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Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics

Posted By: Tom

Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:49 AM

I am having a discussion with someone who quite frankly is not a fan of Francis Schaeffer.
He is of the opinion that Dr. Francis Schaeffer despite his claims to be a Presuppositionist was more an evidentialist. He went onto say that Schaeffer did not believe the Scriptures were the ultimate authority.
My understanding of Schaeffer is that he was a modified Presupositionist. He did believe in the ultimate authority of Scripture, yet he also believed in more evidence than Vantil would be comfortable with.
Vantil of course was not adverse to using evidence; yet because people know the truth yet suppress the truth in unrighteousness; he argued from that basis.
I am not not sure I could describe Schaeffer's view especially in a format like this. If I tired I would probably butcher it.
I of course agree with Vantil, but I do not think it is fair to say that Schaeffer did not hold to the Scriptures being the ultimate authority.

I am not an expert on Schaeffer and don't pretend to be. I am also under no illusions that a discussion like this will change anyone's opinion. I also do not want to spend too much time on this matter, because there are more important issues to attend to. Yet, I want to be reasonably sure, I understand the issue.
If you know anything about this matter, that might be helpful, please say it.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:10 AM

I have never read ANYTHING in the books I have read which Francis Schaeffer wrote that would even hint that he didn't hold to the divine inspiration of the Bible and that it was the sole and final authority in all matters of faith and practice. If he didn't believe that the Scriptures were the "ultimate authority", he kept that well hidden, at least from me. When I spoke with him personally, years ago he certainly was 100% orthodox on this doctrine.
Posted By: Tom

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:17 AM

The more I read what that person says; although he is very well versed on Presuppositionalism. I get the feeling he has a very low opinion of anyone who might not be a Van Till Presuppositionist. He is also a Theonomist; which he believes is a natural working out of Presuppositionalism and Postmillennialism. .He has not stated so, however I think he would have said similar things about RC Sproul not believing that the Scriptures are the ultimate authority. That is speculation on my part and I might be wrong, but if he said it of Schaeffer, he would probably say it of Sproul.
Sproul of course was not a Presuppositionalist; yet anyone who has read or listened to him long enough knows how high he places the Scriptures. Much of what I have learned about the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture was from his writings. To quote him: "God's Word is inerrant because God can not err!" Simple, but profound.
Also, if anyone has ever heard or read RC Sproul's exposition on Romans chapter one; they would be left wondering (at least I was) why he was not a Presuppossitionalist in his apologetics. I guess we all have our blind spots.
I did hear part of the reason why he was a Classical Apologist, is because of his mentor John Gerstner who was his prof at Westminster (sorry if I got the seminary name wrong). Whereas Bahnsen, Rushdoony and Gary North were schooled under Van Till. A side note, is that although Bahnsen, Rushnoony and North became Reconstructionists; Van Til did not go that far and spoke out against Rushnoony and his son-in law Gary North on their political views.
Rushnoony has even spoke out against Amillennialism; calling it blasphemy.

By the way, I have decided not to continue in that conversation with him.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:29 AM

FYI, R.C. Sproul, Sr. met (was dragged into his office) Dr. John Gerstner at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, now Pittsburg Theological Seminary. The school was and remains VERY liberal theologically and politically. Why John Gerstner was teaching Church History there is a mystery to me since he was VERY conservative. But why Sproul enrolled at Pittsburg-Xenia is yet another mystery, although perhaps he has mentioned why he chose to go there and I've simply forgotten, which would be no surprise to me. giggle I do have an audio lecture by Sproul where he retells his meeting with Gerstner who took him under his caring wing and how liberal the school was. Methinks that it was a lecture on biblical inspiration/inerrancy, but again, I could be mistaken on that too. But I do cleary remember him speaking of how he was mentored by John Gerstner at the seminary. grin
Posted By: Tom

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:55 PM

I guess the reason why I mentioned Gerstner mentoring Sproul, was because Gerstner and Sproul were both Classical in their apologetics. At least from the information I read.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:26 PM

Yes, both used the Classical method. In case you didn't know... Gerstner was a student of Van Til. grin
Posted By: Tom

Re: Francis Schaeffer and his apologetics - Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:43 AM

No I did not know that. That is interesting; I am wondering what made Gerstner a Classical Apologist?
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