Truth Tuesday:Memories of a mentor: Francis Schaeffer by Denis Haack

__________________

Episode 8: The Age Of Fragmentation

Published on Jul 24, 2012

Dr. Schaeffer’s sweeping epic on the rise and decline of Western thought and Culture

_______________________

I love the works of Francis Schaeffer and I have been on the internet reading several blogs that talk about Schaeffer’s work and the work below  by Denis Haack was really helpful. Schaeffer’s film series “How should we then live?  Wikipedia notes, “According to Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live traces Western history from Ancient Rome until the time of writing (1976) along three lines: the philosophic, scientific, and religious.[3] He also makes extensive references to art and architecture as a means of showing how these movements reflected changing patterns of thought through time. Schaeffer’s central premise is: when we base society on the Bible, on the infinite-personal God who is there and has spoken,[4] this provides an absolute by which we can conduct our lives and by which we can judge society.  Here are some posts I have done on this series: Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”, episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”, episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” , episode 6 “The Scientific Age”  episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” , episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”, episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” .

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthanasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

Francis Schaeffer

In the years since his death in 1984 it’s been interesting to watch and listen as people have claimed, explicitly or implicitly, to be carrying on the legacy of Francis Schaeffer.
I am not including here those who continue to serve as Workers in L’Abri Fellowship, the study communities that grew out of the conversations and hospitality the Schaeffers offered a growing number of young adults who trekked to their chalet in Switzerland beginning in the mid-fifties. The work of L’Abri continues, and though the shape of that work in the various centers in Europe, America, and Asia has not remained static, it consciously and intentionally stands on the shoulders of Edith and Francis who walked that path originally. As someone who honors Francis Schaeffer as a mentor, I happily remember him as a teacher who invested untold hours in listening to my questions and discussing the world with its trends and ideas that help shape lives and cultures. I think—I hope—I learned from him, and want to try to faithfully put into practice the best that I learned from and saw in him. I have no illusions, on the other hand, of continuing Schaeffer’s legacy—that role is best assumed not by me but by those in L’Abri and by Jerram Barrs, Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis.
What I’ve found interesting are people who are outside L’Abri but who invoke the Schaeffer name as a sort of imprimatur to provide gravitas for their own ideas and work. The ones I’m referring to here are found on the conservative or right wing of the American political continuum, and are active in promoting what’s come to be called the “culture war.”
And I must say that as I have watched and listened as people active in conservative culture war politics claim Schaeffer’s legacy, I am not impressed. Here are three reasons.
1. Culture wars and worldviews. When James Davison Hunter published Culture Wars in 1992 he was reporting on a sociological reality, not issuing a call to political activism. Hunter is a careful observer of American society and understood that the divisions over economic, social, religious, and political issues arise primarily not due to pragmatic reasons or because people are uninformed, but because the American people hold widely differing worldviews that inform their views on the issues. This insight should have helped Christians concerned for truth and culture to remember what Schaeffer had insisted on all along, namely that everyone holds a world and life view, that challenging another’s worldview must be approached with compassion in an intentionally safe community where people love and care for one another, and that though the history of ideas is crucial for discussing worldviews, worldviews are far more than simply ideas that can be debated. Instead, conservative culture warriors claiming Schaeffer’s legacy have done the opposite: they ratcheted up their rhetoric in the public square, declared war to take back the culture, and started attacking liberals, secularists, environmentalists, and anyone else who dared question their conservative ideology and agenda as the ones against whom the worldview war must be fought. Just the opposite of what Schaeffer stood for, demonstrated, and taught.
2. Faithful citizenship and politicizing life. Throughout his life Schaeffer argued that because Christ is Lord of all, Christianity has something substantial to say into every sphere of life and reality. This included politics, so that unlike the earlier withdrawal from involvement in politics led by evangelical leaders after the Second Great awakening, Christians could and should see the call to politics as a legitimate vocation and fulfill their duty as citizens being motivated to seek the common good for all. Instead, conservative culture warriors have (along with more progressive believers) politicized life, making politics the central animating focus for seeking to change the world. One symptom of politicization is when people judge another’s moral integrity on the basis of their voting or party affiliation. As James Davison Hunter puts it in his latest book, To Change the World (2010), “the public has been conflated with the political” (p. 168). This in the end not only dismisses the richly nuanced nature of human existence and human society by reducing all spheres of life to the political, it is a practical denial of Christ’s Lordship. When Schaeffer called for Christians to be faithful as citizens he did so while calling them to be faithful across all of life and culture, and from that perspective only a tiny slice is in any way even remotely connected to politics. Another symptom of politicization is when the discussion of every societal or human problem rather quickly resolves into a discussion of politics. The political sphere of life has dignity and is significant, but in reality its scope is extremely limited.
3. Conservative ideology and caring for the earth. It is not surprising that the book by Schaeffer that conservative culture warriors seldom quote is one of the most significant if someone is to claim his legacy. Because Schaeffer’s thinking and living was informed by Scripture rather than by political ideology he wrote Pollution and the Death of Man (1972). The book is made up of two themes. First, Schaeffer refutes the charge that the Christian view of creation is to blame for the ecological degradation found in the modern West by elevating the value of the “spiritual” over the “physical.” And second, Schaeffer goes on to show how Christians must care for the earth because the earth is the Lord’s, we are stewards, and the physical matters because God said it was good. The physical world matters not just a little, but a great deal. How great? Schaeffer gives a specific. “One does not deface things simply to deface them. One would not willingly with no reason deface a rock. After all, the rock has a God-given right to be a rock as He made it. If you must move the rock in order to build the foundation of a house, then, by all means, move it. But on a walk in the woods do not strip the moss from it for no reason and leave it to lie by the side and die. Even the moss has a right to live. It is equal with man as a creature of God.” Instead, conservative culture warriors have adopted an ideology that is broadly understood to be cynical about scientific research, to be insensitive to caring for the earth, and is unwilling to act on the obvious truth that environmental degradation is a cost that must be factored into plans for economic development. Schaeffer was correct to argue in Pollution and the Death of Man against the charge that the biblical understanding of creation leads to an elevation of the “spiritual” at the expense of the physical. Unfortunately, the charge can be made today that conservative culture warriors claiming Schaeffer’s legacy

Related posts:

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part A “The Pro-life Issue” (Francis Schaeffer Quotes Part 1 includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

“Schaeffer Sunday” Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE

It is not possible to know where the pro-life evangelicals are coming from unless you look at the work of the person who inspired them the most. That person was Francis Schaeffer.  I do care about economic issues but the pro-life issue is the most important to me. Several years ago Adrian Rogers (past president of […]

The movie “Les Miserables” and Francis Schaeffer

I got this off a Christian blog spot. This person makes some good points and quotes my favorite Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer too. Prostitution, Chaos, and Christian Art The newest theatrical release of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel “Les Miserables” was released on Christmas, but many Christians are refusing to see the movie. The reason simple — […]

“Schaeffer Sunday” Francis Schaeffer is one of the great evangelical theologians of our modern day

Francis Schaeffer was truly a great man and I enjoyed reading his books. A theologian #2: Rev. Francis Schaeffer Duriez, Colin. Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008. Pp. 240. Francis Schaeffer is one of the great evangelical theologians of our modern day. I was already familiar with some of his books and his […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning infanticide and youth enthansia

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” (Episode 2) SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS Published on Oct 6, 2012 by AdamMetropolis ___________ The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political views […]

Francis Schaeffer’s wife Edith passes away on Easter weekend 2013 Part 7 (includes pro-life editorial cartoon)

The Francis and Edith Schaeffer Story Pt.1 – Today’s Christian Videos The Francis and Edith Schaeffer Story – Part 3 of 3 Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE Published on Oct 6, 2012 by AdamMetropolis ________________ Picture of Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith from the […]

The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer Part 1

  THE MARK OF A CHRISTIAN – CLASS 1 – Introduction Published on Mar 7, 2012 This is the introductory class on “The Mark Of A Christian” by Francis Schaeffer. The class was originally taught at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS by Dan Guinn from FrancisSchaefferStudies.org as part of the adult Sunday School hour […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning humanist dominated public schools in USA even though country was founded on a Christian base

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” (Episode 2) SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS Published on Oct 6, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political views concerning […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning where the Bible-believing Christians been the last few decades

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE Published on Oct 6, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political views […]

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part E “Moral absolutes and abortion” Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 5(includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning religious liberals and humanists

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 5) TRUTH AND HISTORY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political views concerning abortion, […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: