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Kennedy, Rushdoony, and the COR
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  Kennedy, Rushdoony, and the COR
by Chris Purdom

In the summer of 1998, Tom Cole, director of Reconciliation Ministries of Michigan, asked Chris Purdom, co-coordinator of the Interfaith Working Group, about the allegation that D. James Kennedy is a follower of Rushdoony. 

And Chris replied: 

I'm not sure what would constitute hard evidence. I think Kennedy's goals stand on their own as extremely problematic, and I wouldn't focus on the extent of a relationship with Rushdoony to clarify where he's coming from. When I say X is a follower of Y, I personally mean that X takes Y's ideas to heart, not that they sit at their feet and obey every word. 

The allegation that he is a follower of Rushdoony has been based on three factors: his praise of Rushdoony's works, the similarity in beliefs and techniques, and Kennedy's integral participation in COR, which was originally portrayed as Reconstructionist, but which Rushdoony has since left. I sense from the Chalcedon web page that Reconstructionism may be experiencing something of a split. There was a recent article on a looming heresy in the Reconstructionist movement, and there seems to now be some crossover and distinction between Reconstructionists and Puritans. The head of COR now describes himself as a Puritan (but not a Reconstructionist), Chalcedon has added links to The Puritan Storm, and some of their writers are now writing for Puritan Storm. Kennedy has several quotes that are pro-historial-Puritan in nature. 

If you have some doubts about Kennedy I would suggest watching his TV show. I try to watch it once a month or so, and every one I've seen has been pretty consistent in outlook. I've been warning groups I speak to for the last two years that Kennedy is more of a threat than Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, or James Dobson, even if they do all work together. As I mentioned on the list, two weeks ago Kennedy announced he was raising $300,000 to blame the shooting deaths of rural Christian schoolchildren on the ACLU. The film he showed was as masterful a piece of propoganda as I have ever seen. 

I don't know your personal politics or theology well enough to say what criticisms or observations are going to endure or enrage you. I will say this. The man has a political agenda, and Exodus is now tied to it. You are also tied to Gary Bauer, Presidential Candidate, to Pat Robertson, to Beverly LeHaye. If you want a political agenda, great, if you don't, then the organization needs to make a very loud noise about disassociating yourselves from the ads. 

I have enclosed the results of a web search. Some of these materials are from Skipp Porteus at IFAS, for whom I have a great deal of trust. Some are from Fred Clarkson at PRA who has a good reputation for analysis. Some are from conservative Christians who believe that the CNP and Promise Keepers are the works of Satan. One is a direct quote from World Magazine's web site, which I think is the most telling of all. 

Interview with WORLD magazine: 

 WORLD: Do we evangelicals get too preoccupied with politics? 

 Kennedy: That's a real possibility. We are not saved by government or politics, and my basic press toward government is not to get them to save America, but to get them out of the way. The federal government has proved a tremendous impediment to the ongoing work of Christians. In all the laws that they have passed against Christian schools, gagging the church, taxation, and all kinds of things that they have done, they have made it harder for the church to exercise its prerogatives and to preach the gospel. 

 When the people of New England got together in the 1600s to write the New England Confederation, they said, "We all came into these parts of America for one and the same end and aim, namely the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." The government today is doing its very best to block that advancement in so many ways. I want the government out of the way, that's all. 

=========================================================================== WORLD: But you sit there as a man who doesn't look like he is bound and gagged. You've got a big voice in this country. What do you mean by gagging the church? 

 Kennedy: Take the last presidential election. There were numbers of things that I knew that I was never able to say from the pulpit because if you advance the cause of one candidate or impede the cause of the other you can lose your tax exemption. That would have been disastrous not only for the church, but for our school and our seminary, everything. So you are gagged. You cannot do that. The IRS, a branch of our government, has succeeded in gagging Christians. =========================================================================== 

Freedom Writer, June 1994 

Sunnyvale, California -- Dr. Jay Grimstead, president and founder of the Coalition on Revival (COR), told The Freedom Writer that his organization has postponed plans to move to Colorado Springs. Originally scheduled for this spring, Grimstead now hopes to relocate to Colorado in the spring of 1995 and open Kingdom College in August of that year. "Enrollment," he said, "was not what we hoped for this year." 

Grimstead also said that R.J. Rushdoony resigned from COR. Rushdoony is known as "the father of Christian Reconstruction." "Now," Grimstead said, "ninety-eight out of one-hundred of us are not Reconstructionists." Though Grimstead embraces numerous Reconstructionist viewpoints, he calls himself "a modern day Puritan." The only "pure" Reconstructionists left in COR, according to Grimstead, are Gary DeMar of Atlanta, and David Chilton of northern California. Chilton is recovering from a massive stroke. 

 The departure of Rushdoony came in the aftermath of Skipp Porteous and Jay Grimstead's debate on the "Pozner & Donahue Show." John Lofton, a columnist for Rushdoony's Chalcedon Report, blasted Grimstead for his performance on the TV show. Grimstead thinks Lofton's influence, and negative comments, affected Rushdoony's decision to withdraw from COR. 


 Public Eye - Article by Frederick Clarkson 


 Reconstructionists have sought to graft their theology onto the experientially oriented, and often theologically amorphous, Pentecostal and charismatic religious traditions. Following a 1987 Reconstructionist/ Pentecostal theological meeting, Joseph Morecraft exclaimed: "God is blending Presbyterian theology with charismatic zeal into a force that cannot be stopped!" 

 Gary North claims that "the ideas of the Reconstructionists have penetrated into Protestant circles that for the most part are unaware of the original source of the theological ideas that are beginning to transform them." North describes the "three major legs of the Reconstructionist movement" as "the Presbyterian oriented educators, the Baptist school headmasters and pastors, and the charismatic telecommunications system." 


 Gary North and others see opportunities for Reconstructionism to build its influence through an activist response to crises in established institutions, from the public schools to democracy itself. This "decentralist" activism is not necessarily independent or "grassroots." Political brushfires are "a fundamental tool of resistance" observes North, "but it takes a combination of centralized strategy, and local mobilization and execution." This is precisely what we are beginning to see clearly in the contemporary politics of the Christian Right. From the lawsuits brought by the Rutherford Institute and the American Center for Law and Justice to stealth takeovers of school boards, the effort is to subvert the normal functioning of society in order to make room for the growth of theocratic evangelicalism. 


 Reconstructionism has played an important role in shaping the contemporary Christian Right, as indicated by the number of Christian Right leaders involved in COR. Reconstructionism's influence is also pronounced in another major hub of the Christian Right: the multifaceted organization of Pat Robertson. Although it denies a Reconstructionist orientation, the Robertson organization is doing exactly what Gary North describes. Robertson's Christian Coalition, for instance, follows a clearly decentralist political plan, directed and encouraged by highly centralized media, educational, and political units. ... 


From IFAS: 

 According to Kennedy, God gave the world two mandates, "The Cultural Mandate He gave at the beginning of the world, and the Great Commission He gave at the beginning of the Christian era after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; the former at the dawn of creation, the latter at the dawn of the new creation. Man is to subdue the earth and have dominion over all its creatures. This is called 'The Cultural Mandate' because it deals with all culture as we know it. As God's junior partners we are to rule over the earth in His name." 

 This dogma is virtually the same as R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North's radical Christian Reconstructionism. In fact, Kennedy has called the Bible commentaries by those men "essential" works. 


 His television and radio programs are platforms for such personalities as anti-church/state separationist David Barton, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, Christian Reconstructionists R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North, and Christian Identity leader Pete Peters. 

 A member of the secretive Council for National Policy, Kennedy has strong bonds to many radical religious right groups. These include the Coalition on Revival and the Christian Coalition. In 1994, Kennedy spoke at the Christian Coalition's annual "Road to Victory" convention in Washington. 


 "God has given us the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate," Kennedy wrote in January of this year. "Neither one of them is sufficient alone to transform America into what its Founders intended it to be a Christian nation." 

 "I would urge you," he pleaded, "to recommit yourself to the great principles that our Founding Fathers gave us in the founding documents of this nation; to strive by our prayers, our efforts, by our work, by our evangelization, to make this nation a Christian nation once more." 


 * We hear today that this is a pluralistic nation and that it is not a Christian nation. But Christianity itself, general Christianity, was conceived as the support of all our government. "God and Country" sermon * Indeed, this is a nation that was founded by men and women who were Christian. Some were not. But even those who were not embraced the Christian world and life view that was almost universally prevalent at the time and according to the dictates of the Word of God. "God and Country" sermon * Kennedy quotes Charles Hodge, a 19th century theologian: The proposition that the United States of America are a Christian and Protestant nation, is not so much the assertion of a principle as the statement of fact. "God and Country" sermon * There has been a concerted effort to disconnect America modern America from its religious roots. To transplant, if you will, the   The quotable D. James Kennedy (p2 of 3) tree of American civilization from the Puritan soil in which it grew. "The Bible and the Constitution" sermon * The United States Constitution left the regulation of religion right where it was in the hands of the churches and the states. Remember, that when the First Amendment was drafted, nine of the thirteen states had established religions and they were all some denomination of the Christian religion. "The Bible and the Constitution" sermon * The Founding Fathers knew that Isaiah 33:22 said, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our king." So here we see the tripartite division of government as judge, lawgiver, and king. Those are the judiciary, the legislative and the executive branches of government...thus we have this three-part division of our government. "The Bible and the Constitution" sermon 



Kennedy is an active member of COR (Coalition on Revival), a Reconstructionist/Dominionist organization dedicated to a social gospel/activism agenda that proposes to impose Biblical standards (e.g., Old Testament law) on unbelieving peoples and institutions. 

 - In a promotional piece sent to ministry supporters in November, 1992, Kennedy listed ten things to be thankful for. Number ten was "I am thankful that I live in America, a free nation established by Christian patriots upon Christian principles. " This is the standard "Christian-America" myth promoted by the Dominionists and Reconstructionists. [See The Search For Christian America by Noll, Hatch, and Marsden, for a thorough, documented debunking of this myth.] Proof of Kennedy's Dominionist/Reconstructionist theology comes from his own statement on the inside of this promotional piece: 

 "Dr. Kennedy and Coral Ridge Ministries are dedicated to three important purposes 3. Reforming the Culture -- protecting religious liberty and America's Christian heritage by encouraging the application of Biblical principles to our culture. " (Emphasis added.) 

 Along these same lines, Kennedy and his church sponsored the third annual "Reclaiming America for Christ" Conference (3/1/96-3/3/96; at $95 per attendee). Speakers included Ed Meese (former U.S. Attorney General), U.S. Senator John Ashcroft, Gary Bauer (president of Family Research Council), Roman Catholics Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich, ecumenical charismatic Ben Kinchlow (co-host of Pat Robertson's 700 Club), psycho-financial guru Larry Burkett, Dr. Ronald Nash (of Reformed Seminary conducted a "Teen Track" for more than 100 teenagers), and CCM religious rocker Phil Driscoll. The purpose was to "equip and motivate Christians to impact American culture for Christ. Kennedy said, "The key to our nation's survival is the return of Christians to positions of influence and authority in our nation's political and cultural institutions. to kindle a passion in the hearts of those who come, to reengage American culture and public life with the claims of Jesus Christ" (3/25/96, Christian News ). 

 - Another example of the extent to which men like Kennedy will go in the pursuit of furthering the social gospel, Kennedy held a position with Sun Myung Moon's now-defunct Coalition for Religious Freedom (CRF). (Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, and the self-proclaimed Messiah to the world.) Other so-called evangelicals that served with Kennedy at CRF as executive committee and/or advisory board members were Tim LaHaye (CRF's paid chairman!), Don Wildmon (founder and president of the social activist American Family Association), Paul Crouch (TBN Network's infamous founder), Hal Lindsey, Marlin Maddoux (Point Of View nationwide radio talk show host), and charismatics James Robison and Jimmy Swaggart--an agenda of social activism certainly makes for strange ecumenical bedfellows. (Reported in the November 1990, Omega-Letter. ) 

 - Promise Keepers is the gigantic new (1991) "men's movement" among professing evangelical Christians. Its roots are New Age and pagan to the core. The homosexual connections; the psychological lies promoted by Promise Keepers; the unscriptural feminizing of men; the depiction of Jesus as a "phallic messiah" tempted to perform homosexual acts; and the movement's ecumenical and unbiblical teachings should dissuade any true Christian from participating. Promise Keepers is proving to be one of the most ungodly and misleading movements in the annals of Christian history. Nevertheless, Kennedy is a promoter of this ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement. 



 By David W. Cloud 

 The Coalition on Revival (COR) has announced a series of conferences through which it hopes to promote unity and social/political effectiveness in the "entire Body of Christ." The COR was founded in 1984 by Jay Grimstead. The first of these conferences is scheduled to be held August 18-23, 1996, at Campus Crusade's Arrowhead Springs Hotel in California. D. James Kennedy will be the moderator. Grimstead said he desires to see "delegates from all the major denominations, schools, churches, and Christian organizations" to come together and "arrive at a broad consensus within the Body of Christ on a number of important issues which now divide the Church." 

 How can truth come forth from a stew of error? How can pure Bible doctrine come out of the hodgepodge of doctrinal confusion represented by "all the major denominations, churches, and organizations"? It is impossible. 

 The COR is an extremely dangerous organization with an unscriptural goal. In the summer 1995 issue of the COR paper, Crosswinds, that goal is spelled out plainly: 

 "A New Reformation is being born. ... We expect this embryonic renewal to keep growing until it becomes a spiritual/social 'avalanche, tidal wave, and force fire' to impact every nation where Christians make it happen by the power of God and the winsomeness of truth. ... In each nation thus awakened, Christians could advance the Kingdom of God on earth and indeed WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE A BETTER WORLD and take it as far as we possibly can prior to Jesus' return. Crosswinds writers are committed to that kind of Christianity and that kind of CIVILIZATION-CHANGING GOAL, without always agreeing about how far we really can take it. EVERYONE IN OUR ORBIT HAS THE FREEDOM TO BE A PRE-, POST- OR AMILLENIALIST, OR TO BE A CALVINIST, ARMINIAN, CHARISMATIC, NON-CHARISMATIC, HIGH-CHURCH OR LOW CHURCH PERSON, AND SO ON." 

 The COR publication complains that Christianity since 1830 has become "DEFEATIST AND PESSIMISTIC, RATHER THAN OPTIMISTIC, ABOUT CHRISTIANIZING SOCIETY IN THIS AGE ... ESCAPIST AND RAPTURE- ORIENTED, rather than eager to have 'God's will done on earth' now ... Inclined to consider the Kingdom of God as primarily 'spiritual' during this age, rather than A REAL, ACTIVE, KINGDOM ON EARTH NOW, WHICH GOD INTENDS TO HAVE PERMEATE, INFLUENCE, AND ULTIMATELY OVERCOME ALL OTHER SOCIETIES, 'kings,' states and continents for His glory." 

 In a two-page letter in July to COR friends and co- workers, Grimstead said, "... those involved in various cities are seeking to identify leaders who could join together around the large dream of CHRISTIANIZING THEIR OWN CITY AND STATE and encourage them to form themselves into the 10 committees for Law, Government, Economics, Education, Medicine/Family, The Media, The Arts, etc." 

 Beware of this type of thing. True Christian unity is a local church matter. Consider these key passages on unity: Romans 15:5,6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:2. All of these commands in regard to unity are directed to churches. Only in the local church can Christians be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). Only in the local church can Christians "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27). 

 Further, the New Testament does not instruct the churches to build the kingdom of God on earth or to attempt to set up a Christian society. That is the type of error which produced the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant state churches. The church is not a political institution; it is a spiritual entity composed of baptised believers, organized according to the New Testament pattern, and committed to the whole counsel of New Testament doctrine. It's work is the Great Commission of world evangelism, not political/social kingdom building. 

 Five times the risen Lord Jesus Christ repeated and emphasized the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44- 48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). 

 When the disciples asked Christ about the kingdom, He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:6-8). 

 There will be no kingdom building until the King comes. That is not what time it is on God's calendar. The Apostles did not attempt to Christianize the Roman Empire, except to preach the Gospel and plant churches and to influence society spiritually through changed lives. 

 Certainly it is not wrong for the individual Christian to be involved in the political process, to vote and pray and work for political change. But this is not the same as attempting to build the kingdom of God on the earth or to Christianize society or to form ecumenical sociopolitical change coalitions. The primary command given to the Christian in this age in regard to political activity is to pray "for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Why does God want us to pray for a tranquil society? "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3,4). Christian, are you praying for your country? 

 [From "Digging in the Walls," O Timothy magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11, 1995. Editor, David W. Cloud. O Timothy is a monthly magazine which is available by subscription from Way of Life Literature, 1219 N. Harns Road, Oak Harbor, Washington 98277. Subscription price is $20.] 

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