Thursday, March 26, 2009

Francis Schaeffer's Absolute Limits Bible Believing Christians Cannot Compromise.

In his book The Church Before the Watching World, Francis Schaeffer set forth some limits that orthodox, Bible-believing Christians cannot compromise, and cannot cross. He speaks of two types of concepts: 1) Intrinsic Concepts; and 2) those concepts that are true only after the Fall.

Intrinsic Concepts: things as true before the Fall as after the Fall.
  • God exists and He is free. Christianity does not have a deterministic system. God did not create because He had to. God does not need the creation, the way the creation needs him. God is a personal God, but he had personal relationship and communication on the high order of the Trinity. "The persons of the Trinity loved each other and communicated with each other before the creation of all things. God exists, and He did not need to create." (168)
  • "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelations 4:11)
  • God created out of nothing, and the infinity of the Judeo-Christian, personal God is of such a nature that when He created He did not need to put chance back of Himself.
  • The Persons of the Trinity must be kept distinct. There is true unity and diversity, not behind God but in God. This is ontologically true of the Trinity before the creation of all else.
    "Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24). "Let us make man in our own image." (Gen. 1:26)
  • God has a character, and His holiness is part of His character. God's holiness involves moral content. Some thing conform to His nature, and some things do not.
    Of course, this has tremendous ramifications, for the fact that God is holy means something to the individual and it means something to the group. It demands holiness in our personal life and holiness in the church in both life and doctrine. . . . And yet we fall off the opposite cliff if we forget that God is love. (p173).
The Absolute Limits which are true only after the Fall.
    Orthodox Christians believe in the brute fact of the historic, space-time Fall. The historic Fall is not an interpretation; it is a brute fact. There is no room for hermeneutics here, if by hermeneutics we mean explaining away the bruge factness of the Fall. That there was a Fall is not an upper-story statement--that is, it is not in this sense a "theological" or "religious" statement. Rather, it is a historic, space-time, brute fact, propositional statement. (p174).
  • Christ's death and resurrection are historic, space-time brute facts that have already occurred, and the second coming of Christ is a historic, space-time brute fact that will occur in the future. (p174).
  • We must reject the concept of subjectivity with regard to these historical events; but we must also realize that these brute facts are not just theological abstractions or bare propositions. They are to have meaning in our present lives, and they are to be acted upon in our present lives. There is no Christian doctrine that does not have meaning in the existential, moment-by-moment life. (p175)
  • Justification must not be confused with sanctification
  • Justification is once-for-all, and this justification is not to be confused with the moment-by-moment Christian life. Justification is once-for-all, and yet if there are no signs of such a moment-by-moment Christian life, we must question whether or not there has ever been justification. (p176)
  • There is such a thing as absolute right and absolute wrong in systems.

1 comment:

  1. Schaeffer is one of my favorite Christian writers. He had a great mind and a great eye for culture and how people think. He has influenced my writing in my blog.