At first glance, this might seem a rather unusual book to choose on the topic of the Kingdom of God. Tony picked the book up in a store and bought it when he recognized a photo in it. The author,Frank Schaeffer, son of well known evangelical Francis Schaeffer who founded L'Abri, went to the same school as Tony and the book contained a picture of the principal.
The book is Frank's entertaining but negative view of life growing up as the somewhat neglected child of famous evangelical parents. Later in life, howeve, he joined with his father and some others in an attempt to bring about Kingdom principles by political means. The book is subtitled, "How I grew up as one of the elect, helped found the religious right, and lived to take all (or almost all) of it back." Frank eventually turned his back on evangelicalism.
Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world!"
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3 replies on “Crazy for God”
Thanks for this info.
As one who grew up under Reformed and Conservative Evangelicalism, and who read most of what Francis and Edith Shaeffer wrote, I can sympathise. It was a very rigid system, lacking logic and some points, and compassion at others (in my view). In the long run, I felt it added to what the Bible and the Spirit were teaching us, by interpreting everything through a grid of human “wisdom”. Hence, while I learnt something from Francis, I felt Edith’s books were the more attractive because of their humanity.
I think I would have rebelled against it all if I had have been Frank, and I did, in my own way. And I think I grew a lot when I did, and ever since. I have less answers, but, I believe, more truth. So for me, the question is not whether Frank “turned his back on evangelicalism” but whether he turned his back on Jesus. Do you know the answer to that? I would be most interested.
I can relate to where Frank is coming from. But I have come to the conclusion that God does want us to work in this world, even in its politics. Just not in the way the world works. In the way of Jesus.
BTW, in the verse you quoted, “my kindom is not of this world”, the of is “ech” in Greek, which is better translated as “from”. So, it is better translated as “my kingdom is not from this world”, meaning this world did not create it, but it comes from the Father. That changes the meaning and application. Instead of seeing Jesus’ kingdom as totally separate from this world and waiting to be realeased from it, it is a reminder that Jesus’ kingdom did not originate from this place, but is hear to transform it.
Thanks for the post.
Here is something of an answer to what happened to Frank. He freely admits he is on a journey. I quote:
“When I left evangelicalism, it certainly was not because I was disillusioned with the faith of my early childhood. I have sweet (if somewhat nutty) memories of all those days of prayer, fasting, and “wrestling with principalities and powers.” We might have been deluded, but we weren’t unhappy….
I think my problem with remaining an evangelical centered on what the evangelical community became. It was the merging of the entertainment business with faith, the flippant lightweight kitsch ugliness of American Christianity, the sheer stupidity, the paranoia of the American right-wing enterprise, the platitudes married to pop-culture, all if it, that made me crazy. It was just too stupid for words.”
Frank Schaeffer joined the Greek Orthodox church in 1990.
I quote from the last paragraph in the book. “Perhaps Mom and Dad were right. In an infinite universe, everything must have happened at least once, someplace, sometime. So maybe there is a God who forgives, who loves, who knows. I hope so.”