HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Christian Manifesto
Author: Francis A. Schaeffer
Publisher: Crossway, republishedd 2005
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Schaeffer, Francis A. A Christian Manifesto (Published in 1981 by Nims Communications; revised edition published in 1982 by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Westchester, IL 60153). In this book, Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society by chronicling the rise and development of the mechanistic material-energy-chance worldview, how it has replaced the Judeo-Christian Biblical ethical tradition as the basis of our modern culture, especially in law and government, and the inevitable results—permissiveness, pornography, the demise of public schools, the breakdown of the family, and abortion. He then calls for Christians to change the course of history by returning to Biblical truth and by allowing Christ to be Lord in all of life, with 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. Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief of World Magazine said, “Schaeffer was right.”
The atheists, humanists, modernists, and other kinds of materialists do not like this book. In fact, they positively despise and abhor it. However, I think that they are also afraid of it, which is why they mischaracterize it. One critic indicated that it promotes a “Wahhabist” kind of theocracy. To this charge Schaeffer replies, “First, we must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the Founding Fathers had no idea of a theocracy. That 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” (p. 120). Another critic wrote that following Schaeffer’s writings would result in a situation like that in “the film Escape from L.A. (1996) with Kurt Russell, and how the society, under a puritan / calvinist president is depicted.” Well, we don’t need a totally fictional film to see where Schaeffer’s ideas might lead.
All we have to do is look at the first 200 years of this nation’s history with its unparalleled degree of freedom and prosperity, because the principles enunciated by Schaeffer were those of our Founding Fathers. No, they were not all “evangelical Christians,” but they all came from a primarily Biblical worldview. Nor do we need some completely imaginary movie scenario to discern what necessarily follows from the mechanistic material-energy-chance worldview espoused by the atheists, humanists, modernists, and other kinds of materialists. All we have to do is look at Nazi Germany; Communist Russia, China, Cuba, and North Korea; and now, perhaps, Socialist Venezuela. Each chapter in this book follows logically from the preceding. Schaeffer shows the philosophical problems of the materialist world view and how it compares to the Christian world view. This book contains a bit of history and a call to action for Christians to be salt and light in a fading world.