the pulpit of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,
Dr. D. James Kennedy proclaims the Word of God through television and radio
to 25,000 cities and towns and foreign countries. From a small gathering
of seventeen, the church has grown under his ministry to a membership of
almost 8,000, with a peak attendance of over 12,000. Dr. Kennedy is the
President and Founder of Evangelism Explosion International which
is now training laymen in evangelism in 132 countries throughout the
world. He has also founded a school, Westminster Academy, and a Christian
radio station, WAFG, which broadcasts 24 hours a day. He is Founder and
Chancellor of Knox Theological Seminary. His vast academic achievements
include the following degrees: A.B., M. Div., M. Th., D.D., D. Sac. Lit.,
Ph D., Litt. D., D. Sac. Theol., and D. Humane Let.
It is our great pleasure to present the following Commentary by Dr. Kennedy, as it appeared in the July 1997 issue of IMPACT, a regular publication of Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.
"The Silence of the Shepherds" is reproduced by permission of Coral Ridge Ministries 1998. All Rights Reserved.
Silence of the Shepherds
Commentary From Dr. Kennedy
American culture is under a withering attack. So much so that the virtues that build Western Civilization are giving way in many quarters to paganism. How else to describe the open defense of infanticide during the recent U.S. Senate debate over partial-birth abortion, and court rulings which grant the "right to die," give men the right to marry other men, and allow more than 4,000 unborn infants to perish daily at the hands of abortionists?
In the face of this, and much more, the pulpits and pews of America are far too silent.
Jonas Clark is one who did not remain silent on the great issues of his day. A pastor in Lexington, Massachusetts, he was the most influential churchman and politician in the Lexington-Concord region at the time of the Revolutionary War, according to Franklin Cole, editor of They Preached Liberty.
On April 18, 1775, he entertained John Hancock and Samuel Adams at his home. These two great patriots asked him, "If war came, would the people of Lexington fight?" He is said to have replied, "I have trained them for this very hour."
The next day the "shot heard round the world" was fired on his church lawn as the British drew first blood in the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. Eight men were killed, all members of Rev. Jonas' congregation. As he looked down, in great anguish, at the bodies of those who had fallen, he said, "from this day will be dated the liberty of the world."
It began in a church. It began with a parson who was not afraid to speak out on the great issues of freedom, liberty, oppression, and tyranny. (One of Rev. Clark's most notable printed sermons: "The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors.") Rev. Clark was a part of the "Black Regiment," Revolutionary patriot-preachers who, in their black robes, preached fiery sermons about the evils of tyranny and set the stage for liberty in America -- a liberty which, as Clark predicted, has spread to many other nations across the world.
Today, however, too few preacher are willing to raise their voice on contemporary moral issues. And that is a great tragedy. God needs men who will speak out on the great issues of the day. Martin Luther said:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that point attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested. To be steady in all the battlefields besides is mere flight and disgrace, if the soldier flinches at that one point."
Luther's words, of course are true for all of us. We are involved in a great conflict for the soul of this nation, for the soul of the world, and too many remain as spectators on the side. Christ wants you to be a soldier for Him.
May I urge you, whether pastor or layman, to get out of the bleachers and onto the filed, to become a participant in the greatest struggle in the history of the world.
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