Meet D. James Kennedy

One Sunday morning in 1953, Dr. D. James Kennedy was startled awake by a preacher’s stern voice 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?" As Kennedy searched his soul, struggling to come up with an answer, he began to understand his need for a Savior. He accepted Christ as his Lord and converted to Christianity.

Today, people all over the United States and as far away as the former Soviet Union switch on their radios to hear that same straightforward gospel message—the only difference is now Kennedy’s doing the talking. He’s on the air internationally and in 35,000 towns across America, preaching the good news of salvation in Christ and exhorting Americans to vote for pro-Christian government policies.

As the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of America), Kennedy heads up a fast-growing flock of over 9,500. His ministry extends across the airwaves through Coral Ridge Ministries, consisting of The Coral Ridge Hour (a one-hour weekly television program) and the radio broadcasts Reclaiming America and Truths That Transform. Kennedy figures this makes him the most-listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world.

The stated goals of his ministry are threefold:

1) To introduce people to Jesus Christ,

    1. To nurture and encourage believers toward a closer walk with God,
    2. To reform the culture by motivating American believers to become politically active—and a force to be reckoned with at the polls.

To better protect what he calls "the nation’s Christian heritage" from "anti-God radicals," Kennedy hosts an annual "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference, at which fellow activists like Shirley Dobson, Larry Poland, and Janet Parshall exhort Christians to organize at the grassroots level, swaying the decisions of national policymakers. "Take away Christianity," he warns, "and there would be no America as we know it." Kennedy has also founded "Evangelism Explosion," an intensive 13-week training program designed to teach believers to share their faith.

Dr. Kennedy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tampa, a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology from Chicago Graduate School of Theology, and a Ph.D. from New York University. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Evangelism Explosion, Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail, New Every Morning, What If the Bible Had Never Been Written?, and Skeptics Answered.

Dr. Kennedy, his wife, Anne, and their daughter, Jennifer, live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Information was gathered from Kennedy’s book, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? and his Web site at reclaimamerica.org.

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