FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 223 Bernard Berenson ( Featured artist is Nick Cave )

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BERNARD BERENSON: A Life in the Picture Trade, by Rachel Cohen. The Jewish Lives Book Series

Published on Oct 12, 2013

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Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, by Rachel Cohen, 2013, Yale University Press. The Jewish Lives Book Series. The fascinating life of Bernard Berenson. Trailer includes an interview with the author. Webvideo by Nick Davis Productions.

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Francis Schaeffer in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE asserted:

There is a real tension in being a modern man because no one can live at ease in the area of despair. A Christian know’s that this is because a man has been made in the image of God and though man is fallen, separated from God by his true guilt, yet nevertheless he has not become a machine. The fallenness of man does not lead to machiness, but to fallen-manness. Therefore, when people feel this utter despair, there is a titanic pressure, like being extruded against all the long history of reasoned thinking to accept a dichotomy, and then later to accept some mysticism which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.

Image result for Bernard Berenson

Dr. Robert A. Sungenis discussed Schaeffer’s works extensively in his paper “Philosophy and its Effect on Society,” and he related this illustration Schaeffer used concerning Bernard Berenson:.

Bernard Berenson (d. 1959) professor at Harvard, was the world’s greatest expert on Renaissance art in his day. He was sought out for his ability to date and price any Renaissance piece of art. He loved the beauty of Renaissance art, so much so that when he compared it to the ugliness of modern art, in his own words, modern art was “bestial.” Berenson was also a Roman Catholic, at least by name. In one of his own ugly moments, he took a married woman, Mary Costelloe, away from her husband, living with her for years and then marrying her when her husband died (since as a Catholic, Mary could not divorce her husband). But when Berenson married her, they forged an agreement that each would be allowed to have extra-marital affairs, and they lived this way for 45 years. When Berenson was admonished for this, he would simply say: “You are forgetting the animal basis of our nature,” the same thing he said about modern art. Obviously, Berenson could not live within his own system of philosophy.

Francis Schaeffer in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE noted:

No man like Berenson can live with his system. Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it. He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he still is man. 

These kinds of leaps, produced in desperation as an act of blind faith, are totally different from the faith of historic Christianity. On the basis of biblical Christianity a rational discussion and consideration can take place, because it is fixed in the stuff of history. When Paul was asked whether Jesus was raised from the dead, he gave a completely nonreligious answer, in the twentieth-century sense. He said, “There are almost 500 living witnesses; go and ask them!” (I Corinthians 15:6). This is the faith that involves the whole man, including his reason; it does not ask for a belief into this void. As the twentieth-century mentality would understand the concept of religion, the Bible is a nonreligious book. 

 

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David Steele noted concerning Francis Schaeffer:

…One must understand the concept he calls “mannishness” or the tension of being a man.  The idea is essentially that no man can live at ease in the area of despair.  His significance, ability to love and be loved, and his capacity for rationality distinguish him from machines and animals and give evidence to this fact: Man is made in the image of God.  Modern man has been forced to accept the false dichotomy between nature and grace and consequently takes a leap of faith to the upper story and embraces some form of mysticism, which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.  But as Schaeffer points out, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another” (The God Who Is There, 68).  Schaeffer continues, “Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man” (The God Who Is There, 69).

WHY FRANCIS SCHAEFFER MATTERS: Consequences of Pitting Rationality Against Faith – PART 4

The decisive result of falling below the line of despair is a pitting of rationality against faith.  Schaeffer sees this as an enormous problem and details four consequences in his book, Escape From Reason.

First, when rationality contends against faith, one is not able to establish a system of morality.  It is simply impossible to have an “upstairs morality” that is unrelated to matters of everyday living.

Second, when rationality and faith are dichotomized, there is no adequate basis for law.  “The whole Reformation system of law was built on the fact that God had revealed something real down into the common things of life” (Escape From Reason, 261).  But when rationality and faith are pitted against one another, all hope for law is obliterated.

The third consequence is that this scheme throws away the answer to the problem of evil.  Christianity’s answer rests in the historic, space-time, real and complete Fall of man who rebelled and made a choice against God.  “Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Finally, when one accepts this unbiblical dichotomy he loses the opportunity to evangelize people at their real point of despair.  Schaeffer makes it clear that modern man longs for answers.  “He did not accept the line of despair and the dichotomy because he wanted to.  He accepted it because, on the basis of the natural development of his rationalistic presuppositions, he had to.  He may talk bravely at times, but in the end it is despair” (Escape From Reason, 262).  It is at this point that Schaeffer believes the Christian apologist has a golden opportunity to make an impact.  “Christianity has the opportunity, therefore, to say clearly that its answer has the very thing modern man has despaired of – the unity of thought.  It  provides a unified answer for the whole of life.  True, man has to renounce his rationalism; but then, on the basis of what can be discussed, he has the possibility of recovering his rationality” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Schaeffer challenges us, “Let us Christians remember, then, that if we fall into the trap  against which I have been warning, what we have done, among other things, is to put ourselves in the position where in reality we are only saying with evangelical words what the unbeliever is saying with his words.  In order to confront modern man effectively, we must not have this dichotomy.  You must have the Scriptures speaking truth both about God Himself and about the area where the Bible touches history and the cosmos” (Escape From Reason, 263).

The Tension of Being a Man

Before proceeding to Dr. Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics one must understand the concept he calls “mannishness” or the tension of being a man.  The idea is essentially that no man can live at ease in the area of despair.  His significance, ability to love and be loved, and his capacity for rationality distinguish him from machines and animals and give evidence to this fact: Man is made in the image of God.  Modern man has been forced to accept the false dichotomy between nature and grace and consequently takes a leap of faith to the upper story and embraces some form of mysticism, which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.  But as Schaeffer points out, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another” (The God Who Is There, 68).  Schaeffer continues, “Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man” (The God Who Is There, 69).

Thus, the foundation for Francis Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics is simply to recognize that man is an image-bearer.  Man even in his sin has personality, significance, and worth.  Therefore, the apologist should approach him in those terms.  The apologist must not only recognize that man is made in the image of God;  he must also love him in word and deed.  Finally, the apologist must speak to the man as a unit; he must reach the whole man (for faith truly does involve the whole man) and refuse to buy into the popularized Platonic idea that man’s soul is more important than the body.

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By David Steele

WHY FRANCIS SCHAEFFER MATTERS: Epistemology – PART 5

Dr. Schaeffer’s epistemology is integral to his approach to apologetics and may be described simply as follows.  First, one must understand that pagan thought endorses a belief in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  Propositional and verbal revelation is nonsense in this scheme.  Christian epistemology stands in stark contrast to the non-Christian worldview.  The presupposition of Christianity begins with the God who is there.  God is the infinite-personal Being who has made man in His image.  God made man a verbalizer in the area of propositions in his horizontal communications with other men.  Thus God communicates to us on the basis of verbalizations and propositions by means of the written Word of God (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 326-327).

Thus the Christian epistemological system brings three things together in a unified whole; the unified field of knowledge that modern man has given up on.  “The infinite personal God who made the universe; and man, whom he made to live in that universe; and the Bible, which He has given us to tell us about that universe” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 329).

Schaeffer goes one step further by noting that the presuppositions of Christianity is in line with every man’s experience.  “The fact is that if we are going to live in this world at all, we must live in it acting on a correlation of ourselves and the thing that is there, even if we have a philosophy that says there is no correlation . . . In other words, all men constantly and consistently act as though Christianity is true” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 330).

The reason for the shift in society leading to despair comes as a result of buying the lie of the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  The result delivers a deathblow to any possibility of epistemology.   Schaeffer adds, “Man’s attempted autonomy has robbed him of reality.  He has nothing to be sure of when his imagination soars beyond the stars, if there is nothing to guarantee a distinction between reality and fantasy.  But on the basis of the Christian epistemology, this confusion is ended, the alienation is healed.  This is the heart of the problem of knowing, and it is not solved until our knowledge fits under the apex of the infinite-personal, Triune God who is there and who is not silent” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 343-344).

Therefore, there are only two alternatives in the search for the source of knowledge according to Dr. Schaeffer.  Either a person attempts to find the answers to all his questions alone (autonomously) or he seeks truths from God and His revealed Word (the biblical world-view).

The former view mandates that a person begin with himself.  However, as Schaeffer notes, “Starting with himself, a person cannot establish an adequate explanation for the amazing possibility that he can observe the world around him and be assured that his observations have a correspondence with reality” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 365).  Herein lies the problem: Sinful man is forced to provide the answers to the ultimate metaphysical questions, but because they have limited experience they can know nothing with a high degree of certainty.  The end result is a hellish tension which leads down the road of meaninglessness and the relativity of morals:  “The truth is that everyone who rejects the biblical world-view must live in a state of tension between ideas about reality and reality itself” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 369).

The later view that derives truth from God’s Word is the only sure way to engage in epistemology.  Dr. Schaeffer gives three testimonies found in the Scripture.  First, the Bible gives us the explanation for the universe.  Second, the Bible explains the mannishness of man (which is described below) and third, the Bible is open to verification by historical study.  “From the Bible’s viewpoint, all truth finally rests upon the fact that the infinite-personal God exists in contrast to His not existing” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 393).

HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT – Francis Schaeffer (1972)

I first read He is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer in 1992.  Multiple readings have ensued and I turn back to Schaeffer’s book again and again for help with apologetics.

Schaeffer argues for three basic areas of philosophical thought: metaphysics (being or existence), morals (the dilemma of man), and epistemology (the problem of knowing). Philosophy and religion are essentially devoted to the same questions, namely, metaphysics, morals, and epistemology.

Philosophy is concerned with either an academic subject or a person’s worldview.  It is the later, that Schaeffer is concerned with in this volume.  Schaeffer contends that every man is a philosopher of sorts because it is impossible for humans to live without a worldview.

METAPHYSICS

There are three basic answers to the question of metaphysics.  The first answer is that “everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing.”  Naturalism’s answer suggests no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.  This answer is, as Schaeffer calls it, “nothing, nothing.”

The second answer is that everything had an impersonal beginning.  This answer leads automatically to reductionism.  “Beginning with the impersonal must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance,” writes Schaeffer.  This answer poses many problem.  But the two primary problems fail to answer the major philosophical question: the need for unity and the need for diversity.

The third answer is the biblical answer.  The third answer is the only rational and satisfying answer.  This answer suggests that we must begin with a personal beginning.  And to have an adequate answer of a personal beginning, one must have a personal infinite God, and personal unity and diversity in God (found the holy Trinity).

Schaeffer concludes: “The reason we have the metaphysical answer is because the infinite-personal God, the full Trinitarian God is there and he is not silent.”

MORALS

There are only two basic answers to the question of morals.  The first: Everything had an impersonal beginning.  The is the answer of atheism.  Schaeffer never minces words.  He writes, “Beginning with the impersonal, there is no explanation for the complexity of the universe or the personality of man.”  When one begins with the impersonal, one eliminates the possibility of morals or ethics.

The second answer is the biblical reality of a personal beginning.  Man was created by an infinite-personal God.  Man sinned or “made a decision to change himself” as Schaeffer notes.

“The starting point,” writes Schaeffer “to the answer (of the question of morals) as with metaphysics is the fact that God is there and he is not silent.”

EPISTEMOLOGY

Schaeffer concludes by setting forth the problem concerning epistemology and the epistemological answer.

The epistemological problem concerns the tension between nature (particulars) and grace (universals).  When nature becomes autonomous, the universal is lost with the hope of giving the particulars meaning.  The problem is that when nature becomes autonomous, nature “eats up” grace.  Schaeffer argues that  when we are left with only particulars, we become lost in the areas of metaphysics, morality, and epistemology.

The epistemological answer was summarized by the Reformers.  The Reformers did not allow for a dichotomy between nature and grace.  The reason: they had verbal propositional revelation.  The Reformers were vocal about the reality of God’s existence and the reality of his revelation.  Schaeffer popularized this view in the title of his book,He is There and He is Not Silent.  God has spoken truly about himself.  However, he has not spoken exhaustively about himself.

Schaeffer urges readers to come face to face with two gigantic presuppositions – “the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and the uniformity of natural causes in an open system and in a limited time span.”  Ultimately, readers must determine which worldview fits with the facts.

Schaeffer summarizes, then, the basic presuppositions in historic Christianity.

1. God is there.

2. God is the infinite-personal God who has made man in his image.

3. God made man a verbalizer in the area of propositions in his horizontal communications with other men.

4. God communicates to us on the basis of propositions, viz, he is there and his is not silent.

Schaeffer maintains, “Under the unity of the apex of the infinite-personal God, in all of these areas we can have meaning, we can have reality, and we can have beauty.”

He is There and He is Not Silent is an essential work of apologetics.  It should be required reading for every Bible College/Seminary student.  Schaeffer put his finger on the essential issues of the day – even in the early 70’s and especially in our day.

5 stars

WHY FRANCIS SHAEFFER MATTERS: The Turning Point in Truth – Part 2

The Truth Crisis

Francis Schaeffer sets the tone for his apologetical procedure by explaining the crisis of truth in America:  “We are fundamentally affected by a new way of looking at truth.  This change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem facing America today” (The God Who Is There, 6).  He believes a paradigm shift occurred around 1935 when the American attitude toward truth changed.  Prior to this time, American’s were devoted to thinking about presuppositions, namely, the existence of absolutes, particularly in the areas of morals (ethics) and knowledge (epistemology).  But the average American took it for granted  that if a certain idea was true, it’s opposite was false.  In other words, “absolutes imply antithesis.”  The working antithesis is that God exists objectively (in antithesis) to his not existing.

Schaeffer believes that presuppositional apologetics would have stopped the decay.  Incidentally, he maintains that the use of classical apologetics was effective prior to the shift because non-Christians were functioning on the surface with the same presuppositions, even though they did not have an adequate base for them.

The Role of Thomas Aquinas

Dr. Schaeffer maintains that Aquinas opened the way for the discussion of what is usually called the “nature and grace” controversy (Escape From Reason, 209). He contends that Aquinas set up a dichotomy of grace versus nature.

Aquinas taught that the will of man was fallen, but the intellect was not.  The net result, according to Schaeffer, is that man’s intellect is seen as autonomous.  Schaeffer maintains that the teaching of Aquinas led to the development of the so-called Natural Theology where theology could be pursued independent of the Scriptures.  The vital principle to understand according to Schaeffer is that “as nature was made autonomous, nature began to ‘eat up’ grace” (Escape From Reason, 212).

Anthropology

Schaeffer militates against this so-called  “grace/nature” dichotomy and insists that Christ is equally Lord in both areas.  He suggests that God made the whole man and is consequently interested in the whole man.  When the historic space-time Fall took place, it affected the whole man, not merely the will as Aquinas taught.  Thus, Schaeffer taught that the whole man is saved and the whole man will eventually be glorified and perfectly redeemed.

Since God made man in His own image, man is not caught in the wheels of determinism:  “The Christian position is that since man is made in the image of God and even though he is a sinner, he can do those things that are tremendous – he can influence history for this life and the life to come, for himself and others” (Death In The City, 258).

Schaeffer argues that Evangelicals have such a strong tendency to combat humanism that they end up making man a “zero.”  He adds, “Man is indeed lost but that does not mean he is nothing . . . From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great” (Death In The City, 258-259).  Therefore, Schaeffer’s anthropological position is that man is sinful, yet he is significant because he is made in the image of God.  And regenerate man is, as the Reformers emphasized, simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously righteous and sinful.

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Book Review The God Who is There by Francis Schaeffer

By Cris Putnam
The God Who Is There in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume by Francis A. Schaeffer. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 1990, 199 out of 361 pages, $16.95The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer is a seminal work in twentieth century apologetics. Inspiring generations to follow, Schaeffer, an American philosopher, theologian and Presbyterian pastor, is one of the most recognized and respected Christian authors of all time. As his first book, The God Who Is There is one among an essential reading list including Escape From Reason, True Spirituality, How Should We Then Live and A Christian Manifesto. The four volume set, The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, is part of this reviewer’s Logos Bible software library. This presentation will give a broad overview and summary of the book, and offer several key points of analysis. The first point of analysis will be the line of despair, which naturally leads to discussion of propositional truth because it is the delineating factor. The steady progression of relativism and irrationality through various disciplines will be discussed with particular attention to theology and the implications to ecumenism. Schaeffer’s tactic of “taking the roof off” will be examined on the basis of the unbeliever’s inevitable leap into irrationality. Finally, the importance of compassion and consistency is emphasized. The review will attempt to show that the book is valuable for its prescient analysis of modern culture and powerful apologetic approach.

Schaeffer’s genius was his capacity to communicate difficult philosophical and theological issues to the average Christian. He begins by exposing the problem as a widening gulf growing between the older and the younger generations concerning the knowledge of truth or epistemology. In so doing, he rightly bemoans the mounting acceptance of relativism over antithesis. Of course, the book was first published in 1968 so that younger generation is now mature and relativism is deeply embedded in the public psyche. His analysis was prescient, because today there is an institutionalized divide where scientific truths are held as absolute but morals, values and religion are all relative and preference based. The book is divided into six sections of several chapters. In the first section dealing with the intellectual climate of the late twentieth century, Schaeffer demarcates a major shift in thought by “a line of despair” around 1935 (for the U.S.) which descends step wise through the disciplines of philosophy, the arts, general culture and finally theology.

In philosophy, Schaeffer was largely lamenting the then popular existentialist movement with its relativizing of truth. Even so, his critique applies equally to twenty-first century postmodernism. He draws the line of despair at Hegel with his dialectical synthesis but also traces the problem back to Aquinas with his division of “nature and grace” and an incomplete view of the biblical fall which held that man had an autonomous intellect.[1] He moves from Hegel to Kierkegaard who was the first under the line by asserting that a leap of blind faith was necessary to becoming a Christian. With this leap into non-reason, Schaeffer posits him as the father of modern existential thought.

The epistemological jump into subjective non-reason is the cause for the despair and the crux of Schaeffer’s critique. It undermines hope. Schaeffer observed, “As a result of this, from that time on, if rationalistic man wants to deal with the really important things of human life (such as purpose, significance, the validity of love), he must discard rational thought about them and make a gigantic, nonrational leap of faith.:”[2] This fuzzy way of thinking leaves no certainty in ultimate matters. While this leap is admitted by existentialists, other philosophies like logical positivism (or scientism) misleadingly lay claim to rationality. Even so, Schaeffer demonstrates positivism’s incoherence in that it simply assumes the reliability of sense data without justifying it. Because it floats epistemologically in mid-air with no foundation, it is self-refuting. In this way, Schaeffer argues that blind faith in science and human progress is ultimately an irrational leap of faith as well. The genius of this book was in showing how this secular impetus in philosophy spread to the culture at large.

With no grounding or basis for truth in ultimate matters, art and music also began to reflect the secular despair. The visual arts lost all sense of realism and progressed from the hazy wash of the impressionists to the tortured figures in Picasso’s work. Schaeffer critiques and explains his impressions of figures like Mondrian, Duchamp and the Dada group in terms of man’s leap into non-reason. As art grew more abstract and impersonal so music lost its tonal center. John Cage is an example of a composer who sought to introduce randomness into his music. The absurdity of a composition of total silence is milestone along the descent.

One weakness in Schaeffer’s discussion is the neglect of viable Christian alternatives. When one compares the beauty and order of a J.S. Bach piece to a modern like Cage the line of despair stands out in sharp relief. Surely some Christian contemporaries of Schaeffer were producing viable art? But this seems to beg the question of Christians equitably competing in the contemporary artistic culture. There is surely an element of secular snobbery involved in the academy. Even those not inclined toward the sophisticated art forms are influenced in popular films and television. He makes a convincing case that the culture as a whole had fallen below the line.

What all disciplines share is the divided field of knowledge and the belief that truth is unknowable in ultimate matters. The trend toward despair is traced through the literature of Henry Miller and Dylan Thomas and the point is well illustrated. He observes that things like purpose, morals and love are relegated to the domain of opinion. Even so, an exemplary aspect of Schaeffer’s critique is that it is compassionate. After dissecting the absurdity seen in modern art forms he reminds the reader, “There is nothing more ugly than a Christian orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.”[3] Man’s despair is real and it is epistemic of relativism and a deep lack of real hope. He frames the state of affairs as an opportunity for the church to compassionately declare that God is really there.

The second section deals with the new theology and the departure from biblical Christianity. He argues that theology is simply the last to fall along the same lines as philosophy and the arts. Theologians adopted purely rationalistic approaches and the demythologization program which ensured not only excised the supernatural but Christ as well. Of course, foundational to New Testament theology is the fall of man and the effects of Darwinian thought are still echoing today. Schaeffer observed, “Take away the first three chapters of Genesis, and you cannot maintain a true Christian position nor give Christianity’s answers.” This issue of man’s sinfulness and justification is crucial to coherent theological dialog. A major strength of this book is its scathing critique of liberal theology

Whereas Lesslie Newbigin advocates a generous ecumenism in an organization like the World Council of Churches, Schaeffer seems more realistic as to the state of affairs. The pivot point is the depravity of man and justification before a Holy God. He writes that justification means to be acquitted from actual guilt, “an absolute personal antithesis.”[4]This is often the point of tension with liberal theology which has important implications or ecumenism:

We may not play with the new theology even if we may think we can turn it to our advantage. This means, for example, we must beware of cooperation in evangelistic enterprises which force us into a position of accepting the new theology as Christian. If we do this, we have cut the ground from under the biblical concept of the personal antithesis of justification.[5]

Schaeffer critiques Barthian neo-orthodoxy as well as liberal Catholic thought, labeling it as ostensibly “semantic mysticism.” This did not happen overnight and he traces it back to Aquinas’ division of nature and grace, which sought to find a corporate meaning, to more desperate modern formula of the irrational over the rational, with no hope of unity. He argues that because the new theology has divorced faith from reason you can testify to it but you cannot really discuss it. Indeed, finding the point of irrationality and pressing it to the forefront of discussion is at the heart of Schaeffer’s apologetic.

Foundational to Schaeffer’s thought is that God has communicated real propositional truth to man in the Bible. It follows necessarily that the antithesis of God’s truth is false and this is the basis of what he calls “taking the roof off.” The idea is that secular presuppositions invariably contain an incoherence that when pressed lead to an absurd and intolerable conclusion. Without this realization, the unbeliever lives comfortably under a roof of irrational beliefs which shield him from the outside world. When the roof is removed, reality comes crashing in. The task of the apologist is to find a point of tension and lovingly yet firmly carry it through so the incoherence is obvious. If one can lead the unbeliever to see that his own system is unlivable, then there is a real opportunity to provide biblical answers. Taking the roof off is often painful because the real dilemma of modern man is moral and he is culpable to God. This is the truth of the Gospel which is often most offensive. There really are no “good” people.

The supernatural atoning work which Christ finished on the cross is the content of real biblical faith. But because they may never read a Bible, Schaeffer argues that the final apologetic is how the world sees Christians living individually and corporately. It follows that the message of the final section of the book is one of housecleaning. Individually, as an ambassador of Christ to the fallen world one must examine his own presuppositions with equal rigor. In an increasingly biblically illiterate (or skeptical) culture, Christianity is judged by the words and actions of Christians. Corporately, when Christians do not live as if God is really there, then it is hard to expect the world to believe our message.

The book teaches that a cold hearted orthodoxy is a poor substitute for loving authenticity. While a very strong case is made for the latter, a weakness in a book with this title (and perhaps indicative of Schaeffer’s training under Conelius Van Til) is that there is a conspicuous lack of evidential arguments for the existence of God. Nevertheless, because God is really there and calls the world to worship Him, Schaeffer’s apologetic works. The pride of life is a constant barrier and Schaeffer asserts, “Men turn away in order not to bow before the God who is there. This is the ‘scandal of the cross.’”[6] The challenge to believers is to live in way that shows His presence.

This brief summary and analysis of The God Who Is There sought to illustrate the value of the book for its scrutiny of Western culture, concept of truth and apologetic method. The so-called “new theology” was discussed as concession to the relativistic philosophy. It was agreed that man is truly fallen and guilty in the eyes of the Holy God who is really there. Because of this, the task of modern evangelism and apologetics is often to expose the incoherence of secular presuppositions in a firm yet compassionate way. Relativism is ingrained in the secular culture but there is also plenty of work to be done within the evangelical community. In the end, it seems that these points support the idea that this book is still extremely valuable for study.

 


[1]Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: the Three Essential Books in One Volume. (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1990), 211.

[2] Schaeffer, The God, 16.

[3] Schaeffer, The God, 34.

[4] Schaeffer, The God, 112.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Schaeffer, The God, 111.

Nick Cave: Thick Skin | Art21 “Exclusive”

Published on Oct 7, 2016

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Episode #239: Artist Nick Cave discusses the experiences that force him to confront his identity as a black man—including being racially profiled by police—and how they fuel his impulse to create. Cave explains that in these moments he gets quiet and avoids lashing out in rage. “And if I do, lashing out for me is creating this,” he says in reference to his intricately constructed Soundsuits. “The Soundsuits hide gender, race, class and they force you to look at the work without judgment.” The exhibition “Here Hear,” which included a large-scale community performance, was installed at Detroit’s Cranbrook Art Museum in 2015. The museum is associated with the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where Nick Cave attended graduate school in the 1980s and was the only minority student at the time. Nick Cave creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon. The artist also works with choreographers, dancers, and amateur performers to produce lavish community celebrations in untraditional venues for art. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms. Learn more about the artist at: http://www.art21.org/artists/nick-cave CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster & Nick Ravich. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller. Interview: Stanley Nelson. Editor: Morgan Riles. Camera: Jamin Townsley. Sound: Richard K. Pooler. Artwork Courtesy: Nick Cave. Special Thanks: Cranbrook Art Museum, Robert Faust, William Gill & Laura Mott. ART21 “Exclusive” is supported, in part, by 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

Featured artist is Nick Cave

Nick Cave

Nick Cave was born in Fulton, Missouri in 1959. He creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon.

The artist also works with choreographers, dancers, and amateur performers to produce lavish community celebrations in untraditional venues for art. Dazzling in their movement, Cave’s sculptures are crafted in collaboration with artisans from a dizzying array of materials that include beads, raffia, buttons, sequins, twigs, fur, and fabric. The “Soundsuits” are also displayed in exhibitions as static sculptures, arranged as groups of figures in formation that are striking in their diversity and powerful stance. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms.

Nick Cave attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA, 1989), North Texas State University (1984-86), and the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA, 1982). Cave’s awards and residencies include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grant (2004, 2002), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave has had major exhibitions at MASS MoCA (2016); Cranbrook Art Museum (2015); Saint Louis Art Museum (2014-15); ICA Boston (2014); Denver Art Museum (2013); Fabric Workshop and Museum (2011-12); Seattle Art Museum (2011); and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2009), among others. Cave lives and works in Chicago, IL, USA.

Links:
Artist’s website
Artist on Facebook

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