As a new year starts, and new presidential hopefuls begin their caucus runs, the name Ronald Reagan has been dropped many times over. Many seeking the office, have regularly touted the need for a true "Reagan Conservative." Some in the media have even sought to cast our current president as "Reaganesque" last year during Reagan's Centennial Birthday Year. Yet, many may not know of the name of a man who had an important influenced on Ronald Reagan and so many Conservatives to follow. That name of course is Francis Schaeffer. Schaeffer in fact was influential to several presidents in that era. He visited the White House to meet with Gerald Ford as well as George H. W. Bush.
Schaeffer was not a politician, a political guru, or even a politically driven person. Rather, he was a pastor-teacher-philosopher that cared deeply about people and culture and realized the role that politics play. His care and concern are something which Ronald Reagan deeply admired about him. Here is a quote from Ronald Reagan after Schaeffer's passing.
"He will long be remembered as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century, with a childlike faith and a profound compassion toward others. It can rarely be said of an individual that his life touched many others and affected them for the better; it will be said of Francis Schaeffer that his life touched millions of souls and brought them to the truth of their creator." ~ Ronald Reagan
It is quite telling that in this election cycle, Reagan can be admired by the Left by separating him from his thought, and Schaeffer who in some very significant ways contributed much to Reagan and Conservative thought, is still misunderstood and misrepresented. It is such that a Conservative politician might not dare mention Schaeffer in a political context without suffering criticism. The mistaken accusations of "dominionism" last year seem to evidence this. Yet, it's rather strange that no one is accusing Reagan of such positions. We have to question all such attacks as attempts to silence, and further question the greater potential of the state to manipulate as Schaeffer warned.
Given the current climate of Reagan name capital, and the obvious desire to manipulate, it will be important to remember what both Reagan and Schaeffer warned about in the future of America, namely "statism." In closing, I would like you to read this excerpt from Dr. R.C. Sproul recounting a talk he once had with Schaeffer on the subject.:
"About thirty years ago, I shared a taxi cab in St. Louis with Francis Schaeffer. I had known Dr. Schaeffer for many years, and he had been instrumental in helping us begin our ministry in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, in 1971. Since our time together in St. Louis was during the twilight of Schaeffer’s career, I posed this question to him: “Dr. Schaeffer, what is your biggest concern for the future of the church in America?” Without hesitation, Dr. Schaeffer turned to me and spoke one word: “Statism.” Schaeffer’s biggest concern at that point in his life was that the citizens of the United States were beginning to invest their country with supreme authority, such that the free nation of America would become one that would be dominated by a philosophy of the supremacy of the state." Read The Full Article