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Coral Ridge Ministries: Truth Wins Out post contains several factual errors

Here's an e-mail I received today from John Aman, communications director of Coral Ridge Ministries.

Mr. Aman's letter is in response to a posting I made on Monday, Truth Wins Out: Coral Ridge Ministries hires anti-gay culture warrior Robert Knight.

coralridge

Steve,

Your post from Wayne Besen on your Miami Herald blog contains several factual errors.

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and its newly appointed minister, Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, are not linked to Coral Ridge Ministries. Both organizations were led by Dr. Kennedy, but Coral Ridge Ministries has been a separate organization from Coral Ridge Church since the mid-1990s. Therefore, Wayne Besen is quite wrong in his claim that Coral Ridge Church or Rev. Tchividjian had anything to do with the recent employment of Robert Knight at Coral Ridge Ministries. Knight works for Coral Ridge Ministries, not the church.

As to the other sharp charges in the piece from Besen, let me answer as follows. First, Robert Knight recently joined Coral Ridge Ministries as Senior Writer/Correspondent. He brings enormous knowledge and experience in the defense of the family and Western Judeo-Christian morality. The biting, bitter tone of Besen’s attack is testimony to Knight’s impact and the force of his pro-family arguments.

Sad to say, Besen is not quite up to speed on the recent activities of Coral Ridge Ministries. He thinks we’ve been “relatively quiet on divisive social issues” since the death of  Dr. Kennedy and credits the “deleterious influence” of Knight for our website warnings that hate crimes laws pose a clear and present danger to the free speech and religious liberty of evangelicals and Catholics. Actually, that’s a theme we’ve addressed consistently in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, we worked with the Family Research Council to coproduce a documentary on hate crime laws. And last fall, we published Ten Truths About Hate Crimes Laws, a short book I wrote that outlines the many reasons people who favor equal justice, free speech, traditional marriage, and religious liberty, should line up to oppose bias-crime legislation.

And Knight’s concerns about hate-crime legislation are anything but “delusional.” This kind of legislation has been used in Sweden, Australia, Britain, Canada, and the U.S. to kneecap Christians who offer a biblically informed critique of homosexual conduct. In Philadelphia, a group of hardy Christians were charged under the state hate crimes statute for their peaceful, biblical witness at a homosexual festival. The charges were later dismissed, but only after they had spent a night in jail and had their lives upended by months of litigation and the threat of fines and imprisonment.

Finally, it has taken on the stature of urban legend, but Dr. D. James Kennedy was not a theocrat—by which is meant, I believe, someone who wants to use the force of law to mandate belief and adherence to Christianity. Please. The Westminster Confession is the primary guide to faith and practice for people of Presbyterian persuasion, of which Dr. Kennedy was one. It is a rule of faith which Dr. Kennedy swore to uphold. Here is what this august document states on the matter of church and state relations: “Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in the matter so faith.” Shorthand: the state has no business trying to do the work of the church, which is to communicate the Gospel and minister to the needs of men and women.

Dr. Kennedy himself swatted away the charge of theocracy in one of his last books he co-authored with Dr. Jerry Newcombe, How Would Jesus Vote?

“Modern secularists often accuse the religious Right of calling for a theocracy in America. Despite these claims, I am not advocating a theocracy. I am only trying to restore the truth that Christianity is, and always has been, a fundamental component in the marketplace of ideas.”

One final note. Those anxious about theocracy should dismantle their cardboard image of Christian social conservatives and pay much more attention to the ambitions of radical Islam—a religious and political tradition with a roughly 1,400 year history of “theocracy” in which religious dissent is harshly put down and silenced.

Steve, would you please post this response on your Miami Herald blog? It’s important to us that misinformation be corrected. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you may have and I’m sure, by the way, that Bob Knight would appreciate the opportunity to have his views presented on your blog from time to time, as well.

Sincerely,

John Aman

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I'm sorry, but Mr. Aman is a very well practiced liar. His spin is absolutely absurd and depends on readers being unacquainted with the hate spewed by Kennedy and Knight.

What does Kennedy think about the separation of church and state?

Kennedy's 1994 book, Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, is riddled with attacks on the constitutional principle. Among other things, Kennedy calls church-state separation "diabolical," a "false doctrine" and "a lie" propagated by Thomas Jefferson. Kennedy also lapses into Red-baiting, writing, "This phrase does not appear in the United States Constitution at all, but in Article 52 of the Constitution of the Soviet Union -- now the Soviet disunion. Defunct, because they tried to get rid of God."

A 1996 Kennedy tome, The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail: The Attack On Christianity And What You Need To Know To Combat It, coauthored with Jerry Newcombe, calls the wall of separation a "great deception [that] has been used to destroy much of the religious freedom and liberty this country has enjoyed since its inception."

Kennedy asserts that although the United States was once a "Christian nation," that is no longer the case because today "the hostile barrage from atheists, agnostics, and other secular humanists has begun to take a serious toll on that heritage. In recent years, they have built up their forces and even increased their assault upon all our Christian institutions, and they have been enormously successful in taking over the 'public square.' Public education, the media, the government, the courts, and even the church in many places, now belong to them."

Elsewhere in the book, Kennedy writes, "Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost." Kennedy's triumphalist rhetoric has led to speculation that he may be sympathetic to "Christian Reconstructionism," an extreme Religious Right movement that seeks a theocracy in America based on the Old Testament's harsh legal code.

Kennedy has denied being a Reconstructionist, but in May of 1996 he addressed a banquet held by American Vision, a Reconstructionist group based in Georgia. The group's newsletter, A.V. Report, noted that, "American Vision has enjoyed a wonderful friendship and working relationship with Dr. Kennedy and others at Coral Ridge for many years."

Are TV preacher D. James Kennedy's views extreme? Judge for yourself. Here is a sampling of opinions taken from his 1994 book, Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul (written with Jim Nelson Black):

The Culture War

"Christians did not start the culture war but...we are going to end it. That is a fact, and the Bible assures us of victory." (p. 76)

Deliberately Deceitful Educators

"Not all the educators in our public schools and universities are deliberately deceitful, not all of them want to destroy this nation, but many do. The major teachers' unions certainly do." (p. 75)

The United States: A Christian Nation

"But the fact is, the United States of America was conceived and brought forth by Christians, and history tells us that story in no uncertain terms....Anyone who reads about the values upon which this nation was founded understands perfectly well that this was, from the start, a Christian nation." (p. 71)

Ten Thousand Communist Professors

"Just a few years ago, there were as many as ten thousand Communist professors in American universities. The average person never saw any of them, and many would doubt the truth of that statistic. But I can assure you it is true." (p. 63)

Secular Sinners

"Modern secularists and agnostics do not want to admit that the Christian religion is true, because that would mean that they are sinners; and they have no intention of giving up their right to sin." (p. 46)

Public School Immorality

"Teachers in many of our public schools have acceded to the policies of the liberal teachers' unions to make sure that students from kindergarten through high school will be stripped of any sense of moral or ethical absolutes. Right and wrong are non-issues in our public schools." (p.260)

Evolution: Into The Slime

"Every new advance and every step taken by science confirm not evolution but the Genesis account of creation. Yet evolution still continues to be taught as fact....Thus, the honorable place that had been given to human beings by God is surreptitiously aborted, and they are dragged down into the slime." (p. 178)

Dismantling The Wall Of Separation

"If we are committed and involved in taking back the nation for Christian moral values, and if we are willing to risk the scorn of the secular media and the bureaucracy that stand against us, there is no doubt we can witness the dismantling of not just the Berlin Wall but the even more diabolical 'wall of separation' that has led to increasing secularization, godlessness, immorality, and corruption in our country." (p. 126-127)

Engaging The Enemy

"God forbid that we who were born into the blessings of a Christian America should let our patrimony slip like sand through our fingers and leave to our children the bleached bones of a godless secular society. But whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: God has called us to engage the enemy in this culture war. That is our challenge today." (p. 91)

No Power On Earth Can Stop Us

"This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God's help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. And no power on earth can stop us." (p. 85)

Reclaiming America For Christ

"How much more forcefully can I say it? The time has come, and it is long overdue, when Christians and conservatives and all men and women who believe in the birthright of freedom must rise up and reclaim America for Jesus Christ." (p. 80)

http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=cs_&page=NewsArticle&id=5936&news_iv_ctrl=2002

Who does Mr. Aman think he is fooling?

John Aman's statement that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church & Coral Ridge Ministries are "separate organizations" and "not linked" made me LOL!

Let's check their membership rolls & see if there is any overlap.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

And about those so-called innocent Christians in Philadelphia. They were arrested after refusing to comply with police officers.

The supposed Christians in Philadelphia were arrested for storming into a public entertainment event, commandeering the stage area, and using megaphones to shout down the event's speakers and entertainment.

That group, Repent America, has also commandeered and disrupted city council meetings and baseball games in Pennsylvania.

No group has the right to destroy others' freedom of association and others' freedom of speech.

Furthermore, in 1998, Coral Ridge Ministries' Center for Reclaiming America was lead sponsor for the ex-gay TV ad campaign which brought that movement to the attention of many Americans for the first time.

While taking reporters' questions during the ad campaign, spokeswoman Janet Folger admitted that CRM favored the prosecution and imprisonment of gay Americans. Which was consistent with Kennedy's objective of Christian Reconstructionism -- the replacement of constitutional law with supposed Biblical law.

Mr. Besen is no more accurate in his characterization of Dr. Kennedy’s position on God and government than he was in his erroneous claims that Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, the new senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, hired Bob Knight (he did not), and that Coral Ridge Ministries has gone silent on social issues (we have not).

Mr. Besen failed to acknowledge his errors of fact on the matters above, but he did offer readers a long list of quotations from Dr. Kennedy—which shows at least that he has familiarized himself with some of what Dr. Kennedy said. However, quote mining is no substitute for an argument.

Here’s another quote from Dr. Kennedy, which offers more perspective:

“We believe there should be a separation of the church and the state, and such did Calvin teach. This, however, is not to be a separation of God from the state, which we find going on in our country today. The Bible very clearly states that the nation that forgets God ‘shall be turned into Hell.’ The Founding Fathers of this country by no means meant to establish a nation separated from God. The Declaration of Independence mentions God as the giver of inalienable rights to men. Benjamin Franklin arose during the writing of the Constitution of the United States and declared it was no more possible for men to build a political state without the help of God than it was for the builders of Babel. Franklin also said that if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, then we certainly could not erect a nation without His concurring aid. He moved that all the sessions of the Convention drawing up the Constitution of this nation should be opened with prayer, imploring aid of Almighty God.”

Dr. Kennedy and many other Christian social conservatives profoundly disagree with the modern judicially imposed wall of separation between church and state that has been used to quarantine Christians and the acknowledgement of God from public life. But we are also fierce advocates for religious liberty—which provides freedom of conscience to each of us to make up our own minds on what we believe about God and how he should be worshipped.

Dr. Kennedy was a passionate advocate for Christian civic involvement, for the effort to “reclaim America for Christ”—which means to use the tools of democracy to seek a just and moral public order. He recognized that politics only goes so far. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions….” (Which, by the way, is why we oppose hate crimes laws—they criminalize thought).

Dr. Kennedy understood that evangelism can achieve what politics alone cannot. “We Christians will never impose biblical morality on a predominantly non-Christian culture,” he wrote. “It will not happen. They will rise up and throw it off.” It is only when Christians “share the Gospel with others that individual lives—and ultimately, cultures—are transformed by the power of Christ and His Word.”

Millions of people—including many who were once homosexuals—have experienced that transformation. All it takes to make it happen is to turn to God in faith and repentance—to turn from our sins and to trust in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness, pardon from God’s righteous judgment, and eternal life.

What bothers Mr. Aman is that I pasted Kennedy's own words - exposing him as a bigoted theocrat. Sir, if you disagree with your own church, I suggest you find a new one, instead of attacking me. The long list of quotes are factually accurate.

If I were you, I'd be embarrassed too and attacking the messenger - because Coral Ridge, Kennedy, Knight and yourself are severely truth challenged.

You end with the blatant lie: "Millions of people—including many who were once homosexuals—have experienced that transformation."

In 1998, Coral Ridge put out the "Truth in Love" television campaign featuring an "ex-gay" man named Michael Johnston. In 2003, Johnston had to step down from his ministry because of unsafe sex with men - even though he was HIV+

Your despicable, immoral ministry has yet to own up and apologize for this lie. When will you take personal responsibility and admit that your very "ex-gay" spokesperson had failed? Given that this had happened, what credibility does Coral Ridge have to assess whether anyone has "changed?"

It is clear that your hate house disguised as a church cares more about propaganda than real people.


So, was that "concerned woman" Robert Knight, formerly of Concerned Women for America? Rather amusing that they couldn't find enough female supporters that they hired a man as a spokesman.

The words of DJ Kennedy need no comment; they speak for themselves.

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