A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer (Part 3) (Schaeffer Sundays)

Part 1

Part 2

Below is a summary of “A Christian Manifesto” which is a very important book written by Francis Schaeffer just a couple of years before his death in 1984.

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

The abortion ruling is a very clear one. The abortion ruling, of course, is also a natural result of this other world view because with this other world view, human life — your individual life — has no intrinsic value. You are a wart upon the face of an absolutely impersonal universe. Your aspirations have no fulfillment in the “what-isness” of what is. Your aspirations damn you. Many of the young people who come to us understand this very well because their aspirations as Humanists have no fulfillment, if indeed the final reality is only material or energy shaped by pure chance.

The universe cannot fulfill anything that you say when you say, “It is beautiful”; “I love”; “It is right”; “It is wrong.” These words are meaningless words against the backdrop of this other world view. So what we find is that the abortion case should not have been a surprise because it boiled up out of, quite naturally, (I would use the word again) mathematically, this other world view. In this case, human life has no distinct value whatsoever, and we find this Supreme Court in one ruling overthrew the abortion laws of all 50 states, and they made this form of killing human life (because that’s what it is) the law. The law declared that this form of killing human life was to be accepted, and for many people, because they had no set ethic, when the Supreme Court said that it was legal, in the intervening years, it has become ethical.

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The courts of this country have forced this view and its results on the total population. What we find is that as the courts have done this, without any longer that which the founding fathers comprehended of law (A man like Blackstone, with his Commentaries, understood, and the other lawgivers in this country in the beginning): That there is a law of God which gives foundation. It becomes quite natural then, that they would also cut themselves loose from a strict constructionism concerning the Constitution.

Everything is relative. So as you cut yourself loose from the Law of God, in any concept whatsoever, you also soon are cutting yourself loose from a strict constructionism and each ruling is to be seen as an arbitrary choice by a group of people as to what they may honestly think is for the sociological good of the community, of the country, for the given moment.

Now, along with that is the fact that the courts are increasingly making law and thus we find that the legislatures’ powers are increasingly diminished in relationship to the power of the courts. Now the pro-abortion people have been very wise about this in the last, say, 10 years, and Christians very silly. I wonder sometimes where we’ve been because the pro-abortion people have used the courts for their end rather than the legislatures — because the courts are not subject to the people’s thinking, nor their will, either by election nor by a re-election. Consequently, the courts have been the vehicle used to bring this whole view and to force it on our total population. It has not been largely the legislatures. It has been rather, the courts.

The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

And this is brought to bear, specifically, and perhaps most clearly, in the public schools (I’ll come to that now) in this country. In the courts of this country, they are saying that it’s absolutely illegal, from the lowest grades up through university, for the public schools of this country to teach any other world view except this world view of final material or energy. Now this is done, no matter what the parents may wish. This is done regardless of what those who pay the taxes for their schools may wish. I’m giving you an illustration, as well as making a point. The way the courts force their view, and this false view of reality on the total population, no matter what the total population wants.

We find that in the January 18 — just recently — Time magazine, there was an article that said there was a poll that pointed out that about 76% of the people in this country thought it would be a good idea to have both creation and evolution taught in the public schools. I don’t know if the poll was accurate, but assuming that the poll was accurate, what does it mean? It means that your public schools are told by the courts that they cannot teach this, even though 76% of the people in the United States want it taught. I’ll give you a word. It’s TYRANNY. There is no other word that fits at such a point.

And at the same time we find the medical profession has radically changed. Dr. Koop, in our seminars for Whatever Happened to the Human Race, often said that (speaking for himself), “When I graduated from medical school, the idea was ‘how can I save this life?’ But for a great number of the medical students now, it’s not, ‘How can I save this life?’, but ‘Should I save this life?'”

Believe me, it’s everywhere. It isn’t just abortion. It’s infanticide. It’s allowing the babies to starve to death after they are born. If they do not come up to some doctor’s concept of a quality of life worth living. I’ll just say in passing — and never forget it – it takes about 15 days, often, for these babies to starve to death. And I’d say something else that we haven’t stressed enough. In abortion itself, there is no abortion method that is not painful to the child — just as painful that month before birth as the baby you see a month after birth in one of these cribs down here that I passed — just as painful.

So what we find then, is that the medical profession has largely changed — not all doctors. I’m sure there are doctors here in the audience who feel very, very differently, who feel indeed that human life is important and you wouldn’t take it, easily, wantonly. But, in general, we must say (and all you have to do is look at the TV programs), all you have to do is hear about the increased talk about allowing the Mongoloid child — the child with Down’s Syndrome — to starve to death if it’s born this way. Increasingly, we find on every side the medical profession has changed its views. The view now is, “Is this life worth saving?”

I look at you… You’re an older congregation than I am usually used to speaking to. You’d better think, because — this — means — you! It does not stop with abortion and infanticide. It stops at the question, “What about the old person? Is he worth hanging on to?” Should we, as they are doing in England in this awful organization, EXIT, teach older people to commit suicide? Should we help them get rid of them because they are an economic burden, a nuisance? I want to tell you, once you begin chipping away the medical profession… The intrinsic value of the human life is founded upon the Judeo-Christian concept that man is unique because he is made in the image of God, and not because he is well, strong, a consumer, a sex object or any other thing. That is where whatever compassion this country has is, and certainly it is far from perfect and has never been perfect. Nor out of the Reformation has there been a Golden Age, but whatever compassion there has ever been, it is rooted in the fact that our culture knows that man is unique, is made in the image of God. Take it away, and I just say gently, the stopper is out of the bathtub for all human life.

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