Di mata saya, almarhum Rev. D. James Kennedy, Ph.D. orang besar, tokoh besar dalam dunia Kekristenan terutama untuk era sekarang. Dia seorang pendeta, negarawan, suami dan ayah dalam keluarga yang baik, untuk boleh menyebutnya excellent. Beberapa kali sejak tahun 2001 kami/saya sudah bercita-cita ingin sekali bertemu dengan beliau, ingin suatu kali mengundangnya ke Indonesia, ke Bali atau Jakarta; atau.. mengunjungi gerejanya Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) di Forth Laudardale US, yang berciri presbiterian evangelical renewing budaya itu. Namun apa daya tak kesampaian.
Yang kita tau, beliau telah menulis buku a.l. What If Jesus had Never Been Born? yang dikenal dan banyak dibaca di sini. Padahal masih cukup banyak buku beliau baik ranah teologi maupun politik. Sebut saja: Skeptics Answered, Truths That Transform (teologi),
What if America Were a Christian Nation Again? and The Rewriting of America's History
Why I Believe (politik), dll.
Ada lk. 6 lembaga/organisasi seingat saya yang telah diretas beliau sejak tahun 60/70an yang sangat terasa dampaknya di AS, di sangat banyak negara dan sampai ke Indonesia, yaitu:
1. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, North America. Banyak kalangan gereja ini menjadi salah satu gereja paling besar dan berpengaruh di antero Amerika Utara.
2. Evangelism Explosion (EE) International. Siapa yang tidak mengenal pengaruh dari organisasi EE ini sampai di negeri ini juga.
3. Westminster Academy, di Forth Lauderdale Us. Sebuah Christian education yang bermutu, diakui dan memiliki pengaruh kuat.
4. Radio WAFG 90.3 FM, radio siaran Kristen 24-hours yang juga luar biasa, berdampak.
5. Coral Ridge Ministry, siara radio broadcasting program PI dan cultural renewal di TV Amerika.
6. Knox Theological Seminary. STT yang juga diakui dan dihormati keberadaannya.
Inilah kata-kata terakhir dari beliau yang mungkin akan selalu dikenang awal Sept 2007 lalu, khususnya bagi mereka yang mengenalnya dengan baik:
“Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry. I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.”
Luar biasa. Dunia Kekristenan masa ini kehilangan satu pribadi: pendeta, negarawan, bahkan ayah sekaligus suami yang luar biasa.
Selamat jalan Rev. D. James Kennedy Ph.D.
Till we meet at Jesus' feet !
Hans Midas Simanjuntak.
------------ --------- --------- --------- ---------
D. JAMES KENNEDY (1930 - 2007)
Life and Legacy.
------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- -
November 3, 1930 – Dennis James Kennedy is born to George and Ermine Kennedy in Augusta, Georgia.
1936 – The Kennedy family moves to Chicago, settling in an apartment just 50 yards from Lake Michigan.
1945 – The family relocates once more to Tampa, Florida.
1952 – Arthur Murray Dance instructor Jim Kennedy meets Anne Lewis and signs her up for six months of dance instructions.
1953 – Sleeping late on a Sunday morning, Jim Kennedy hears the Gospel for the very first time from a radio preacher. Shortly thereafter he professes faith in Christ.
December 3, 1955 – After fighting God’s call to full-time ministry for nearly a year, Jim Kennedy, with great trepidation, quits his job as a dance studio manager.
December 3, 1955 – Jim Kennedy and Anne Lewis become engaged.
December 4, 1955 – Jim is given the chance to preach at a local Presbyterian church and, to his surprise, is employed as the interim minister the same day.
August 25, 1956 – Jim and Anne are married at First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, Florida.
Fall 1956 – Jim Kennedy begins seminary training at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
May 11, 1959 – Days before his seminary graduation, Jim receives a letter from the Home Missions Committee of the Everglades Presbytery inviting him to consider pastoring a new church to be started in Fort Lauderdale.
June 21, 1959 – The first Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church worship service is held at McNab Elementary School, led by D. James Kennedy.
July 21, 1959 –Rev. D. James Kennedy is ordained.
1960 – Rev. Kennedy tells his fledgling congregation: “You know what? I believe we can change the world!”
July 31, 1960 – Rev. D. James Kennedy is installed as minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
1962 – Rev. Kennedy begins to train church members to share Christ using the techniques learned from Rev. Kennedy Smartt.
March 16, 1962 – Jennifer is born and adopted into the Kennedy family.
March 18, 1962 – A new church building seating 500 on Commercial Boulevard is dedicated.
February 20, 1967 – The first Evangelism Explosion clinic is held with 36 people in attendance.
Summer 1967 – Tragedy strikes when Anne undergoes cancer surgery. Rev. Kennedy later describes God’s provision during that dark time in his message, “Songs in the Night.”
1970 – Evangelism Explosion, the first of more than 65 books by Dr. Kennedy is published by Tyndale. More than 1.5 million copies have been sold.
1970 – Like A Mighty Army, a dramatic motion picture depicting the story of Evangelism Explosion, is produced by Gospel Films.
August 28, 1970 – Lay Evangelism, Inc., later changed to Evangelism Explosion III International, Inc., is organized.
April 11, 1971 (Easter Sunday) – Groundbreaking for new church on Federal Highway.
August 1971 – Classes begin at Westminster Academy® with 300 students enrolled.
February 3, 1974 – The new church building on Federal Highway is dedicated. Dr. Billy Graham addresses the 11,000 people in attendance, some on benches outside the church, and 597 decision for Christ are recorded.
October 1, 1974 – Radio station WAFG (90.3 FM) is licensed as a non-commercial educational station.
October 3, 1976 – Church membership reaches 5,000 people.
January 8, 1978 – Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church votes to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.) and unites with the Presbyterian Church in America (P.C.A.).
September 17, 1978 – First television broadcast of worship service.
February 1979 – Dr. Kennedy receives his Ph.D. from New York University, completing his list of degrees as follows: A.B., M.Div. (cum laude), M.Th. (summa cum laude), D.D., D.Sac.Lit., Ph.D., Litt.D., D.Sac.Theol. , and D.Humane Lit.
November 30, 1980 – Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church celebrates its 20th anniversary.
May 29, 1990 – George Kennedy, Dr. Kennedy’s brother, dies. Dr. Kennedy learns after his death that George, who had long resisted the Gospel, was led to Christ on his death bed by a young hospital chaplain.
1984 – Truths That Transform, Dr. Kennedy’s daily radio program begins.
November 24, 1985 – Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church celebrates its 25th anniversary.
1988 - With Evangelism Explosion in only 66 nations, Dr. Kennedy challenged the organization’ s vice presidents to take the lay-evangelism training program to every nation by 1995.
March 14, 1989 – The Session of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church establishes Knox Theological Seminary and appoints Dr. Kennedy Chancellor.
March 30-April 1, 1990 – Coral Ridge Church marks its 30th Anniversary during a “Celebrate the Dream” weekend celebration.
September 1990 – Knox Theological Seminary begins classes to train pastors and laymen in a graduate school of theology.
1992 – The Kennedy Commentary, a daily 90-second radio commentary, is launched.
May 21, 1994 – Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church celebrates Dr. Kennedy’s 35th year in Gospel ministry.
September 14, 1995 – Dr. Kennedy dedicates the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship in Washington, D.C.
February 23, 1996 – Evangelism Explosion International becomes the first Christian organization in history to establish its ministry in all 211 nations of the world.
1998 – Dr. Kennedy reaches the long-sought goal of giving back to the church 100 percent of all of the salary he had earned at the church since he arrived in 1959.
March 7, 1999 – Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church celebrates its 40th anniversary.
June 10, 2000 – Daughter Jennifer marries Charles E. “Chip” Cassidy in Dana Point, California.
December 2000 – Along with Dean Jones, Dr. Kennedy co-hosts Who Is This Jesus, a one-hour documentary viewed by some 12 million people nationwide.
April 21, 2004 – Dr. Kennedy named one of the “Greatest Intellectuals of the 21st Century” by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England.
May 2004 – Launch of new, nationwide ministry, the Creation Studies Institute.
February 15, 2005 – Dr. Kennedy is inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
October 2005 – After Hurricane Wilma rips off the church roof and drenches the sanctuary, Dr. Kennedy encourages the congregation, telling them this is “our finest hour.”
December 9, 2005 – Dr. Kennedy is feted at a surprise 75th birthday celebration.
August 25, 2006 – Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy celebrate 50 years of marriage.
2006 – Nearly five million people profess faith in Jesus Christ through Evangelism Explosion.
September 5, 2007 - Dr Kennedy enters into the presence of God in Heaven.