Two Unlikely Complementary Writers
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell. He produced literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism.
George Orwell is not generally thought of as a Christian. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a tale of despair, not an anticipated fairy tale cultural development that a true believer would desire. Instead, it is riddled with sadistic and nihilistic themes. In Animal Farm, considered a fairy tale, religion is depicted cynically as ‘lies put about by Moses the tame Raven’ about what is expected to be the animal paradise. In yet another novel, A Clergyman’s Daughter, Orwell has a Satanic defrocked priest reciting The Lord’s Prayer irreverently before an inverted crucifix. Yet, he maintained an affectionate relationship with the Church of England until his death. If you read Orwell’s life, there is much in his experience to account for such cynicism. Perhaps not cynicism, but in his literary style, an unmasking of corrupted religion was his intent.
Francis A. Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984) is best known for establishing L’Abri Fellowship International in Switzerland, which functioned like a factory producing intellectually capable defenders of the Christian faith for two generations. However, his first three books written for the average college-level reader did the unmasking of the intellectuals prompting a widespread understanding by average pew dwellers in the evangelical world. These three books were:
- The God Who Is There: Deals with the existence and relevance of God and how modern man first distances himself from, ultimately disbelieves, God as revealed by the Bible.
- Escape from Reason: How the rejection of the biblical God causes man to lose contact with reality and reason.
- He Is There and He Is Not Silent: How God speaks to man through the Bible on the three philosophically fundamental areas of metaphysics, morals, and epistemology.
According to Michael Hamilton of Christianity Today, “Perhaps no intellectual save C. S. Lewis affected the thinking of evangelicals more profoundly [than Francis Schaeffer]; perhaps no leader of the period save Billy Graham left a deeper stamp on the movement as a whole.”1
George Orwell and Francis A. Schaeffer were the two most insightful writers of the 20th century. Orwell demonstrated the practical outcome of the progressive thinkers, while Schaeffer unmasked those same thinkers’ philosophical underpinnings and intellectual developments.
Unfortunately, today there is much following and little leadership in the evangelical world that emerges from a commitment to the historic Christian faith. Oh, there is leading, but many of those leading are followers of those thinkers unmasked by Schaeffer. At almost 84 years old, my professors lived through the liberalization and socialization of the Gospel, producing the liberal church of English and America Christianity.
Today, those same machinations are transpiring in progressive evangelism. The reader can gain a taste of this by reading the links below.2
Literary criticism was a significant avenue for accommodating the Bible to the emerging liberal thinking in the mid-nineteenth century. The JEDP theory of the origins of the Pentateuch allowed for accommodations to the Darwinian theory.
Currently, accommodations for pseudo-science (evangelicals are all for genuine science) are again emerging in the progressive evangelical world. Here is just one example. William Lane Craig, who holds important teaching posts at Houston Baptist University and Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, has written on Mytho-History in Genesis.3 Casey Luskin rightly observed,
But oddly, in a book devoted to Adam and Eve, Craig goes much further in his analysis of Genesis than merely assessing what it says about the parents of humanity. He spends nearly 200 pages (again, some 50 percent of the book) investigating the literary genre of Genesis. He ultimately concludes that Genesis 1-11 includes many myth-like elements, and that these chapters represent “mytho-history.” His arguments may fail to satisfy certain Biblical scholars who may feel that he redefines the meaning of “mytho-history.” John Oswalt, a prominent biblical scholar, has raised significant questions about Craig’s use of the term. As Oswalt put it in an interview, “‘mytho-history’ is an oxymoron. Myths are a-historical by nature.”4
Even at the illustrious Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Meredith G. Kline5 defends the view that the Genesis creation days are presented as normal days but that the picture of God’s creating in six days and resting on the seventh is figurative, the Framework view of the Genesis account. While Kline unabashedly argues for the inspiration and authority of Scripture, he bends backward to accommodate the secular philosophical science of paleontology, the study of what fossils tell us about the ecologies of the past, about evolution, and about our place, as humans, in the world. Paleontology incorporates biology, geology, ecology, anthropology, and archaeology knowledge.
In Functional Living
It is not only in the philosophical-theological realm that this drift is evident. In 1970-71, Dr. Jay Adams launched a revival of the Puritan initiative to retake the realm of pastoral counseling from the secular establishment of psychology and psychiatry innovatively. The innovation took the form of a reformation, and Adams became the Luther of the 20th-century reformation in pastoral care.
If God was the creator-designer of humanity, and as Schaeffer before him put it, “He is there, and He is not silent,” then most assuredly, the Word of God ought to be considered the final authority for ministering to humanity. This was, in fact, Adams’ argument. He chooses the Greek word nouthetic to characterize the approach of Christian counseling. The Bible is the authority and is to be utilized authentically to counsel. As Adams pointed out, there was a problem in the personality, and it must be confronted in love from the Word and a course correction directed by the Word. The pastor or counselor was an agent of God ordained to facilitate the process.
Like Luther, Adams has spawned a growing army of evangelicals counseling and teaching counseling. Nouthetic is the methodology, but the process has become familiar as Biblical Counseling. But, like Luther, some reluctantly leave behind the old and regularly accommodate the secular.
Why This Blog?
Why this blog? The answer is found both in the Old and the New Testament. The prophet, Jeremiah (23:1), summarizes some twenty similar texts6 when he writes, “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. The New Testament is summed up in the book of Hebrews, where the writer sets forth the warning, “Do not drift,” more than ten times (not always the exact verbiage, but the same message). Every believer must carry out the Great Commission: “While making disciples!” Obviously, discipleship begins with evangelism. This must be followed by baptism (bringing the convert into the local body of Christ) and then teaching them to observe (live by) all that Jesus commanded.
This is the reason for this blog!
1 Hamilton, Michael (March 3, 1997). “The Dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer”. Christianity Today. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
2 https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-wheaton-college-anti-gay-lists-met-20160831-story.html and (note that many of the schools listed in the next link are religious colleges.
Interactive map listing all schools unfriendly—most are tagged as hate schools.
4 Craig, William Lane. In Quest of the Historical Adam: A Biblical and Scientific Exploration. Eerdmans, 2021
5 Duncan, J. Ligon III, David W. Hall, Hough Ross, Gleason L. Archer, & 3 more. Crux Press, 2000
6 See: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Inadequate-Shepherding8