Frank Schaeffer’s Protest Against Protestantism: A Protestant Response -- By: Chuck Huckaby

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 03:4 (Fall 1994)
Article: Frank Schaeffer’s Protest Against Protestantism: A Protestant Response
Author: Chuck Huckaby


Frank Schaeffer’s Protest Against Protestantism: A Protestant Response

Chuck Huckaby

Upon hearing that Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late prominent evangelical spokesman Francis Schaeffer (and activist in his own right), was coming to my rather small town, I immediately made plans to attend his meetings. I’d heard he’d recently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy because of his frustrations with the divided world of Protestantism. Though I certainly didn’t expect to “be converted,” I assumed I would share much of his critique of American Christianity and wished to learn from it.

I certainly didn’t expect to be writing a critique of the ideas presented during the meetings and in his paper The Christian Activist. However, upon reflecting on his presentation and some of the ideas presented in the Activist, I cannot let these concepts go unexamined. I feel I owe fellow Protestants who have heard Frank Schaeffer speak and read of his conversion this article to help us evaluate together our beliefs biblically.

Frank Schaeffer’s Evaluation of Protestantism

Going there with high hopes, I was startled to begin the evening feeling so uncomfortable. Should I have expected the worst when Schaeffer began the lecture by asking how many people in the audience were “Orthodox”?

Naturally I considered myself to be “orthodox”—not perfect or sinless, but orthodox. Quite honestly I bristled at the term “orthodox” used in a way to exclude sincere, doctrinally sound believers in Jesus Christ! After all, my wife and I, not to mention other members from my congregation who were there, not only embrace the authority of Scripture and seek to practice it, but also embrace the ancient creeds of the church as well as the more recent evangelical and Reformed confessions of faith!

However in the spirit of adventure and a desire to learn, I did want to hear about Frank Schaeffer’s pilgrimage to the

Orthodox Church and see what he’d come to believe, so I persevered. This article will attempt to outline Frank Schaeffer’s “protests” against Protestantism (he does not choose to differentiate between evangelicals and even the most radical liberal Protestants—he considers us all one “failed experiment”). It will also attempt a critique of what Schaeffer considers “solutions.” I will attempt to confine my critique to the material presented in the issue of The Christian Activist given attendees and some indisputable observations from my visit to St. George’s Orthodox parish in Huntington, West Virginia.

Schaeffer’s spiritual journey to Orthodoxy began wh...

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