Contend Earnestly: A Christian Manifesto

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Christian Manifesto

This book was definitely one of the more political ones of Schaeffer's. This came towards the end of his life when he was very upset, understandably, over Roe v. Wade and the abolition of anti-abortion laws by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was done well and one that had many great arguments of why we shouldn't really be surprised at what is happening because of the allowance of secular humanism becoming so rampant in our schools and among our society as a whole (in practice anyways).

Like most of Schaeffer, he does very well at showing historically why we are dealing with these issues as a whole. He shows how this country was set up, although not as a Christian one, one that obviously drew from a distinctively Christian mindset. From there, he shows the historical shift that began to take place when the humanist manifesto made it's debut in 1933 and from there the downfall was set in motion. From there, the 1st amendment started to be interpreted differently than the Founding Fathers had in mind and then the 60's started living out the humanist manifesto and we, as a nation, never looked back.

Schaeffer shows why it is necessary for countries to believe in a moral law giver and not in the humanist call that every man decide, in their context, what is right and wrong. Schaeffer actually shows masterfully why abortion is the greatest way that the humanist manifesto has shown itself in our culture. What else should we expect from people who believe that it is up to the person to decide what is right and wrong? Now one can murder their child, because they deem that it is right within their context and for their life. Although deplorable, should not surprise us.

From there Schaeffer gives a historical and biblical understanding of when it is okay to show civil disobedience to a government who goes against God's decrees. Although I don't agree with all his points and he even admittedly states that some will take what he writes beyond the bounds he means them to go, I can see the fruitfulness of this discussion and his reasons.

The one thing that I found to be disturbing within the context of abortion is that he gives four defenses that all Christians should take up for the child. The problem is that these four defenses are all against the government and none against the actual people murdering their children. He points to how to try and fight against a government who allows this murder to happen, but does not show anyway to rise up against the actual murderers of their children. He does this throughout the book on the whole though. He talks about government as a whole, instead of the individual. This is definitely a short coming in the book. Until people are transformed, we can try and change as many laws as we want, but we will come up well short of the overall goal: transforming people to live for the glory of God.

Overall, the book is definitely a political one more than an apologetics book. It is a book where I found myself in agreement and also disagreement, but overall found it useful. As usual Schaeffer wrote this and it sounds like he was living today and not close to 30 years ago. Most of what Schaeffer has forecasted is now happening and it is very close to come to a place to where the Christian voice will be silenced completely. Until then, we must preach, teach and transform the lives of people, not just government. Recommended. Link to Buy


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