Truth Tuesday:Unashamed of the Gospel

Unashamed of the Gospel

The Scientific Age

Uploaded by  on Oct 3, 2011

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Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason

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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 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

Unashamed of the Gospel

28SaturdayApr 2012

Paul once told the Romans that he was not ashamed of the gospel.  Abraham was willing to leave his country, his family, and their pagan gods behind in order to follow a God he did not know to a place he did not know.  Today, Christians are told to leave their faith where it belongs – in a church building.  Don’t bring it into science, academia, business, politics, economics, education, etc.  We are told that our faith should not affect these areas, and yet those who cling to atheism and Darwinism are not told to leave their presuppositions at the door concerning the same things.  Why should we, as Paul was, be unashamed of the gospel?  Why would Abraham (and for that matter Moses and especially Daniel) not be ashamed to follow God in a culture that did not know Him?  What does it mean to not be ashamed of the gospel?

The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre accurately diagnosed man’s problem of meaning when he stated, “No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.”  Sartre and Albert Camus come to the conclusion that life is absurd and meaningless, and if there is no infinite reference point then they are certainly correct.  Friedrich Nietzsche came to a similar conclusion.  Of course, none of these men could live consistently with their position.  Despite his presupposition that life is meaningless, Sartre signed the Algerian Manifesto which condemned the war in Algeria.  As a result, he lost many followers because by condemning the war as wrong, he was asserting that there are set morals – morality is not meaningless.  Nietzsche lived the most consistently with his position.  His life ended in an insane asylum.  The Christian agrees with Sartre’s diagnosis of meaning: a finite point (man) has no meaning without an infinite reference point (God).  Sartre and others conclude that there is no such infinite reference point, so life (the universe, morality, etc.) is meaningless.  But man cannot live as if this is so.  The Christian agrees with the problem, but the Biblical position is that there is an infinite reference point with gives meaning to all of life.  Why be ashamed of this position?

I am thankful for a conversation I had with two dear friends over coffee this week.  We were discussing epistemology (how we know what we know) in the context of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  These men had ideas of universal language being the ultimate solution to the problem of knowledge – how can we know with certainty.  Essentially, their conclusion was that a universal language could give meaning, purpose, and a basis for knowledge.  But their conclusion had no solid base.  In order for there to be communication there must a communicator.  Logos anyone?  Jesus Christ is the Word.  The universe came into being through the spoken word of God.  Here again, the Christian position gives satisfying answers to philosophical problems.  What is there to be ashamed of?

The apostle Paul was an educated man who constantly reasoned with Greek thinkers, Jewish rabbis, and both Jewish and Gentile laymen.  He writes the Romans and he tells them, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.”  Francis Schaeffer explains, “No wonder Paul says, ‘I’m not ashamed of the gospel intellectually because it is going to have the answers that men need.  I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation in every single area; it has answers and meaning for both now and eternity.’  The gospel is great…[it] is a universal message that is fitting for all men and for their total need” (from Death in the City).  I have yet to read a book that portrays this truth more clearly than Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ.  Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor, recounts his experience in the Underground Church under harsh Communist rule.  That church was unashamed!  Why?  Because they understood that the Russians had a need that could be satisfied only in Christ.  They preached and spread the gospel with boldness in the most clever of ways.  I have not read Jerry Trousdale’s book, Miraculous Movements, but I suspect its message is similar.  He discusses the wild spread of Christianity among extreme sections of Islam.  What explanation is there for this?  For one, the Christian message applies to all men in all cultures at all times.

Abraham leaves everything familiar to follow a God he did not yet know.  Was his faith blind?  No.  The gods of Abraham’s family had never communicated.  They had never spoken, much less given a promise.  Abraham did not yet know God, but God had clearly communicated to him and Abraham placed his faith in something solid – the God who clearly existed and communicated.  This is the foundational presupposition of the Christian faith and we need not be ashamed of it!

Christians today must not accept the lie that the message of the Bible belongs only in the “religious” box and does not apply to other disciplines and areas of life.  The truth is that men must live as though Christianity were true, even if they do not believe that it is.  Sartre could talk all he wanted about meaninglessness, but he clearly could not cling to that position when he condemned an unjust war.  He had to live as though Christianity were true.  As Christians, let’s not be bullied into thinking that the gospel message does not apply to all men in all areas of life.  It does.  The gospel can withstand academic and intellectual scrutiny.  It can withstand and even thrive in the face of extreme persecution.  All men need to hear the gospel message.  We need not be ashamed.

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

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