September 6, 2007

The Legacy of Dr. D. James Kennedy

Separation of Church & State...definitely not a notion held by the now departed Dr. D. James Kennedy. Much of his work is defined by his understanding that Christian voices have a role in the public square and therefore, have an equal opportunity for influencing and impacting culture. Regarding the so-called "wall of separation," some have quoted him as saying that the concept is "diabolical," a "false doctrine," and "a lie propagated by Thomas Jefferson." I can't say that I disagree because to use a misinterpretation of the Constitution to silence any particular group or particular way of thinking is to completely misunderstand the intent of the writers and the words on the paper.

Kennedy was successful in getting my attention as a child. Raised in a politically conservative home, it made sense to me that the my the source of my values should be a part of the communication of my values - the Christian worldview being one of many voices vieing for predominance in the public square. But I often hear the complaint that Christian conservatives are too wrapped up in legalism, focusing on what we should and should not be doing. Ethics, I believe is a key component of the Christian faith, and I believe Dr. Kennedy understood this to be true, also. What we are to do as followers of Christ is to act ethically in and through responding to needs in the world: caring for the widows, the poor, the vulnerable. To ignore these people would be unethical....unchristian. So it hasn't been a stretch for me as an Ambassador of Christ into all the world to agree with Dr. Kennedy that the public square is an important and necessary location for the influential role of Christianity on all of society. This is not because I am merely interested in society conforming to the evangelical Christian ethic, but so that lives could be genuinely affected by what is good, true, and beautiful.

I am thankful for the work of Dr. D. James Kennedy and I know he has served the Kingdom well. He may not have been as prominent as Robertson, Falwell, or Dobson, but he played an important role in stirring and equipping the grassroots.

1 comment:

Collin Brendemuehl said...

Let's not forget evangelism.

Evangelism Explosion.