Commentary – How Will We Live Now? Francis Schaeffer’s “How Should We Then Live” After 40 Years
Dr. Albert Mohler
The year 1976, the very year that many Americans came to know that evangelicals even existed, continues to reverberate throughout evangelical Christianity. The towering giants of the evangelical world at that time seemed to see our world in increasingly hopeful terms. The urgent cultural crises of the 1960s appeared to be in recession.
As we now know, it was not really so. In 1973 the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand nationwide. Larger intellectual currents were setting the stage for a massive shift in the culture. Evangelicals were wearing “I Found It” buttons and building massive megachurches, but the culture was shifting toward a hostile secularism that would not be fully apparent for a generation.
Still, some saw it coming. I turned 17 years old in 1976, facing my last year of high school and trying to figure out the world around me. An apologetic crisis had troubled me for a couple of years by then, and I needed help. I was already facing some of the issues and questions that would explode onto the American scene in coming decades.
Thankfully, I did get help, and from multiple sources. D. James Kennedy introduced me to the writings of Francis Schaeffer. I devoured He Is There and He Is Not Silent and Escape from Reason and The God Who Is There. At that point, I had not met Francis Schaeffer, but his writings were a form of theological rescue for me. I did not fully grasp all that Schaeffer presented in his books, but I did get his main points, and they gave me a way of understanding how the Christian faith related to and answered the questions of the world around me.