This was an excellent book showing the decline of the modern day church. The church has lost its will to discern right from wrong. Schaeffer does a terrific job critiquing what he calls the watershed of the Evangelical Faith. That is, the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Too many people are accepting people who call themselves "Evangelicals", but they are really are nothing but rank liberals. This is a short pithy work, but it shows the sadness of the times we are in. I love the short history that Schaeffer gives. Since, he was a Presbyterian, I love him talking about J. Gresham Machen (a brilliant defender of Orthodoxy). I also love him talking about how "Fundamentalism" got started. Most people see "Fundamentalism" as being anti-intellectual. But, historially speaking, "Fundamentalism" was actually an intellectual defense of Christian orthodoxy (it all started by a group of Christian scholars getting together defending historic Christian doctrine in book form, of which Machen was one of them). This was a tremendous book for someone wanting to study how the Bible has been affected by the liberalism and neo-orthodoxy. If it would have been a little more thorough, I would have rated it five stars.
I have had this book on my shelf since 1985 (sorry Amazon.com, but it was before you were around) and was fearful of picking it up. The title, along with Franky Schaeffer's book Addicted to Mediocrity, and Franky's eventual abandonment of evangelical brand of Christianity for Eastern Orthodox, led me to believe that this might be a screed against evangelicalism. How silly was my fear. This book is a treasure!
Humbly written, full of love, strong in conviction, Dr. Schaeffer sounds a warning to all Bible-believing evangelicals of a form of theology that has, in many people's opinion, infected and killed the mainline denominations in the beginning of the 20th century. His is a warning against the Modernist (or Neo-orthodox) theology that questions Scriptural authority in matters of history and science (the cosmos).
This book is not meant as a proof text against liberal theology. It is directed at those who already believe in the infallibility of the Bible, but who are sleeping while Neo-orthodoxy spreads like a virus through out evangelical institutions. It is a call to action on behalf of those who care about the purity of the Church.
It is much more than a typical Fundamentalist call to arms though. Schaeffer places equal importance on the value of LIVING like we believe the Bible is infallible. He states with great humility, that evangelical accommodation to the spirit of our age is to blame for the negligible cultural impact we have had. This accommodation has harmed the Bible's authority every bit as much as Neo-orthodoxy. His is a call to be as ready to LIVE the Bible (with humility, prayer, and love) as well as DEFEND the Bible.
But the best part about the book is the concluding chapter called The Mark of a Christian. It is a reprint of an earlier booklet that Schaeffer wrote and could not be better placed. If the challenge herein does not cause you to re-think how you love your fellow Christian, or how unified (or un-unified) we as Christians are, then you need to check your pulse to see if there is a heartbeat. It is a must-read for all who care about these things.
If you are a liberal theologian, this is probably not your cup of tea. Nothing in here will change your mind. It is not "evidence" for a conservative theology. It merely describes the consequences of such a liberal mind set. This is a message from the General to his troops.
Don't wait 17 years to read this. Read it now.