Statistical Ethics, Majority Despotism, and an Open Bible

Francis Schaeffer in 1972 (Works, 1:296–7):

There is coming a time in the global village (not far ahead, in the area of electronics) when we will be able to wire everybody up to a giant computer, and what the computer strikes as the average at a given moment will be what is right and wrong. You may say that is far-fetched and there may never be such a worldwide computer system. But the concept of morals only being the average of what people are thinking and doing at a given time is a present reality. You must understand that that is exactly what Kinsey set forth in Sexual Behavior of the Human Male (1948) as statistical sexual ethics. This is not theoretical. We have come to this place in our Western culture because man sees himself as beginning from the impersonal, the energy particle and nothing else. We are left with only statistical ethics, and in that setting there is simply no such thing as morals as morals.

Francis Schaeffer (Works, 5:139):

The Reformation’s preaching of the gospel brought forth two things which were secondary to the central message of the gospel but nonetheless were important: an interest in culture and a true basis for form and freedom in society and government. The latter carries with it an important corollary, namely, that 51 percent of the vote never becomes the final source of right and wrong in government because the absolutes of the Bible are available to judge a society. The “little man,” the private citizen, can at any time stand up and, on the basis of biblical teaching, say that the majority is wrong. So, to the extent to which the biblical teaching is practiced, one can control the despotism of the majority vote.

The First Sin and Unequal Yoking

Writes Francis Schaeffer in his book Genesis in Space and Time (IVP, 1997), page 86:

Paul in 1 Timothy 2:14 points out: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Temptation is extremely hard to resist when it is bound up with the man-woman relationship. For example, in Exodus 34:16 we are warned not to let the man-woman relationship lead us into idolatry.

Two great drives are built into man. The first is his need for a relationship to God, and the second his need for a relationship to the opposite sex. A special temptation is bound up with this sexual drive. How many young women are faithful as Christians until they come to a certain age and feel with their whole being, without ever analyzing it, the need for marriage and are then swept over into marrying a non-Christian man. And how many men are faithful until they feel the masculine drive and give up their faithfulness to God by marrying a woman who carries them into spiritual problems for the rest of their life.

I look upon such young men and young women as I see them going through this, and I cry for them, because in a way there is no greater agony than suddenly to fall in love and then to realize that one must say no to this natural drive because it leads in that particular case to a severing of our greater relationship — our relationship to God.

While what happened in the Garden of Eden was a space-time historic event, the man-woman relationship and force of temptation it must have presented to Adam is universal.

The Unwasted Life

Francis A. Schaeffer was born 100 years ago today (Jan. 30, 1912). He died in 1984. In 1974 he wrote this in his book No Little People:

As I see it, the Christian life must be comprised of three concentric circles, each of which must be kept in its proper place.

In the outer circle must be the correct theological position, true biblical orthodoxy and the purity of the visible church. This is first, but if that is all there is, it is just one more seedbed for spiritual pride.

In the second circle must be good intellectual training and comprehension of our own generation. But having only this leads to intellectualism and again provides a seedbed for pride.

In the inner circle must be the humble heart — the love of God, the devotional attitude toward God. There must be the daily practice of the reality of the God whom we know is there.

These three circles must be properly established, emphasized and related to each other. At the center must be kept a living relationship to the God we know exists. When each of these three circles is established in its proper place, there will be tongues of fire and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, at the end of my life, when I look back over my work since I have been a Christian, I will see that I have not wasted my life.