Monday, July 8, 2013

Francis Schaeffer on Cultural Death

Our day is not totally unique.  Time after time Christian cultures have thrown themselves away.  Take, for example, the church of the Apostle Thomas in India.  It began to whittle away at the truth.  So the church largely died.  There are two ways to bring about such death: one is to compromise the truth, and the other to have a dead orthodoxy.  Both can equally grind down and destroy the message of a church in a generation, especially if the generation is hard.  Do we realize that in China at about the year A.D. 800 there were Christian churches in almost every great city?  Do we realize that there were hundreds of Christians in the Arabian peninsula just before Mohammed in A.D. 550?  Why was it that Mohammedanism was able to rush over that country?  Because of military force?  Not only that.  When Mohammed came forward and looked at the Christians he said, "There's nothing here."  And he was largely right.  Mohammedanism started, and it swept that portion of the world.  The same thing was true with the church in North Africa, and the primitive church in Armenia, in Georgia, in Gaul.  In each of these places there was a Christian church and a growing Christian culture, but the church collapsed.  The pattern is clear: defection and then destruction.

And we as Christians today, what are we saying?  We are saying that we want reformation and we want revival, but still we are not preaching into this generation, stating the negative things that are necessary.  If there is to be a constructive revolution in the orthodox, evangelical church, then like Jeremiah we must speak of the judgment of individual men great and small, of the church, the state, and the culture, for many of them have known the truth of God and have turned away from Him and His propositional revelation.  God exists, He is holy, and we must know that there will be judgment.  And like Jeremiah, we must keep on so speaking regardless of the cost to ourselves.
Francis Schaeffer Death in the City (1969) in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview volume 4, pp. 255-256.