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Frank Schaeffer, will you PLEASE shut up! (part 1)

One of my favorite polemics of all time is a piece by Dr. Gary North, Franky Schaeffer, Please Shut Up! (no copyright; reprint anywhere), a March 1992 postion paper on blasphemy published by the Institute for Christian Economics (ICE). You won’t find the PDF file easily on a Google search, so I’ve posted the correct link above.

In the paper, Gary takes issue with Franky Schaeffer’s bad theology. Schaeffer apparently was appalled at the wares being hawked by Christian t-shirt companies at a book-sellers conference he attended. According to Franky (who now goes by just “Frank”) those who produce these schlocky evangelical icons are somehow guilty of “blasphemy.” Gary North, in his inimitable style, takes Frank to the woodshed. The writings of his father, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, were that of a momumental genius who made an important early contribution to both the burgeoning Christian Reconstructionist movement and the so-called “Religious Right.” Gary rightly points out though that Schaeffer Sr. stopped short of being postmillennial and theonomic. Further, the publishers of Schaeffer’s complete theological works edited out some of his Calvinistic doctrines that they thought would be distasteful to their readers. (But this is just a rough and dirty synopsis of the paper. To read it all, follow the above link.)

Frank Schaeffer is a product of this inconsistent theology. Afraid to go “too far” into the austerity of Puritanism, he swung toward Eastern Orthodoxy around 1990. Now 20 years later, he’s done another about face and has even renounced his father’s pro-life views. He states that he’s personally against abortion, but it should be legal. We recently saw him on the Rachel Maddow show claiming, “And when you look at what happened to Dr. Tiller, there is a direct line connecting the rhetoric that I was part of as a young man, and this murder.”

On his website, he substitutes personal attacks for reasoned argument. Those who oppose government imposed health care are “the gun-toting fringe.” He speaks with mock authority on the motivation of pro-life movement as a “psychological sickness that is the basis of the Religious right’s power to delude other people who are also needy and unstable.”

He’s now making the news talk show rounds in an attempt to promote his new book claiming that we who work to repeal Roe v. Wade are evil Pharisees – even while he pontificates on why Roe was a bad decision. To those who admire his father’s legacy, seeing Frank the younger go through such convolutions is not only infuriating, but also dizzying.

I’ll comment more on this in part 2, but here is a snippet from Gary North. Reading this, keep in mind that it was written prior to Frank Schaeffer’s slide into complete apostasy. It turns out that Gary North is a prophet.

In the fall of 1984, Franky cancelled all his future Christian audience speaking engagements, and he disbanded his own Christian Activist tabloid newspaper a few months later. He sold the tabloid’s mailing list and then disappeared from the evangelical scene. For a while, anyway. Franky simply could not sustain the theological battle without the inspiring presence of his father and without biblical law.

He goes away periodically, but he refuses to stay away. This is our problem. He has nothing positive to show for the last fifteen years of his on-again, off-again tantrums, nothing of quality to bring to the table, no published theory of Christian aesthetics, no plan of action, and no money. But he reappears periodically to perform his routine, which can be best described as whining for artistic relevance. Each performance gets more frivolous, and each one is directed not at the increasingly decadent humanist culture of our day, but at the tentative steps of evangelicals to respond, a century late, to the enormous threat of a now visibly debauched humanism.

Ironically, Franky’s father was the primary public literary figure in the appearance of the Christian cultural resistance movement. But Franky spends his time these days battling what he regards as the Philistines of fundamentalism rather than the Assyrians of humanism. Fundamentalists do not meet his standards, he tells us. Not his theological standards – he has none to speak of – but his artistic standards.

This, from a washed-up producer-director of an R-rated teenage violence film. “Physician, heal thyself!”

Freddy and Franky

There is a stupid horror movie series, enormously profitable, called Nightmare on Elm Street. The character of the series, Freddy Krueger, is like Dracula: he keeps rising from the dead. He has a shriveled up face and wears gloves with long metal blades. The advertising for each sequel announces, “He’s back!” Freddy Kruezer reminds me of Franky Schaeffer. We think he has gone, but he keeps coming back.

I think of Freddy’s long, blade-like fingers. I think of Franky, always ready to point the finger. Yet when I visualize Franky as Freddy, it is always with his “pointing finger” firmly implanted in his right nostril. “Look at me, look at me, everyone; see how outrageous I can be this week!” No matter whose reputation suffers.

There comes a time for Christian social commentators to discuss theology. Franky refuses. There also comes a time for Christians to grow up. Franky refuses. For years, Franky Schaeffer has been playing the role of Young Turk. He is not aging gracefully.

Francis Schaeffer was a serious man who devoted his life to evangelism. His son has devoted his life to whining. Even when he is on the right side of an issue, he whines. Francis Schaeffer was a self-taught, self-disciplined scholar, not a Young Turk with bad manners. I do not recall that he ever called a fellow Christian a blasphemer.

Franky Schaeffer has capitalized on his father’s name and reputation for over fifteen years, squandering a valuable legacy. He has little spiritual or intellectual capital remaining. It is time for him to go out and look for a job.

In the 1960’s, liberal talk show host David Suskind bored America weekly with his five-hour interview shows on late night television. A humorist wrote a song about him: “David Suskind, Please Shut Up.” Someone needs to write one for Franky Schaeffer. It needn’t be funny.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

Thank you for this insightful article. I am looking forward to part 2. :)

Posted by Friend for Life on 09/09/2009 11:37 AM #

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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