Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pray for the people and pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

In its heyday, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy, was famous for its evangelism ministry (Evangelism Explosion), its schools, seminary, and strong religious and politically conservative views. Dr. Kennedy died back on September 5, 2007.

In March 2009, the church called the grandson of famous evangelist Billy Graham to become the second pastor in the church's 50 year history. Pastor Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin), 37, has been on the job less than a year and already factions in the church have called for his ouster. At a specially called congregational meeting in early September 2009, the congregation voted to retain Tullian as their pastor.

Unfortunately, just last week over 400 members defected from the congregation to form a new church. How could a once thriving church be so embroiled in this kind of conflict and division? From what I can gather, some of the members appreciative of Dr. Kennedy's ministry are concerned about the pace of change happening in the church. Over the summer, several members of the church choir were upset at the speed of changes under Tchividjian, including what they felt were a watering down of evangelism, political advocacy and traditional worship.

Are these issues that important to divide and weaken this congregation? I don't think so. However, when it comes to church traditions in North America, people will go the mat over the most amazing things (I have heard of churches splitting over hymnals).

Please let us join together and remember the pastor and his family and all the members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. I am sure the unbelieving community in Fort Lauderdale are shaking their heads and laughing at these Christians.

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.