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A Christian Manifesto

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In this explosive book, Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society. He calls for a massive movement-in government, law, and all of life-to reestablish our Judeo-Christian foundation and turn the tide of moral decadence and loss of freedom. A Christian Manifesto is literally a call for Christians to change the course of history-by returning/>A In this explosive book, Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society. He calls for a massive movement-in government, law, and all of life-to reestablish our Judeo-Christian foundation and turn the tide of moral decadence and loss of freedom. A Christian Manifesto is literally a call for Christians to change the course of history-by returning to biblical Truth and by allowing Christ to be Lord in all of life.


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In this explosive book, Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society. He calls for a massive movement-in government, law, and all of life-to reestablish our Judeo-Christian foundation and turn the tide of moral decadence and loss of freedom. A Christian Manifesto is literally a call for Christians to change the course of history-by returning/>A In this explosive book, Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society. He calls for a massive movement-in government, law, and all of life-to reestablish our Judeo-Christian foundation and turn the tide of moral decadence and loss of freedom. A Christian Manifesto is literally a call for Christians to change the course of history-by returning to biblical Truth and by allowing Christ to be Lord in all of life.

30 review for A Christian Manifesto

  1. 5 out of 5

    An Idler

    Hmm, what to say. Love Schaeffer's thought process, insight, and writing style. Love the man. This past year I've been trying to figure out my position on the relationship between church (which church?) and state, and the role of Christians as private persons in Christ living as citizens in the state - specifically the US, heavily influenced as it is by centuries of Judeo-Christian culture. I've been driven toward Two Kingdoms by the shallow and left-leaning public policy views of cer Hmm, what to say. Love Schaeffer's thought process, insight, and writing style. Love the man. This past year I've been trying to figure out my position on the relationship between church (which church?) and state, and the role of Christians as private persons in Christ living as citizens in the state - specifically the US, heavily influenced as it is by centuries of Judeo-Christian culture. I've been driven toward Two Kingdoms by the shallow and left-leaning public policy views of certain celebrity preachers - I want a theological reason for them to keep quiet about politics and preach the gospel. Therefore I've been reading a lot of Michael Horton and D. G. Hart. But they seem to advocate a kind of "radical" Two Kingdoms that just doesn't square in my mind and what I read the Bible and what I see in history. But on the other hand, Schaeffer is more transformational - like Keller et al. but with his priorities straight and more conservative instead of East coast metropolitan liberal. He makes that argument here. It's dated, since the Moral Majority has long since been six feet under and the conservative renaissance of 1980 (the "open window" for moral and worldview reform) began to slow after 2001 and collapsed in 2009. That lends the book a poignant air. If Schaeffer could see 2018, based on this book he would say we lost. Still, Schaeffer has put his foot in the door and kept me open minded. I'll probably check out the more reserved form of 2k (in contrast to the radical kind of Horton/Hart) advocated by the magisterial reformers, mainly Calvin. That issue aside - wow, it's great to be reading Schaeffer again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    A fantastic read that is sadly necessary to combat those who downplay this belief instead of respecting it as a legitimate philosophy on life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    A typical rant about the collapse of American moral society 1 June 2013 After reading the first couple of chapters of this book I have come to understand why it is that Schaeffer's son has broken with the groups that his father was involved in and moved over to the Christian Left. While I do generally like Schaeffer's writings, and also his ability to connect with people from various backgrounds, this book, at first, felt like a rant against the direction that US society is heading, and i A typical rant about the collapse of American moral society 1 June 2013 After reading the first couple of chapters of this book I have come to understand why it is that Schaeffer's son has broken with the groups that his father was involved in and moved over to the Christian Left. While I do generally like Schaeffer's writings, and also his ability to connect with people from various backgrounds, this book, at first, felt like a rant against the direction that US society is heading, and in particular his attacks against abortion. There are a number of things that I agree with in this book, and a number of things with which I disagree. Schaeffer is correct when he writes about the separation of church and state and that the state should not seek to enter and influence the realm of the church. In a sense that is similar to how the state should not be overtly interventionist in the lives of the individual person, however while standing up against the state seeking to combat and attack the church, he seems to advocate that the state also take a moral stance with regards to the lives of individuals. He speaks about how the laws of our society are based on a Christian world view, and he clearly has the Ten Commandments in mind. This is something that I generally balk against because the first five commandments deal with our obligations towards God (which includes honouring our parents as that is reflective of our relationship with God) and the last five deal with our obligations towards our fellow human beings. However, Jesus clearly stated that all the law and prophets come down to two points: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. While he speaks of our law losing its Christian foundation and moving into a more relativistic mindset it is clear here that he is speaking mainly of abortion, and this is something that I will address a little later. I actually support the removal of the Ten Commandments from the Schools and from the courts. These laws are personal laws that apply to us, and in fact, if the state begins to legislate religion, in the form of the first and second commandments, then suddenly the whole argument of the separation of church and state becomes a moot point because all of the sudden the state is legislating religion. However, let us consider the last five commandments: 6) You shall not murder: with the exception of abortion, it is pretty much understood that we cannot go around killing people, and those who do tend to suffer the full wrath of the law. However, one needs to consider the definition of murder, and that is an unlawful killing. There are numerous instances were the state has sanctioned a killing, such as during war, for self-defense, and a policeman in the line of duty. However, in all of these instances (with maybe the exception of war) the state will vigorously examine each of these events to determine whether it has been sanctioned or not. However, then comes the issue of the death penalty. It seems that there are a lot of people in the United States that support the death penalty, and in fact the Republicans (known colloquially as God's Own Party) have since brought the death penalty back in a lot of states. Thus, we have on the one hand a reaction against abortion, but on the other hand an acceptance of the death penalty. To me that sounds like hypocrisy. 7) You Shall Not Commit Adultery: okay, this has fallen off the radar in our permissive society, but we must remember that marriage is a civil contract (actually, it is more a covenant, but that is a specific legal term, so we will leave it as a contract) between two people, and to impose a Christian moral stance upon non-Christians is once again the State entering into a realm in which it should not enter. While I am a big believer in faithfulness in marriage, this is one area of the law that the state needs to back away from. However, there are always repercussions, for marriages will and do break up over these things, and the results of adultery can be quite tragic for many people. However, to make adultery a criminal offence, or to return to a fault based system for divorce pretty much winds the clock back. 8) You Shall Not Steal: Isn't it interesting that the one law that seems to dominate our society is number eight on the list, and that is the law of private property. To say that we have moved away from our Christian roots is to ignore the fact that private property plays a huge importance in our economic system. In fact, it is probably right in saying that our laws have become ambiguous when we hold private property far above everything else. However, you try to steal somebody's lawn mower, break into their house, or even try to steal their idea, you will find that the law of private property comes into play very strongly. Okay, this book was written in 1982 so the whole concept of patenting genes and seeds was not as evident as it is today. However, it is very much the case today, and many people can find themselves on the wrong side of a law suit simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Companies like Monsanto are pretty much buying up the rights to living organisms, and corporations are drowning out public places and replacing them with shopping malls where their laws hold greater power. In a shopping centre one is restricted in many ways, including freedom of speech and freedom of expression. 9) You Shall not bare false witness: This is not necessarily restricted to lying in court but takes in all forms of defamation and gossip. I can assure you that the libel and slander laws are alive and well, and actually go to a point where criticism of anybody or anything is banned. The axiom of 'if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all' is alive and well. Of course, that does not apply when one is criticising religion or somebody's left wing political views. 10) Though shall not covet: This is simply having a desire to possess something that somebody else has, but the idea I get from the Bible is that it is extreme. Basically this is a thought control type of law and is impossible to legislate against. On the other hand, it seems that the idea of covetousness is what makes our current economic system work. If we were not forever 'keeping up with the Joneses' then our economy would grind to a halt. Thus, the basic human desire of coveting something means that we will go out and spend money that we do not have to acquire something that they do not need just so that we look good among our neighbours. Therefore I have outlined a number of areas briefly as to how the current legal system is nowhere near as bad as what Schaeffer, and others, are saying. However, there are a few more points, such as the story he tells of how somebody committed suicide when he attended counselling with a pastor and not a professional. I have spoken to a pastor recently who has agreed that while a psychologist may not be a Christian, he may be much better to deal with mental illness than a pastor. In fact Pastors are not, and are not trained to be, psychologists. My experience with using pastors as psychologists (and even small group leaders) has always ended up in disaster. Simply put, they are so biblically focused, and many are so caught up on the 'don't worry, God loves you' mentality that they do not understand the root causes of mental illness. From my experience, one major issue I had in church was bullying by self-righteous Christians, and that caused me significant angst to say the least. However, when one approaches a pastor about this, the standard response is 'forgive them and reconcile with them.' Forgiveness and reconciliation is one thing, however a bully will always be a bully unless confronted, and the nature of any religion (and I am not limiting myself to Christianity here) is that it gives rise, naturally, to self-righteous individuals who seek to dominate others. However, responding with 'this is a fallen world, and the church is full of fallen people, so grin and bare it' does not address the problem, and in the end punishes the victim and rewards the perpetrator. So this now comes down to the issue of abortion (which I have said that I will talk about). Basically I am pro-life meaning that any sanctioned taking of human life by anybody should be very few and far between, and that includes war. War should be the absolute last resort for any dispute between countries. People should be tried and given the opportunities to repent of their actions, and the death penalty may end up hindering that process (even though from conviction to execution in the United States still takes years). Abortion should be used in rare circumstances and not on an on demand basis as an exception to contraception. However, abortion is also a form of oppression against woman, and to make abortion the central facet of what is wrong with America is to completely miss the point. By bringing abortion to the centre stage is to say that women should be punished for promiscuity and not men, but is also to say that you have freedom of choice, unless of course you are a woman, then that freedom is denied to you. Now I am going to jump back a bit to education and suggest that while I am a creationist I do not believe that creation should be taught in public schools. Once again that is the state encroaching into the area of the religious, and to force creationism, especially seven day creationism, to the exclusion of all other theories, is to force one brand of Christianity onto a society that is not necessarily Christian. The same with the Ten Commandments in the schools. If a child asks a teacher, who does not understand the underlying nature of the Ten Commandments, what they are, they are probably going to be more confused than otherwise. Which brings me to my final point, and that is the idea that we we're a Christian nation. That is absolute rubbish. The past may have had the state dictating our religion (as was the case in England) or a large portion of the population claiming to be Christian, but we were never Christian. If we were Christian we would not have brutally murdered the natives of our respective countries, overthrown governments in the pursuit of business interests, or oppressed minorities simply because they were different. To say that the American Rebellion had Christian foundations is also to miss the point because it was purely an economic rebellion. It was based mostly upon taxation. Further, the rebellion was a rebellion of the American ruling class against the British ruling class. The founding fathers were all wealthy, white, male, land owners. In fact, many of the people in the United States at the time were against the rebellion. However, I should refer you to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States 1492 to Present for a further exploration of that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tony Smith

    I have read this work more than once. Schaeffer's basic arguments and philosophy hold up well over time. I would say his thoughts and logic are being proven correct by present culture and circumstances. Cultural and political changes do not make truth untruthful. They simply make identifying true truth more difficult to discern due to all of the verbal and other detritus used to try to hide the truth. Schaeffer does a good job separating truth from the clutter.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Hawkins

    Not one of Schaeffer’s best. Nevertheless, still an interesting read. The good: I loved his overarching point—which he emphasized right away in the first chapter, and which emphasized once again to conclude the book—that the biggest problem in our government today is the change from a Christian worldview (even if many who held it weren’t actually Christian themselves) to a materialistic view of final reality. He explains throughout the book, but especially at the bookends, how this ne Not one of Schaeffer’s best. Nevertheless, still an interesting read. The good: I loved his overarching point—which he emphasized right away in the first chapter, and which emphasized once again to conclude the book—that the biggest problem in our government today is the change from a Christian worldview (even if many who held it weren’t actually Christian themselves) to a materialistic view of final reality. He explains throughout the book, but especially at the bookends, how this necessarily impacts society, government, and laws. He points out that we often see things in bits in pieces, while we need to see the whole—the total worldview shift that is the root cause. This is spot on, and classic Schaeffer. It’s a proper diagnosis. The not-as-good: But then, for the majority of the book, Schaeffer I think, at least for me, gets too theoretical, political, and less biblical. He basically advocates for the Moral Majority, more than I ever would. I of course agree with him on the issue of abortion (which is the main issue he brings up again and again in the book), but he sometimes over-emphasizes the early days of America and the founding Fathers. Overall, it was an interesting read. But I do *not* recommend it as a book from Schaeffer you should read until you’ve read a lot of others by him. It still wet my palate for him once again, and so I’m considering reading through his Collected Works perhaps next year. But basically are the other book by him are much better and to the point—on this one, he seemed to get a little off-track and become too political. I’m still glad I read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patrick S.

    This was my first taste of Schaeffer and I liked what I got pretty much. To be fair the book is a bit dated as it is commententing on 1982 political themes and situations. But the influx of humanism was starting to peak in the 1980s and we can see today the political climate and world view of the state and humanism from when it peaked. This was my first political book that started with a worldview assumption. The worldview here being of Christianity. Schaeffer makes his point for Chri This was my first taste of Schaeffer and I liked what I got pretty much. To be fair the book is a bit dated as it is commententing on 1982 political themes and situations. But the influx of humanism was starting to peak in the 1980s and we can see today the political climate and world view of the state and humanism from when it peaked. This was my first political book that started with a worldview assumption. The worldview here being of Christianity. Schaeffer makes his point for Christianity (of course) and the reason why humanism has no firm foundation. This book is a response to humanism and its manifestos over the last century. It's nice to see a political book stating that "by what system you interpret facts and what basic views you hold determine what decisions you make". My favorite part of the book was the part I've been thinking over for some time. As an American and libertarian (in political thought), Romans 13 has always been a struggle for me. The book is great on three chapters concerning this subject "The Limits of Civil Obedience", "The Use Of Civil Disobedience", and "The Use Of Force". The thrust is that Christians are called to obey the lawful ruling authority in as such time it tells us to violate what God's Word says. The latter chapters deal with degrees of resistance. It also ties in examples such as the Reformation and the Revolutionary War, among others. Schaeffer seems to have a good grasp on presuppositional arguementation and application of God's Word. My biggest flaw with this book is how little Scripture is used to support specific points. While there is some which are well used. There is more adherence to Samuel Rutherford's "Lex Red" which may indeed have more and he is pointing to that work for specifics. After all, this is a manifesto not an apology. Final Grade - B

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gus Stevens

    This "manifesto" is the philosophical justification for the Moral Majority that seemed plausible in the 80s but, when read in 2012, the parochial and selective nostalgia of the book becomes quite obvious. The author pines for a religious revival that will manifest itself in the American legal system, particularly in reference to abortion, but he refuses to concede that what he is advocating is a theocratic system or in any way an establishment of a state religion. In fact, Schaeffer would prefer This "manifesto" is the philosophical justification for the Moral Majority that seemed plausible in the 80s but, when read in 2012, the parochial and selective nostalgia of the book becomes quite obvious. The author pines for a religious revival that will manifest itself in the American legal system, particularly in reference to abortion, but he refuses to concede that what he is advocating is a theocratic system or in any way an establishment of a state religion. In fact, Schaeffer would prefer a return to a "Christian" society, in which Christianity, and a moral system based upon it, are the visible and present norm rather than an embarrassing and abandoned memory. While I would agree with Schaeffer on his central point of application (that the practice of human abortion should be abolished), I am unwilling to say that the means of doing so is to enforce a christian moral sentiment upon a largely post-christian (and unregenerate) culture. The social duty of the Christian is not, as Schaeffer insinuates, to establish a christian culture that holds back the darkness of voluntary sin, but to protect victims from the actions of others. I think that we can still agree with our non-christian neighbors that victims ought to be protected from harm; now we simply need to convince them that the unborn are humans worthy of such protection and that such protections should be codified into law.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    Excellent! Prophetic (written in 1981). From the beginning: "The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals." Shows how the secular, humanist worldview is antithetical to the Christian worldview, and demonstrates the moral, political, and legal consequences which flow from each worldview.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Well, that book was the opposite of worthwhile. I have GOT to stop adding books to my "to read" list based only on an interesting title! While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and remove any other Francis Schaeffer books lying in wait on that ominous list...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Larry Taylor

    if taken to its logical conclusion, we'd be blowing up abortion clinics behind pat robertson riding a white steed

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Some disjointed thoughts: There are some great principles set forth in here, and I agree with most of it, but somehow my high expectations were not realized. I definitely welcomed discussion of Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex. If I had read it in the 1980s (had I been old enough then to do so!) I think it would have struck me more powerfully. As it is, it is slightly dated now, and I feel the good folk at The Calvinist International and The Davenant Trust are offering a more developed ref Some disjointed thoughts: There are some great principles set forth in here, and I agree with most of it, but somehow my high expectations were not realized. I definitely welcomed discussion of Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex. If I had read it in the 1980s (had I been old enough then to do so!) I think it would have struck me more powerfully. As it is, it is slightly dated now, and I feel the good folk at The Calvinist International and The Davenant Trust are offering a more developed reformational position. Still, we can all learn from his call to action. Also, Doug Wilson has clearly read this book! Perhaps in the 1980s! And I think he has said much of it better than the author, which is probably mostly why it disappointed. Liked it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals. Worldview. Every single person has one, whether or not they know the scholarly name for their particular worldview or not. What is your worldview? Can you distinguish between the Christian worldview and the other worldviews that are battling it out for dominance? Can you First sentence: The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals. Worldview. Every single person has one, whether or not they know the scholarly name for their particular worldview or not. What is your worldview? Can you distinguish between the Christian worldview and the other worldviews that are battling it out for dominance? Can you distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit? (This book, in particular, is all about the HUMANIST world view.) When you watch the news, read a book, read an article, listen to the radio, talk with friends, can you discern ideas, principles, agendas? Do you recognize bias? Do you blend worldviews? Are you standing on solid ground or sinking sand? Are you good at seeing the big picture, the total picture? Are you able to see where ideas lead? All ideas have consequences--some good, some bad. Was A Christian Manifesto needed in 1981? I'm going to guess that yes, yes it was. Is it needed in 2019? A qualified yes. Yes, the thematic messages--the central points--are still very much relevant. In fact, I don't think you'd be out of line if you argued that today more than any other, the heart of this message needs to be proclaimed everywhere--time and time and time and time again. Because believers can be slow to hear, slow to understand, slow to respond. It's like this: react too strongly and you're accused of being a Chicken Little. You watch the news, read an article, hear a snippet of video...rush out and proclaim THIS IS IT! CHRISTIANITY IS IN DANGER! THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS! I'M NOT FOOLING AROUND, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT IS GOING TO BE OVER! The other extreme is to be so slow to react, so slow to respond, that the so-called battle is in the history books before you've even gotten out of your easy chair to look for your spiritual armor. To live the Christian life is to be awake, be aware, to see that there aren't two realms--the secular one and the spiritual one--but one realm. The gospel should impact, inform, effect ALL of one's life. Living for Christ means living all of life for Christ--in Christ. We are not called to sleep, to slumber our way through the days--last days or not. Some sections are quite timeless, others are very much dated to a specific time and place. The focus in specifics is on politics and law. Quotes: True spirituality covers all of reality...The Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally... There is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual. (19) Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth--Truth about all of reality. (20)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Adapted from this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob Ladwig

    People have mixed feeling about this book, I think because most Christians have a rather mechanical view of Romans 13 and the relation between the Christian and the state. It seems most Christians apply Rom 13 rather woodenly and fail to contextualize both Paul's day and ours. Schaeffer points out that the grounds for Christian disobedience to the state is much greater than just preaching issues and this is where most Christian wince. I found the book extremely helpful in forming and understandi People have mixed feeling about this book, I think because most Christians have a rather mechanical view of Romans 13 and the relation between the Christian and the state. It seems most Christians apply Rom 13 rather woodenly and fail to contextualize both Paul's day and ours. Schaeffer points out that the grounds for Christian disobedience to the state is much greater than just preaching issues and this is where most Christian wince. I found the book extremely helpful in forming and understanding of the proper role of government and Christian duty in relation to government. I don't give it a 5 star because the book needs more clarity, it lays some good ground rules for understanding tyranny, this both can be expanded but also I think a strategy for responding Christianly to tyranny, I think he should have leaned on Calvin more here.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This is a good book for anyone wondering how a Christian is to interact with the government. In some ways, it is dated because it was written in the early 80's, but it is amazing how much of what he discusses is coming to fruition. I would recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a balanced understanding of how a Christian is duty bound to support and hold their government accountable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I read this book in college and it was horrible. The writing was bad, the arguments lacked logical cohesion. I agreed with a lot of his positions (although not all), but the tone, style, diction, and syntax made it all but unreadable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I'm not sure if I'll like this book or not, so I'm a little nervous to read it. :-) It was, however, only 50 cents at Goodwill, so I figure it was a bargain. ;-)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Excellent. Also read in December of 1981.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    This book is more of a call to action than his previous titles which I would characterize more as analysis and insight. Sure do miss his voice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wilson

    Clear and concise writing, relevant today despite it being written during the latter part of the Cold War. Author effectively compared and contrasted the humanistic (man-centered) world view compared to the Christian (Christ-centered) worldview and the dangers presented when a humanist perspective seeps into Christian doctrine, effectively creating an incoherent and logically inept man-focused cultural Christianity. This is especially relevant in today's moral morass we find ourselves Clear and concise writing, relevant today despite it being written during the latter part of the Cold War. Author effectively compared and contrasted the humanistic (man-centered) world view compared to the Christian (Christ-centered) worldview and the dangers presented when a humanist perspective seeps into Christian doctrine, effectively creating an incoherent and logically inept man-focused cultural Christianity. This is especially relevant in today's moral morass we find ourselves regarding leaders and celebrities alike across the world. He gives a great defense of the First Amendment and its original intent through an expose of quotes from our founding fathers, and how it has been used to attempt silencing Christian preference in the US. He also provides a very well thought-out argument against any established theocracy and differentiating a government that acknowledges the Christian-influenced system of government that makes the US unique to any other government in the world, even today. I did not expect him to address civil disobedience yet I was quite satisfied when he placed it in the context of "Lex Rex" and how when a government attempts to infringe on the established rights of its people that they have the right and obligation to protest its actions through courts and then escalate as necessary, but never utilizing violence in any manner. This is probably the best book I have seen so far that provides context to a "Christian World View" that is tossed around at times lacking context.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bert van der Vaart

    In a book written in 1981, Francis Schaefer sought to set out a counterpoint to the Humanist Manifesto I and II (which were published in 1933 and 1973, respectively). The Humanist Manifesto essentially set out what sounds like a broad and tolerant believe in the goodness of man apart from any particular religion. Schaefer shows how the deeper implications of this manifesto however was that the world is not subject to the power and authority of God, but instead mechanistic/physical, and by implic In a book written in 1981, Francis Schaefer sought to set out a counterpoint to the Humanist Manifesto I and II (which were published in 1933 and 1973, respectively). The Humanist Manifesto essentially set out what sounds like a broad and tolerant believe in the goodness of man apart from any particular religion. Schaefer shows how the deeper implications of this manifesto however was that the world is not subject to the power and authority of God, but instead mechanistic/physical, and by implication, there is no permanent basis for law. Schaefer does a great job showing how only a worldview based on the authority of God establishes an objective foundation, based in particular on the value of each human being as a creation of God. Humanism inevitably leads to a competition among the elite as to who gets to define what the law is as of any particular time in history--with human beings all too easily subservient to whatever the elite states. By inference, humanism tends to the tyranny of the elite and the intolerance of ideas other than what the elite, whereas a legal system and worldview based on the primacy of God leads to democracy and a robust market for ideas. The current tension between elites in many western countries versus populist resistance to their changing doctrine seems eerily predicted today--almost 40 years later. In this insight alone this book is well worth reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Scott Kennedy

    Reading this book 30 odd years after it was written is a little eerie. Schaeffer had his finger on the pulse. His big idea is that that Christians have not seen the problems in the States as total, but 'bits and pieces'. He tries to explain how a secular humanist understanding of the world necessarily leads to certain political and legal consequences. He calls for Christians to resist by getting involved in the political process, but also through civil disobedience. There is a big discussion on Reading this book 30 odd years after it was written is a little eerie. Schaeffer had his finger on the pulse. His big idea is that that Christians have not seen the problems in the States as total, but 'bits and pieces'. He tries to explain how a secular humanist understanding of the world necessarily leads to certain political and legal consequences. He calls for Christians to resist by getting involved in the political process, but also through civil disobedience. There is a big discussion on when this is appropriate, and the limits of the State's authority. A summary of his argument comes near the end of the book: The material-energy, chance view has taken advantage of that liberty, [the liberty given by the Christian foundations of the nation] supplanted the consensus, and resulted in an intolerance that gives less and less freedom in courts and schools for the view which originally gave the freedoms. Having no base for law, those who hold the humanist view make binding law whatever they personally think is good for society at the moment. From here I am moving onto the Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. I think at this later hour he believes that working within the system is not an option, rather we should be forming uniquely Christian communities. So this will provide an interesting counterpoint to Schaeffer.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Mize

    Note: I wrote the review below thinking that I was reviewing How Then Shall We Live? But I would rate this book highly as well. I don’t think Schaffer believed this work would ultimately cause the society’s trajectory to change radically. But one must not cease in making efforts to advocate for the truth. The way is narrow, but some will find it... This is a book to keep forever. I keep coming back to it and finally just moved it’s location right next to my reading chair because Note: I wrote the review below thinking that I was reviewing How Then Shall We Live? But I would rate this book highly as well. I don’t think Schaffer believed this work would ultimately cause the society’s trajectory to change radically. But one must not cease in making efforts to advocate for the truth. The way is narrow, but some will find it... This is a book to keep forever. I keep coming back to it and finally just moved it’s location right next to my reading chair because of my need to reference it frequently. Schaeffer’s walk through the past 3,000 years illumines the difference between Pagan and later Humanist thought contrasted with Judeo-Christian thought through the ages as expressed through the arts, literature, and philosophy, culminating in our present (even though the book was published a couple decades ago) culture, and is positively prophetic. He cites an overwhelming amount of support for his position, and it is easy to see the logical outworking of both world views in this present age. Some of his predictions have come to pass in ways that differ slightly from the way he envisioned, but he would be surprised at nothing that is occurring in our current political and social milieu. If you are a Christian and desire a keener understanding of the culture in which you find yourself, this book is foundational to your understanding.

  24. 4 out of 5

    John

    There is some helpful structural framework here that holds up over the nearly 40 years since it was written. Here are a few of those pieces: “True spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us to do as absolutes which are sinful- which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these things the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spe There is some helpful structural framework here that holds up over the nearly 40 years since it was written. Here are a few of those pieces: “True spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us to do as absolutes which are sinful- which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these things the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spectrum of life equally. In this sense there is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.” “The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.” “If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the living God.” All in all, I was a bit disappointed that the book was as captive to its time (the rise of the Moral Majority) as it was. I would probably look elsewhere if one is looking for a thoughtful and comprehensive Christian political ethic. For more reviews see www.thebeehive.live.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Magda

    From a writing standpoint, it's well-written. From a 'do I agree with it ?' standpoint, my feelings are mixed. All of his points are valid, yet with many of them I do not agree. Grossly speaking, it's a manifesto, inherently dogmatic as a genre. Easy to read, though. I appreciated how Schaeffer pointed out that it is because of Jesus' death on the cross and his message of justice for all humanity that the US's political system has validity : justice is something fixed and equal for al From a writing standpoint, it's well-written. From a 'do I agree with it ?' standpoint, my feelings are mixed. All of his points are valid, yet with many of them I do not agree. Grossly speaking, it's a manifesto, inherently dogmatic as a genre. Easy to read, though. I appreciated how Schaeffer pointed out that it is because of Jesus' death on the cross and his message of justice for all humanity that the US's political system has validity : justice is something fixed and equal for all, not based on current moods. Also good : that political involvment does not equal political violence. And : spiritual salvation is to go hand-in-hand with social action for justice and better conditions for all. Elsewhere, though, the insistence that the US political system is to be held as the universal standard, and that this as a political system should be immutable, were less realistic. (God is above the government, yes, but God does not mandate a decentralised government, for example.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Stanley

    The book was okay, but looking at the world today, I wonder if he partially missed the mark. When he begins talking about how Christians have ignored the fact that Christianity comprises a full worldview and not just disjointed individual beliefs, I whole heartily agree. But I think the book is largely spoken to a different context. When he names questions brought before the courts, they are very dated. The US isn’t so much stamping out all religion today as it is allowing all religions a voice, The book was okay, but looking at the world today, I wonder if he partially missed the mark. When he begins talking about how Christians have ignored the fact that Christianity comprises a full worldview and not just disjointed individual beliefs, I whole heartily agree. But I think the book is largely spoken to a different context. When he names questions brought before the courts, they are very dated. The US isn’t so much stamping out all religion today as it is allowing all religions a voice, and Christians are more harmed by our own witness in word and deed as we are outside attempts to silence the Church.

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Weis

    Schaeffer chronicles the decay of the American/Western culture resulting from an infusing of materialism into the modern jurisprudence and governance. Having elucidated the problem, he outlines a small number of practical approaches to restoring the Judeo/Christian theory of law to the forefront. Good, but somewhat muddled, especially regarding the need to restore the role of the Church, and the necessity of renouncing tolerance. Overall, this work is a helpful, but brief, introductio Schaeffer chronicles the decay of the American/Western culture resulting from an infusing of materialism into the modern jurisprudence and governance. Having elucidated the problem, he outlines a small number of practical approaches to restoring the Judeo/Christian theory of law to the forefront. Good, but somewhat muddled, especially regarding the need to restore the role of the Church, and the necessity of renouncing tolerance. Overall, this work is a helpful, but brief, introduction to the conditions plaguing the American Church, the doctrine of the lesser magistrate, Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex, and the history of the societal transformation brought through the Reformation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Qhlueme

    The book is interesting, the quality of writing uninspiring, the content enlightening, encouraging, and astute, but not often so. Reviewers would do well to make application of a book’s index if it has one, as Schaeffer’s does, before making assertions indicating they either did not read the book, did not understand the book, or have an ax to grind regardless of what the book says. Happy days. To wit, regarding Schaeffer's alleged support of a theocracy: “First, we must mak The book is interesting, the quality of writing uninspiring, the content enlightening, encouraging, and astute, but not often so. Reviewers would do well to make application of a book’s index if it has one, as Schaeffer’s does, before making assertions indicating they either did not read the book, did not understand the book, or have an ax to grind regardless of what the book says. Happy days. To wit, regarding Schaeffer's alleged support of a theocracy: “First, we must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy. Let me say that with great emphasis. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the American Founders had no idea of a theocracy. This is made plain by the First Amendment, and we must continually emphasize the fact that we are not talking about some kind, or any kind, of a theocracy.” “The whole ‘Constantine mentality’ from the fourth century up to our day was a mistake. Constantine, as the Roman Emperor, in 313 ended the persecution of . Unfortunately, the support he gave to the church led by 381 to the enforcing of Christianity, by Theodosius I, as the official state religion. . . . There have been times of very good government when this interrelationship of church and state has been present. But through the centuries it has caused great confusion between loyalty to the state and loyalty to Christ, between patriotism and being a Christian.” “None of this, however, changes the fact that the United States was founded upon a Christian consensus, nor that we today should bring Judeo-Christian principles into play in regard to government. But that is very different from a theocracy in name or in fact.” Schaeffer could have written more clearly and more persuasively. Despite that, what he has written is clear enough: he wanted neither theocracy nor atheocracy. He wanted the liberty necessary for individuals to prosper materially and spiritually, not just (allegedly, by their opposite advocates) one or the other. Change is not good simply by definition. There must be genuine improvement in some category for change to be declared good. Schaeffer does not cower in a closet praying to God to make everything better. That irritates secularists, statists, and atheists. It seems to them, he is telling them what to do, and they don’t like that. They don’t like it when someone does what they presume is their prerogative. Schaeffer declares his beliefs as boldly as others voice theirs, which seems unfair and immoral to the others. He chronicles too briefly changes in the Soviet Empire and in the U.S. since around mid-20th century, but going back a little further in some particulars. Any complaint should be against those things he identifies as improvements or as setbacks, rather than be against him for offering his opinion. There are many opinions about what is good for “society” and what is bad for “society.” Those opinions should be shared, but would-be dictators don’t want them to be. Neo-napoleons want everyone to agree with them. As in North Korea, having a personal opinion is crimethink. Detractors will accuse – and have accused – Schaeffer of many things he neither says, believes, does, nor encourages. The fact that one chapter is titled “The Use of Force” should not convince non-readers of the book that he is urging raw force to establish Christian domination over the world. A careful, even a casual reading, makes it undeniably obvious – undeniably except to contrarians and the ideologically myopic – that Schaeffer is warning people not to over-react, not to use “force” inappropriately. Schaeffer urges protest as a first action against injustice and oppression by the state. There are levels of protest, and different sorts of actions before anything like the American Revolution is justified. Schaeffer writes clearly enough for his purposes(except for the intellectually blinkered), “Please read most thoughtfully what I am going to say in the next sentence. If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the Living God.” Man needs “God,” whether the Originator of the universe or of life, or a Comforter, or a Judge, or a State. Those who cannot find a true God, must settle for less-qualified substitutes. Although Schaeffer’s quoted remarks are clear enough, his elaboration leading to them provides the significant details and pertinent examples that are the persuasive framework leading to his conclusion. Pooh-poohing his conclusions is nto an argument; it’s a confession of not having read the book. Pretending to argue against his explanations by disregarding them is no argument at all. Finally, for me Schaeffer’s writing style is weak. He makes a number of excellent points, and many good points, but he also makes a number of points that I am not particularly fond of. I do not disagree with these points due to any weakness in his descriptions and arguments. Sometimes those are persuasive. I disagree or sometimes just withhold deciding whether to agree, probably because I do not share all of his specifically Christian world-view. As a Christian text, “A Christian Manifesto” is bravely persuasive, blessedly succinct, and quite Christian – positively Christian, tolerantly Christian, intelligently Christian, humanitarian Christian. Thus, it is a commendable guide for Christians in determining courses of action when faced with social discrimination, cultural intolerance, or political oppression.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colin Walsh

    Interesting book that addresses the practice of protest, retreat, civil disobedience, and force as a Christian living under the authority of a particular government or authority (namely The United States of America). Schaefer seems to assume a number of “facts” and historical narratives without providing any significant backing to his claims (at least in the written content of the book. The references contain additional resources for proofs). Worth the read, but not implicitly revolutionary or n Interesting book that addresses the practice of protest, retreat, civil disobedience, and force as a Christian living under the authority of a particular government or authority (namely The United States of America). Schaefer seems to assume a number of “facts” and historical narratives without providing any significant backing to his claims (at least in the written content of the book. The references contain additional resources for proofs). Worth the read, but not implicitly revolutionary or nuanced ideas.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Herriott

    My first Schaeffer. I know from reading parts of other books that they are full of truth and wisdom, but he was also writing to a very specific audience, in a specific time, about a specific issue. ‘82 is a much different time than 2018, but it is interesting to see the ways he was right and wrong in his fears and predictions. His books are not timeless but they can become relevant time and time again.

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