The following article is one I wrote upon the death of Dr. James D. Kennedy. Considering our nation’s precarious situation at present, it is good to reflect.
The former Kennedy to which I refer was a charismatic politician, who, as president of the United States, dealt with the issues of war and peace on a global scale. The latter, president of Coral Ridge Ministries and pastor of a 10,000-member Presbyterian church, dealt in matters of spiritual war and peace.
President Kennedy died a sudden, violent death from an assassin’s bullets on a street in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Kennedy died in his bed while he slept at home, recuperating from a severe heart attack several months previous.
We are all familiar with the massive amount of air time and print space that continues to be given to John F. Kennedy’s life and death. His legacy is as much legend as historical fact, with speculations about the assassination and what might have been, had he lived to complete his term(s).
Two men named Kennedy, now having passed into history, left their marks on our time: John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and James D. Kennedy, this past Wednesday, September 5, 2007. James D. Kennedy filled the airwaves and even the pages of newspapers, his activities often crossing from spiritual to political matters. His involvements in the moral issues that are part of the politics of the day received few accolades from news media. Most often his taking issue with anything detrimental to family values, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, met with opinion pieces of a scathing nature not unlike those opinions of opposition thrown as barbs from the liberal-leaning journalists of America.
The private conduct of these men, according to what is known about them, diverges greatly from each other, from the standpoint of morality –the issues that surround traditional family values in America. But, if the journalists rewriting history toward the objective of shaping legacy is accepted when all is said and done, each man’s own biography will cross at some point in the matter of morality.
Here’s what I mean.
John F. Kennedy has a space center, airports, many streets, schools, a ship, and who knows what else named after him, and didn’t even really begin to get to start the work his glowing inaugural address proclaimed–saying finally, “ …Knowing this first, that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.” With the exception of being at the American helm of state during the Cuban missile crisis of October, 1962, he did little of substance to carry on what the politicos consider “God’s work.”
Following his death, the journalists who make their livings dredging up muck, if it can be made to translate into book sales or commercially funded documentaries and other remunerative works or popularity creation, presented the president’s many dalliances with “ladies” other than his wife. But, after the mud settled to the bottom, JFK’s reputation for doing “God’s work” –according to the politicos’ definition of the term—again sparkles pristinely, because of the constant revisionist scrubbing given the assassinated president’s Camelot legacy. He now again seems among the most moral of men, because he was–according to the history-fictioneers— progenitor of the modern Democrat Party, who champions the poor and downtrodden through government action. As a matter of fact, his influence in death was so powerful in this area that Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded him, was able to get taxes raised for the government to spend, to this point, literally trillions of dollars on the great society, then the ongoing war on poverty –which is still with us today.
Dr. James D. Kennedy, from the news pundits’ perspectives, constantly preached morality, exhorting, urging, even chiding government legislative leaders and the executive branch to “impose” Judeo-Christian principles upon all freedom-loving Americans. This Kennedy preached that here on earth God’s work must truly be his and other Christians’ own work. He then proceeded to actually carry out that work, not simply pontificate upon how it should be accomplished, as liberal government and media types do, and advocate doing in throwing taxpayers’ money at causes that require other than simply massive funding of socio-political programs. For this activist Christian leadership, he was, like the late Jerry Falwell, despised by the journalistic powers that be.
James Kennedy lobbied from his TV pulpit and other venues to try to bring this nation back to the true principles of the founding fathers, principles steeped in instructions provided within God’s love letter to mankind, the Holy Bible. Dr. Kennedy didn’t propose to “impose” his morality on the citizens of this nation, as charged by his, Jerry Falwell’s, and others’ sometimes virulent opposition. He went into great detail, and often, to instruct from early history books about how a people can be blessed of God, only if they adhere to godly principles for societal and cultural deportment. He showed plainly how this was not and is not the melding of church and state, in the sense of the state establishing a single religious entity to rule over citizenry. He proved constantly and consistently that Jefferson’s words in an obscure letter didn’t mean that Jefferson meant there should exist a separation of church and state as claimed by those who demand that God be kept out of America’s public life. Rather, the nation’s third president meant simply that there should be no one religion sanctioned by the state. For Jefferson and most all of the founding fathers, their belief was almost unanimous. America must not be free from religion, but must be free for all to worship as they please, free from fear of intimidation from the state.
But, if the media pundits opposed to biblical morality (that plainly endorsed by the founding fathers) succeed in continuing down the present path of vilifying men like the late Dr. Kennedy, it is the phony legacy of legend that will sit as the “shining city on the hill,” as Ronald Reagan put his view of and vision for America. It will be the fictitious “Camelot,” not “one nation under God,” that will be the ever-dimming beacon of freedom for the world to see and emulate.
I have a certain respect and admiration for John F. Kennedy’s presidency. He was in the presidential saddle when death in the form of nuclear Armageddon came riding across the Atlantic from the Soviet Union. Even though it was God’s staying hand that preserved this nation and the world during that nail-biting time, I must give Mr. Kennedy respect, because God, the Bible tells us, sets up rulers and brings them down. Both happened, in JFK’s case.
I disagreed very much with Dr. James D. Kennedy on matters of eschatology. His belief that the church had replaced Israel in God’s prophetic promises yet future, were, and are, totally flawed. His denial in matters revolving around the pre-trib rapture of the church flowed out of the Reform beliefs in God’s reneging on His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He failed to see God’s two programs—for Israel and for the Church. He knows better now.
Dr. Kennedy’s faithfulness to the Word of God in most all areas of Scripture, however, was a powerful tool in his Lord’s omnipotent hands. His absolute adherence to the gospel message –that Jesus is the only way to God the Father and heaven—was always presented clearly, eloquently, and wonderfully from his pulpit in Ft. Lauderdale. Dr. James D. Kennedy’s legacy, though trampled upon by those who oppose God’s truth here on earth, is a legacy that will live for all eternity throughout God’s kingdom –the only kingdom that matters in the final analysis.