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The Schaeffers showed an extraordinary ability to identify with the issues that concerned the student generation of the 1960s and early 1970s. Francis scorned postwar materialism, insisting that most Americans had no higher philosophy of life than "personal peace and affluence." Though strongly opposed to communism, he refused to condone the arms race: "In the race of fission versus fission, fusion versus fusion, missile versus missile, what reason is there to think that those conceiving and engineering these things on 'our side' believe anything basically different … from those on the 'other side,' the Communists?" He urged respect for nature in a society that had fouled its own nest. He preached against racism, and at L'Abri he practiced what he preached. He sympathized with dropouts and drug users "because they are smart enough to know that they have been given no answers, and they are opting out. … The older generation hasn't given them anything to care about."

Francis also thundered against the middle-class sins of the evangelical churches. He challenged evangelicals to adopt a "revolutionary" mindset, to think about getting rid of the American flags in their sanctuaries: "Patriotic loyalty must not be identified with Christianity." He insisted that American evangelicalism was too individualistic: "Christianity is an individual thing, but it is not only an individual thing. There is to be true community, offering true spiritual and material help to each other." He therefore urged Christians to welcome intellectuals, hippies, drug addicts—whomever God should send: "I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home ...

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In the Magazine

March 3, 1997

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