Sep 11, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy dies at 77

by Kari Mitchell, News Editor

Dr. D. James Kennedy, a man committed to the call of Christ, died Sept. 5 at the age of 77.

Kennedy became a Christian over 50 years ago and was called into the ministry shortly after.

He is most widely known for developing Evangelism Explosion International, a program used around the world to spark church growth.  He also launched Knox Theological Seminary, designed to prepare and equip Christians for ministry, and Westminster Academy, a fully accredited school with pre-K through 12th grade. 

His television and radio outreach program, Coral Ridge Ministries, which broadcasts from his 10,000-member church in Fort Lauderdale, can be seen and heard by three million people in the U.S. and 200 other nations.

Kennedy has visited the campus of Liberty University, the most recent being Nov. 4, 2005, when he spoke during convocation.
Dwayne Carson, the director of student leadership, remembers one of Kennedy’s messages. Kennedy told the legend of Alexander the Great meeting a young man who had just fled the scene of a battle. He was to be executed for desertion. Alexander the Great saw how young he was and felt compassion for him. 

He asked the young man what had happened during the battle and, as he heard, he gave the man a pardon. He then asked for his name. The young man replied,  “Alexander — like your’s, sir.”   

Alexander the Great then became very serious and said, “Young man, either live up to your name or change it.” 

According to Carson, Kennedy then asked the Liberty crowd a similar question: do you call yourself a Christian?

“I will never forget how he pressed that night for us to live up to that name,” said Carson. 

Several things about Kennedy’s life stuck out to Dr. Rob Jackson, Senior Campus Pastor and Vice President for Spiritual Life, who met him briefly and heard Dr. Jerry Falwell talk about him.

Jackson listed four aspects of Kennedy’s life that have made an impact:  “His passion for evangelism and his Evangelism Explosion program; his willingness to start and continue in the Moral Majority with Dr. Falwell in the face of great opposition from the outside and within his own ranks; His unswerving commitment to always preaching powerful, exegetical messages from the Word that pointed people to Christ as the only way; and his personal life of integrity and holiness.”

Contact Kari Mitchell at

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