The Apostle Paul instructed Christians to be lawful citizens, yes, but not to stay neutral if the government commits evil. In those cases, we can and must work within our republican form of government – because doing nothing is no longer an option.
Deep in the Swiss Alps, a legendary retreat center is a spiritual oasis in an otherwise secular desert. And, no, regrettably, I am not writing from there.
Called L’Abri, it was founded by Christian thinker and writer Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith, also a gifted writer. Since the 1950s, it has been a pilgrimage stop for thousands.
Visitors often have to do dishes and light housework, but they get to hear profound discussions of the Things That Matter. They also get to savor the blessings of a Christian atmosphere in which abominations like Drag Queen Story Hour are unthinkable.
I thought about L’Abri recently while shaking my head, like many Americans, over the latest mass shootings, the sickening corporate embrace of “Pride Month” and the severe damage that the current federal government and popular culture are doing to America.
How did it come to this? How did America, which began as a profoundly Christian nation, produce an administrative state and culture that is de facto atheist, and aggressively so?
The short answer is that our culture has forgotten about God, or worse, thumbed its nose at Him. A new Gallup survey, for example, shows a continuing decline in belief that the Bible is truly God’s Word.
“People today are trying to hang on to the dignity of man, but they do not know how to, because they have lost the truth that man is made in the image of God,” Mr. Schaeffer wrote in 1968 in “Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought.”
“When you tell men long enough that they are machines, it soon begins to show in their actions. You see it in our whole culture – in the theater of cruelty, in the violence in the streets, in the death of man in art and life.”
Since the late 1960s, the Left has waged war against faith, family and freedom, not to mention common sense. Some Democrats left their party when Ronald Reagan offered a sunnier view of America’s future. Now, during the Biden disaster, many more are waking up and fleeing a party that has morphed into a Marxist mess.
Two generations ago, Mr. Schaeffer warned about Godless modernity’s corrosive, siren song in Europe and America and how it was abetted by a weak Christian response.
Mr. Schaeffer’s sharp theological observations have become a lodestone of Christian resistance to a hostile culture. He was a major influence, for example, in persuading evangelical Christians to come alongside Roman Catholics in the pro-life cause in the 1970s and 1980s that finally culminated in last month’s stunning reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Schaeffer wrote 22 books and is best known for two: “A Christian Manifesto” (1981) and “How Should We Then Live?” (1976). In 1977, he released a 10-episode video series of the latter title about Western culture. It’s a fascinating journey through art, architecture, philosophy and social life. Two years later, he teamed with soon-to-be Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to produce the pro-life video series “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?”
In 2022, Americans are facing enormous pressure to adopt secular values. Many government and corporate employees are being told to lie about race, sex, gender and morality in order to keep their jobs. Soldiers are being told they must get COVID shots or lose their pay. Teachers are being told to sexually corrupt children beginning in the youngest grades. In a saner age, this would be actionable and swiftly punished.
While there is fanciful discussion about secession or armed resistance, we can and must work within our republican form of government. This isn’t over. A comeuppance is on the horizon. The Supreme Court is reversing or revising some of its worst rulings, and there is a huge election in November. Doing nothing is no longer an option.
If all else fails, and the perverse ruling elites don’t back off, there is always civil disobedience. Mr. Schaeffer corrected a frequently cited misinterpretation of the Apostle Paul’s admonition in Romans 13 to obey the government. Christians are to be lawful citizens, yes, but not to stay neutral if the government commits evil.
“God has ordained the state as a delegated authority; it is not autonomous,” Mr. Schaeffer wrote in ‘A Christian Manifesto.’ “The state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society. When it does the reverse, it has no proper authority. It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny.”
Thus, the duty of a Christian, and any citizen of good conscience, is to reform our culture and politics, build an alternative culture and, if need be, engage in civil disobedience, not to be confused with violence.
In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, Francis Schaeffer warned us about where we were headed and what to do about it.
The spirit of L’Abri is bright with promise, but ultimately confrontational. When the Light goes on, darkness recedes.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.