Shortly before D. James Kennedy passed away in 2007, his Coral Ridge Ministries announced that it was shutting down its Center for Reclaiming America, the home of its right-wing activism, in favor of concentrating on expanding its audience via its media productions. And that is what it did, unveiling various videos during the election on how Christianity is being “suppressed” in America by liberals and the “militant homosexual agenda” and that hate crimes legislation will result in the “criminalization of Christianity.”
But for the most part, Coral Ridge has been relatively silent lately on political and culture war issues … and now it looks like the church itself is about to undergo a significant change. Yesterday I mentioned that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church had tapped Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, to become pastor and today, via AU’s Wall of Separation, we come to find out that Tchividijan intends to remove the church from politics and politics from the church:
When D. James Kennedy, the influential pastor who pushed conservative politics from the pulpit of Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, died in 2007, members lost the fiery leadership of the man who built it from a congregation of a few dozen to more than 10,000 with internationally viewed television and radio programs.
Now, successor William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, 36, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and head of Margate’s relatively small New City Church, is ready to take Coral Ridge in a new direction.
Tchividjian (chi-VID-gen) — friends call him Tullian — is no stranger to the church, whose congregants erupted in cheers Sunday when they heard he was offered the job. An occasional guest speaker at Coral Ridge who has a radio show on WAFG-FM 90.3, he is expected to modernize the thinking of the church over which Kennedy presided for more than five decades and take it back to the basics of teaching the Bible instead of reigniting the culture wars.
Energetic and easygoing, he will be a stark contrast to the often stiff and formal Kennedy, people familiar with the church say. Kennedy, a notable member of the Moral Majority before its dissolution, rallied against same-sex marriage and evolutionary theory and sought to “reclaim America for Christ.”
”The impression out there of Coral Ridge is that they are a church that is stuck in the past and unwilling to change,” said Tchividjian, a father of three who lives in Coconut Creek. “This move on their part corrects that assumption” … Tchividjian said he plans to stay away from politics. A registered Republican, he would not answer questions on current political issues, such as same-sex marriage.