Remembering Francis Schaeffer at 100 (Part 4)

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THE FRANCIS SCHAEFFER CENTENNIAL – INVOCATION – PASTOR TONY FELICH

Uploaded by on Feb 3, 2012

Pastor Tony Felich of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS gives the invocation to the mini conference event in honor of Francis Schaeffer’s 100th Birthday.

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This year Francis Schaeffer would have turned 100 on Jan 30, 2012. I remember like yesterday when I first was introduced to his books. I was even more amazed when I first saw his films. I was so influenced by them that I bought every one of his 30 something books and his two film series. Here is a tribute that I got off the internet from Chuck Colson’s website www.breakpoint.org :

A Jeremiah Summer
By Diane Singer|Published Date: August 29, 2011

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“And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.” Jeremiah 1:16

Prophetic timing
The summer of 2011 has been a memorable one, but for all the wrong reasons. Much of the country has been gripped by an unrelenting heat wave, the nation is reeling from ever-worsening economic news, violence has broken out in a number of cities here and abroad, and the battle for traditional marriage and moral decency lost another round with New York state’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.

During this time, I’ve been teaching Jeremiah in my Sunday morning Explore the Bible class. It wasn’t my idea to teach this particular book at this particular time: it’s part of a nine year through-the-Bible curriculum established by Lifeway publishers. However, the timing does seem, well, prophetic. The similarities between the stiff-necked rebellious people of Judah living six centuries before Christ and the stiff-necked rebellious people of America living today are terrifying — terrifying because of the strong possibility that Judah’s fate foreshadows America’s not-too-distant future.

I realize that many people will say, “America is not Judah. God does not have the same relationship with America as He did with Israel and Judah; therefore, it’s impossible to draw parallels.” They’re wrong. While I concede that no two nations are alike, let alone two nations separated by more than 2500 years of history, we must recognize that God establishes and rules over all nations from the beginning of history to its end. Time does not erase what He requires, both for those who rule and for those who are ruled. Think about it:

  • God is still the same.
  • His holiness hasn’t diminished.
  • His standards for what constitute a good and just society haven’t altered.
  • Our responsibility to hear and obey His Word hasn’t been negated.
  • The “law of cause and effect” (sowing and reaping) is still in effect.

Furthermore, to ignore the warning signs of a nation on the verge of destruction – signs we see in Jeremiah – is to make a liar of the apostle Paul, who wrote that all of the Old Testament is written for our instruction (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11). It also makes a liar out of God, who speaking through the prophet, asserts that “If any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it” (Jeremiah 12:17).

The indictment against Judah
Jeremiah had a great deal to say about why the people of Judah were headed for destruction:

  • They “went after worthlessness and became worthless” (2:5).
  • They “turned degenerate” (2:21) and wore themselves out sinning (9:5).
  • They were so wicked that they even taught “wicked women” things they didn’t know (2:33).
  • They “polluted the land with [their] vile whoredom” (3:2).
  • They were callous and unjust toward the poor (2:34).
  • They repeatedly claimed that they had not sinned (2:35).
  • They were greedy, conniving, unashamed, and self-deluded regarding their true status (6:13-15).
  • They treated the Word as an object of scorn (6:10).
  • They were incapable of speaking the Truth (7:28).
  • They followed their own hearts and went after false gods even more diligently than their forefathers had (9:14).
  • They broke their covenant with the Lord (11:1-13).
  • They were not correctable: they would not listen to God’s prophet (2:30; 5:3), and they would not obey His Word.
  • They assured themselves that God would not judge them, that disaster would not fall (5:12).

They were wrong, as history demonstrated in 586 BC when Judah was crushed by the Babylonians.

The indictment against America
It doesn’t take much effort to read through the list of Judah’s sins and see America’s. Even a casual perusal of the television shows being offered today provides plenty of examples of “worthlessness” and of an exuberant, even gleeful, promotion of every kind of immorality and perversion. The poor, and even the middle class, are being destroyed by the government’s irresponsible fiscal policies and by a welfare policy that keeps them dependant and living in poverty. Movies, television shows, and many so-called news programs are boldly promoting their anti-Christian agenda – one designed to keep Bible-believing Christians intimidated and cowed into silence when it comes to the public square. (If you don’t believe this, consider how people who support the Bible’s view of marriage are now labeled homophobic haters in the media.) And public figures who speak up about what the Bible has to say about the state of the nation are ridiculed as backward, desperate, and dangerously out of touch with reality. Even our president has characterized Bible-believing Christians in disparaging terms.

At the 2011 Resolved Conference, pastor John MacArthur made a claim, based on a passage in Isaiah 5, that particularly offended the anti-Christian crowd: “Materialism, drunkard pleasure seeking, arrogant conceit, defiant sinfulness, moral perversion, and corrupt leadership…Do you not see [them] in America?,” MacArthur asked. He then explained that just as these sins resulted in the destruction of Israel in 721 BC, these sins have brought the USA under divine judgment today.

The Christian response
MacArthur’s pronouncement comes as no surprise to anyone who has read Francis Schaeffer’s 1969 book Death in the City. Schaeffer not only claimed that both Europe and America were even then under “the wrath of God,” he also addressed the question of the contemporary relevance of Jeremiah:

“We do not have to guess what God would say about this because there was a period of history, biblical history, which greatly parallels our day. That is the day of Jeremiah. The Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations show how God looks at a culture which knew Him and deliberately turned away.

But this is not just the character of Jeremiah’s day of apostasy. It’s my day. It’s our day. And if we are going to help our own generation, our perspective must be that of Jeremiah, that weeping prophet Rembrandt so magnificently pictured weeping over Jerusalem, yet in the midst of his tears speaking without mitigating his message of judgment to a people who had had so much yet turned away.” (emphasis mine)

Our response to the evil of our day – to the millions of people who “knew Him and deliberately turned away” – therefore, must mirror Jeremiah’s sorrowful but unflinching response:

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