Saturday, January 24, 2009

D James Kennedy's Successor Says "No" to Politics

The grandson of Billy Graham has taken the helm of, arguably, the most prominent Presbyterian church in the land. He follows in the steps of D. James Kennedy, an ardent proponent of the "Xian Nation" hooey & a leader in the Religious Right Movement until his death a couple of years ago.

William Graham
Tullian Tchividjian is part of the new generation of conservative Xian leaders hat are actually opposed to politics from the pulpit.

“He is not going to be interested in addressing cultural issues ideologically,” Pastor John Wood of Cedar Springs told The Miami Herald. “His interest
isn’t getting up there and waving the American flag.”

Tchividjian told the newspaper, “Dr. Kennedy came from a completely different generation, and my leadership by that fact alone will be different.” He refused to answer any of the newspaper’s questions on current political issues, including same sex marriage.

“The impression out there of Coral Ridge is that they are a church that is stuck in the past and unwilling to change” he said. “This move on their part corrects that assumption.”

When D. James Kennedy was leading Coral Ridge, you could count on some great sermons; I admit that. But there was the
Dominionist Theology too: a steady stream of books, pamphlets, tapes and DVDs attacking evolution, opposing gay rights and arguing that America is a “Xian nation.”

This is a welcome change. When Xians are more known for their politics than their discipleship efforts, their focus has been
temporal & not eternal. People of faith --- even non-faith people --- look to religious leaders for guidance & teaching about faith, life, morality, & the Big Questions of "why" & "Who." The politics can be gained from CNN or Fox News or anywhere else. When the church house becomes a place of political rhetoric instead of spiritual guidance, the Message looses its impact & the Gospel is cheapened like a 15 second politician's sound bite. The Kingdom of God is advanced by the Power of the Spirit, not the Sword of Caesar.

9 comments:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

That's a good start. Now let's see...who can be next? Doesn't Focus on the Family need a new leader?

foxofbama said...

Keep an eye on this. I had brief but negatively electric encounter with Tulio's brother Stephen in early 90's at Samford where Stephen the brother was law student there.
You know Coral Ridge shaped Al Mohler. Barry Hankins of Baylor has documented as much in Uneasy in Babylon.
I expressed further reservations at bl.com

MUCKRAKER said...

No argument with getting rid of the politics, but if the pastor means he won’t address the social problems PERIOD, even in light of the scriptures, what does he expect his ministry to be...afternoon book reviews and Wednesday evening “sharing time?”

WINSTON PRENTICE said...

If "Tulio" can retain the legacy  of Dr. Kennedy at the affluent Coral Ridge Church, then all power be unto him.  Dr. Kennedy stressed the essence of the gospel that Carlyle Marney preached so profoundly, "Repent, and believe the Gospel."  Francis Schaeffer was a very powerful influence over Kennedy, and may it ever be the same for "Tulio."  WPFCHUSAF

Stephen Fox said...

Ryan:
Curtis Freeman of Duke has an essay coming out soon about Marney and the social issue of his day, segregation.
Prentice, in my estimation, misrepresents the thrust of what Marney meant for his time when he cavalierly attempts to place Marney in DJK's camp.
In fact everything I know about Marney suggests he had lot of reservations about good deal of the penumbra of Billy Graham's ministry, let alone DJK.
Prentice is a member of one of the more progressive Baptist congregations--at least they have that reputation--in North Carolina, Snyder Memorial.
I think it safe to say he knows Campbell U nearby is ready to have a chat about Marney and Hankins and the legacy of DJK anytime; and I think it safe to say a consensus among his own congregation and nearby Baptist thinkers will take as nonsense the implications of his foolish assertion above.
BTW, Hankins has just written a book about Schaefer. Would love to see you do a Review here at your blog.
Prentice is a native of Rome, Ga.; home of your beloved alma mater, Shorter.

Sfox said...

AGraham Lotz, Billy's evangelist daughter, and Tulio's Aunt will be preaching at the Bama SBC evangelism conference with Johnny Hunt late Feb.
Will be interesting to see how that plays with Schaeffer devotee Timothy George as the event will be held at Samford.
At bl.com I have linked a recent Newsweek blog by Anne G Lotz where she endorses God's call to Women in Ministry.

sfox said...

Ryan:
When Freeman's article becomes a matter of public record, please join me in getting a copy to Snyder Memorial. We may also want to see if they will get the works of Randall Balmer and Charles Marsh in their church Library.
From a sneak preview of Duke proff Freeman's paper on Marney we learn two things that shout out the maybe not mendacity but duplicity of Prentice's assertions.

In one section Freeman reports that it was a discussion group at FBC Austin in the 50's that brought Marney into full scale social action. He called the group of ministers and forward thinking laypeople The YOung Turks.
Then at Myer's Park in the early 60's he preached prophetically about a whole web of Social ills the Gospel spoke to from unfair hiring Policies, to bad loan practices and other forms of racial and class discrimination.
Looks like he had lot more on his plate than Prentice suggests when he tries to mesh the Gospel of Marney to the mish mash of DJKennedy and Francis Schaeffer.

MUCKRAKER said...

I was never in DJK’s church, but through the years I saw many of his services via TV. I tried never to miss the music, which was fabulous, and Kennedy had the good sense and appreciation for it to make it a prime vehicle for spreading the word. His sermons were well-conceived and very well-delivered. The flag-waving never bothered me, and he never let it go unnoticed that this nation was not founded by ignorant people beholden to some foreign religious potentate but to God. I’ve just finished viewing the seven episodes via DVD of John Adams. God (or the recognition of God) played a humongous part in the founding of this country, and Kennedy never let that fact be forgotten. I wouldn’t agree with Kennedy on some of his theology, but that doesn’t make him wrong. He was well-studied and reminded me of another top-flight pastor who took his church out of Presbyterian USA – Ben Haden who was pastor of First Presbyterian in Chattanooga and a virtual genius. I did have the privilege of hearing him a few times, and I subscribed to his Changed Lives. Their Calvinism is not shared by me (not all of it, that is), but as powerful men of the Word they made their mark.

Sfox said...

Muckracker:
I was at Furman with Haden's two children in the mid 70's, both good looking kids. Daughter was a stunner, think her name was Dallas.
I have invited the staff of Snyder Memorial via email to take a look at this thread and to take a look at Curtis Freeman's paper on Marney and Social action; hoping they will engage the discussion here.
Their new pastor, John Scott, is coming there from a stint as chief Chaplain at West Point.
To see how he distinguishes himself from the marriage of God and America by DJ Kennedy, and has differing or similar theology of Francis Schaeffer will be interesting to follow.
I hope the staff there will get a copy of Hankins new book on Schaeffer to offset problems with the Boykin propaganda I understand Snyder Library to now house.