Tuesday, December 18

The Terms of the Debate

On this day in 1979, Francis Schaeffer gave an historic speech which would form the basis of his landmark book A Christian Manifesto. He asserted that "the basic problem with Christians in this country" over the last two generations or more has been that "they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals." The result has been a kind of hesitant hit-or-miss approach to the dire dilemmas of our day: "They have very gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally abortion. But they have not seen this as a totality--each thing being a part, a symptom, of a much larger problem."

Of course, the issue of worldview had been prominent in modern theological discussions ever since the work of Abraham Kuyper made it the centerpiece of the debate between Revolutionary Enlightenment Modernity and Reformational Biblical Christianity a century earlier. But by raising the issue when he did and how he did, Francis Schaeffer altogether altered the terms of the cultural debate in America and ushered in a new wave of reform by making it the everyday parlance of Evangelicalism.

1 comment:

Mike Tant said...

Dr. Schaeffer's writings opened the door for me to consider the claims of the Christian faith. He challenged me to think Biblically about all aspects of life. I spent some time with him in 1980 and can say that he truly shaped much of my life since then. Praise God for this dear brother.