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The Great Evangelical Disaster


Here is the great evangelical disaster -- the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this -- namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age. First, there has been accommodation on Scripture, so that many who call themselves evangelicals hold a weakened view of the Bible and no longer affirm the truth of all the Bible teaches -- truth not only in religious matters but in the areas of science and history and morality. As part of this, many evangelicals are now accepting the higher critical methods in the study of the Bible. Remember, it was these same methods which destroyed the authority of the Bible for the Protestant church in Germany in the last century, and which have destroyed the Bible for the liberal in our own country from the beginning of this century. And second, there has been accommodation on the issues, with no clear stand being taken even on matters of life and death.

This accommodation has been costly, first in destroying the power of the Scriptures to confront the spirit of our age; second, in allowing the further slide of our culture. Thus we must say with tears that it is the evangelical accommodation to the world spirit around us, to the wisdom of this age, which removes the evangelical church from standing against the further breakdown of our culture. It is my firm belief that when we stand before Jesus Christ, we will find that it has been the weakness and accommodation of the evangelical group on the issues of the day that has been largely responsible for the loss of the Christian ethos which has taken place in the area of culture in our own country over the last forty to sixty years.

And let us understand that to accommodate to the world spirit about us in our age is nothing less than the most gross form of worldliness in the proper definition of that word. And with this proper definition of worldliness, we must say with tears that, with exceptions, the evangelical church is worldly and not faithful to the living Christ.

(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

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Quotes From The Book
When the Scripture speaks of man being foolish in this way, it does not mean he is only foolish religiously. Rather, it means that he has accepted a position that is intellectually foolish not only with regard to what the Bible says, but also to what exists concerning the universe and its form and what it means to be human. In turning away from God and the truth which he has given, man has thus become foolishly foolish in regard to what man is and what the universe is. Man is left with a position with which he cannot live, and he is caught in a multitude of intellectual and personal tensions.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1, referring to Romans 1:21-22)

Ours is a post-Christian world in which Christianity, not only in the number of Christians but in cultural emphasis and cultural result, is no longer the consensus or ethos of our society.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

And if we hold this world view [a world view based upon the idea that the final reality is impersonal matter or energy shaped into its present form by impersonal chance] we live in a universe that is ultimately silent, with no meaning and purpose, with no basis for law and morality, with no concept of what it means to be human and of the value of human life. All is relative and arbitrary. And so modern man is left with nothing to fill the void but hedonism or materialism or whatever other "ism" may be blowing in the wind.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

If the truth of the Christian faith is in fact truth, then it stands in antithesis to the ideas and the immorality of our age, and it must be practiced both in teaching and practical action. Truth demands confrontation. It must be loving confrontation, but there must be confrontation nonetheless.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

We must acknowledge and then act upon the fact that if Christ is our Savior, he is also our Lord in all of life. He is our Lord not just in religious things and not just in cultural things such as the arts and music, but in our intellectual lives, and in business, and in our relation to society, and in our attitude toward the moral breakdown of our culture. Acknowledging Christís Lordship and placing ourselves under what is taught in the whole Bible includes thinking and acting as citizens in relation to our government and its laws. Making Christ Lord in our lives means taking a stand in very direct and practical ways against the world spirit of our age as it rolls along claiming to be autonomous, crushing all that we cherish in its path.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

In the end we must realize that the spirit of the age -- with all the loss of truth and beauty, and the loss of compassion and humanness that it has brought -- is not merely a cultural ill. It is a spiritual ill that the truth given us in the Bible and Christ alone can cure.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Ch. 1)

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