In Bad Faith, Part 3: Franky Schaeffer, Son of “Slippery Slide” Comes Clean

Frank Schaeffer's memoir Crazy for God describes growing up evangelical.

I was amazed to hear the interview of Franky Schaeffer on NPR because his story was so revealing about the dangers of when sincere faith is influenced by political power and marketing. I was introduced to his writings in the early 1980s after his father had been promoted as an “intellectual Christian” and Franky continued his father’s beliefs that any step toward accepting “modern values” (particularly abortion) was a slippery slope toward liberalism.

In Bad Faith, Part 3: Franky Schaeffer, Son of “Slippery Slide” Comes Clean

One of my favorite Fuller Seminary professors, Colin Brown, commented once that he didn’t think that Francis Scheaffer (Sr) read any of Kierkegaard in the original languages. Academic put-down! The Schaeffers represented a huge line in the sand between True Biblical Christianity and the various forces of liberalism, academia and secularism. After reading one of Franky’s books in the 80s I recognized that I wasn’t on the “right” side of the divide. I was too much of a rationalist, situational-ethicist and intellectual. I loved the Bible but I also recognized the cultural-historical place it came from (hint: it wasn’t Heaven). Slippery slope, indeed.

So all these decades later it turns out that all the rhetoric was mostly a sham promoted by the Christian Right, to the point that even Franky eventually couldn’t tolerate and left. What I really loved about the interview was that this was a story about Idealism, human foibles, bending the “Truth.” The forces the Schaeffers represented created a conflict that I’ve spent a lifetime contending with. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one scarred by the experience. I love the comment Franky makes during the interview when he’s asked why he hasn’t gone all the way to Atheist. He says that the patterns of his life are such that the first thing he’d do would be to pray to God to help him be a better Atheist. So human.

NPR Fresh Air: Pro-Life — And In Favor Of Keeping Abortion Legal by Frank Schaeffer

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