Francis Schaeffer – A Dead, Ugly Orthodoxy

10 Aug


Let us emphasize again as we have before: we believe with all our hearts that Christian truth can be presented in propositions, and that anybody who diminishes the concept of the propositionalness of the Word of God is playing into twentieth-century, non-Christian hands. But, and it is a great and strong but, the end of Christianity is not the repetition of mere propositions. Without the proper propositions you cannot have that which should follow. But after having the correct propositions, the end of the matter is to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds. The end of the matter, after we know about God in the revelation He has given in verbalized, propositional terms in the Scripture, is to be in relationship to Him. A dead, ugly orthodoxy with no real spiritual reality must be rejected as sub-Christian.

~Francis Schaeffer

Two Contents, Two Realities, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer (vol. 3, Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 416.

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7 Responses to “Francis Schaeffer – A Dead, Ugly Orthodoxy”

  1. Steven Hoyt August 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    “Without the proper propositions you cannot have that which should follow.”

    without the proper sentences? without the proper ideas?

    this is piss poor epistemology, or even layman reasoning in terms of common sense!

    ideas form first from perceptions. these solidify into concepts. concepts petrify into nearly static images, well defined.

    god is an idea, a perception about and from the world. to say one can form from there, proper, correct images of god can only be to say that “god” is nothing more than a communal fiat no one can change without shattering in some way or other.

    what schaeffer really implies is that, quite astutely, belief entails to action. but when one realizes consciously that belief entails to action and that god is ineffable, “god” (our concrete, petrified, static images of) is all that is left that we can be taking about. in that case, god is not the referent of our god-talk. human well-being and our moral conscious is. so, why else would we say god is good when evil exists in the world, that god loves while there is suffering and indifference in nature? we believe about god what we most desire and expect from ourselves.

    theologically, this is right to conclude because we are icons of god, in his likeness, sacraments in ourselves.

    much to schaeffer’s dismay perhaps then, propositions — sentences purporting to obtain fregean truth-values — are fairly useless, speaking to reality rather humanity. the only truth to god is in our ideals, not ideas, going by the name “god”, whose only truth is the existential worth in the praxis of seeking the good.

    sentences mean little. ideas are not interesting because we deem them to “be the case”. what matters is what is at the end of believing something to be the, because we always “act as if” as a result. what means everything is the perception of some “big other”, that it ought to be goodness itself, then our coming to experience god (goodness itself) by participating in that goodness by doing the good.

    whatever revelation there is to be had about god, it can only be found in human experience, not in remedial syllogism.

    just a thought.

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert August 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

      Well I would completely disagree with any idea that God’s Revelation is some “remedial syllogism”! God’s Word is itself GOD’s voice & Spirit, which with the Incarnation of Jesus/Yeshua the Christ/Messiah and Lord is both the “Logos” and The “Rhema” (note Jesus statement in John 4: 23-24, and in 22 “for salvation is of the Jews.”) True Christians are always Judeo-Christians! Indeed GOD is His own presupposition. And any subjective and human experience that is from God MUST include redemption!

      • Steven Hoyt August 11, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

        no one rational begins a thought by presupposing it is true. good is not any supposition at all. moreover, to make all of the claims you have about scripture and so on, it’s completely dubious because they’re merely fiats, just like every person speaking to their own holy texts and gods. a conversation about “true christians” is nothing but a conversation about “true scotsman”. finally, logos is not a person nor is memra, its hebrew equivalent in the old testament. it is will, intent, mind, reason; jesus was how god planned for everyone to be in the world, the archetype of humanity.

      • Steven Hoyt August 11, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

        “god”, not “good” … bad text gesturing.

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert August 11, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

        Well, whatever your speaking about? It’s not Biblical Theology! I think your on the wrong blog mate, deism, if even you believe that.. is NOT been spoken about here. Btw, God does not negate logic, but He often transcends it, being GOD! Ya might want to get into some Western Philosophy? And JESUS IS the Logos/Word itself! If we believe Holy Scripture! (John 1: 1) Just basic Christian Biblical Theology.

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert August 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

        1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

        *The Great Johannine Introduction: 1: 1-18, both historicity & spiritual symbolism: The Signs. The first half of the Gospel is built up almost entirely of a series of signs and interpretative discourses. Some of the greatest revelation of God!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert August 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

        The Juxtaposition of the Two Testaments, by Wilhelm Niesel (from his book: The Theology Of Calvin, page 109, Lutterworth Press, London 1956).

        ‘The juxtaposition and succession of the two Testaments emphasizes the fact that they do NOT aim at giving us religious and moral instruction, or holding ideas ideals before our minds, but at the testifying to the Word which at a given moment in the history of world became flesh. For this reason there is is a before and after. Since at that moment not just any event, nor even a merely momentous event, took place in the history of humanity, but rather God’s only begotten [One and Only] Son entered the world, the time before just as much as the time after was shaped by the operation of the event itself. But this must be rightly understood. Had Jesus Christ been only a man, a religious personality of the greatest dimensions, then His coming might well have been surmised in advance. But this is not what is meant when we say that the action of Jesus Christ shaped the time which preceded Him. What is meant is rather this: because the Incarnate Word is God, His efficacy is not restricted to our own Christian era. Hence He could already by the word of His witnesses and the sacramental cultus draw near to the saints near to the saints of the old covenant and bestow Himself upon them. For this reason the Old Testament does not merely reflect a people’s religious consciousness nor its words simply point as signposts to the one Word; rather they communicate the reality of that Word to the hearers when the Holy Ghost/Spirit renders the latter responsive. If any one interprets the Old Testament otherwise, he is forgetting in his blindness that Christ “was true God who from the beginning and without intermission has spread the wings of His grace.” ‘ (Calvin, CR=Corpus Reformatorum-Calvin’s Works 9, 305.)

        *The term “Covenant” would of course be better than “Testament”. In some way and sense the Two Covenants really are One, but ‘In Christ’, i.e. God In Christ, and the Incarnation! (Fr. R.)

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