Coral Ridge Ministry’s New Head Seeks Ties With Reconstructionists

A 34-year-old financial adviser has been named the new head of Coral Ridge Ministries, a Florida-based group founded by the late TV preacher D. James Kennedy.

Brian E. Fisher, formerly executive vice president of Coral Ridge Ministries, is now running the operation. In an interview with the Christian Post, Fisher said he is looking forward to working with the groups that hold a similar outlook, including the American Family Association (AFA) and American Vision.

AFA is a Mississippi-based group that advocates censorship of material that some fundamentalists consider offensive. American Vision, however, is a much more extreme organization that holds to a Christian Reconstructionist philosophy.

Reconstructionists believe that American law should be based on a literal reading of the harsh legal code of the Old Testament. They do not support religious pluralism and believe the government has not only the right but an obligation to support their version of fundamentalist Christianity.

Based in Georgia, American Vision is headed by Gary DeMar. Although some Reconstructionists argue that the founders erred in establishing a secular republic, DeMar contends that the United States was founded to be a “Christian nation” and has authored several books reflecting this theme.

Fisher said Coral Ridge plans to host a conference that will feature a special session advising pastors of their role in politics.

“We’re doing something very unique,” he said. “We’re partnering with a few other ministries, and we have American Vision and American Family Association. We’re talking with two or three other major ministries and we’re taking that last two hours and we’re going to be featuring some of the nation’s foremost authorities on what pastors’ rights are in terms of their ability to speak out on political and cultural issues.”

Fisher added, “And we’re going to be broadcasting the entire two-hour session live on the Internet. And it will be made available after that – both online and DVD format. Frankly, our goal and the goal of American Family Association and American Vision is that every pastor in America sees this material.

“We think it is a pivotal, crucial time in the history of our country,” he continued. “And [as it was] with so many other points in history, it is the church that will be [the] determining factor on which course America goes. It was actually Gary DeMar’s idea. Gary approached us and said ‘Hey, what do you think?’ We said, ‘My goodness, this is a must do.’ We think it could be a historic day.”

Kennedy, who died  Sept. 5, was a strident critic of church-state separation. During his tenure, the ministry produced various materials attacking that constitutional principle as non-historical and even communistic.

Don’t expect that to change under Fisher.

He told the Christian Post, “We have to be careful to remember that the separation of the church and state does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. Pastors, I think, have a moral and scriptural obligation to speak out about cultural issues facing the day.”