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Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Second Quote from The Truth War

...every attempt to define truth in nonbiblical terms has ultimately failed. That is because God is the source of all that exists (Romans 11:36). He alone defines and delimits what is true. He is also the ultimate revealer of all truth.


All truth therefore starts with what is true of God: who He is, what His mind knows, what His holiness entails, what His will approves, and so on. In other words, all truth is determined and properly explained by the being of God. Therefore, every notion of His nonexistence is by definition untrue. That is precisely what the Bible teaches: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).


...once someone denies God, logical consistency will ultimately force that person to deny all truth. A denial that God exists instantly removes the whole justification for any kind of knowledge.
My oldest son started serious reading when he was fifteen. It was about that time that I warned him that he would never have more opportunity to read than he would have over the next several years. He started off with Institutes of the Christian Religion and over the years, I kid thee not, he has read it all--or at least so much philosophy and theology that it would, I guarantee, make your head spin just to see his bookshelf.

I have no doubt--none--that he's read more philosophy than the majority of people who've majored in that subject.

So, yes, he's read all the major philosophers in considerable depth--and you know what? After all of that, his conclusion is that most of it is:

People are all over the place. They cannot agree on what is and isn't real and if--let alone how--someone can know it. You either begin with God and wind up with a coherent system of thought, or you begin with man, and intellectual anarchy reigns.


  1. When reading the quoted paragraphs (especially the first one) I couldn’t help but think of those immortal words spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi “Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

    I had this debate once about truth. I asked a group of friends if there was such a thing as ultimate truth. I thought that I had posted something about it on my blog, but apparently I didn’t.

    Often I think that “truth” is a very subjective thing (unlike facts), with that being said I do believe that there is truth out there. I wouldn’t agree that it comes from Biblical sources, but that again brings me back to the subjective nature of truth.

    I envy your son. I would love to have read all—heck half—of the things that he has read.

  2. Dave--thanks.

    You know, Eldest Son used to keep a running list of what he'd read on the computer desktop. Eventually it just got ridiculous.

    Only person I know who's read, let alone bought, the complete works of Aristotle. Only person I know who's read both The Wealth of Nations and Das Kapital. When it comes to the major philosophers, about the only person I can think of whom he hasn't read is Thomas Reid--and I just bought the most popular edition of that a few weeks ago. Maybe he'll get around to it before Spring.

    Pat--Aye. :)

  3. By the way, Dave, if that sort of thing interests you, make sure to click on the Francis Schaeffer video in the sidebar. At the very least, you'll find it interesting.