Skip to comments.Billy Graham grandson to lead famed megachurch [D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Presbyterian]
Posted on 03/15/2009 6:09:44 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Washington - A widely-known megachurch founded by an architect of the religious right and seen as a national political force selected a grandson of Billy Graham on Sunday as its new leader.
The overwhelming vote by congregants at Coral Ridge Presbyterian in Fort Lauderdale to appoint the Rev. Tullian Tchividjian could represent a softening of the message spread by the Rev. D. James Kennedy, who was pastor at the church until his death in September 2007.
Kennedy's preaching against homosexuality and abortion made him one of evangelical Christianity's most divisive figures, and he worked to inject his faith in all aspects of public life and the political process, like allies the Rev. Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Tchividjian insists he holds the same theological positions of Kennedy, but he cuts a far different image.
His hair is spiky, his beard sometimes scruffy, his skin tan. He offers a classic prodigal son story of youthful forays into drugs and sex, then his return to the fold. He has said he wants people to know what Christians are for as much as what they are against, and has rejected the idea that politics is the most important way to change the country.
"I think that politics is one strategic area of cultural engagement," he said Sunday. "But I also think that the sphere of art and the sphere of education and the sphere of media and technology are also strategic."
Tchividjian, 36, is the middle of seven children born to Stephan Tchividjian and Graham's eldest daughter, Gigi. He attended Coral Ridge - where Graham delivered the dedication ceremony - and its adjacent school as a young man, but at 16 he dropped out, spending the next five years partying on South Beach, seeking the company of women and getting high.
He says he eventually bottomed out, recommitting to Christ and then joining the seminary and becoming a minister. He started a church of his own, New City Presbyterian, which will merge with Coral Ridge under his appointment. Tchividjian expects the two churches to formally come together on Easter Sunday.
Coral Ridge claims thousands of members and its founding in 1959 marked the creation of what would become one of the country's first megachurches. Based in a liberal, Democratic city, it is known as a fiercely conservative voice on divisive social issues.
Its radio and TV outreach arm, Coral Ridge Ministries, has beamed Kennedy's message around the world, though Tchividjian says he will not oversee that operation.
Tchividjian says he is honored to follow a "giant in the faith" at Coral Ridge, but acknowledges he might look different.
"I think that at first glance it would seem that he and I were very different people. But what I've discovered in this process is that we have more similarities than differences," he said. "He was a man of his time and I'm a man of mine."
Is good evangelism about the messenger or about the message?
This, of course, is what the media is hoping for. Other than a few hot button political issues they seem to have little use for Biblical Christianity.
How many times did they inform us how “divisive” the Gospel is in the article?
In this case, they want the message dropped, in favor of "can't we all just get along?"
Check out the 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the bottom and the following excerpt only sun-sentinal link
It's unrealistic to expect that all church staff, deacons and elders would automatically be "friends" in every instance. Unless the term is being applied symbolically perhaps, but it strikes me as a bit strange.
Working together is one thing, but group-think is as dangerous and unproductive in a church as it is anywhere else.
Although I am not Presbyterian, I am Southern Baptist, James Kennedy made more sense and was the most interesting pastor I ever listened to. I hope the new guy can keep up the same good work.
Dr. James Kennedy waas the BEST!! As a Catjolic, I admired him ALMOST as much as the POPE!! DON’T WATER DOWN HIS MESSAGE!!
Tchividjian was cautious about discussing any changes he might make at the helm of Coral Ridge. However, he said the Coral Ridge leaders had asked him to bring the "vision" he instilled at New City Church, a vision of "revival and renewal for all of South Florida." New City is also known for blending traditional beliefs with modern methods, mixing hymns and contemporary Christian songs.
The minister said he also values a collegial church culture, "where the elders, the staff and the deacons are all friends, not just fellow workers. They should all be pulling on the same side of the rope."
Photo here. He looks like his granddaddy.
If he was overwhelmingly elected by a congregation that surely supported Kennedy’s conservatism, I’m guessing they’ll be disappointed if they want a significant change.
Is Tullian Tchividjian anything like Mark Discroll in his approach?
“As a Catjolic, I admired him ALMOST as much as the POPE!! DONT WATER DOWN HIS MESSAGE!!”
His message was sometimes mildly anti-Catholic. I think he came to appreciate the Catholic Church more towards the end of his career.
One significant difference is that Tchividjian's church is a member of a conservative denomination, that he has doctrinal and practical accountability beyond the door to his own office.
Dr. Kennedy gave the best message against abortion that I have ever heard. Here is the link:
Life: An Inalienable Right
Thanks for the opening for my question.
What will be the denominational affiliation?
Tchividjian's church (and he) is EPC. Coral Ridge is PCA. What will the merged church be? If it wasn't so late, I'd search for an answer myself.
I only came to listen to him the last few years.
The announcements on the CRPC web site reads like the church will remain in the PCA.
As a Catholic, I found Kennedy indeed “divisive,” if one means by that, almost prophetic. Despite our theological differences, I agree with most of what he said, especially on moral issues.
As a Catjolic, I admired him ALMOST as much as the POPE!! DONT WATER DOWN HIS MESSAGE!!
His message was sometimes mildly anti-Catholic. I think he came to appreciate the Catholic Church more towards the end of his career.”
When it came to the doctrines of justification by faith alone, Mary, prayers to the saints, views of the papacy, as a Presbyterian Dr. Kennedy would have been more than “mildly anti-Catholic”. However, on social issues such as human life, the family, and society’s moral decline there would be much common ground between him and the Roman Catholic Church.
Providential blessings to Coral Ridge and Tullian Tchividjian. I pray God grants him the ability to lead this congregation biblically and the Tchividjian continues the Kennedy tradition of staying faithful to God’s inerrant Word.