Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Did he fire six shots or only five?

Sometimes the most profound thing you can say would be in the form of a question.

A person who crafted some great questions was Dr. D. James Kennedy, who has passed away.
The Rev. D. James Kennedy, a pioneering Christian broadcaster and megachurch pastor whose fiercely conservative worldview helped fuel the rise of the religious right in American politics, died Wednesday. He was 76.

While you may not know his name or of his accomplishments (e.g., longevity pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA), founder of Knox Seminary, radio & TV broadcasts, and author), you're likely are familiar with his contribution to evangelism.

From Dr. Kennedy's "Evangelism Explosion" training program we got the following "diagnostic questions":

1. Have you come to the point in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven or is that something you would say you're still working on? (The question seeks to gauge the level of assurance on the part of the individual. I've also varied the question to ask something to the effect of, "If you died tonight, how sure are you that you would go to heaven? 100%? Less?")

2. If you stood before God and He asked you, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what would you tell Him?
(The question seeks to gauge in what, or whom, the individual has confidence with regard to his/her eternal soul. Trusting in anything other than the person & work of the Lord Jesus Christ is, of course, problematic.)

These questions (or slight variations thereof) have been used by countless many in an effort to help an unconverted person understand his/her plight under the wrath of a holy God and the only means of satisfaction of that wrath in the person and work of Christ.

The questions aren't foolproof in determining the status of a person's soul, for one could know and give the right answers and still be unconverted.

Yet, they are good diagnostic questions and Evangelism Explosion is not a bad way to go with regard to evangelism training.

Thanks be to God for one such as Dr. Kennedy. I look forward to meeting him on the other side.

From the man himself:
“Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry. I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.”

A few tributes:

Al Mohler
My indebtedness to Dr. Kennedy is very personal. I was a young Southern Baptist who as a teenager had serious questions about the big issues of the Christian faith. Dr. Kennedy's ministry at Coral Ridge addressed those big questions. He was unafraid to take on the intellectual challenges of the faith. He was kind to a Baptist teenager, introducing me to Francis Schaeffer and dignifying my questions. He clearly enjoyed talking theology and he was the first person I had ever met who demonstrated this joy. He was kind. I was hooked. In no small way my own calling as a theologian can be traced to Dr. Kennedy's influence. I was inspired by his intellectual engagement and motivated by his vision of excellence for God's glory.

Tony Felich
I was becoming a Calvinist in college and became aware of the Presbyterian Church in America as one of the denominations I would fit with. I distinctly remember someone telling me D. James Kennedy was a PCA minister. While at Moody Bible Institute, I went to the library and found several articles in magazines by Kennedy and a book called "What if Christ had Never Been Born". He was my introduction to the PCA.

Stan Guthrie
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.

1 Comments:

At 06 September, 2007 15:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly, a man of God. He stood with Sproul and MacArthur to denounce the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement in the 90's. All three did a program that was recorded at Kennedy's church. He staunchly defended the fact that we are saved by grace alone, not works as the Roman Catholics believe.

I could do without some of his political agenda (reclaiming America for Christ kind of stuff), but he was a very eloquent speaker and champion of grace.

 

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