No, I am not talking about a political debate.
Francis Schaeffer wrote a book in the early 1970’s entitled Escape from Reason.
Back in the 1970’s if you wanted to do apologetics well, you had to understand what apologetics was all about. Read carefully and memorize:
Apologetics is the philosophical defense of the trinitarian theistic faith.
I memorized this definition in 1972 because I wanted to, as the Jesus People Hippies called it, defend my faith!
There were atheistic hippies, anarchists, and too many young people going to Yellow Springs, Ohio, to get LSD. All of which I encountered on a regular basis.
I needed to defend my faith.
Enter Steve. I used to tell others that when the Apostle Paul wrote about enemies of the cross of Christ, that I was sure that Steve had qualified. (Philippians 3:18)
Steve would visit our ministry house (called the One Way House) and challenge those who had just accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. He said believing Jesus and actual truth were foolishness.
Steve’s point – no truth existed. Someone who believed in Jesus should be considered narrow minded and irrational.
As a Jesus Freak who had just memorized the definition of apologetics – a philosophical defense of the trinitarian theistic faith – I realized that I had to know more than the definition.
I read Francis Schaeffer’s book Escape from Reason. Well, I literally memorized this book. When Steve appeared the next day, I sat down with him. He had a smug look on his face, as previously he had squashed my arguments like a bug.
But Steve had never encountered Jesus Freak Grant who not only could define apologetics but also had memorized Francis Schaeffer’s book Escape from Reason!
I spewed forth all the Bible passages that I knew on sin, heresy, and hardness of heart, then took an hour and just quoted the entire Escape from Reason. Steve looked at me with a blank look on his face and I believe he was thinking, “How did Grant get so smart?”
I probably should have mentioned it was Francis Schaeffer, but I didn’t!
Steve looked at me and then at all the hippies who were sitting around listening to my Francis Schaeffer inspired apologetics. He got up and left, never to be heard from again.
I have always remembered Schaeffer’s quote from the book:
There are certain unchangeable facts which are true. These have no relationship to the shifting tides. They make the Christian system what it is, and if they are altered, Christianity becomes something else. This must be emphasized because there are evangelical Christians today who, in all sincerity, are concerned with their lack of communication, but in order to bridge the gap they are tending to change what must remain unchangeable. If we do this, we are no longer communicating Christianity, and what we have left is no different from the surrounding consensus. But we cannot present a balanced picture if we stop here. We must realize that we are facing a rapidly changing historical situation, and if we are going to talk to people about the gospel we need to know what is the present ebb and flow of thought-forms. Unless we do this the unchangeable principles of Christianity will fall on deaf ears.
Written about 50 years ago but still relevant.
Francis Schaeffer taught that literally there had been an escape from reason. And since no truth, you synthesized (put together for yourself) what you wanted to believe considering both science and faith.
This merge became “super” science that should dictate public policy.
Schaeffer showed that society had removed “truth” as knowable, so fend for yourself in developing “your” truth!
Bombastic fusillades on social media with one truth-sayer attacking another truth-sayer, both believing their own truth, but trying to assert their truth by out-screaming the other – all were prophesied by Francis Schaeffer 50 years ago.
False science, being rude, quoting only supporting facts while ridiculing contrasting evidence, all play into modern debate.
When truth is determined by argument, then Battle, Battle, Battle! When Christians join this battle, they lose the fight at the onset. Our apologetics today is not arguing, as I did with Steve, but living the relevance of belief in a true God.
Jesus says, “The meek will inherit the earth.”
If the mind has been reduced to irrational ramblings of self-speak, the method most needed is a counterattack by Christians who have peace and live a life of Biblically defined “agape” love.
And to be honest, I am talking about political debate.