Over the years I’ve had a fascination with Frank Schaeffer, the increasingly wayward son of Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984). The father was a great man who profoundly influenced a generation of Christian thinkers and encouraged some of the early proponents of ID (notably Charles Thaxton and Nancy Pearcey) to challenge evolutionary theory. The son, by contrast, has turned repudiating his father’s legacy into a full-time occupation, cultivating a churlishness and cattiness that is hard to match. My fascination has consisted in tracking how far the son will go in turning against the father.
What drew my attention to Frank most recently was his remark in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle that “Fundamentalism is the big story of the 21st century. Ask anyone trying to teach evolution in a public school.” Later in his article he remarks that “certainties are what unite all fundamentalists.” Let me suggest that Frank consider the possibility that this definition applies to him as well. For sheer dogmatism and certainty that fundamentalism is bad, Frank Schaeffer is in a class by himself.