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A Christian Manifesto

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,964 ratings  ·  110 reviews
It happened so subtly that few people noticed at first. Little by little, morality and freedom started to crumble. It came first in government, in education, in the media--and finally it began to shake our families and our own lives. Something fundamental has changed. Law and government no longer provide a foundation of justice and morality but have become the means of lic ...more
Paperback, Revised, 157 pages
Published October 1st 1981 by Crossway Books (first published June 1981)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,964 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Nick Gibson
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm, what to say. Love Schaeffer's thought process, insight, and writing style. Love the man. This past year I've been trying to figure out my position on the relationship between church (which church?) and state, and the role of Christians as private persons in Christ living as citizens in the state - specifically the US, heavily influenced as it is by centuries of Judeo-Christian culture.

I've been driven toward Two Kingdoms by the shallow and left-leaning public policy views of certain celebri
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read that is sadly necessary to combat those who downplay this belief instead of respecting it as a legitimate philosophy on life.
Tony Smith
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this work more than once. Schaeffer's basic arguments and philosophy hold up well over time. I would say his thoughts and logic are being proven correct by present culture and circumstances. Cultural and political changes do not make truth untruthful. They simply make identifying true truth more difficult to discern due to all of the verbal and other detritus used to try to hide the truth. Schaeffer does a good job separating truth from the clutter.
David Sarkies
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody Really
Recommended to David by: Some guy at church
Shelves: christian
A typical rant about the collapse of American moral society
1 June 2013

After reading the first couple of chapters of this book I have come to understand why it is that Schaeffer's son has broken with the groups that his father was involved in and moved over to the Christian Left. While I do generally like Schaeffer's writings, and also his ability to connect with people from various backgrounds, this book, at first, felt like a rant against the direction that US society is heading, and in partic
Patrick S.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was my first taste of Schaeffer and I liked what I got pretty much. To be fair the book is a bit dated as it is commententing on 1982 political themes and situations. But the influx of humanism was starting to peak in the 1980s and we can see today the political climate and world view of the state and humanism from when it peaked.

This was my first political book that started with a worldview assumption. The worldview here being of Christianity. Schaeffer makes his point for Christianity (of
Gus Stevens
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
This "manifesto" is the philosophical justification for the Moral Majority that seemed plausible in the 80s but, when read in 2012, the parochial and selective nostalgia of the book becomes quite obvious. The author pines for a religious revival that will manifest itself in the American legal system, particularly in reference to abortion, but he refuses to concede that what he is advocating is a theocratic system or in any way an establishment of a state religion.

In fact, Schaeffer would prefer
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent! Prophetic (written in 1981).

From the beginning: "The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals."

Shows how the secular, humanist worldview is antithetical to the Christian worldview, and demonstrates the moral, political, and legal consequences which flow from each worldview.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that book was the opposite of worthwhile.

I have GOT to stop adding books to my "to read" list based only on an interesting title!

While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and remove any other Francis Schaeffer books lying in wait on that ominous list...
Larry Taylor
Jan 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
if taken to its logical conclusion, we'd be blowing up abortion clinics behind pat robertson riding a white steed
Some disjointed thoughts:

There are some great principles set forth in here, and I agree with most of it, but somehow my high expectations were not realized.

I definitely welcomed discussion of Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex.

If I had read it in the 1980s (had I been old enough then to do so!) I think it would have struck me more powerfully. As it is, it is slightly dated now, and I feel the good folk at The Calvinist International and The Davenant Trust are offering a more developed reformational p
Adapted from this book.
Bob Ladwig
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People have mixed feeling about this book, I think because most Christians have a rather mechanical view of Romans 13 and the relation between the Christian and the state. It seems most Christians apply Rom 13 rather woodenly and fail to contextualize both Paul's day and ours. Schaeffer points out that the grounds for Christian disobedience to the state is much greater than just preaching issues and this is where most Christian wince. I found the book extremely helpful in forming and understandi ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: citizens, Christians
This is a good book for anyone wondering how a Christian is to interact with the government. In some ways, it is dated because it was written in the early 80's, but it is amazing how much of what he discusses is coming to fruition.

I would recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a balanced understanding of how a Christian is duty bound to support and hold their government accountable.
Dec 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
I read this book in college and it was horrible. The writing was bad, the arguments lacked logical cohesion. I agreed with a lot of his positions (although not all), but the tone, style, diction, and syntax made it all but unreadable.
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is more of a call to action than his previous titles which I would characterize more as analysis and insight. Sure do miss his voice.
Feb 03, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm not sure if I'll like this book or not, so I'm a little nervous to read it. :-) It was, however, only 50 cents at Goodwill, so I figure it was a bargain. ;-)
Douglas Wilson
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Also read in December of 1981.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear and concise writing, relevant today despite it being written during the latter part of the Cold War.

Author effectively compared and contrasted the humanistic (man-centered) world view compared to the Christian (Christ-centered) worldview and the dangers presented when a humanist perspective seeps into Christian doctrine, effectively creating an incoherent and logically inept man-focused cultural Christianity. This is especially relevant in today's moral morass we find ourselves regarding l
Bert van der Vaart
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a book written in 1981, Francis Schaefer sought to set out a counterpoint to the Humanist Manifesto I and II (which were published in 1933 and 1973, respectively). The Humanist Manifesto essentially set out what sounds like a broad and tolerant believe in the goodness of man apart from any particular religion. Schaefer shows how the deeper implications of this manifesto however was that the world is not subject to the power and authority of God, but instead mechanistic/physical, and by implic ...more
Kelly Mize
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note: I wrote the review below thinking that I was reviewing How Then Shall We Live? But I would rate this book highly as well. I don’t think Schaffer believed this work would ultimately cause the society’s trajectory to change radically. But one must not cease in making efforts to advocate for the truth. The way is narrow, but some will find it...

This is a book to keep forever. I keep coming back to it and finally just moved it’s location right next to my reading chair because of my need to ref
Scott Kennedy
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Reading this book 30 odd years after it was written is a little eerie. Schaeffer had his finger on the pulse.

His big idea is that that Christians have not seen the problems in the States as total, but 'bits and pieces'. He tries to explain how a secular humanist understanding of the world necessarily leads to certain political and legal consequences. He calls for Christians to resist by getting involved in the political process, but also through civil disobedience. There is a big discussion on
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
From a writing standpoint, it's well-written. From a 'do I agree with it ?' standpoint, my feelings are mixed. All of his points are valid, yet with many of them I do not agree. Grossly speaking, it's a manifesto, inherently dogmatic as a genre. Easy to read, though.

I appreciated how Schaeffer pointed out that it is because of Jesus' death on the cross and his message of justice for all humanity that the US's political system has validity : justice is something fixed and equal for all, not based
John Weis
Schaeffer chronicles the decay of the American/Western culture resulting from an infusing of materialism into the modern jurisprudence and governance. Having elucidated the problem, he outlines a small number of practical approaches to restoring the Judeo/Christian theory of law to the forefront.

Good, but somewhat muddled, especially regarding the need to restore the role of the Church, and the necessity of renouncing tolerance. Overall, this work is a helpful, but brief, introduction to the con
The book is interesting, the quality of writing uninspiring, the content enlightening, encouraging, and astute, but not often so. Reviewers would do well to make application of a book’s index if it has one, as Schaeffer’s does, before making assertions indicating they either did not read the book, did not understand the book, or have an ax to grind regardless of what the book says. Happy days.

To wit, regarding Schaeffer's alleged support of a theocracy:

“First, we must make definite that we are i
Colin Walsh
Interesting book that addresses the practice of protest, retreat, civil disobedience, and force as a Christian living under the authority of a particular government or authority (namely The United States of America). Schaefer seems to assume a number of “facts” and historical narratives without providing any significant backing to his claims (at least in the written content of the book. The references contain additional resources for proofs). Worth the read, but not implicitly revolutionary or n ...more
Paul Herriott
My first Schaeffer. I know from reading parts of other books that they are full of truth and wisdom, but he was also writing to a very specific audience, in a specific time, about a specific issue. ‘82 is a much different time than 2018, but it is interesting to see the ways he was right and wrong in his fears and predictions. His books are not timeless but they can become relevant time and time again.
Greg Kerr
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing that a book written in 1981 is so applicable today. I read the book because of the author’s call for the church to stand against abortion. I see that 37 years later this call was heard by many who are dedicated to this fight fir life, but not the church universal. My wife and I serve as advocates at a local crisis pregnancy center, and it’s clear how few churches are truly engaged.
Herman Douma
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Een duidelijke waarschuwing en oproep om te handelen als christen. Het humanisme heeft haar intrede gedaan en dit boek laat duidelijk zien waar ons dat brengt. Schaeffer geeft ons een boek in handen om de fenomenen in de samenleving te interpreteren en te begrijpen. Hij maakt ook duidelijk wat de plaats van de christen daarin moet zijn. Een absolute aanrader.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great resource for Christians to help them understand current American culture and the increasing hostility toward Christianity. It also gives appropriate responses, backed by biblical, sound doctrine, to fight this threat.
Welles Bristol
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read everything of Schaeffer’s I could get my hands on!
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Francis August Schaeffer was an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is most famous for his writings and his establishment of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. Opposed to theological modernism, Schaeffer promoted a more historic Protestant faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics which he believed would answer the questions of ...more
“The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.” 25 likes
“If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the living God.” 15 likes
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