I have often said that the man who mentored me, Francis Schaeffer, was a prophet in our generation. Fifty years ago, he spoke very clearly about where we were as a church and as a culture. He correctly predicted the future.
Schaeffer was not a prophet in the sense of a seer, but a prophet in the sense that he understood the times. He was a prophet who understood the power of ideas. To use Richard Weaver’s phrase, Schaeffer understood that “Ideas have consequences!” He understood that when the underpinnings of a nation are destroyed the nation will inevitably fall. When a tree is severed from its roots, the tree will die.
The things occurring in Europe and North America (the United States and Canada) should not surprise anyone. They are the direct result of the church slowly and perhaps unwittingly abandoning her roots. They naturally follow the tide of Western intellectuals proudly abandoning their history and the Judeo-Christian worldview that made the West the West.
A prophet who understood the power of ideas
In his book Death in the City, written a half century ago (1969), Schaeffer said:
I am amazed at the evangelical leaders who have been taken by surprise at the changes that have come in our culture in the last few years. We should have predicted them. There’s bound to be death in the city once men turn away from the base upon which our culture was built. … Do you think our country can remain as it has been, after it has thrown away the Christian base? Do not be foolish. Jeremiah would have looked at you and said, “You do not have the correct perspective. You should be crying.”
This was written 50 years ago. Today many of us are mourning our losses. But we should have known. Ideas have consequences!
For more reflections on Schaeffer as a prophet read Andrée Seu Peterson’s excellent piece in World Magazine, “When Habit Will No Longer Do.”
Things will not get better simply by praying. We do need to repent (2 Chronicles 7:14), to cry out to God for forgiveness and for his restoration of our nations. As Andrée Seu Peterson reminds us, we must be “individually grounded in the Word of God, in prayer, and obedience.”
Then we need to do the hard work of consciously rebuilding the foundation upon which the West was built. Wishful thinking will not serve. It will require “out thinking” the contemporary thought leaders of the West, challenging their assumptions and conclusions. This seed must be germinated in the church, by the average Christian beginning to think again as a Christian, and Christian thought leaders invading the gates of the city to relay Biblical truth as foundational to every sector of society.
– Darrow Miller