Darrow Miller and Friends

NPR & The New Yorker “Critique” Christian Influence in Politics

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.

Pearcey continues:

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

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).

1 Comment

  1. Ana Roncal

    October 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.