Summary Of “POLLUTION AND THE DEATH OF MAN” by Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170911_105041

In his book Pollution and the Death of Man, Schaeffer’s focus is so timely and insightful that even though this book was written over 30 years ago, the relevance is poignant in a time where “saving the earth” is so dear to so many.  The following are the insights captured.

First, the earth’s ecology is suffering because man, instead of being a good steward of the earth, is ravaging it.  According to American historian, Lynn White, the Christian worldview is responsible for said crisis.  With its theology of dominion and this mentality still reigning, a religious solution must be sought because the plight is grounded in a belief (i.e., a “religious belief”).  Thus a pantheistic solution is suggested by Richard Means.  This worldview holds that “We’re all one essence” and as such, could solve the problem.  But is it true?

First, Schaffer argues that rather than being a solution to the ecological problem we face, pantheism’s base has no categories for particulars.  This means that if all is one, then One is all.  This means that no distinctions can be made.   Thus to argue or berate the Christian worldview (which emphasizes distinctions and Means caricatures) is self-defeating.  One must not also forget that nature is not always “kind” but often ruthless.

Again this distinction only obtains in categories that pantheism does not permit, when the moral problem is only a pragmatic one, the baselessness of the assertion slips down a slippery slope.  Relativism here wins the day and an elite hierarchy is poised to dominate the masses through manipulation.  This ought not to be.

Second, while pantheism is not the answer to our ecological crisis, neither is a Christianity that is “so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.”  A Christianity of this ilk will not value the creation as intrinsically valuable because God created it.  Instead it will unfortunately make the unbiblical Platonic bifurcation that only the spiritual is valuable, but the material of no eternal good.   Protestant Reformation Christianity however understood that God spoke in both Particular (i.e., Bible) and General (i.e., Nature) Revelation and as such gave unity to all of creation.

Third, the Christian answer is that the God who is there created all things.  While the order of each creature/creation is distinct, it is nevertheless interdependent for flourishing.  Now while the creation is good and reflects God it is not an extension of His essence (i.e., of “What” God is).  Nevertheless, because the creation comes from God the good creator, it has intrinsic value and as such must not be despised.  The Platonic view of matter (i.e., its evil) is antithetical to the Biblical view of creation, to God’s covenant with the creation, to our future resurrected bodies and to how God has ordered the good.  Believers must come under Gods view of creation and live in the balance of its non-autonomous dependence.  While there are distinctions, there’s also unity.  Remember this!

Fourth, a substantial healing is to guide the believers cause as Gods agent on the earth.  Christ’s work inaugurated the future kingdom in this present evil age.  After the fall of man, Christ would come to rectify our separation from the creation and the creator.  This would be accomplished through Him justifying the many, through sanctifying His own, and through the implications of those two realities as God’s people interact in this world in a truthful, humble, loving, and courageous way.

Schaeffer accentuated therefore that believers must see othemselves as stewards over all of God’s creation, live in its order (including marriage) and speak up when injustice occurs because the world will.  Doing this, will bring about a beauty for the world to savor and behold.

Lastly, the critiques of White and Means while they touch on some important issues regarding our religious views and how they practically impact the ecologic dance we’re in, it seems to me that they both missed the issues of: the Fall and our rebellion, God’s simultaneous transcendence and immanence, White’s lower story/upper story tension (i.e., “Fact of evolution –where’s the person?”), Means utilitarian bent though true in some respects ultimately removes distinctions between nature and humans, and clearly both caricature the Christian position “mastery” vs. “stewardship” of the earth.  This is huge.

Advertisements

Summary of “The Great Evangelical Disaster” by Francis Schaeffer

 

IMG_20170911_104955  In his book The Great Evangelical Disaster, Schaeffer considers what he pens to be the most important piece of writing among all his other books.   The following are what to me seemed he was emphasizing.

First, ideas have consequences and when culture reaps the benefits from a country whose roots are  largely from the Reformation, and later abandons these ideas based which are based on the God of Scripture (as so many of our churches have done), then what follows is the disintegration of the culture.  This is due to rationalism—the idea that man is the measure of all things.  And yet, while the culture seems hopelessly lost, believers must battle with the weapons God has given: all but one is defensive—the word of God (Eph.6)!  Battling must be done lovingly, courageously and persistently bathed in prayer.  The mark of the Christian must inform all we do; evangelism, discipling, and nurturing.  The absolute God and His Son are the only cure for the culture’s ills.  We must be healers and surgeons.

Second, the watershed in evangelicalism is Scriptural authority.  We must hold to the inerrant, infallibility of the Bible in all of its teaching.  This includes those things that pertain to historical and cosmological issues.  To falter here is to succumb to the rebellion and relativism of our day which is destroying our culture.  Moreover, to hold to this view of Scripture, means that we must live under the Bible’s authority and we must stand firm here, plain and simple.

Third, practicing the truth will be difficult, unpopular and misdiagnosed by many.  Biblical inerrancy must not only be professed, but it must be lived out.  Where disagreements over secondary doctrinal issues arise, we must lovingly interact.  But at the same time there must be church discipline for those who go past the boundaries of historic Christianity.  The church and the culture desperately need such a stand, for if there’ no such stand, all will be lost.

Fourth, both the “pietistic fundamentalists” and the “accommodating evangelicals” have committed the same error of compromising one of Christ’s commands in order to do the other.  The former don’t want to compromise holiness but they neglect their need to be salt and light.  The latter want to walk in love, but neglect to placard God’s absolutes.  Neither of these extremes will do at the end of the day.  Believers are called to be holy as the heavenly Father is holy while simultaneously being salt and light in a corrupt dark age.

Both holiness and love must be founded in the truth that Christ is the Lord over all creation and the affairs of man.  When absolute truth is not the lenses we see to understand reality, and when the Bible is discarded as God’s truth for all mankind, then man becomes the measure of all things.

The result is that image bearers are seen as a myth (i.e., the creation account of being created in God’s image as male and female is discarded for a naturalistic Darwinian account) and thus the weak and marginalized are at the mercy of the elite and powerful.  If we are not image bearers but chance matter, why should we treat our 80 year old mother any different than our 2 year old German shepherd?  Ultimately, there’s no difference between man and animal, people have no intrinsic value.  But is that objectively true?  I think not.

Fifth, the world-spirit confuses the kingdom of God with this world and its power structures.  It advances a utopian ideal (e.g., you can have your best life now, not the future promised by God in his word), it prevents Micah 6:8 from being done among believers, it devalues history by denying the past and reconstructing it to suit our present sensibilities, it suppresses the truth of God in unrighteousness in the academy, it confuses human sexuality and the consequences are destructive for the family, the home and the society.  In feminism the driving force is equality without distinctions.  When this wins the day confusion gets ever more dominant evidenced in Western civilization’s gender identity crisis.

Sixth, the stakes are massive and if we evangelicals continue to accommodate   the world-spirit we have nothing to say, we will be remembered as the generation that championed relativism at the expense of God’s absolute truth as revealed in the Bible.  This must be lovingly confronted and lamented at the same time.

Summary of “The Church at the End of the 20th Century” by Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170911_104955.jpg

In his book The Church at the End of the 20th Century, Schaeffer considers where in history we have come.  He considers how to understand the then current student revolt of the 60’s and how we as the church can make an impact.  As he argued in; The God Who is There, the results that accompany denying God’s existence in space time history are inescapable.  If there’s no ultimate reference point of God, we have no absolute truth, what then follows is man, not God becoming the measure of all things, and as such sends us down a slippery oblivion of utter despair.

The core of the book concerns the absolute need to make the essential things of the Christian faith essential, and those that are not, not essential while still being important.  It’s an issue of degreed importance.  Hence, orthodoxy is essential to have true Christianity for God has communicated to us in propositional form.  But that’s not everything.  We must have orthodoxy in community.  If it does not work itself out practically in our relationships through love, we will be seen as ugly.  As we should be!  Overcoming the hurdles required to walk in loving community can only be done through the Holy Spirit’s power poured in and through humble servants.

In other words, we need to teach the Christianity that has content and purity of doctrine.  And in our ecclesiastical affairs we must practice that truth in our religious cooperation if both young and old are going to be attracted to us.  Where changes need to be made (e.g., Korean church going underground or the times we meet for worship, or where we meet) must be considered graciously rather than given some “divine authority” which the Scriptures do not support.  Cultural relevance necessitates a “hot orthodoxy” that is savvy, not belligerent.

Summary of “Two Contents, Two Realities” by Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170911_104919

In Schaeffer’s Two Contents, Two Realities he holds to the view that for the church to encounter the mounting challenges of the culture and increasing pressures upon her four things are essential to be in place.  Without these, he doesn’t see how we can be truly light and salt.

First, we must have the content of sound doctrine.  There can’t be any compromise here, for where essential Christian doctrines are denied, true Christianity disappears.  And clarity of content to those making a profession of faith is indispensable.  Otherwise, what will result are many false conversions.  Moreover, relativism must be smashed with true truth, the cost of discipleship must be real and love must ground all the above.

Second, we must with content give honest answers to honest questionsBecause Christianity is true truth from God, the Scriptures have an answer to our deepest fundamental questions as human beings.  For Christ is Lord over all creation, and as its master, He has the solutions for our deepest concerns.  This will mean that Christians like Paul must love the culture enough to understand its functional gods/idols and show their inadequacy when compared to the Gospel.  Whether rich or poor, educated or working class the same questions concern us all.

Third, the reality of true spirituality demonstrates what it means to love God and neighbor as ourselves, however imperfectly.  We may have orthodox doctrine and know how to provide the answers our generation is asking or not asking, but if among believers there’s no true (though imperfect) love, than we have utterly failed!  The way we treat others is a massive indication of our understanding of what it means for them to be image bearers.  Without minimizing the first and second contents, if this third reality is not in place, the gig is up.

Fourth, the beauty of human relationships in Christian community is costly and smashes every racial and class barrier.  The rich and poor, rulers and servants are to understand that they are brothers and sisters in Christ. The church cannot just be a place where preaching and activities occur, where no community is really being experienced.  In the church of Antioch, the race issue was not an issue for the early Christians and while they had their problems the Gospel was able to destroy these barriers in a way that in America it hasn’t been a reality in too many of our churches.  If we are going to touch our generation with the Gospel, this must be remedied by Christ’s power in our lives.

It is when we begin to see these two contents, and two realities that a profound impact will be experienced by our generation.

Summary of “Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History” Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170827_083008Many years ago in Bible College I took a class called Hebrew History and the book of Joshua was our starting point.   I don’t remember much of that class’s content, but I do recall the texture of wonder in my soul as musings of the text were considered, both in class and in my study.

According to Schaeffer, a major theme (and I agree) is the significance of our choices.  The book of Joshua centers on this reality of our “choices.”   Between the God Who is There or the idols that surround us, we are to choose whom we will serve.  God’s faithfulness to his promise to the fathers of Israel possessing the land was realized, but there was much to be gleaned by the “choices” God’s covenant people made—either negatively or positively.

Joshua before his death distributes the land to the different tribes of Israel and finally gives them his last “speech” (Joshua 24: 14-15):

14 “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

The focus is not on their “stuff” but on their “loyalties” whether it is Godward or Manward—their worship is the ultimate issue.   And their worship like ours is seen in the choices that they daily made.  In Chapter 2 Joshua chose to recognize that Israel’s true leader was the Captain of the host of the LORD who was before him.  Chapter three focused on the national portion of the Abrahamic covenant.  The Jews chose to cross the Jordan—from that time until now, their choices would either result in blessing or cursing (i.e., the conditional aspects of the covenant).  Chapter 4 and 8 show how Rahab and the Gibeonites chose to deceive in order to become part of the people of God—they knew and heard of the renown of God’s name.

In chapter 5 two memorials were erected: one of stones and another of circumcision, both of which were signs of remembering and obeying the God of the covenant however impractical it seemed to the eye.  Chapter 6 shows how Achan’s choice to disobey God’s command lead not only to the temporary defeat of Israel’s army but also brought death to him and his kin.  Moreover, in the chapter 7 at Mt. Gerizim and Ebal blessing and cursing was established within the covenant—choose life Israel.  Chapter 9 Caleb once again shows himself faithful to God while standing opposed to Israel’s disobedience of taking the rest of the land.  He chose God, as he had done 40 years prior.

Chapter 10 the two and a half tribes that returned east of Jordan chose to serve the living God and those west of the Jordan lovingly and passionately entreated them thinking that they had turned to serve the gods of the land.  In chapter 11 the cities of refuge are set up and the one who has accidently committed homicide has a choice to run and be safe from the avenger of blood in this place.

The whole book demonstrates how choice—our choices effect history in a deep way; our family, our affiliations, our nation.  We are not to “Forget who we are” as Scripture constantly reminds.   We are not machines, but created in God’s image and we must choose rightly, not like Adam, but like Abraham.

What struck me here is that we can’t make a choice in the present that we are not in the habit of making in the past.  The little choices are not little in the least bit, instead they are monumental and oh the blindness within that argues contrarily.  Joshua understood this so well that at the end of his life both his “life” and “words” matched his professed convictions.  Israel knew it.  What a man, what a Great God he served.  What will you choose with the little time left on earth believer? The God of creation or the idols that promise so much but can’t deliver?  Whose word will you ultimately bank your life on?  The Creators or the creatures?

YOU CANT TRUST THE BIBLE! SAYS WHO?

 

The chatter seems endless.  Everyone has a view of ultimate reality.  Whose words fuel the reason you live?  During his temptation, Jesus said, “man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

What does that mean?  Why should we care?  And what happens when his words are ignored? These questions and more will be considered in the seminar sponsored by Sovereign Grace Fellowship: Trusting God’s Word: Reclaiming our Confidence in the Truth of Scripture

TOPICS

  • Who do You Ultimately Take Your Orders From? – Scripture’s Authority (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • What do You Ultimately Bank On? – Scripture’s Inerrancy (Psalm 12:6)
  • How Are Your Ultimate Needs Met? – Scripture’s Necessity (1 Peter 1:23)
  • Where do You Go for Ultimate Answers?Scripture’s Sufficiency (Matthew 4:4)

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS SEMINAR?

 Truly anyone attending will benefit from the topics covered; Parents wanting to faithfully raise their children according to God’s commands; Pastors and Leaders desiring to strengthen those under their care; students longing to be emboldened in their witness for Christ; Followers of Jesus determined to live humbly under God’s truth; and the Skeptic whose questions have not been satisfactorily answered.

SPEAKER INFO follow link:

Seating is limited so SIGN-UP TODAY!

 

Summary of “No Final Conflict” Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170827_083008

In No Final Conflict, Schaeffer among other things argues for the primacy of the Bible as God’s final self-disclosure to man which is both transcultural, and trans-time.  While special revelation (i.e., the Bible) shows us God’s redemptive plan, general revelation (i.e., the Creation) displays the other aspect of His glory.  When theologians and scientists relegate the Bible to the mere subjective, relativistic corner, it is held that only science can give us knowledge.  However, the Scripture’s self-affirmations don’t give us this capital.

Where the Bible touches on History and the Cosmos it gives us true knowledge, if not, then Evangelicalism is a sham, grounded merely on a weak view of Scripture.  If Scripture is not faithfully applied to the raging culture war, he quotes Martin Luther:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” [pg.122]

 Scripture is the biggest issue today.  This is the biggest issue is both the nature and reliability of Scripture and depending on our view, it will determine whether or not we are truly Evangelical. 

Schaeffer further argues for the Bible’s historicity through the unity of Genesis in its genealogical statements, the nature of Scripture, the limits of our knowledge of both Special and General Revelation and the need to humbly ascertain the two.  At the end of the day, if Evangelicals acquiesce to a weak view of Scripture (i.e., it’s a myth, not a reliable source of historical knowledge) then God will in the end not have spoken.  Only man will have spoken through his culturally conditioned era.

If this weak view of Scripture is received and practiced, the difficulties that lie ahead will wipe out many professing believers, AND the lost will not be found.  Instead they will dance into eternity without the redemptive knowledge of God, but only into His wrathful presence.

We need Holy hot orthodox boldness so that we may winsomely love our neighbor and lay down our lives for them.  Gone are the days where we can leave said decision for tomorrow, the time to act is now, the time to truthfully love as God commands is also now.  What will the Master say to us when on that day our faces meet?  Well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your master, or, depart from me I never knew you, you workers of iniquity.

Summary of “Genesis in Space and Time” Francis Schaeffer

IMG_20170827_083008

In “Genesis in Space and Time” Schaeffer focuses on the first eleven chapters of Genesis and in step with its title, he argues for the monumental events as actual historic happenings that make sense of life and man’s past as we know it today, unlike any other account of origins we possess.

Schaeffer argues for the historic space-time ex-nihilo creation, God creating man in His own image, an actual historical moral Fall of man, the subsequent abnormality that exists between the Creator and the creature, and Gods promise of rectifying said abnormality are set forth.

A God-less worldview can only observe the effects of said abnormality (i.e., sin), but is incapable of knowing why these things occurred.  Moreover, moderns don’t know how these abnormalities are to be remedied.  Our problem is a moral rebellion against God. Christ alone is the solution.

Summary of “He Is There and He is Not Silent” FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

IMG_20170722_102913

 “He Is There and He is Not Silent” is Francis Schaeffer’s third book of the first volume “A Christian View of Philosophy and Culture.”  In it, he considers the three main areas of philosophy: Metaphysics, Ethics, and Epistemology.  Schaeffer uses the pre-suppositional method as a means to consider how Being, Oughtness, and Knowing make the most sense from that which is Impersonal or from the Personal. 

He skillfully argues for the Personal over against the Impersonal as the most rational option.  This conclusion is based on what he terms as the “mannish-ness” of man (i.e., because human beings are created in God’s image, they always mirror this reality in the way they think and live).  The world is such that in these 3 categories (metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics), God is there and He is not silent.  God has spoken and as such He is the “Hub” of Being, of Ought-ness, and of Knowing, not the creature.

Hence, to deny God as the Absolute, Personal, Uncreated, Infinite Creator is to embrace madness.  This is seen in the philosophical systems that aren’t Judeo-Christian.  Man is an image bearer.  To look into the mirror and not know and live in that reality is tragic indeed!

Summary of “Escape From Reason” FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

IMG_20170722_102913Escape from Reason  is the second book of the first volume “A Christian View of Philosophy and Culture,” by Francis Schaeffer.  In this volume, Schaeffer goes into more detail in how man, by denying Absolute Truth, and becoming the measure of all things, has been swallowed up into the “river of despair” seen in its philosophy, music, art, general culture and the new theology.

Schaeffer argues that the Christian view of man not only gives man meaning, but it also has a rational justification which is grounded in being created in the image of God.

Hence, the need remains for believers to diligently understand the present “Thought-forms” in order to preach Christ effectively.  For, to “Escape from Reason” is the most tragic madness—for it (in many ways) keeps us on the road that leads to destruction.