Wednesday, November 14, 2007

34 Yr Old Evangelical to Replace Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries

Here’s something I’ve been too busy to bring to the front burner until now.
A 34-year-old evangelical has stepped up to the plate to lead a prominent global media ministry in boldly spreading biblical truth to millions. Brian E. Fisher, former executive vice president of Coral Ridge Ministries, was promoted this month to president and CEO, becoming the second ever head of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based ministry. He succeeds the late founder, Dr. D. James Kennedy.

This guy is one smart cookie for 34 years old. Christian Post does a great interview altogether but below are my favorite sections. I only wish other evangelical pastors and leaders would take special note of what he said—and take it to heart.


Christian Post: You have something new at next year's Truths that Transform America conference, called "Pastors, Pulpits, and Politics," which supports the right for pastors to speak on social issues from the pulpit. Is this part of the effort by conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family who had issued a letter to pastors telling them that they have the right to speak on these issues?

Fisher: The last two hours of that conference is a special session called ‘Pastors, Pulpits, and Politics.’ We’re doing something very unique. We’re partnering with a few other ministries and we have American Vision and American Family Association. We’re talking with two or three other major ministries and we’re taking that last two hours and we’re going to be featuring some of the nation’s foremost authorities on what pastors’ rights are in terms of their ability to speak out on political and cultural issues.

And in two hours we’re going to educate America on those issues. We feel as many others do that the Church at large is disturbingly silent on core issues that they shouldn’t be. Many times … the pastors of the lay people don’t know what their boundaries are legally. And so we’re going to be very clearly outlining them. And we’re going to be broadcasting the entire two-hour session live on the Internet. And it will be made available after that – both online and DVD format. Frankly, our goal and the goal of American Family Association and American Vision is that every pastor in America sees this material. We think it is a pivotal, crucial time in the history of our country. And [as it was] with so many other points in history, it is the Church that will be determining factor on which course America goes. It was actually Gary DeMar (the head of American Vision)’s idea. Gary approached us and said ‘Hey, what do you think?’ We said, ‘My goodness, this is a must do.’ We think it could be a historic day.

CP: So you do feel pastors should speak up on politics? Some polls have indicated that people don’t really want preachers talking about politics from the pulpit. Is there any concern about people being turned off from the church by this?

Fisher: There’s the risk but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Pastors have far more rights than they think they do. And I’m just saying about political candidates. We have to be careful to remember that the separation of the church and state does not appear in the U.S. constitution. Pastors, I think, have a moral and scriptural obligation to speak out about cultural issues facing the day. Why do more pastors not get involved with pro-life issues? It confounds me. The world has made it sound like it’s a political issue. It is a moral issue. It’s a cultural issue. It bleeds into politics because there is a legal aspect to it. I’m not necessarily saying about somebody endorsing a specific candidate. What I am saying is if we want to stop abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade is great, but overturning the hearts and minds of young women in crisis pregnancy situations is far more important. And that should be accomplished by the Church as led by the pastors. I would say it’s my view that pastors in America do have a biblical obligation to speak up and out loudly, lovingly about the issues facing America morally and culturally, and by and large, my perception is they’re not doing that. That is completely inconsistent with the many pastors who founded our country, who spoke out about these issues all the time.

CP: Why do you think there is such a silence in the Church?

Fisher: There are a couple of reasons. There is this 50-year cloud of lying in the media that has certainly impacted the church. The media has scared it into thinking that if a pastor opens his mouth on abortion or sanctity of marriage that they’re going to get thrown in prison. And if they don’t start speaking up soon, that is going to be true (laughs). So I think some of it is just intimidation and scare tactics on behalf of the media. I think there is a huge problem of biblical illiteracy in the church. We’re not aware that we are mandated to tackle these issues. Thirdly, and this is the toughest, I do sense there is a defeatist mentality in the church. The church just thinks America is on a slow steady decline to Armageddon and they’re just going to wait it out. That’s a dangerous and incorrect perspective. Otherwise, why would we pray in the Lord ’s Prayer ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.’ We are to be the chief optimists in our culture and by and large, the church has taken a pessimistic silent attitude to its own detriment.

CP: Do you consider yourself one of the younger generation evangelicals carrying on the torch of such traditional conservatives as Dr. James Dobson and D. James Kennedy? And how do you plan to carry it?

Fisher: It’s been a journey for me. I did not come to Coral Ridge last August to become a leader of anything. I came to run Dr. Kennedy’s ministry. Obviously, the Lord has had other plans as four months after I got here, Dr. Kennedy had his cardiac arrest. I don’t know if I’m what you have said (‘one of the young evangelical leaders taking on the mantle that older conservative evangelicals are passing on’). I am a man who is deeply concerned about America, about the church and about unbelievers. And my role is to do whatever my God tells me. At this point, He has put me in a position to use media to influence our culture and I’m firmly committed to that.


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