D. James Kennedy

D. James Kennedy, author, theologian, biblical scholar, pastor of the 10,000-member “Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church” in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and founder of the highly influential Coral Ridge Ministries, is reportedly showing signs of improvement following a massive heart attack last week.

“We’re quite encouraged,” Kennedy spokesman John Aman told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Aman indicated Kennedy had been taken off a ventilator, talked to people and responded to neurologists’ commands to move his limbs.

Meanwhile, prayers for Kennedy’s recovery from fellow Christian leaders are being echoed across the U.S.

Dr. James Dobson, founder of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, said:

“It has been my honor and pleasure to know him not only as a broadcasting colleague and a gifted pastor, but also as a dear friend for the past 30 years. He has been one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of righteousness, never wavering from the eternal truths of Scripture. His voice is still vitally needed in this country and around the world. We are asking the Lord to restore the health of this good man, and to be with Anne and the rest of the Kennedy family during this challenging time.”

According to Mary Ann Bunker, Kennedy’s long-time personal assistant, the 75-year-old Kennedy had a “severe” cardiac arrest Thursday night.

“He was home at the time,” she said, noting that “the last time he preached was on Christmas Eve. He was home in the kitchen. He fell, and his wife caught him, and gave him CPR until the ambulance arrived.”

Kennedy was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. “The ambulance got [to Kennedy’s home] in four to five minutes,” said Bunker, “and the hospital was less than five blocks away. And the doctors were ready for him before the ambulance even arrived.”

Fortunately, a CAT scan turned out normal, not disclosing any brain damage or other complications resulting from the heart attack.

Coral Ridge Senior Producer Jerry Newcombe, who has co-authored many books with Kennedy, told WND another Presbyterian minister visited Kennedy and read scripture to him – to which he responded strongly.

In fact, on the Reformation 21 website, a blog of the Alliance of Confession Evangelicals, Rev. Richard Phillips posted the following:

I want to thank everyone who is praying for Dr. D. James Kennedy. His condition is improved, though very serious. I spent a good deal of time with him today, praying and reading Scripture. He recognized me and was clearly responsive, although his condition remains very serious. Please pray for continued improvement and a full restoration to health. I was able to assure him of the prayers of many Christians and he was able smile in response.

Another post by Phillips referred to Kennedy’s deteriorating health condition in recent times:

Please pray for Dr. D. James Kennedy, his wife and daughter, and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Dr. Kennedy is in grave condition following a heart attack last evening.

Jim’s health has deteriorated markedly in the last several months, and he has manfully continued his ministry to the best of his ability. During all my interactions with him even during this trying time, he has exhibited his characteristic good cheer, charm, and force of mind. Along with being a man with great vision for the kingdom of Christ, Jim Kennedy is a true Christian gentleman. Please pray for God to restore him to full health and give him grace as his situation should require.

In 1978, Kennedy launched his weekly one-hour television show, “The Coral Ridge Hour,” which is broadcast nationally every Sunday morning on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, as well as syndicated on various other networks. Available to 81 percent of the nation’s television households, “The Coral Ridge Hour” has the greatest number of TV station affiliates of any religious program in the U.S.

This Sunday’s “Coral Ridge Hour” will feature a special documentary titled “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?”

Hosted by Kennedy and filmed in Europe, South America, India, and the United States, the program consults scientists, historians, philosophers, and theologians to weigh the impact of Jesus on the last 2,000 years. It shows how the rise of science, mass education, a high regard for human life, hospitals, charity, representative government, and the elevation of women can all be traced to the impact of Christ and his followers in the last two millennia.

“We’re going to tell the truth – withheld from most Americans for the last half century – that Christ has been the greatest benefactor to the human race that the world has ever known,” said Kennedy.

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