Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How Francis A. Schaeffer relates to Polygamy

I still find among my truly Bible Believing friends, that there is a lack of knowledge as to how we got here. That is, how did we get to a place where people claim to be Evangelicals, to believe the Bible, to accept Jesus Christ as savior and when you appeal to scripture they glance away, make a dismissive hand gesture and come up with the equivalent of "that was then, this is now" or "that doesn't matter." It goes deep. Our bad doctrines have created centuries of psychic struggle in Christianity and the result is a collective denial of the truth of the Old Testament. Embarrassed "intellectual" believers want to brush aside the theological content of those passages. Inconvenienced contemporary cultural Christians want to continue life as they know it, without asking as Schaeffer did, "How should we then live?"

"There is only one way to describe those who no longer hold to a full view of Scripture. Although many of these would like to retain the evangelical name for themselves, the only accurate way to describe this view is that it is a form of neo-orthodox existential theology. The heart of neo-orthodox existential theology is that the Bible gives us a quarry out of which to have religious experience, but that the Bible contains mistakes where it touches that which is verifiablenamely history and science. But unhappily we must say that in some circles this concept now has come into some of that which is called evangelicalism. In short, in these circles the neo-orthodox existential theology is being taught under the name of evangelicalism.

The issue is whether the Bible gives propositional truth (that is, truth which may be stated in propositions) where it touches history and the cosmos, and this all the way back to pre-Abrahamic history, all the way back to the first eleven chapters of Genesis; or whether instead of that, it is only meaningful where it touches that which is considered religious. T. H. Huxley, the biologist friend of Darwin, the grandfather of Aldous and Julian Huxley, wrote in 1890 that he visualized the day not far hence in which faith would be separated from all fact, and especially all pre-Abrahamic history, and that faith would then go on triumphant forever. This is an amazing statement for 1890, before the birth of existential philosophy or existential theology. Huxley indeed foresaw something clearly. I am sure that he and his friends considered this some kind of a joke, because they would have understood well that if faith is separated from fact and specifically pre-Abrahamic space-time history, it is only another form of what we today call a trip.

But unhappily, it is not only the avowedly neo-orthodox existential theologians who now hold that which T. H. Huxley foresaw, but some who call themselves evangelicals as well. This may come from the theological side in saying that not all the Bible is revelational. Or it may come from the scientific side in saying that the Bible teaches little or nothing when it speaks of the cosmos. Or it may come from the cultural side in saying that the moral teachings of the Bible were merely expressions of the culturally determined and relative situation in which the Bible was written and therefore not authoritative today."

And thus I accuse all of Reformation Christianity, probably Shaeffer himself, of not realizing the extent to which this pervasive error has gone. Shaeffer would probably agree that in principle, he too did not "get" the extent and depth of the error. We would probably disagree on what portions of doctrine represented that error. I am certain that Shaeffer was from the "Monogamy Only" side of the theologic path.

Let us look though at his last statement in this quoted passage again though. "The Bible (is seen) as merely expressions of the culturally determined and relative situation in which the Bible was written and therefore not authoritative today." I cannot count the times that truly Bible believing Christians have thrown this at me. This calls into question my terming them "truly Bible Believing." Are they really? The answer is they are not. They are Bible Believer wannabees.

Christianity is hard. The progression of history is not towards cultural progress, but towards cultural destruction. We are curiously asked by God to work towards cultural progress, revealing his light to the world, being salt or leaven, but the world is slouching towards Babylon, not the New Jerusalem. It is only the apocalyptic intervention of God in the end that will restore things. I'll get to more of that in a future post in which I will examine the prophetic image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

"Cults" often spring up when Christians or offshoots of Christianity such as the FLDS try to start living as they should. They take the Bible literally or they "restore" it in some way and then they try to live the life. Mainstream Christian denominations, even the most conservative ones seemed doomed to slouch towards theological and cultural decline. They take Shaeffer's last enunciated position, that the Bible is "cultural" and "not relevant for today." Christianity becomes a self expression, a religious "experience" and not hard truth about our lives.

In accepting polygyny, it is not the first eleven chapters of Genesis, or "pre-Abrahamic" writings that I talk about, but ALL of the Old Testament. All of God's law. All of God's prophecy and even some of the discussions about marriage and law Jesus had. If you stop telling yourself the noxious lie that the "Bible was written by men" or that it was "cultural" and coming up with the excuse to discard large portions of it based on their inconvenience, you're going to start living quite differently, and you DON'T want to do that. They'll come for you, just as they did in Waco, just as they did at Yearning For Zion. I embrace neither group as living the life of Christianity though I sometimes think I should research David Koresh a bit more, but I do say that if you start LIVING a life that even REMOTELY looks like what scripture said you should lead, the world will come to get you. With tanks, with sharpshooters, with APC's and they will try to burn your house down and destroy it utterly. They want NO PART of God.

If you are a Christian, if you say you believe the Bible, then it really is time to see how much of it you really believe.

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Disciple said...

Brillant, Hugh!

You hit the bullseye here!

Schaeffer had a great deal of insight and understanding but even he is to be counted among the adherents of the "monogamy only" heresy.

[It would really be nice, if you could take postings like this and make them part of a website so that they are more readily (and permanently) accessible.]

Hugh said...

I'm working on that. I'm not exactly an internet genius.

James said...

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. - G.K. Chesterton

The Christian ideal is found in the two fold law of love which I summarize as (1) You shall love God with everything you've got and (2) You shall love your neighbor. "This is the whole Law; the rest is the explanation; go and learn!" - Hilleh the Elder

What is love? Love is shown in three forms (1) Justice where you do onto him as you would expect him to to do to you; (2) Charity, where you do onto him in a measure of kindness beyond what you would expect from him; (3) Mercy, where you go beyond charity in kindness to take off your neighbor's suffering and bear them yourself - see Jesus do it for you on the cross.

Lastly one should reflect on this (Mt 19:14) Jesus said, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”

In reflecting upon this one notes that every child deserves to be loved by both his mother and father to their fullest potential. They cannot love them like this unless both parent are committed to loving each other to their fullest potential. Fornicators have not committed to loving each other to their fullest potential and adulterers and polygamists have a second master who keeps them from doing so.

So adultery, fornication, and polygamy are forbidden by the spirit of the law of love and that Spirit is a Person - the Holy Spirit. Together with the Father and the Son, He (the Holy Spirit) forms a family, for God is not a singularity but a community of love. [cf. the writings of John Paul the Great (aka John Paul II)].

Hugh said...

I'm sorry, but I will not accept the circular argument that Polygamy is unloving, God is Love, So Polygamy is not of God. Please get some real material and get back to me.

By arguing that each child should be loved to it's fullest potential by mother and father, you argue that no family should have more than one child.

If Polygyny by the way, is shown to be marriage, it is neither fornication nor adultery, since the "marriage bed is undefiled."

You may not name to me Polygyny as adultery or fornication and say it is "bad" as a result. You MAY argue to me that it is not marriage or the husband/wife relationship and then you have a point. Please make that point.