Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Word from Francis Schaffer

If you have not read any of Francis Schaffer, you should.  He was probably the greatest prophetic voice in evangelicalism in the last century.  Even though he has been with the Lord for a number of years, his is still a prescient voice today...maybe because he had his finger on the humanness of evangelicals and its weaknesses, but nevertheless his voice still rings true, and issues he pointed out are still with us today.

I read his last book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, in 1984, the year he went home.  It was one of the defining books that I have read, and I have been re-reading it the last few weeks.  I am going to quote some of it as he draws the book to a conclusion, as it hits the church where it lives today.

"We need a revolutionary message in the midst of today's relativistic thinking.  By revolutionary or radical, I mean standing against the all-pervasive form which the world spirit has taken in our day.  This is the real meaning of radical....We need a young generation and others who will be willing to stand in loving confrontation, but real confrontation, in contrast to the mentality of constant accommodation with the current forms of the world spirit as they surround us today, and in contrast to the way in which so much of evangelicalism has developed the automatic mentality of accommodation at each successive point.....the evangelical accommodation has constantly been in one direction--that is, to accommodate with whatever is in vogue with the form of the world spirit which is dominant today.  It is the same world spirit which is destroying both church and society.  Balance must be considered constantly.  But the accommodation we have been speaking of has constantly taken the form of giving in to the humanistic, secular consensus which is the dominant destructive force of our day.'

'It does seem to me that evangelical leaders, and every evangelical Christian, have a very special responsibility not to just go along with the "blue-jean syndrome" of not noticing that their attempts to be "with it" so often take the same forms as those who deny the existence or holiness of the living God.  Accommodation leads to accommodation--which leads to accommodation..."

A true prophetic voice is timeless.  This was written in 1984, but we see the same issue alive and well in the church today.  As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."  We see the same accommodation today, as so many pastors/churches/Christians have fallen into the "we must be relevant to the culture" trap.  The pursuit of relevance has led to accommodation.  It is only when we are truly counter cultural, truly radical to the culture that we have any true impact.  We are not salt and light by accommodating the world spirit of our times, but only when we are stopping the corruption of the world spirit, and exposing the corruption of the world spirit can we call ourselves truly radical; and you cannot be relevant and radical at the same time. 

I would recommend that you read this book.  Think about what Francis Schaffer has to say, and see how he recaptures the true meaning of living the radical Christian life.

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