USA (MNN) — The man known as "most-listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world" is now silent. Officials with Coral Ridge Ministries say Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away at around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 76.
Dr. Kennedy preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered a cardiac arrest four days later and had been unable to return to the pulpit since. Last week the ministry announced his retirement from the ministry.
Dr. Frank Wright was a personal friend of Kennedy and president of National Religious Broadcasters. Upon the announcement of Kennedy's retirement, Wright described Kennedy as a "man of vision" who is committed to the Kingdom of God.
In 1974, Kennedy started Coral Ridge Ministries, his radio and TV outreach arm, which now claims a weekly audience of 3.5 million. Kennedy's TV show, "The Coral Ridge Hour," airs on more than 400 stations and four cable networks and is broadcast to more than 150 countries on the Armed Forces Network, his ministry says. He also wrote many books, established a Christian school and seminary, and helped lead the conservative movement along with James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others. Last year, the National Religious Broadcasters association inducted him into their Hall of Fame.
His greatest contribution was the development of Evangelism Explosion, a program of local-church based outreach that joined good theology with a practical training method. He did more to bring evangelism back to the local church than anyone else in the last fifty years.
He also founded the Center for Christian Statesmanship in Washington, organizing Capitol Hill Bible studies and other events that attracted top government officials and encouraged them "to embrace God's providential purpose for this nation."
Kennedy is survived by his wife of 51 years, Anne, and his daughter, Jennifer.