A Christian Manifesto (Schaeffer)

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Puritanboard Clerk
It is hard to critique Schaeffer, given the man's love for the lost and for culture. I will focus much of my critique on Schaeffer's political ethic expressed in A Christian Manifesto. Here Schaeffer, following Samuel Rutherford, argues that when Caesar goes beyond his authority Christians are to, in increasing levels of intensity and in this order: 1) protest in the public square, 2) flee to different lands, and finally 3) resist by armed force led by the lesser civil magistrate. I can critique this along the lines that it presupposes a Constitutional government found in Western countries. Furthermore, given the American context, if Congress has refused to impeach the Supreme Court by legal means, what guarantees they will do so by armed means?

On another level, and hinted at above, Schaeffer assumes (without question, almost) the normativity of Lockean Democratic Republicanism. Why is this government better than monarchy, or even fascism? That question is never asked, much less answered. In other words, Schaeffer's proposal, while drawing upon Rutherford at some points, depends primarily upon Enlightenment secularity at others. The reason Schaeffer's manifesto will fail is he proposes the secular in place of the secular.

Schaeffer also appeared to plagiarize Rushdoony in writing this work. Go to google and type in "gary north, rushdoony, schaeffer, and plagiarism" and see how North details THE WHOLE PAGES OF RUSHDOONY'S WORK ON AMERICAN HISTORY that Schaeffer stole without crediting Rushdoony (mind you, he couldn't have credited Rushdoony, for that would have been embarrassing).

My references will be to the 1982 edition of Christian Manifesto. All of this is spelled out in Tactics of Christian Resistance, pp.116ff.

Pp 92-93 summarize Rushdoon's p. 94 of the One and the Many, even referencing Legge, whom Rushdoony references, yet failing to cite Rushdoony's name. North writes, "There are other examples of Dr. Schaeffer's dependence on Rev. Rushdoony's researches, going all the way back to 1963, when Dr. Schaeffer delivered two lectures based on an early spiral-bound version of Rev. Rushdoony's This Independent Republic. (The lectures, entitled "Relativism in the 20th Century," are available on four cassette tapes for $16 from L'Abri Cassettes, P.O. Box 2035, Michigan City, IN 46360; we recommend them highly. ) p. 126

There are other lapses, but they involve other books so I will leave it at that. On to the Rutherford point: Schaeffer only follows *part* of Rutherford's model. It's not clear that Schaeffer counseled point number four of Rutherford: armed resistance.
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