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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Molly Worthen on "charlatan" Francis Schaeffer

   At the chat room SBC Trends of Lee Saunders and I are having some major differences on Francis Schaeffer. Truett Seminary's Roger Olson review of Molly Worthen's book The Apostles of Reason says Molly profiles Schaeffer as a "charlatan."
      Saunders has friends at FBC Spartanburg, the home base of Tea Party and Fox News Darling US Rep Trey Gowdy. Oklahoma's ordained SBC minister James Lankford of US House also shares the so called "Christian World View" of Schaeffer, Al Mohler and Mavin Olasky.
     A read of Worthen's Mark Noll endorsed book in tandem with Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's American and Dan Williams God's Own Party shines a burning light on the shallow legacy of Billy Graham's legacy with the politics of Richard Nixon; and for all except the most dim witted reveals emperor Al Mohler and the gurus of the the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention; those emperors have no clothes

   Come back to this as I will enlarge on this extended quote from Worthen on Schaeffer, pages 218-219, the end of Chapter nine. Preceeding pages talk abut the Council for National Policy, the right wing group of Jesse Helms and Paul Pressler, setting up her next chapter on the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    More paragraphs to follow, this one her take on the implications of Schaeefer's irritability with an exchange of letters in early 80's where Mark Noll got in his shorts. Noll chairs the department on the Study of Evangelicals at Notre Dame, where he took Nathan Hatch's place, when Hatch became President of Wake Forest. Harry Dent's family and the Hatch's are tight, so if nothing else a story in John Grisham's Oxford American Magazine, even the New Yorker should follow

  Molly on Schaeffer in quotes and analysis: 
Schaeffer and Notre Dame's Mark Noll in early 80s had an exchange over Schaeffer's Christian Manifesto  Worthen reports:

  FS replied with a 12 page screed defending his position.. Barry Hankins said Noll's correspondence Obsessed FS. FS checked the mail daily at LaBri. "The criticism hurt, more than that, FS was outraged. at the evangelical historian's disloyalty in the midst of this battle for America's soul. FS had written Manifesto not as a dispassionate historical treatise, but as a tract in the culture wars, Hankins said."
    FS wanted evangelical Americans to become soldiers of history rather than careful students. He was one of a wave of gurus who, like generations of prophets and big personalities before them, offered evangelicals an alternative authority, a rubric of certainty at a time when the consensus on the Bible's status in American culture was shakier than ever. While he inspired some evangelicals to get to the bottom of some of the stories he told by pursuing grad degrees in philosophy and history, on a larger scale FS  ministry was a grand and clever exercise in anti-intellectualism. he deployed the trappings of academic investigation....In FS mind there was no dishonor in this, only due respect for divine authority....

   Quoting Molly: 

       Scheffer's minstry revealed what the neo-evangelical campaign to build an intellectual movement around inerrancy and a "Christian World View" had become: an adaptable ideology vague enough to welcome believers of every theological persuasion,  a substrate in which political energy could flourish-- and a strategy for using the authority of history to name conservative evangelicals as trustees of Christendom.

  A few pages later. Molly says in reference to what Schaeffer begat: "Yet in the public square subtle scholarship was no match for culture war bluster!"  So Lee Saunders understands, Schaeffer was the chief guru of culture war "Bluster"


Blogger Lee said...

Worthen is a pseudo-intellectual liberal, cut from the cloth of a whole group of such people who hate Francis Shaeffer with a passion because he was able to match intellectual wits with the best of them, and he laid a solid foundation of that nature in the Evangelical movement.

Shaeffer's work came in spite of the anti-intellectual bias of many conservative Evangelicals, and the widespread acceptance of his work is one of several pieces of evidence which demonstrate how wrong Worthen is in her assessment of him. I'll bet she'd give her left arm and some jewelry to get her book into the hands of a fraction of his readership.

Shaeffer put his views in writing, which became foundational to a wide swath of conservative Evangelicalism, including the Southern Baptist Convention. Many other influential preachers, teachers and writers among them picked up Shaeffer's views and passed them along. It was those influences that Worthen claims had turned the balance of people in the pews of SBC churches conservative, and she correctly acknowledges the conservative resurgence that began in 1979 simply provided leadership that matched what the people already believed.

Your frustration with the fact that few Southern Baptists share your view of the convention's current leadership, or of the return of the denomination to those committed to its conservative roots, shows in your attempts to create guilt by association. I guess that's because you don't really have any other evidence to substantiate your claims. There are two people at FBC Spartanburg whom I would call "friends." I don't know anyone else in the church, and the fact that they are friends of mine doesn't mean I automatically have a relationship with their fellow church members, including Billy Graham or Trey Gowdy. You've not established as fact your statement that James Lankford shares Shaeffer's worldview, and dropping in Mohler and Olasky only serves to prove my point about your frustration.

11:39 AM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

Well if you hold Dr. Worthen in such high esteem, I guess you have a considerable amount of respect for her colleagues Nathan Hatch, Mark Noll, Randall Balmer, Steven Miller and Darren Dochuk as well.

Good luck to you and FBC Spartanburg with the Truett McConnell and Shorter College version of Higher Ed. Thanks for the reply.

12:43 PM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

Well if you hold Dr. Worthen in such high esteem, I guess you have a considerable amount of respect for her colleagues Nathan Hatch, Mark Noll, Randall Balmer, Steven Miller and Darren Dochuk as well.

Good luck to you and FBC Spartanburg with the Truett McConnell and Shorter College version of Higher Ed. Thanks for the reply.

12:44 PM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

Nelson Price and the Caner Brothers I guess is Lee Saunders view of Higher Education and trustworthy scholarship. If Sandy Lee can't find his way, what is Tully Tchvidjian and to do?

1:06 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Why don't you do a little bit of research and reading, Stephen, since you advocate that for everyone else. I asked this question once and didn't get a response from you so I will ask it again. How many of Schaeffer's works have you read? Instead of depending on pseudo-intellectuals whose hatred of Shaeffer makes them hopelessly biased, why not read and form an opinion of your own? If his work isn't too far over your head, that is.

9:15 AM  

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