Sure looks like the folks behind Coral Ridge Ministries are courting the defectors of Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. The Coral Ridge Ministries, originally founded as a media arm for the church's icon, Rev. James Kennedy, is now a separate entity. In a series of Youtube clips the Ministries take a much more aggressive political path than the one charted at the church itself, and it was especially at odds with the personal growth preachings that came after Rev. Tullian Tchividjian was named pastor.
But since the effort to remove Tchividjian crumbled last month, the church's most conservative members have been leaving, and it's no coincidence that in the video above John Rabe of Coral Ridge Ministries is talking about how sometimes a good Christian must take a stand, Martin Luther-style.
The Miami Herald reported that on October 11, the church formed by Coral Ridge Presbyterian defectors had its service at the Pompano Beach Elks Lodge, where it heard a sermon from Jerry Newcombe, who hosted Kennedy's Coral Ridge Hour until the nationally syndicated program was canceled by the church this past year. The program has since been scooped up by Coral Ridge Ministries.
In the video above, Rabe never mentions the rupture at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, but it's clear he's addressing the very issues that have led to dissension there. "In today's church, many now claim that Christians should leave matters of politics and public controversy aside," says Rabe, "and instead focus on evangelism and personal growth. But Martin Luther found out that standing for the truth of the gospel challenged powerful interests and had deep political implications."
If Coral Ridge Ministries does absorb -- or get absorbed -- by the defectors of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, then there figures to be a battle over which of the two churches has rightful claim to being the legacy of a religious celebrity like Kennedy. For whomever wants to fire the first shot, here's Kennedy's Wikipedia page.
But the defectors first have to decide how radical they want to be. In 2006, the Coral Ridge Ministries was excoriated by the Anti-Defamation League for a documentary called Darwin's Dangerous Legacy, in which linked the teaching of evolution with the Holocaust.