I often listen to National Public Radio as I do household chores. A few weeks ago, I heard an episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Ms. Gross was interviewing Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza. Mr. Lizza had published an article in The New Yorker, “Leap of Faith: The Making of A Republican Front-Runner” about Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Shortly into the interview, I heard Lizza mention two names very familiar to me: Francis Schaeffer, the man who greatly shaped my life, and Nancy Pearcey, a friend from my days at Schaeffer’s L’Abri. Lizza was saying that both Schaeffer and Pearcey have had a profound influence on Bachman.
Of course when I heard these names, I doubled my attention. As I listened, I heard Lizza describing a Schaeffer I did not know. This should not have surprised me: so often the media is ideologically driven and has little interest in accuracy.
Every reader of Lizza’s piece (as well as those who don’t!) would do well to read two responses (linked below). They clearly state the main arguments about the importance of Biblical worldview and the necessity for Christians to engage in all areas of life.
Nancy Pearcey responds in “Dangerous Influences: The New Yorker, Michele Bachmann, and Me“:
A major theme in my writings and Schaeffer’s is that Christianity is a worldview. That means it is not reducible to a set of privatized religious rituals and practices. Instead it offers a coherent, rationally consistent intellectual framework for all of life.
Lizza writes as though anyone who applies Christianity to all of life is a dangerous extremist. But that shows a failure to understand how worldviews work.
Marxists offer a Marxist perspective on economics, politics, family, technology, and virtually every other discipline.
The same is true of feminism and other isms, including even evolution: There’s a growth industry in books applying Darwinian categories to everything from politics (Darwinian Politics), to sexuality (The Evolution of Desire), to music (The Singing Neanderthals), to creativity (Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity), to literature (Madame Bovary’s Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature).”
Pearcey’s article is well worth reading!
Philosophy professor Douglas Groothius, who teaches on the life and works of Francis Schaeffer, wrote a response entitled “Michelle Bachmann and Dominionism Paranoia.” Note this excerpt from his helpful review of Lizza’s argument:
Lizza and company may believe that any Christian influence in politics is dangerous and un-American. If so, they should reread and ponder the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and the freedom of speech. Christians are free to be active members in the public square—along with those of other religions or none. Erecting “dominionist” straw men does nothing to advance this noble cause of freedom.
– Darrow Miller
Ana RoncalOctober 14, 2011 - 10:27 am
What a piece! I’m about to be sponsored by a (very secularized) university, for the first time, to run a worldview seminar. The opportunity has prompted me to reflect how important it is that we Christians think very carefully about how we introduce Biblical Theism, even more carefully than those who explain any other worldview. In the Latin-Peruvian context where I live, just the mention of a “Christian view” of things makes many adopt an agressive posture, while other perspectives -no matter how absurd they can be- are so readily welcomed. The challenge, both for me and for those churches that fail to give Christ His rightful place- is to be very clear about Who is our primary source of political and economic thought.