At the chat room SBC Trends of www.baptistlife.com/forums
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....
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"