Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Groothuis Reviews "Crazy for God" at The Pearcey Report

By Rick Pearcey

"Those of us deeply touched by the life and writings of Francis and Edith Schaeffer may be interested in Crazy for God, a memoir by their son and youngest child, Frank (formerly Franky), who is now in his mid-fifties," writes Douglas Groothuis in a review of the new book. Groothuis is professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary.

"Given my interest in all things Schaeffer," Groothuis continues, "I found the book in turn fascinating and infuriating. I first learned of it by reading a cynical and sneering review in The Nation, a secular leftwing publication. The reviewer took the book to be a repudiation of evangelical faith, the Christian Right, and an expose of the hypocrisy of many Christian leaders, most notably, Francis and Edith Schaeffer.

"That review outraged me, but also piqued my curiosity. What had become of Franky Schaeffer, the producer of two significant film series featuring the ideas of his father -- How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? -- and a man whose own books I had read in the early 1980s? Could Frank offer some insights into the life of his family and about the evangelical world he left behind?"

To see how Groothuis answers these questions, read the entire review of Crazy for God here.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (archives).


Tim said...

Thanks very much for posting Doug Groothuis's thoughtful review. I have to admit that I discovered this blog just now through the link from his, but if you feature content of that quality on a regular basis, I'll be back.

Douglas said...


what do you think of Ingrid's observations, is she correct?

The Sad Truth About Frank Schaeffer

Will it be fearsome for Frank on Judgment Day or does he not believe he IS going to be judged? He certainly does not sound like a God fearing man to me. I wonder if he will handle death bravely when the Grim-Reaper comes a knock knock a knockin' upon his door? I guess Frank just cannot handle the "true-truth?"

I wonder if Frank can feel the tears of his mother and father falling upon his head?

Unknown said...

I knew Mrs. Schaeffer for more than ten years, have met Frank and the other children more than once, I live in that small city with way too many geese, etc. Portofino isn't even a -loosely- biographical tale. He puts the views that his parents opposed and taught against into the mouths of his fictional parents in that novel. Having known or met all of his family members except his late father, I am quite convinced that there is no way on earth that his education was neglected. When I talked to Frank in the '90s on two separate occasions, he was not an angry man, but a decent, kind man. The anger in his books was not his normal day-to-day personality.

I have noticed a tendency - at least to my observation - of the children of L'Abri-oriented families to become snobbish. Their parents aren't, but the interface between the blue-collar, high-culture attitude of L'Abri (which I like) and the anti-intellectualism of the general evangelical world, may produce this in the children. I don't know. It does suggest that we might be over-looking something.

Jake said...

Well, to be fair to Frank, all his sister's contributed to the book and I believe Debby even said she approved of the whole thing, so there's got to be at least some merit to what he's saying. Are his observations reflective of a strong bitterness against evangelicals? Sure. But having grown up in a fundamentalist church, I can relate to his feelings, even if I don't entirely approve of the way he speaks about them.

I think the danger here is that people who have been blessed by L'Abri (and I'm one of them, L'Abri saved me from fundamentalism and showed me that Christianity wasn't about judging others) to allow their high view of Dr. and Mrs. Schaeffer to cloud their judgment in reading this book. As evangelicals, we've idolized them and it's good for us to see that they weren't perfect. I'm not defending everything Frank wrote, but I personally have found the book both helpful and enjoyable because I relate so much to what he's describing.

lj lorence said...
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