Sunday, April 07, 2024

Deliverance From the Domain of Darkness

Do you remember or have you heard of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer?

His WIKI entry opens like this:

Francis August Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984 ) was an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is most famous for his writings and his establishment of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. Opposed to theological modernism, Schaeffer promoted a more historic Protestant faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics, which he believed would answer the questions of the age.

Between 2005 and 2010, I tried to introduce Dr. Shaeffer's thoughts, writings, and work to high school seniors in my Bible classes. As hard as tried, the effort was to no avail.

I primarily used one of his books, How Should We Then Live?, and even showed clips from a video series he made in 1977.

But the 70's film quality, the knickers Dr Shaeffer wore , and philosophical commentary didn't catch as much interest as I hoped.

We need interest today more than ever.........

The series can be found for free on the streaming service- TUBI (10 part series). It is uncanningly accurate to today!

When I watch news accounts and listen to opinions, I continuously think back to Schaeffer and the lessons he was trying to teach us in Scripture, using an analysis of past history.

What Schaeffer predicted in the 70's is hauntingly true today. Any 30 minute scan of cable news images do tell us a growing narrative that is disturbing and discouraging.

The basic premise that Schaeffer pointed to was that there was only one world-view that could stand up to the pressures of man's basic nature. Of course, this is the Judeo-Christian worldview. This view acknowledges God, understands man as a fallen creature made in the image of the creator, and that God has revealed Himself and a moral law through Scripture.

Any other human tradition or world-view elevates man and devalues God. And when God is devalued, a value of life and virtue is lost. No other worldview can bear the weight of truth, and all other philosophies crumble in time.

Even as great as the American experiment has proven to be.... without a Biblical worldview.. it too falls short. Capitalism and freedom, unchecked by the boundaries of virtue, wear away in futile desperation.

Schaeffer used to repeatedly point to Gibbons' work on Rome in citing terrifying parallels to 21st century America: 

Schaeffer pointed out:

Rome turned to an authoritarian system centered in Caesar himself. Before the days of of Caesar, the senate could not keep order. Armed gangs terrorized the city of Rome and the normal processes of government were disrupted as rivals fought for power. Self interest became more significant than social interest. (pg. 21)

A culture or an individual with a weak base can stand only when the pressure is not too great. (pg. 23)

Gibbons viewed the fall of Rome based on factors such as love of luxury, wide gap between the rich and the poor, a decadent thirst for violence and sex, and an increased dependency to live off of the state.

Schaeffer ends his chapter on Rome in a chilling tone:

As the Roman economy slumped lower and lower, burdened with an aggravated inflation and a costly government, authoritarianism increased to counter the apathy.... freedoms were lost.... So, because of the general apathy and its results, and because of oppressive control, few thought the old civilization worth saving. (pg. 29)

So I do think of Shaeffer when I see the images of our cities burning. And though very sad, I refuse to ever give up hope.

The images today of poverty, war, crime, and violence can wear down anyone's optimism.

In 2011, a friend encouraged me to check out the AMC show The Walking Dead. I rolled my eyes and laughed at him....."That will not happen... I'm not into zombies."

"You have to see it," he said, "it has little to do with is about human beings in crisis. It is fascinating!"

And so I tried it out and the Netflix binge took over.

Now, I cannot recommend all aspects of the show..but the struggle of faith and hope in a world of chaos and despair is mesmerizing. The writers and actors are exceptional.

And it makes me have to answer the question? Do I give up and let evil run its course without resistance?.. or am I willing to continue to serve, believe, work, and hope?

I want to do the latter:

But if we are to do this.. there has to be a clarion call of unity and a willingness to find understanding.

There is a difference in protest and riotous criminality.

Disagreement with authority is not an excuse for un-civil disobedience.

Freedom of speech is NOT a license to destroy.

Freedom of religion is NOT freedom from religious expressions

Would it help to think of a spiritual battle...almost like the living vs the zombies?

This is not a veiled justification of violence........ you don't kill these zombies..but they don't get a say so in the struggle.... and they do get locked up when they go astray.

The living upholds virtue and the rule of  law.

The living believes in the goodness of values and life.

The living pull together in hope and support.

The living cry and weep at pain and suffering.. they heal wounds and share water/food.

The living sacrifice for the good of others.

The living believe in a political party or system, but country needs outweigh partisan divides.

And the zombies?

All zombies do is destroy according to their insatiable appetites.....

zombies have no law.... no care

zombies are found among all people groups, creeds, socio-economic status, and faith traditions.

zombies spread the infection of chaos and self motivated destruction

zombies do not respond to appeals for reason

zombies have no community and no cares

It is way past time for the living to pull together and resist any justification for actions of the zombies.

Our very future is at stake!

[13] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13–14 ESV)

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