Saturday, September 10, 2011

Francis Schaeffer Buzz:

I largely ignored the dialog on Francis Schaeffer that recently occurred. Andrew Sullivan recaps:

One of the more engaging discourses I read while I was sick was the exchange between Ryan Lizza and Ross Douthat on exactly how radical the Christianist writer Francis Schaeffer is. Schaeffer had a huge influence on Michele Bachmann, and his work is clearly part of the thriving Christianist/GOP subculture. Ross's first post in defense of this radical is here. Ryan's riposte is here. Ross concludes here.

Buried in all this
is an interesting quotation by Schaeffer on the American Founding and Romans 13 issues:

"When any office commands that which is contrary to the Word of God, those who hold that office abrogate their authority and they are not to be obeyed. And that includes the state ... Rutherford offered suggestions concerning illegitimate acts of the state. A ruler, he wrote, should not be deposed merely because he commits a single breach of the compact he has with the people. Only when the magistrate acts in such a way that the governing structure of the country is being destroyed—that is, when he is attacking the fundamental structure of society—is he to be relieved of his power and authority.

That is exactly what we are facing today. The whole structure of our society is being attacked and destroyed. It is being given an entirely opposite base which gives exactly opposite results. The reversal is much more total and destructive than t
hat which Rutherford or any of the Reformers faced in their day."

A while back we noted Mark Noll among others took Schaeffer to task for his arguable misunderstanding of the American Founding. Schaeffer wrongly credits Samuel Rutherford with the ideas for the American Founding. America's Founders didn't cite Rutherford, but Locke for these propositions. And Locke didn't cite Rutherford either.

[And yes, I know of the tradition of resistance among Calvinists, though not Calvin himself, that almost certainly, in some meaningful way, influenced the American Founding.]

No comments: