Francis Schaeffer would have turned one hundred years old this year. He was a man who had a great, transforming effect on the evangelical church. He saw, like few others, what was unfolding and warned Christians everywhere about where our culture was headed. Forty years later his observations have been proven again and again to be spot-on and we need to hear it still in 2012. Please read till the end; the last paragraph is especially important.
In ancient Israel, when the nation had turned from God and from his truth and commands as given in Scripture, the prophet Jeremiah cried out that there was death in the city. He was speaking not only of physical death in Jerusalem but also a wider death. Because Jewish society of that day had turned away from what God had given them in the Scripture, there was death in the polis, that is, death in the total culture and the total society.
In our era, sociologically, man destroyed the base which gave him the possibility of freedoms without chaos. Humanists have been determined to beat to death the knowledge of God and the knowledge that God has not been silent, but has spoken in the Bible and through Christ—and they have been determined to do this even though the death of values has come with the death of that knowledge.
We see two effects of our loss of meaning and values. The first is degeneracy. Think of New York City’s Times Square—Forty-second and Broadway. If one goes to what used to be the lovely Kalverstraat in Amsterdam, one finds that it, too, has become equally squalid! The same is true of lovely old streets in Copenhagen. Pompeii has returned! The marks of ancient Rome scar us: degeneracy, decadence, depravity, a love of violence for violence’s sake. The situation is plain. If we look, we see it. If we see it, we are concerned.
But we must notice that there is a second result of modern man’s loss of meaning and values which is more ominous, and which many people do not see. This second result is that the elite will exist. Society cannot stand chaos. Some group or some person will fill the vacuum. An elite will offer us arbitrary absolutes, and who will stand in its way? (How Should We then Live? [Westchester, Ill.: Crossway, 1976], 226–27)