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Frank Schaeffer: Son of Evangelical Royalty Turns His Back, and Tells the Tale
New York Times ^ | 08/20/2011 | MARK OPPENHEIMER

Posted on 08/21/2011 5:29:10 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — In every line of work, there are family businesses. But no business is more defined by dynasties and nepotism than evangelical preaching. Lyman Beecher, Bob Jones, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Robert H. Schuller, Jim Bakker: all had sons who became ministers.

It is never easy stepping into Dad’s shoes, of course. But when the family business is religion, it is especially perilous. That is one of the central laments, anyway, of “Sex, Mom, & God,” a new memoir by Frank Schaeffer. To secular Americans, the name Frank Schaeffer means nothing. But to millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince. His crime is not financial profligacy, like some pastors’ sons, but turning his back on Christian conservatives.

Mr. Schaeffer, who is now 59 and lives north of Boston, grew up in L’Abri, a Christian community in Switzerland founded by his parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer. In the 1960s, L’Abri was known in Christian circles as a drop-by haven for intellectually curious evangelicals, who could live in the mountains for a few days or even a few years, talking with Francis and Edith about the Bible, Christian art or existentialism. Mr. Schaeffer grew up surrounded by heady talk and, as he discusses in his memoir, tempted by the young women who passed through. He got one of them pregnant when he was 17, then married her.

In the 1970s, Mr. Schaeffer’s eccentric, relatively obscure family became wealthy and influential. Books like “The God Who Is There,” published in 1968, made his father a hero to American evangelicals, including future political activists like Jerry Falwell.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Orthodox Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: enemedia; evangelicals; francisschaeffer; frankieschaeffer; frankschaeffer; frankyschaeffer; markoppenheimer; mediatool; nytimes; prodigals
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1 posted on 08/21/2011 5:29:15 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Mr. Schaeffer, who is now 59 and lives north of Boston, grew up in L’Abri, a Christian community in Switzerland founded by his parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer. In the 1960s, L’Abri was known in Christian circles as a drop-by haven for intellectually curious evangelicals, who could live in the mountains for a few days or even a few years, talking with Francis and Edith about the Bible, Christian art or existentialism. Mr. Schaeffer grew up surrounded by heady talk and, as he discusses in his memoir, tempted by the young women who passed through. He got one of them pregnant when he was 17, then married her.

In the 1970s, Mr. Schaeffer’s eccentric, relatively obscure family became wealthy and influential. Books like “The God Who Is There,” published in 1968, made his father a hero to American evangelicals, including future political activists like Jerry Falwell.

With such a son, who needs enemies? To be sure, Frank tries to nuance the conclusion: "I once thought Dad's ability to present two very different faces to the world—one to his family and one to the public—was gross hypocrisy. I think very differently now. I believe Dad was a very brave man," one who simply had to "carry on"—the victim, presumably, of his own unresolved but inadmissible inner tensions. Yet there is no way round it. Francis Schaeffer, in his son's portrait, lacked intellectual integrity. There was a lie at the very heart of the work of L'Abri, and the thousands of people who over the decades came to L'Abri and came to faith or deepened in faith, were obviously conned too.

I challenge this central charge of Frank's with everything in me. I and many of my closest friends, who knew the Schaeffers well, are certain beyond a shadow of doubt that they would challenge it too. Defenders of truth to others, Francis and Edith Schaeffer were people of truth themselves.

For six years I was as close to Frank as anyone outside his own family, and probably closer than many in his family. I was his best man at his wedding. Life has taken us in different directions over the past thirty years, but I counted him my dear friend and went through many of the escapades he recounts and many more that would not bear rehearsing in print. It pains me to say, then, that his portrait is cruel, distorted, and self-serving, but I cannot let it pass unchallenged without a strong insistence on a different way of seeing the story. There is all the difference in the world between flaws and hypocrisy. Francis and Edith Schaeffer were lions for truth. No one could be further from con artists, even unwitting con artists, than the Francis and Edith Schaeffer I knew, lived with, and loved....

- Os Guinness, "Fathers and Sons", a review of Frank Schaeffer's book Crazy for God.


2 posted on 08/21/2011 5:37:43 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed: he's hated on seven continents)
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To: SeekAndFind

During the first Gulf War my husband was in an armor unit.
Moving forward in the night, they found themselves in the middle of a mine field. They halted until morning when they could identify the mines and move on safely. Dangerous.
It came to me that even in the midst of a huge battle where 100’s or more could lose their lives in a single action...we pass into eternity and God’s presence one by one.
All our excuses for rejecting God will be useless. At some point everyone of us is personally responsible for what we think of Christ. The rest is garbage.


3 posted on 08/21/2011 5:42:01 PM PDT by WestwardHo
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To: SeekAndFind
Is this a hit piece on Michelle Bachmann ?

4 posted on 08/21/2011 5:43:43 PM PDT by Uriel-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Alex Murphy

“He found the television pastor Pat Robertson and some of his colleagues to be “idiots,” he told me last week, when we met for coffee in western Massachusetts.”

Say whatcha want ‘bout his book, AM; he’s sure got this part right.


5 posted on 08/21/2011 5:44:04 PM PDT by flowerplough (Pelosi on Republicans: "They want to destroy food safety, clean air, clean water, ...")
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I really don't understand this. The Times is a paper largely written by and largely read by left-wing secular Jews. I get that they don't like Christians, serious Christians at any rate. But why this obsession? Why all this bigotry? Most Times readers/writers live in places and move in circles where they never MEET a serious, believing Christian. And yet the hit pieces never stop. Bizarre.
6 posted on 08/21/2011 5:44:18 PM PDT by Godwin1
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To: SeekAndFind

“But to millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal”

Admittedly I’ve only been a Christian 6 years now but I’ve never heard of the man.


7 posted on 08/21/2011 5:44:42 PM PDT by Grunthor (In order; Cain, Palin, Perry, None of the rest matter 'til the general)
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To: SeekAndFind

OK, so the kid of Christian Evangelicals grew up to be a hypocrite. I’m not sure why anyone would buy his book, unless they just want to feed their already established prejudices against Christians.


8 posted on 08/21/2011 5:49:12 PM PDT by keats5 (Not all of us are hypnotized.)
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To: Grunthor
Admittedly I’ve only been a Christian 6 years now but I’ve never heard of the man.

I'm not surprised. Francis died in 1984. These might help:

The Letters of Francis Schaeffer:
Letter One: The Reawakening of Spiritual Reality
Letter Two: Gradually My Thinking Has Changed
Letter Three: On Resting
Letter Four: A Root Planted in a Garden
Letter Five: On Sickness
Letter Six: The Art of Spiritual Growth
Letter Seven: No Perfect People, Physically or Psychologically
Letter Eight: Being Angry at God
Letter Nine: Something with Both Usefulness and Beauty
Letter Ten: On Knowing the Presence of God
Letter Eleven: Imperfection and the Continuing Work of Christ
Letter Twelve: Spiritual Battles Draw Real Blood
Letter Thirteen: Times of Strength and Times of Weakness
Letter Fourteen: Salvation, Works and Grace, Eternal Security, and the Sacraments
Letter Fifteen: Do Not Be Afraid of the Past
Letter Sixteen: Everything Is Spiritual Because God Made Everything
Letter Seventeen: Quiet In the Presence of God

Other threads:
L’Abri comes to Roseville - Christian conference provides ‘honest answers to honest questions’
Remembering Francis Schaeffer [25th anniversary of his death: May 15, 1984]
Schaeffer scholars continue his legacy
A Step Forward [Francis Schaeffer on the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) ]
Not Your Father's L'Abri: Swiss retreat now tends to disaffected evangelicals
A (Borrowed) Christmas Reflection [Francis A. Schaeffer's "What Difference Has Looking Made?"]
Using her voice
Morality starts with humanity
Learning to Cry for the Culture: Let's remember Francis Schaeffer's most crucial legacy--tears.
Meeting, talking with Ford always a pleasure
BAPTISM, by Francis Schaeffer [Schaeffer's defense of paedobaptism]
Baylor prof says Francis Schaeffer returned to fundamentalist views [Francis A. Schaeffer]
A Christian Manifesto (Francis A. Schaeffer)
The man who taught Francis A. Schaeffer: Cornelius Van Til
"Let it never be said there was no outcry from the Christians"
"...Our culture and our country deserve to be under the wrath of God..."
Mark of the Christian Pt. 1 (Francis Schaeffer)
The Mark of the Christian Part 2
The Mark of the Christian - Part 3 (Schaeffer)
The Preaching and the Practice of Truth

9 posted on 08/21/2011 5:51:16 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed: he's hated on seven continents)
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To: SeekAndFind

Quick to talk about how the Francis Schaeffer name made it possible for him to make money, I suspect the same is going on here. If he can’t get cash supporting dad, then he’ll get cash bad-mouthing him.


10 posted on 08/21/2011 5:53:52 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True Supporters of our Troops PRAY for their VICTORY!)
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To: Alex Murphy

Thank you for posting the Os Guiness review. A very important rebuttal to Frank Schaeffer’s criticism of his father. It really is a shame how all that turned out.


11 posted on 08/21/2011 5:55:14 PM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: Grunthor

Then you are in for a treat. Google Francis Schaeffer (franks father) and you will get a list of books he wrote on chrisitan apologetics, they are a great read.


12 posted on 08/21/2011 5:55:59 PM PDT by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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To: SeekAndFind

Has Frank ever been born again? His answer to this question will clear up a lot, I think.

If this is a hit piece on his parents, then this is a sad piece. He lived too close to the trees to see the forest. In other words, he can’t see the good that his parents did in other people’s lives.

Kinda reminds me of Ron Reagan, son of our President Reagan.


13 posted on 08/21/2011 5:56:50 PM PDT by Buddygirl
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To: SeekAndFind

IIRC he is an Orthodox Christian having converted to Greek Orthodoxy.


14 posted on 08/21/2011 5:58:35 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: Grunthor

“Admittedly I’ve only been a Christian 6 years now but I’ve never heard of the man.”

I’ve heard of him, although it was really Chuck Colson who revived his memory with his best seeing book, “How Now Shall We Live.” It’s a comprehensive book about the Biblical World view as opposed to today’s self-centered worldly world view, and is based off off Schaeffer’s older classic, “How Then Shall We Live.”

Both are amazing books, and well worth your time, by the way.


15 posted on 08/21/2011 5:59:09 PM PDT by keats5 (Not all of us are hypnotized.)
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To: SeekAndFind

>>> Francis railed against the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Charles Darwin and abortion.

No point in getting into the latter two here, but anybody who rails against the first two or thinks the world prior to the Renaissance and Enlightment was a better place is completely insane.


16 posted on 08/21/2011 6:00:17 PM PDT by ravensandricks (Jesus rides beside me. He never buys any smokes.)
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To: xzins

I attended a Scheaffer seminar in about 1976, after reading all his books. I listened to both father and son; my impression of them then was the father was humble and honest, while the son seemed to me an insufferable, self centered prig who would one day embarass his family.


17 posted on 08/21/2011 6:01:44 PM PDT by Taliesan
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To: Alex Murphy

The book is antithesis to 'A Communist Manifesto' and all things supportive of godless secular humanism.

18 posted on 08/21/2011 6:02:23 PM PDT by tflabo ( to have been selected)
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To: keats5

In a former life I read several of Francis Sheaffer’s books; much of which was over my head. And I saw him on TV with the Falwells and D. James Kennedys over the years. One thing I can assure you: You couldn’t PAY me to read this little snot backstabber’s money-grubbing book!


19 posted on 08/21/2011 6:02:56 PM PDT by Tucker39
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To: ravensandricks

Anybody who thinks Scheaffer held that view has never read him.


20 posted on 08/21/2011 6:04:37 PM PDT by Taliesan
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