Compassionate Engagement: A Brief Survey of the Life of Francis Schaeffer, Part 1

Compassionate Engagement: A Brief Survey of the Life of Francis Schaeffer, Part 1

The Scientific Age

Uploaded by  on Oct 3, 2011

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Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason

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

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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 Derek Brown 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

Compassionate Engagement: A Brief Survey of the Life of Francis Schaeffer, Part 1

By Derek Brown on January 5, 2012

Francis Schaeffer was one of the first well-known evangelicals in the twentieth century to promote Christian thinking about philosophy, art, culture, and other important areas of modern learning.   Prior to Schaeffer, evangelicals, beginning in the early to mid-20th century, had been, in large measure, guilty of shirking these kinds of intellectual pursuits and retreating into pietism, anti-intellecutalism, prophetic fanaticism, and separatism.

Schaeffer’s lasting legacy, however, is not found primarily in the soundness of his philosophical reasoning or the strength of his historical interpretations; some suggest his arguments here were sometimes lacking detail and far too simplistic.  Rather, Francis Schaeffer’s greatness should be centered in his enduring influence upon a Christian subculture that had determined cultural engagement was unworthy of its attention.  Barry Hankins, author of Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America, interprets Schaeffer’s legacy succinctly: “Schaeffer was the most popular and influential American evangelical of his time in reshaping evangelical attitudes toward culture, helping to move evangelicals from separatism to engagement” (xv).

In the next few posts I will trace the life of Francis Schaeffer and the development of his thought, following him from his early days as a separatist pastor to his time in Europe and the subsequent opening of L’abri, ending with the latter part of his life as a Christian activist.  After this biographical sketch and a survey of a few of his most significant works, I will end with a brief concluding post on Schaeffer’s lasting legacy upon evangelicals and Evangelicalism.

This survey of Schaeffer’s life self-consciously omits discussion of Schaeffer’s involvement the inerrancy debate of the 1970s and early 1980s.  Although Schaeffer’s involvement with the issue of inerrancy is a significant aspect of his life, I focus here on his influence among evangelicals with regard to their intellectual engagement with wider culture. 

Next: Schaeffer’s Early Life and Pastoral Ministry

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

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