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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 Uri’el-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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To: SeekAndFind

Every 4 or 5 years, Frank Schaeffer comes up with some hateful screed against the religion of his father, and the anti-religious media suck it up...

Frank somehow thinks he is relevant. He isn’t. He merely provides an echo chamber for those leftists who already hate evangelicals.


21 posted on 08/21/2011 6:04:38 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat
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To: Godwin1
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?

Secular leftist Jews are trying to drive a wedge between Jews and evangelicals. A support of Israel unites them and this makes leftists crazy.

22 posted on 08/21/2011 6:04:51 PM PDT by RedRover
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To: keats5

By the way, I was speaking of Francis Schaeffer as the author of “How then shall we Live,” and not this goof ball of a son of his.


23 posted on 08/21/2011 6:05:09 PM PDT by keats5 (Not all of us are hypnotized.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The son has become a lefty. That is his main problem. He had a son fight in Iraq and he almost turned a corner. Almost. He wrote a book and I saw him on C-span. He was trying to talk about patriotism and his son and his support of the War and the military. But he did not make the turn. He just touched it and has since got caught by his hate of Christianity unless it is the lefty dribble kind of social gospel. It says something, something not good about a child who makes headline news running down his parents. Sad.


24 posted on 08/21/2011 6:06:01 PM PDT by therut
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To: Alex Murphy
With such a son, who needs enemies?

Unfortunately, not unheard of.


25 posted on 08/21/2011 6:06:39 PM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: Taliesan

Sounds like you were right on target.

Like your handle. In the series by Lawhorn, too. Has he done anything lately?


26 posted on 08/21/2011 6:06:50 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: Grunthor
He is one of the "must read" authors. Read "He Is There and He Is Not Silent." or "The God Who Is There" or "True Spirituality"

Read also, "Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey, one of the many who studied with him.

27 posted on 08/21/2011 6:07:41 PM PDT by LiteKeeper ("Who is John Galt?")
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To: Taliesan

Fair enough, and I will grant that I should know better than to accept any sentence in the NYT as truth.


28 posted on 08/21/2011 6:12:25 PM PDT by ravensandricks (Jesus rides beside me. He never buys any smokes.)
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To: Buddygirl

Ron and Frankie, two creepy, jealous, hypocritical little punks. The real problem is that they can’t measure up to their dads!


29 posted on 08/21/2011 6:13:12 PM PDT by rejoicing
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To: SeekAndFind

I watch an episode of How Shall We Then Live? every Friday night. Narrated by Francis Schaeffer, the series is from like 1977. 10 episodes, they rotate down the line each week. It is an EXCELLENT series that can fit totally into your life today. Timeless.


30 posted on 08/21/2011 6:20:29 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: ravensandricks

He did not “rail” against these. I have seen his series on it.

He points out clearly that the Renaissance/Enlightenment in Southern Europe was based in humanism, which ultimately could not answer the big questions and because man is its foundation, moral relativism makes everything ultimately meaningless. The Reformation in the North was based in Christianity and produced far different results.


31 posted on 08/21/2011 6:27:37 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I always liked “How Shall We Then Live?”


32 posted on 08/21/2011 6:29:57 PM PDT by LouAvul
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To: tflabo

Oh my...I have cherished the writings of Francis Schaeffer. One day I stumbled upon a “Frankie Schaeffer” book and eagerly started to read to see the next generation’s thoughts. Immediately I knew this was a son who did not know Christ. Prayers for Frankie that he will some day come to know Jesus and see the truth that his mother and father saw and lived so clearly


33 posted on 08/21/2011 6:42:22 PM PDT by happyhomemaker (That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children)
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To: SeekAndFind

My wife just turned 75 this past Friday (8-19-11), we celebrated our 53rd anniversay last March 8. We met at church in Indianapolis (her home town).

Her testimony, at the age of about 13, her parents sent her to a summer church Bible camp in southern Indiana. She did not want to go.

The Schaffers were not known at that time, but they were teachers at the camp. Linda accepted Christ as her Lord & Saviour while attending the Bible camp.

Over the years we received letters from and about their work, and their family. They were a blessing to both of us and our children.

We both read most of his writings and loved them, I guess its time to re-read them.(Especially:”The Mark of a Christian” and “How Then Should We Live?”

As to the left media: They are a dying breed, they would delight in a making a hero of the first man born into this world, Cain,some would try to prove: “Judus never got a fair shake!”


34 posted on 08/21/2011 6:43:02 PM PDT by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
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To: Alex Murphy

Thanks for listing their writings. My memory is refreshed on the years our family read those books, and attended the movies related these books and booklets.


35 posted on 08/21/2011 6:46:15 PM PDT by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
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To: SeekAndFind

The other night I heard one of the sons (I really can’t remember who it was), describe it not as nepotism but “generational leverage.” If it wasn’t a sin I’d swear to it.


36 posted on 08/21/2011 7:04:36 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Grunthor

I have been a Christian for quit a while and I have never heard of them.


37 posted on 08/21/2011 7:16:02 PM PDT by vpintheak (Democrats: Robbing humans of their dignity 1 law at a time)
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To: WestwardHo

Amen! You got that right. Thanks for the post


38 posted on 08/21/2011 7:19:32 PM PDT by normy (Don't take it personally, just take it seriously.)
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To: Taliesan

I know other L’Abri visitors from that era and they say the same thing about Franky. He had, shall we say, “issues” even then. He does not deserve the time of day today—he is off-the-wall crazy. His apologetics for Eastern Orthodoxy are embarrassingly over-the-top vicious.

That the NYTimes gives the time of day to him when it won’t deign to pay attention to other serious Christian thinkers only proves how shallow, stoooooopppppiiiid and mendaciously bigoted toward Christians the NYTimes is.

And the content of this article is years old. This is not news—that Franky Schaeffer is dumping on the memory of his father who cannot defend himself—that is not news.

NYTimes is a piece ‘o work, for sure.


39 posted on 08/21/2011 7:21:04 PM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: ravensandricks

You wrote:

“anybody who rails against the first two or thinks the world prior to the Renaissance and Enlightment was a better place is completely insane.”

The Age of Faith was a better time in some ways.


40 posted on 08/21/2011 7:22:24 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

I think they need to re-write this article ... start over with a new premise. “In every line of work, there are family businesses. But no business is more defined by dynasties and nepotism than HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY and POLITICS.”


41 posted on 08/21/2011 7:34:15 PM PDT by carmody
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To: RedRover

“Secular leftist Jews are trying to drive a wedge between Jews and evangelicals. A support of Israel unites them and this makes leftists crazy.”

This is an incredibly succinct and inarguable statement.


42 posted on 08/21/2011 7:39:01 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: ravensandricks

“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.”

Please don’t judge Francis Schaeffer by what this biased reporter says.


43 posted on 08/21/2011 7:53:52 PM PDT by Rocky (REPEAL IT!)
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To: WestwardHo

that reminds me of something I read and it ended with:

“In the end it is between you and God and always has been.”


44 posted on 08/21/2011 8:06:52 PM PDT by cubreporter (From TEA to Shining TEA - Go Rush Limbaugh..a giant of all that is good.)
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To: WestwardHo

that reminds me of something I read and it ended with:

“In the end it is between you and God and always has been.”


45 posted on 08/21/2011 8:06:56 PM PDT by cubreporter (From TEA to Shining TEA - Go Rush Limbaugh..a giant of all that is good.)
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To: Houghton M.

All of this has nothing to do with anything other than that the NYT discovered that at some point Michelle Bachmann stated that one of the most influential books in her life was “How Shall We Then Live?”

So they started poking around to see what hay they could make out of that and ran into Frankie. Bingo.


46 posted on 08/21/2011 8:39:08 PM PDT by fightinJAG (Please stop posting "helpful hints" in parentheses the title box. Thank you.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Remember that the Israelites turned to idols not long after their deliverance from Egypt.

At bare minimum Mr. Schaeffer is not honoring his father and mother. Not the mark of a disciple of the Master.

47 posted on 08/21/2011 8:57:40 PM PDT by Bosco (Remember how you felt on September 11?)
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To: Bosco

Before all this nonsense about him converting to something or other, Franky had some very very good books. He’s a talented writer. I credit Franky with swaying me to a pro-life viewpoint.


48 posted on 08/21/2011 9:10:18 PM PDT by tenger (It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for. -Will Rogers)
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To: tenger
Right, I remember those days. Didn't read the books, just knew from other Christian friends that they were good.

But the Christian life isn't a sprint, it's a long distance race. Paul encouraged all Christians to finish strong and remain true to the faith.

49 posted on 08/21/2011 9:13:11 PM PDT by Bosco (Remember how you felt on September 11?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Washington Post, 7/10/11 | Jane Smiley

“[Schaeffer’s] memoirs have a way of winning a reader’s friendship… Schaeffer is a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny… Frank seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics… Frank has been straightforward and entertaining in his campaign to right the political wrongs he regrets committing in the 1970s and ‘80s… As someone who has made redemption his work, he has, in fact, shown amazing grace.”

“Part memoir, part exploration of evangelical views.”
PoliticusUSA.com, 5/16/11

“A work that alternates from heartwarming to thought provoking to laugh out loud funny… Schaeffer brilliantly guides the reader through an exploration of the Bible’s strange, intolerant, and sometimes frightening attitudes about sex, and how these Biblical teachings, through the evangelical grassroots of the Republican Party, have come to dominate the GOP stance… Schaeffer’s writing style combines intelligence, warmth, humor, depth and insight… Sex, Mom, and God is hands down one of the best non-fiction books of the year.”

Huffington Post, 6/13/11

“Intelligent and easy to read; it transitions smoothly back and forth between story-telling and point-making prose… In his portrayal of Edith Schaeffer, Frank is able to call out the nuttiness of the religious right and to humanize conservative and Evangelical Christians in the same narrative. It is the deft work of a talented writer practicing his craft… It is a bit of wisdom our entire nation-hell, the whole world-needs to hear.”

The Daily Beast, 6/24/11

“Intriguing… [Schaeffer’s] privileged view of the Christian right’s sexual weirdness makes his account particularly interesting, and helps explain why the aggressively pious so frequently destroy themselves with sex scandals.”

http://www.frankschaeffer.com/


50 posted on 08/21/2011 9:16:42 PM PDT by kcvl
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