I read The God Who is There by Francis A. Schaeffer for my class about apologetics. A more difficult read, I must admit. At times, I felt as though I was trudging through mud with ankle weights on. Schaeffer sets out to propose that there is a God out there and that this God is the God of the Christian faith. He starts by tracing the thinking of a culture through the different phases: philosophy, art, music, general culture, and then theology. Then, he engages in an exploration of what he calls the ‘new theology’; from what I gather, this is what would be called post-modernity in contemporary culture. Much of this discussion revolves around faith – is faith a leap of the heart or is it something that must engage the mind (i.e., are there propositions to believe). Schaeffer writes,
“Once we begin to slip over in to the other methodology – a failure to hold on to an absolute which can be known by the whole man, including what is logical and rational in him – historic Christianity is destroyed, even if it seems to keep going for a time. We may not know it, but when this occurs the marks of death are upon it, and it will soon be one more museum piece.”
Schaeffer is putting forth the idea that faith is both the engagement of the heart and the mind to something. If it is all heart, in reality, we are believing in nothing at all. And if it is all logic, then it is not faith at all, but rather just a set of facts. Schaeffer describes faith as all heart like this: “It is faith in faith, rather than faith directed to an object which is actually there.” He dispels arguments of relativity and also addresses what that means for the people of his time.
A difficult read, but rewarding I think. He puts forth some brilliant arguments and it is a book I look forward to reading again.