The D. James Kennedy Legacy

A SHINING CITY ON A HILL is a vision of God's will for Good, Just, and Righteous government done in Wisdom, and it is not a Liberal or utopian ideal for government attempting to a leftist Social Justice, but rather it is a practical, moral vision based on common sense and “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” of Thomas Jefferson and the American founders and as seen in the Judeo-Christian worldview. A SHINING CITY ON A HILL is best summed up as “One nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Part of the UNDERSTANDING Series:

The D. James Kennedy Legacy: Where To From Here?

There is probably no man in our time who understood the principles of being a Reagan Lincoln Republican better than the late D. James Kennedy as part of his larger vision for the Body of Christ in our time. Dr. Kennedy used to say that the church travels on two tracks: the track of Evangelism and the track of what he called the “cultural mandate.”

The track of Evangelism is winning lost souls to new spiritual Life in Christ, and the track of the cultural mandate is to engage the larger society as salt and light in order to do Justice and Righteousness, part of which is doing true statesmanship of Liberty and Justice for all in good government. The question for good government then becomes which person running for any given office at any given time has the best Wisdom to do what is best for the nation or commonwealth as a whole in order for that person to get the majority vote of the citizenry.

Track One: Evangelism

In order to implement the Church’s first track of evangelism Dr. Kennedy developed his Gospel presentation called Evangelism Explosion. This simple and straightforward Gospel presentation has now spread worldwide and impacted millions winning countless people to Christ around the world, and in my personal opinion it may well prove to be the vehicle that God uses to evangelize the whole world before the presumably soon-coming end of the Church Age.

This track of worldwide evangelism is the central task given to Christians by Christ himself, and all other tasks can be considered somewhat secondary to this main task. However, in contrast to the teaching of many if not most Christian leaders today for James Kennedy, this is not the only task or assignment given to Christians by Christ and Scripture more generally. Faith without works is dead, and we are in fact saved unto good works and part of those good works is being salt and light to the larger society and part of being salt and light is practicing good citizenship and part of practicing good citizenship is voting only for candidates that openly pledge to do “One nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all” of the American founding vision of A SHINING CITY ON A HILL as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble to the Constitution.

 Track Two: The Cultural Mandate

Dr. Kennedy called this Christian salt and light involvement in the larger society “the cultural mandate” given by God to Christians, indeed given to all believers in the God of the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. And in government when one does what is best for the nation as whole, one does what is known classically as statesmanship. By contrast, when one seeks to do what is best for one’s own special interest group at the expense of the whole, one is no statesman at all but rather a mere money-seeking or power-seeking politician or demagogue. 

Outside of Ronald Reagan, probably James Kennedy understood more than any other person in our time the moral duty or responsibility of the man or woman in government is to do what is best for the nation or commonwealth as a whole as opposed to its opposite, which is special interest politics. And as Ronald Reagan wisely said as well as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Solomon, and the Old Testament prophets what is best for the nation as a whole is based on the moral and the practical of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as stated by Jefferson and the American founders. 

Wisely implement these “Laws” and one has God’s will for government of A SHINING CITY ON A HILL, and in doing this America will once again be “One nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all” and a model for all the nations of the world as it originally sought to be and attempted to be for our first two hundred years until our founding Shining City vision based on the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God was lost in recent decades due to the corrupting influences of Humanism and Liberalism in both the Democrat and Republican parties.  


Abraham is to do Justice and Righteousness

Having said all of this, there was an error that Dr. Kennedy made and that was tying his salt-and-light “cultural mandate” message to what is generally considered to be a faulty “Dominion Theology” based on a misreading of Genesis 1:28. Genesis 1:28 is about mankind’s relationship to other living creatures and not taking "dominion" over non-believers. This tends to be a denominational error (of some Christians) that is a rather obvious mistake to all other Christians.  In truth, the correct verse for a salt-and-light “cultural mandate” for all theists who believe in the God of the Bible (not just Christians) is Genesis 18:17-19 to do Justice and Righteousness in the nation as in the charge made by God to Abraham.

Liberals and today’s Democrat Party and many Republicans and churches have forsaken this Justice and Righteousness charge for a Social Justice and virtual hedonism message. Social Justice, Economic Justice, and Distributive Justice are all one and the same thing, and they assert the main purpose of government is wealth redistribution, and while the government may in fact rightly do some wealth redistribution that is not government’s main function, but wealth redistribution generally tends to be not only an injustice (where one does not deserve the fruits of one’s own labor), but bad economics and bad politics as well, and Social Justice inevitably tends toward some form of collectivism or statism, both of which are either outright evils or simply false, utopian goods.

And, further, certainly the Liberals and Democrats’ advocacy of homosexuality is the height of unrighteousness and hedonism and not Righteousness. At the same time many Republicans accept this Liberal and Democrat nonsense, and those Republicans that do not are often up to their eyeballs in the special interest politics of so-called “crony capitalism.” This is a corrupt, special-favors government for the rich and powerful delivered by self-seeking, bought-and-sold politicians.


Statesmanship: America’s only hope

America’s founders at the first meeting of Congress went first to prayer in order to ask God not only to bless them but to give them the Wisdom or Right Reason to make good decisions and laws for the good of the whole nation, that is, in order to do true statesmanship. Today, we do not go to such prayer primarily because we do not think the role of the good legislator, judge or executive is to Justice and Righteousness in Wisdom in the first place in order to ask God to give us the insight to do it in the second place. Why is this? It is because we have a complete failure of the education system and a complete corruption of the political system and generally a complete ignorance in the churches of the charge by God to Justice and Righteousness in our individual lives and the larger society.

And so here we are. In order to save and restore the Republic we must return to A SHINING CITY ON A HILL vision based on “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” of Thomas Jefferson and the American founders in order to do Justice and Righteousness.  Please join the Reagan Lincoln Republican movement to demand that all Republican candidates seeking our vote will take the pledge to make America great again by being once again “One nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all” and only in this way can we be sure to fulfill God’s purposes for the destiny of our nation in the story of mankind on earth.


Finally, Saving Western Civilization and Kingdom Christianity

Finally, in addition to all of these challenges America and Western civilization are currently faced with a mortal threat from a radical Islam that rejects all of the moral, social, political, economic, and religious values of our Judeo-Christian worldview.  If Islamic extremists succeed in taking over Islam, Western civilization, and the world, all mankind will without question descend into a thousand years of darkness and barbarism never before seen or even imagined it the long history of mankind on earth. Radical Islam certainly appears to be the great threat and danger of our time and perhaps even the greatest Evil the world has ever known. How to deal with the complexities of this problem is one of the great challenges of our time.

Western civilization can best be preserved by a strong reassertion of an Evangelical Gospel into all churches of all denominations, and by a strong re-assertion of the Judeo-Christian values of Justice and Righteousness in all areas of life, society, government, law, and education. These two efforts or tracks combined, first espoused by the late D. James Kennedy, create what could easily be called a true Kingdom Christianity for all Christians.