LAUDERDALE, Sept. 5 – Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and senior pastor for 48 years of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., passed away peacefully in his sleep at approximately 2:15 a.m. at his home with his wife and daughter by his bedside, following complications from a cardiac event last December. He was 76. Dates and times for a public viewing and funeral and private interment will be released when available. “There are all kinds of wonderful things I could say about my dad,” said daughter Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy. “But one that stands out is his fine example. He ‘walked the walk’ and ‘practiced what he preached.’ His work for Christ is lasting – it will go on and on and make a difference for eternity.”
Dr. Kennedy, who is survived by Anne, his wife of 51 years, and his daughter Jennifer (Kennedy) Cassidy, preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve Sunday 2006. He suffered a cardiac arrest four days later on Dec. 28, and has since been unable to return to the pulpit. The church announced his retirement on Aug. 26, beginning a process to choose his successor, and had planned a tribute worship service honoring the extensive ministry of Dr. Kennedy on Sept. 23.
“I would like to thank all of you for your prayers, cards, kindnesses and encouragement over the past nine months,” Mrs. Cassidy said during the retirement announcement. “Our family knows that we have come through this difficult time because of God’s grace and your faithful prayers, and it has brought joy to us to see God’s faithfulness in all of this.”
While hindered by persistent health problems that included asthma, as well as chronic and often severe physical pain from compressed vertebrae due to an injury suffered as a young man, Dr. Kennedy was indefatigable in his ministry work. He said on several occasions how much he looked forward to being free from pain in heaven. He was one of the nation’s leading Christian broadcasters and a vigorous and articulate advocate for Christian involvement in public life.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the amount of politics that comprised Dr. Kennedy’s preaching ministry, we should be grateful for his leadership in lending credibility to the idea that Calvinists can be great evangelists, in his writing Evangelism Explosion, currently used by probably more denominations than any other method of evangelism, from what I’ve heard, anyway. I’m glad they’re continuing to air the broadcasts of the church services–I love the music at the beginning and do appreciate some of the informative programs on current events and issues political and religious.