Francis Schaeffer and the “Judeo-Christian” Tradition

Francis Schaeffer; On Christian Faith and Human Rights

schlife.pdf (classicapologetics.com)

In the link above Dr. Francis Schaffer is writing in the Simon Greenleaf Law Review. You can read the whole thing should you like. I have excerpted the sections I want to deal with below.

“And note that while some of the founding fathers were indeed deists, yet the general consensus of thinking was that the Creator was the Judeo-Christian God….

Or, one can even think of Benjamin Franklin, who is known as a deist and probably was, and yet as one reads his speeches in Congress and in other
places, one is profoundly impressed by the fact that though a deist he might have been, yet, nevertheless, his thought-forms were very much influenced by the Judeo-Christian concept of God. One of the distinctions of the Judeo-Christian God is that not all things are the same to Him. That at first may sound rather trivial, but in reality, it is one of the most profound things one can say about the Judeo-Christian God….

What is needed to produce the balance of form and freedom in government which we have enjoyed so thoroughly is the Judeo-Christian God who is the Creator of all else. The Judeo-Christian God to whom not all things are the same. The Judeo-Christian God who, as the Reformation affirmed, has spoken in the Scriptures.”

Dr. Fancis Schaffer

If one were to read the whole piece offered up by Dr. Schaeffer one would notice that nowhere does Dr. Schaeffer speak of Jesus Christ. Instead what Schaeffer references repeatedly is this mantra of “the Judeo-Christian God.” One wonders why the man wrote in such a manner.

The idea of a “Judeo-Christian God,” is a monstrous myth. This God does not exist since the God of the Jews is a different God from the God of the Christians. There also is no concept of a Judeo-Christian God because any concept of a Judeo-Christian God is in direct conflict with the Christian God.

In the same manner, there is no Scripture that speaks of the Judeo-Christian God.

Historically, it is also errant to speak this way because the God of the Jews was not fundamental in the organizing of America. There is simply not enough of a presence of Jewish people in the Colonies to speak of the influence of a Judeo-Christian God. Dr. Schaeffer’s language is a gross misrepresentation of the founding of America. America was influenced by Christian categories but certainly not by Judeo-Christian categories.

We have to understand that those of the Jewish faith serves a very different God from the God of the Bible. The Jewish faith takes the Talmud as its revelation and not Scripture. The interpretation of the Talmud of Scripture is in direct contradiction with the interpretation that Christians have given to the Scriptures. The contradiction is so stark that it really is an obscenity to speak in such ways as “Judeo-Christian.”

“Judeo-Christian” is syncretism at its best. It mixes distinct theologies together that are in point of fact at stark odds with one another. This is seen in the reality that between the two no elements of doctrine or belief are shared. Judeo-Christian is a syncretistic chimera beast that should be eliminated from Christian thinking. Francis Schaeffer should have never employed it. It was unfaithful for him to have done so. The incompatibilities are not limited to the fact that there is no possible harmony regarding the divinity of Jesus the Messiah between the Jewish faith as a whole and the Christian faith as a whole, there is also no possible agreement on the doctrine of how man is saved, and there is no sharing of religious Holy Days. The whole concept of who God is is strenuously disagreed upon between Jews and Christians.

Christians need to lose this phrase that has been dropped into our mind world by playing fast and loose with reality. Reality teaches as testified to by History that the Christian faith and the Jewish faith have led to repeated conflict between the two peoples formed by those faiths. Jews are forever complaining of their treatment at the hands of Christians and Christians have only to look to the New Testament to see how the Jews treated the expansion of the Christian faith. This conflict continues and we would be better served by this conflict coming out into the open on both sides than to be continually papering it over with phrases such as “Judeo-Christian.” Indeed the phrase “Judeo-Christian” serves to pacify Christians over matters they should not be pacified.

Dr. Schaeffer did much good but this retreat in this article was most unfortunate. It is difficult to believe that he didn’t know better.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

2 thoughts on “Francis Schaeffer and the “Judeo-Christian” Tradition”

  1. Every time I read the gospel of John and the epistle of 1 John I’m struck by how right you are on this point. It’s so clear one wonders how so many otherwise sound evangelicals (no doubt smarter than myself) could miss it. … Blame it on that guiding mythos.

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