Udo W. Middelmann
The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation
Chalet Mon Abri
CH - 1882 Gryon, Switzerland
Dear friends of Footnotes :
I write this issue of FOOTNOTES in New York, where Deborah and I will spend the next three months.
Jane Anderson, who has cared for Edith Schaeffer so wonderfully for the past 14 months, has had to leave suddenly for a family emergency and will not be able to return. Debby flew back to Gryon immediately, but we need someone to learn to care for Edith, first on a trial basis in August and then full time. We would be so glad to hear from anyone prepared to step in, who is willing to follow in detail the care protocol Edith has had for the past five years as her need for help, mental stimulation and physical assistance grew. There are ladies from the social services coming each day and another assistant to relieve the main person. Please contact us via email or at (212) 289-7856 if you can help us.
We will again welcome to Gryon students for our Summer Study Session from July 7 until the beginning of August. The format and purpose of those study sessions are explained here. Long periods of study, reading and discussion alternate with exploring places together to observe the evidence of a specific Christian view of life, work and culture.
All the issues of Footnotes for the past 18 years are also accessible on our web site (http://www.theschaefferfoundation.com), together with the “Long Letters” which allow you to follow our activities, conversations and sources for the views and ideas I have expressed in lectures, articles and Footnotes. Anyone may use them, as long as the sense is not distorted and the source is clearly stated.
I am benefitting immensely from my students, their ideas and lively discussions in and out of class. I teach two sections of “Modern Philosophy,” supervise senior students and give guidance on their theses on their chosen subjects. We host almost weekly gatherings in our apartment for discussions.
Modern philosophy indicates an approach to reality through questioning and doubt in order to find measured responses and to inquire into the nature of human knowledge. “Modern” refers less to a period on a time line than to a different mentality, a degree of honesty, rejecting centuries of the secular and ecclesiastical authoritarian views of scholasticism, blindly believed out of fear, lack of curiosity or exposure. It expresses skepticism not only of such authorities, but also of oneself, of one’s own means of reaching conclusions. Such skepticism would do us a world of good especially considering the lack of skeptical distance in matters I discuss in this issue.
Skepticism may lead to the denial of all truth as it did for many in history, but not necessarily so. It can instead open the door to that humility, tentativeness and greater honesty which is so necessary for human and scientific progress, and to our need to sort out life in a broken world. Without doubt it is easy to assume one has arrived, knows Footnotes Volume 18, Number 1 The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation Winter, 2010 everything and can now rest on one’s laurels.
Doubt presses on realizing that we live in an always less than ideal world, listening for signs of life from among the rubble. This prepares us to listen to our neighbor’s cry, reread God’s word more carefully and consider alternative, previously neglected views. Doubt keeps us seeking the Real and prevents our embrace or pursuit of the Ideal. Honest inquiry and God’s desire to have us know and to be known come together. Then we walk neither in the darkness of denial nor in the light of our own arrogance.
With these things in mind, I send you warm greetings. You can see what things contribute to my current thoughts. Cordially, Udo
HAITI: Close Yet Far Away
PBS recently aired a documentary about the aerial bombardment of Germany in World War II. Against great opposition from the Americans who favored attacking primarily military industrial sites, the British view prevailed in the end and whole cities were practically bombed out.
Those images are still part of my childhood memories; we had moved to the edge of town and were therefore spared the destruction of our apartment. They returned when I saw the human and social tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti one month ago. The fractured concrete slabs, the mountains of rubble, the landslide of roofs and walls on the hillsides covering the missing and the dead. The glory of finding yet one more survivor does not erase the horror of all those who have lost life, limb, family, and home. There seems not to have been too much of a working government to start with. So what do we do now?
Some have called for the equivalent of a Marshall plan to rebuild the country. Similar calls went out when the Soviet Union collapsed. It resurfaces now due to the success of the effort to rebuild Europe after the war. It jump-started an economy in which infrastructure was lost, but human capital of work skills, education, social institutions and a view of individual responsibility were alive.
PETER A. COCLANIS wrote in the WSJ that, “we need to resist the kind of sloppy thinking that can lead to false assumptions and overly optimistic plans.” Large sums of money were spent rebuilding war-torn Europe between 1948 and 1952. But there is no basis for an analogy between war in Europe and disaster in Haiti. In fact, while tectonic plate friction in nature caused the earthquake, it also took the roof of the hidden cultural disaster underneath. It is obvious that the immediate cause was natural. But human cultural disaster also contributed to the effect. Unless that is recognized, addressed and corrected, the cultural mentality will remain, religious views will govern and a climate of fear, corruption and victimhood will continue under more solidly constructed roofs.
“Haiti, by far the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere . . ., lacks many of the fundamental institutions necessary for a vibrant economy, such as a reliable police force, protections for private property, and schools that boost literacy rates. Just 50% of Haiti's population is literate now. Haiti also lacks a culture that encourages a strong work ethic, the accumulation of capital, and the passing of assets on to future generations. Realistically, building an economic base for Haiti will take generations. Before the quake there were more than 10,000 nongovernmental organizations in Haiti feeding the poor, providing health services and much more. This fact alone should give the world pause. Haiti doesn't need to be rebuilt. It needs to be built from the ground up.”
LAWRENCE HARRISON gives us this very valuable insight in his piece (WSJ 2/5/10), “Haiti and the Voodoo Curse.” There are cultural roots to the endless misery.
Haiti's culture, like any other, receives its central ideas from religion, from the way people relate to the larger world around them. In Haiti’s case, it is the religion of Voodoo, a spirit-based religion common to Africa. Within that view, the life of each person is controlled by hundreds of capricious spirits who must be appeased, like the Greek gods of old, through voodoo ceremonies. The absence of one focus of order, impersonal and powerful as in Islam and Marxism, or personal and gracious as in Christianity, creates a cacophony of voices and uncertainty and makes development via reasoned steps towards improvement impossible.
Haitians feel the influence of Voodoo and believe that everything that happens is due to rival spirits. Uncertainty and danger lurk everywhere. There is no confidence of stability, in neither thought nor in experience. There is no rule of law, no PAGE 2 Footnotes VOLUME 18, NUMBER 1 knowledge from scientific experience and no commitment to build life over time.
“But voodoo is not the only progress-resistant force at work in Haiti”, Harrison suggests. There is the memory from history. Haiti is the first liberated slave colony (1804), the old French St. Domingue; “Haitian slaves won their freedom through an uprising that left them in charge of their destiny, but they were left with a value system largely shaped by African culture and by the experience of slavery.” This also is not new. In Greece as well, only slaves were designated for work until the Bible’s teaching introduced the idea that work is what people, made in God’s image, do in their nobility, not as a form of enslavement.
With perhaps one or two exceptions, Haiti has never had a president fully committed to modernizing the country. “Some stress policies and institutions when they try to explain the country's tortured history. But bad policies inevitably reflect the agendas of poor leaders— and thus the culture that nurtured them. Culture is the mother. Institutions are the children."
Years of reparation payments to France and American fears that the freed slaves might encourage an uprising in the Confederacy added to the woes. But that alone “does not explain the unending dysfunction of Haitian society. Haiti's predicament is caused by a set of values, beliefs and attitudes rooted in African culture and the slavery experience that resist progress.”
Mr. Harrison, who ran the USAID mission to Haiti from 1977 to 1979, now directs the Cultural Change Institute at the Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tufts University concludes his comments with this: “Culture matters; Race doesn’t.
” Why Have They Done it Again?
Previous catastrophes like Katrina over New Orleans, the tsunami flooding over Sri Lanka, earthquakes in Iran and other disasters like Haiti’s have given multiple occasions for recognized masters of spiritual insight to make pronouncements about God’s involvement. When you think of it, in each case the search for an explanation has been brief, the conclusion fast: It is a judgment of God. Whether sin in general or specifics like the tolerance of homosexuals, idolatry or even a pact with the devil, the judgment is quick, precise and conclusive.
That would be fine and fitting, if Jeremiah were still here to prophesy. But we have no such prophets at present. Unlike such a person called by God, the more public Christians these days are more readily called by their focus groups than by God. They conclude that a disaster occurs under God’s sovereign rule, an expression of His judgment. No other cause, even merely contributive, is mentioned. There is no hesitating to consider that nature is now wild, often hostile and certainly damaged; no awareness that we live and die in the significant continuity of other people’s bad choices; no sensitivity to the fact that life is not fair to anyone, because Nature also is fallen, no longer friendly. We are outside the Garden of Eden and cannot get back. To be precise, this is not the best of all possible worlds where only the guilty suffer and the righteous never get hurt.
Little wonder then that Richard Dawkins, outof- the-closet atheist, takes issue with one such pronouncement about the Haitian earthquake being God’s response to that culture’s sin, its pact with the devil. In The Times of London he writes, “We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up against the North American Plate: a force of nature, sin-free and indifferent to sin, unpremeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned with human affairs or human misery.
“The religious mind, however, hubristically appropriates the blind happenings of physics for petty moralistic purposes. As with the Sri Lankan tsunami, which was blamed on loose sexual morals in tourist nightclubs; as with Hurricane Katrina, which was attributed to divine revenge on the entire city of New Orleans for organizing a gay rally; and as with other disasters going back to the famous Lisbon earthquake and beyond, so Haiti’s tragedy must be payback for human “sin.”
“The Rev. Pat Robertson, infamous American televangelist, sees the hand of God in the earthquake, wreaking terrible retribution for a 1791 pact that the Haitians made with the Devil, to help to rid them of their French masters. 1791? Ah, but don’t forget “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”.
“Needless to say, milder-mannered faithheads fell over themselves to disown Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, VOLUME 18, NUMBER 1 Footnotes PAGE 3 evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.
“What hypocrisy. Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonized Theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable “mystery”, or who see God in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti, or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God “suffering on the cross” in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centerpiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.
“Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for “sin”. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock, stock and barrel, as punishment for “sin”.
“Oh, but that’s the Old Testament. No one believes those stories literally any more. The New Testament is all about love.” Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated, gentle Christian, you cannot be serious. Your entire religion is founded on an obsession with “sin”, with punishment and with atonement. Where do you find the effrontery to condemn Pat Robertson, you who have signed up to the odious doctrine that the central purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was to have Himself tortured as a scapegoat for the “sins” of all mankind, past, present and future, beginning with the “sin” of Adam, who (as any modern theologian well knows) never even existed?
“….The goat of Jewish tradition was merely driven into the wilderness with its cargo of symbolic sin. Jesus was supposedly tortured and executed to atone for sins that, any rational person might protest, He had it in His power simply to forgive, without the agony. Among all the ideas ever to occur to a nasty human mind (Paul’s, of course), the Christian “atonement” would win a prize for pointless futility as well as moral depravity.
“Even without the stark heartlessness of Pat Robertson, tragedies like Haiti are meat and drink to the theological mind. To quote the president of one theological seminary, writing in the On Faith blog of the Washington Post: ’The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe.’
“You nice, middle-of-the-road theologians and clergymen, be-frocked and bleating in your pulpits, you disclaim Pat Robertson's suggestion that the Haitians are paying for a pact with the Devil. But you worship a god-man who — as you tell your congregations, even if you don’t believe it yourself — “cast out devils”. You even believe (or you don’t disabuse your flock when they believe) that Jesus cured a madman by causing the “devils” in him to fly into a herd of pigs and stampede them over a cliff. Charming story, well calculated to uplift and inspire the Sunday School and the Infant Bible Class.
“Robertson may spout evil nonsense, but he is a mere amateur at that game. Just read your own New Testament. Pat Robertson is true to it. But you?
“Educated apologist, how dare you weep Christian tears, when your entire theology is one long celebration of suffering: suffering as payback for “sin” — or suffering as “atonement” for it? You may weep for Haiti where Pat Robertson does not, but at least, in his hick, sub-Palinesque ignorance, he holds up an honest mirror to the ugliness of Christian theology. You are nothing but a whited sepulcher.” To which I respond:
Dawkins Falls for Hypocrisy
It is easy to see how someone with little clue about the Biblical view of reality assumes that every claim to speak for God is true to who God is and how He sees things. Little wonder then that Richard Dawkins makes that mistake. He is gullible to accept without discernment those who, claiming special spiritual insight, propound as a judgment from God when catastrophes like Haiti’s earthquake occur. He seems to ignore the Bible’s warning against believing false prophets, lousy priests and spiritual charlatans.
Over much of the past 1800 years since Origen of Alexandria, the Bible’s view of the tragic reality of life after the Fall has been replaced with a teaching that amounts to a “divine determinism.” This is similar to Islam, carrying an idea of sovereignty not taught in Scripture. It facilitates reactions like Dawkins’ PAGE 4 Footnotes VOLUME 18, NUMBER 1 and gives him a more sensible and moral podium than their own.
It is perfectly understandable that in the face of enormous catastrophes and unfair life experiences like the delay in the rescue of Nineveh due to Jonah’s tardy arrival, with the deaths of almost all existing inhabitants during the settling of the Promised Land (including other evidence that significant choices by one generation bring about unmerited results for the next), Dawkins would be upset with anyone who just explains it all away with God’s judgment.
Yet Dawkins cannot get away so easily. He also admits on some level that something is wrong with it all. He does not just accept it as natural, in the normal course of events, a statistical datum. In fact he has his own, obviously biased view, when he accuses pastors of having a wrong view. He does not merely note it as a view “natural to pastors”. He objects against what he, in this case rightly, sees as an error and a deception.
But even Nature does not get off without a complaint from Dawkins, who says that a catastrophe occurred as a result of “the bumping and grinding” of two tectonic plates, interfering with human affairs and creating human misery. Dawkins here makes a moral statement, couched in scientific terms of “a force of nature”, obviously un-deliberate and therefore ”sin-free, unpremeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned” with what to human beings, including Dawkins, are “human affairs and human misery”.
If nature and natural forces were all there were, one could not speak in moral terms. There would be no misery; there would only be a different appearance to the streets of Port-au- Prince, its dead and alive citizens from what was before. To justify the speech of moral outrage, one needs a moral framework, a recognition that things do not have to be the way they are now. One needs an explanation for the moral abnormality when the framework of nature only reports what is natural.
Either Mr. Dawkins with his moral motions of describing a human misery is like a fish out of water, a misfit in a natural world of “just- and always-so”; or he is onto something, when he realizes that there is a misery calling for action, not just notice.
That moral framework exists only in a personal universe of more than nature. People are more than nature, as we choose, create, deny or otherwise express our significance and moral judgments – whether about the misery on Haiti or that of flaky theology or corrupt government.
Any of these choices produce effects into a continuous future. Real significance, personal sovereignty, does not affect only us. That is why not all who died in the Flood were guilty when God decided to punish Humanity. In no war do only the guilty lose their lives. Every child inherits the genes, the body, the world his or her parents helped to produce by their choices. I appreciate the Bible’s view that there is no justice under the sun, that we all have more than we deserve and less. What happens on earth today is not exactly justice, nor is it the will of God. We have to wait for those, and the conquest of Christ over death gives us hope that the insanity of a fallen world will one day be terminated.
When we recognize such significance of our actions, the account of the mess Adam and Eve created by their choice to walk away from God against all reality is the one possible explanation for Mr. Dawkins’ admission that there is something wrong leading to human and geographic misery. It also holds an idea of rationality and justice, including scientific rationality, from which we take our comparative basis for such a judgment.
Finally, if with our moral actions and laments about misery we are like fish out of water in a mere naturalist world, we should be honest enough to feel no pity for the people of Haiti or anger with the mistaken pastors and brethren. In any case, such complaints as Mr. Dawkins eagerly expresses have no significance if he just has to say things which his “nature” tells him to say.
Why respond as if he mattered? Mr. Dawkins cannot be anything but what his nature made him to be. I for one do not see things that way and can therefore have pity on him and return his choice of words to him: What hypocrisy, Mr. Dawkins!
Haiti and the Innocence of God
The assumption that God is behind everything that happens, behind catastrophes as great as the earthquake in Haiti, Katrina’s destruction in New Orleans, as the tsunami or as little as a household accident, is built on the view of a closed-system universe. There is an effect; therefore, there must be a cause. True, but who VOLUME 18, NUMBER 1 Footnotes PAGE 5 PAGE 6 Footnotes VOLUME 18, NUMBER 1 or what is the cause? If there is a single cause, there is no distinction between good and evil. If there are many possible causes, we do well to discern and oppose the destructive ones.
Blaming historic Christianity’s God is not justified in light of Scripture nor in the person and life of Jesus. The Bible speaks of a present world that gives God grief, where people and nature are not “at peace” and where God interferes precisely because, as the Lord’s Prayer tells us, His will is not yet being done on earth as in heaven. God sent prophets because people’s actions opposed God’s will instead of concurring with it.
Likewise, Jesus, Who is God in the flesh and the exact image of the Father, does not walk about holding people’s hands in their misfortunes and accompanying them through misery. Instead He aggressively opposes sickness, false teaching, vile government and death itself. Whereas other religions and secular philosophies start with the assumption of the normality of things and events, sad as they are, God describes a sickening abnormality in his Creation. He acts, speaks, protests against it and encourages us to do likewise. There is no fatalism in Jewish and Christian teaching, though it often seems so in the language and explanations believers erroneously use to comfort themselves. There is the sound of false piety from what is in fact a total contradiction to what Jesus taught and did.
The faith and hope that God’s sovereignty is expressed in every event is something for the future. For now, Haiti, the tsunami, Katrina, and your child falling off a swing are things you should be upset about. We should not settle for acceptance, but should rise for energetic and healing intervention to prevent each and every recurrent tragedy.
Here is a fitting quote from a story told in Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres, author of Corelli’s Mandolin.
"He was tired of repeating himself, but lacked the nerve to go to the pulpit unprepared. The Church of England was not an extemporizing institution. What made it worse was that he often found God a difficult customer to deal with, and at this time was fresh from wondering what God could possibly have been up to when he let poor pretty Mrs. Rendall die horribly of cancer while she was still so young.
He wondered if God realized how difficult it was for him to keep making excuses on His behalf."
Schaeffer’s Thoughts on Civil Disobedience
At the end of January we were informed in the news that a judgment of guilty verdict was returned for the man who killed Dr. Tiller, a known practitioner of late-term abortions. The name of Francis Schaeffer was mentioned in various sources in that connection. In some people’s minds, his work on the issues of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia laid the foundation for an activist agenda of civil disobedience. Specifically, Schaeffer encouraged such protests in his book, A Christian Manifesto.
I always thought it was interesting that Schaeffer chose the indefinite article for the title. He does not set forth The Christian Manifesto. Only God would be able to do that. Schaeffer always said that he was not a prophet for other people’s lives and carefully stayed away from any big and/or binding pronouncements in people’s private or public lives.
There is much in Schaeffer’s world of ideas addressing the need to lead a moral, public life and not to leave the relationship to God to personal or private matters. He felt that our existence in the real world gives us a weighty and unavoidable presence, in which we should express what we believe: from the art on our walls, the music we treasure, the way we relate to others, including those we disagree with, the appreciation we express towards fellow human beings in their struggles and also in the socio/ political realm of responsible participation by means of words, votes and willful challenges to the status quo.
However, when people draw a direct link to Schaeffer in support of their own actions, they are often mistaken. It is then a case that the student turns into absolutes that which the teacher pondered, wrestled with and hesitatingly tried out. Failing to make that distinction leads to accusations that Schaeffer showed the way, that he was part of what became the Religious Right, once it became known for all kinds of things that Schaeffer would have been uncomfortable with and against which he often warned us.
When Schaeffer and many others from Rochester, MN, marched in protest against abortion practices in front of Methodist Hospital, he insisted that there should not only be no violence, but also no shouting, singing or other vocal or physical expressions. It became a sober march of people, much like walking the last mile to the cemetery in sorrow over the death of the willfully killed person.
Look up the relevant passages in A Christian Manifesto (Vol. 5, The Complete Works, pages 483 – 489). There Schaeffer calls for civil disobedience in the context of the right for revolution. But it also frightens him, “because there are so many kooky people around” (488). He writes: “People are always irresponsible in a fallen world. We live in a special time of irresponsible people, and such people will in their unbalanced way tend to do the very opposite from considering the appropriate means at the appropriate time and place. Anarchy is never appropriate.”
Yes, Schaeffer always had a double fear of both tyranny and anarchy, of might and the masses. In that, he did not abstain from taking part in the public life, as a Buddhist would or as Christians have done for so long. But his participation was formed by the need for resistance to evil and the realization that perfection is not found in a fallen world.
On page 489, Schaeffer continues a quote with a reference to the American Declaration of Independence: “Whenever civil government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it and institute new government”. Schaeffer was always very much aware of the burden of unintended consequences and therefore both spoke for certain civil and political actions and tried to restrain from others. Schaeffer was well aware of the temptation of “kooky people” to take the law into their own hands. He warned against anarchy, and can therefore not be held responsible for what this man and others do.
There is no call for vigilantism found in Schaeffer’s world, when other means are available. The defiance towards a false and counterfeit state, which Schaeffer has in mind on page 483 of volume 5 of The Complete Works, takes the form of hiding Jews in Hitler’s realm. Schaeffer did not seek or accept and always tried to avoid becoming a front man or a driver of the religious right. Contrary to what many of its present representatives hold, Schaeffer did not formulate plans of action. They may refer to Schaeffer to give themselves a source, a justification. But it is doubtful that they understand his way of thinking, his concerns or how genuinely cynical he was about any idealist vision or proposal for even a good solution.
While advocating political participation and moral justification, he was always the restrainer of the wild men out there. He flew to Mr. Falwell to restrain him, not to put fuel into his fire. The same goes for Pat Robertson and some of the other people who now claim quasipapal authority over their charges. He did not incite them to their choices.
Likewise, he often spoke against the notion that people should vote for a candidate simply because he or she was a Christian. He believed in the separation of Church and State and opposed the idea that the state should be run like a church. He very strongly defended the concept that America is a pluralistic nation and that all would benefit from diverse insights.
In this connection, it has been suggested that there were different stages or phases in Schaeffer’s thinking, occupation and efforts — a pastoral decade before going to Europe, a European intellectual phase and later an American focus. One writer suggests that Schaeffer first had a Fundamentalist background of fighting for truth and separatism in the church against spreading liberalism. Then came a ‘reformed’ phase in Europe, in which the intellectual credibility of God’s truth was apologetically useful, but needed no defense. The third phase, so it goes, was the return to the old fundamentalist fighting stance for truth, now applied to the political realm with the rise of the Christian Right.
I see no basis for this analysis, this staging of Schaeffer in three costumes. He came to be convinced of the truth of Christianity as a young man when he found the questions raised by Greek philosophers were validated and then answered coherently in Scripture. He attempted to apply the tenor, the field of meaning which God gave us in Scripture to all reality. He read and studied that text not through presuppositional glasses, but rather found in it the only sensible explanation of the real world, warts and all. Since human beings give birth in God’s created order only to human beings, we should love them as the neighbors they in fact are and not kill them before leaving the mother’s womb. Jesus warns against the Pharisaic literalism which saw murder only on the evidence of a corpse!
Schaeffer’s primary motive was always a concern for what is right and true in the real world in light of Scripture. He did not talk about abortion until the 70’s because abortions were illegal until then.
The practical problem in matters of the Christian’s involvement is that there exist such “kooky people” everywhere. We can become very dangerous in pursuit of an ideal. In fact, I am now preparing a course to show that both totalitarianism and anarchy are nursed with the milk of idealism. It is intriguing, well, actually quite frightening, that many of the non-hunting gun owners in the country do not actually wish to “take the law into their own hands” (though that is what they claim). For, if they wanted to do that, they would take it into their hands to make the law by voting for better sheriffs, mayors and councils. At least they would follow and use the law, which requires, on Biblical grounds, that before using their guns on the basis of their own sovereignty they would require two witnesses, a psychiatric examination of the trespassers to establish the degree of accountability, allow for a cooling-off period before reacting (modeled after the cities of refuge in the Old Testament and the preparation of the prosecution case in our modern procedural law), appoint a defense attorney and consider that the punishment must fit the crime, as well as reckon with a possible appeal process to a higher court.
Is that not what we should always keep in mind when we are admonished to love our neighbor as ourselves?
No, the “kooky people” want to make their own law, to shoot on sight; they are in fact the anarchists Schaeffer spoke against. They want to have the license to kill, maim and repel without law and proper accountability.
In my childhood my mother resisted the wickedness of Nazi ideas for all 12 years without going along with any of it. She always insisted that her children have their own reason for doing things. She was surrounded by too many blind followers, ”true believers” as described by longshoremanphilosopher Eric Hoffer. The excuse that someone else had taught or done it was null and void, for each person is accountable for himself before God and history!