D. James Kennedy
Dr. D. James Kennedy B.A., M.Div., M.Th., Ph.D., D.D., Litt.D., D.Sac.Theol., D.Sac.Litt., Doc.Hum.Let., (November 3, 1930 - September 5, 2007) was the most listened-to Presbyterian minister as of 2007 in the world. Based on Coral Gables, Florida, he had a television and radio network that broadcasts throughout the world.
Kennedy was born in Augusta, Georgia, to parents George and Ermine Kennedy.Kennedy worked as a dance instructor and studio manager for the Arthur Murray Dance Studios in his early 20s. He converted to Christ soon after hearing a preacher's startling question awake him over his clock radio in 1953 saying,
"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?"
In 1955, Kennedy quit his job at the dance studio and became engaged to Anne Lewis on the same day. The very next day, he was given the chance to preach at a Presbyterian church in Florida and was hired as the interim pastor.
On August 25, 1956, Kennedy and Lewis were married in Lakeland, Florida. They remained married for 51 years until Dr. Kennedy's death in 2007.
Shortly after his marriage, Kennedy entered seminary in Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He graduated in May 1959 and was ordained two months later. A year later, Kennedy became the senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a position he faithfully held until his heart attack in December 2006 and his official retirement in August 2007.
In 1970, Kennedy's first book, Evangelism Explosion, was published by Tyndale House, a Christian publishing company. Throughout his ministry, Kennedy wrote dozens of books about the Christian faith. He also embraced spreading Christian teachings through radio, television/video/DVD and the internet. The various programs Kennedy recorded over the years included Truths That Transform (which was also broadcast in Spanish) and the Kennedy Commentary for radio and the Coral Ridge Hour for television. Each of these programs ran for several years.
Kennedy founded Knox Theological Seminary in 1989 and held the position of chancellor until his death.
In December 2006, Kennedy suffered a heart attack at his home. He survived, but was left with impaired speech and memory. He was unable to resume his ministry and eventually announced his official retirement on August 26, 2007. Just a few days later, on September 5, Kennedy died in his sleep at home at the age of 76.