Francis Schaeffer: radical like Rev. Wright

Dateline: Tue 25 Mar 2008

Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods Olgen Williams returned a call today. In the course of a rambling conversation, he mentioned -- prophetically, I thought -- that other Christian pastors have uttered statements every bit as radical as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago, Barack Obama's ex.

Or more radical, really.

No doubt, we all know about Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham, just to name three off the top. (Falwell and Robertson both said the U.S., by virtue of its immortality, had brought about the 9/11 attacks; Graham once referred to the "Satanic Jews" and their total domination of the media.

But Francis Shaeffer, the classic Christian beloved of evangelicals and others? Oh, yes, said Williams. "He wrote the Christian Manifesto, which advocated the overthrow of the American government," said Williams.

A quick check of reviews of the book indicate Williams is right on. Noted one reviewer on Amazon: "I lost interest in the last two-thirds. There Schaeffer argues that Christians have the duty to resist unjust or immoral governments. I just didn't buy into public protest as civil disobedience in the US. Too little is said to establish what exactly demands resistance and how far to go. Abortion was the case-in-point, and the book didn't reach much beyond that."

Why continue to bring this up? No thought is an island. Wright's comments deserve to be put in context -- the context of his own sermons and words over the years, as well as the context of other Christians who advocated radical action.

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