Other Names: D. James Kennedy, Schaeffer, Pearcey
D. James Kennedy (b. 1930)
D. James Kennedy is pastor of the 10,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and claims to be “the most listened-to Presbyterian minister in America.” His originally forty-five-member congregation was the fastest-growing church in the nation for fifteen years, which was the impetus for his writing Evangelism Explosion, which has been used as a cookbook for other congregations wanting to see similar growth results. His weekly televised services, called the Coral Ridge Hour, and his daily half-hour radio program, Truths that Transform, reach a national audience. His Coral Ridge Ministries includes the Center for Reclaiming America, which provides conferences, literature, and networking opportunities to Christians concerned about the nation's spiritual health.
Francis Schaeffer (1912 — 1984)
Francis Schaeffer was an evangelical Presbyterian minister who settled with his family in a remote chalet in Switzerland that he named L'Abri (French for “shelter”) and waited for the world to come to him so he could convert it. Surprisingly, eventually it started to do so, as backpacking young tourists and truth-seekers found L'Abri and soon afterward found their worlds turned upside down this knickers-wearing and goateed American Calvinist transplant. Time magazine dubbed Schaeffer “an apostle to the intellectuals,” and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship writer Gordon Govier wrote on the observance of the fiftieth anniversary of L'Abri that Schaeffer “may have done more to shape the culture of American evangelicals at the end of the 20th century than any one” other than C. S. Lewis and Billy Graham. This echoed similar sentiments by former University of Notre Dame professor Michael Hamilton in a 1997 piece on Schaeffer in Christianity Today.
James Sire, retired editor of Inter-Varsity Press, which published most of Schaeffer's books, likens him to “Jeremiah, a weeping prophet whose message was that Christians need to be more involved in the public sphere.”
Though Schaeffer's direct outreach was much smaller than the other evangelical icons discussed thus far — his books like The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, and others had considerably smaller circulations than others cited — his critique of every philosophical trend from the Enlightenment to the current generation; and his knowledge of artists of all eras since the Renaissance and popular culture represented in music and movies reached the intellectuals and future intellectuals who came to visit. Often they ended up staying longer than they expected and coming back for more, and being changed for the rest of their lives. And they, now in places like college and university faculties, the media, politics, entertainment, and the arts are making the kind of impact he said Christians were meant to make in the culture of their times.
Nancy Pearcey is an example of one of those young seekers who found L'Abri and got converted back to Jesus and new meaning in her life. Raised in a Lutheran family and a devout child, like many she came to wonder if her faith was just there because it was all she'd been taught, and quietly and somewhat sadly, by the time she was in college, she'd left it behind. She says Schaeffer explained and demonstrated what the faith actually was — who Jesus really was — and slowly she started the metaphorical trek back home.
Now she is the author of Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, a tour-de-force survey of the Christian worldview and its viability in opposition to secularism and post-modernism, which demonstrates that she has been blessed by Francis Schaeffer's influence. Appropriately, she is the Francis A. Schaeffer scholar at the Asheville, N.C.-based World Journalism Institute. Among other topics, her book covers the history of evangelical Christianity in America from colonial times, the chronicle of how American politics became secularized, modern Islam and the New Age movement, and the war between materialism and a Christian worldview.