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The God Who Is There [Paperback]

F Schaeffer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: IVP USA; New edition edition (16 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830819479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830819478
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

The God Who is There This completely redone edition of the landmark book that changed the way the church sees the world includes a new Introduction by James W. Sire, that places Shaeffer's seminal work in the context of the intellectual turbulence of the early 21st century. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring the Balance 11 Sep 2010
By George
Lots of people are prepared to read and accept at face value the views of Richard Dawkins and similar - because they're fashionable at present. Before deciding you need to read the respected people on the other side of the debate. Although it's been around a while, this is a seminal work and was one of the books that really helped shape my thinking as a student. It's good to own a copy again!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal work in Christian lit to counteract despair 14 Sep 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on Amazon.com
Say Francis Schaeffer's name and the informed Christian will straighten his armor of righteousness and stand erect with his Sword of Truth, or the Word of God. "Schaeffer [is] the great prophet of our age," is how Charles Colson describes him. Schaeffer's seminal work, "The God Who Is There," is an explanation of the despair that wracks modern man to his core and explains that the only logical response is "The God Who Is There."

God is There (or Here) because he tells us he is. How? Through His Word, the book of his words and deeds. He brought the world into existence through his Word, then he gave himself through his Word, Jesus Christ. The Bible is of utmost importance because God shows us himself through his Word.

However, modern man took words and made them into a twisted form of themselves, making meaning nil or ineffectual. The informed follower of Christ should learn the ways of the modern world and its nihilistic meanings. Only then can he combat its destructiveness. This is one of Schaeffer's main themes.

Schaeffer outlines the new world order and its debilitating effects. This new outlook developed between 1913 and 1935 in the United States with the rise of Humanism. Prior to that time, man had absolutes on which to rely. If there is evil, then its antithesis is good. Christians had a sound basis on which to live in the world. (Their moral code, of course, comes from the Bible.)

Then Julian Huxley edited The Humanist Frame The Modern Humanist Vision of Life" in which he emphasizes man as the source of all meaning, knowledge, and value. (Huxley is cited only as a humanist of Schaeffer's time as an example.) The man who originally drew this line of despair was Hegel, making truth the result of cause and effect, not absolutes.

According to Schaeffer, Kierkegaard is "the father of all modern thinking" by creating the concept of existential thought, both secular and theological. By its nature, existential thinking cannot be communicated. The informed Christian can counteract this lack by talking about God and Christ, who CAN be communicated. Since God's Word is written, it therefore can be communicated.

Sartre and Camus added to existentialism by saying that only an act of will can authenticate one's life, still placing man below the line of despair. Huxley played with evolutionary humanism, making it a religious substitute without a god. The other "authentic" experience comes through the use of drugs, which Schaeffer seriously debunks. The major proponent of this use to bring about a "first-order" experience was Timothy McLeary, a Harvard professor at the time (1960's). On the other hand, the Christian has a real external world which God created (as outlined in his Word).

Art was the next step in modern man's attempt to live in a world not made of despair. Van Gogh and Gauguin tried to connect through their paintings. Each experienced failure in their set goals and died in despair. Picasso, through his cubism, illustrates that communication is not even possible because people are no long human, but monsters.

The meaning of despair in music began with musique concrete, in which notes could be distorted enough that your ears began to distrust what they heard. In the end, whether art, music, philosophy, the public came to understand that what they face is alienation, corruption, lostness, chance, randomness.

Schaeffer discusses a number of other disciplines which have fallen to the slipperiness of a truth without an opposite. What is a Christian to do in such a world? He devotes the first half of his book to laying out the new truth and its consequences of despair.

In the second half Schaeffer examines the Christian counter point to this despair: "[T]he answer of the historic and Reformation Christian position which states that there is a personal God, that man is made in his image, that he has communicated to his creatures...."(106).

Schaeffer insists that the only way man can live in an uncertain world is to have an antithesis to truth. Death is not the end of our lives. The most important communication from God to man was the work of Christ on the cross. "John 3:16--He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life and he that believeth not in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (164).

Space dictates an end to this review. This book deserves much more. Schaeffer very neatly and clearly shows how modern thinking has gone wrong and how man can get back to an accessible truth--that God is who He says he is, that Jesus lived in time and space, and that we can depend on the God who is there. A riveting book!
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge, Not Belief 11 Mar 2004
By Aaron Long - Published on Amazon.com
Schaeffer's book has changed my life and many around me. Using a historical-cultural approach, Schaeffer explains the development in ideology and practice of what he calls "the line of despair," the divide between the physical realm and the metaphysical realm that prevents humanity from knowing about transcendent things. But he is not only able to identify the line, he also explains how to get beyond it.
I have lived for years in a society that has told me that such things are unknowable, that they must be a matter of belief only, but Schaeffer's book dispells all such misconceptions. "The God Who is There" provides a solid intellectual foundation for faith in a world of shifting sand.
If you read and like this book, I would recommend reading Schaeffer's book "He is There and He is Not Silent" immediately afterward.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Five Stars 26 May 2003
By Jacob Aitken - Published on Amazon.com
I picked up this book after seeing F.S. referenced many times in the works of Chuck Colson. For those of you familiar with the apologetic work of Colson, FS runs in the same vein; namely, that Christianity has reasonable foundations and more importantly, it is the worldview most compatible with reality. My main problem with the book is that FS did not spend enough time in the first 2 parts of the book elucidating his propositions, thus the 4 star rating. By the middle of the book I figured out what he was doing.
The Book Itself:
Several of his theses are: postmodern man lives "below the line of despair". Following that, he is forced into a dichotomy of existential despair or Christian Truth. His primary thesis is that of the anithesis: if one thing is true, then its opposite is not true. He then shows how a denial of this has pervaded modern culture, especially that of art.
Final Analysis:
I found the book interesting, even it written too fast. I wished he would have clarified many things early on. Nevertheless, this has moved me to read more of his works
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for People with Questions! 22 Feb 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Schaeffer systematically discusses modern (postmodern) thought and its relationship to Christianity. He does skim many details but his overall point is revolutionary, and as appropriate today as it was when it was first written. As a classical musician, I was amazed at the accuracy of his analysis of the recent history of music. His writing style is clear, sometimes tedious, but it's worth the read. His clarity sometimes comes off as oversimplification, but I think a closer look will reveal a complicated, beautiful source of hope for a generation in search of meaning. I highly recommend this to anyone with serious philosophical questions as to the validity of Christianity.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic for it's time, highly applicable today 1 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Schaeffer proves to be prophetic as he traces the course of western thought and predicts how humanism and relativism will work their way from the intelligensia to the common man. He goes on to clearly lay out the Christian's rebuttal to these false doctrines. The beauty of this book probably lies in Schaeffer's ability to consistently stress both the need to attack the falsehoods of modern thought while loving the people who hold to those falsehoods. In fact, he states that not exposing someone to the fallacy of their beliefs, not matter how painful it is, is actually not loving them. Schaeffer writes clearly and the book reads easily, though you may need to reread sections due to the weight of the issues being discussed.
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