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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal work in Christian lit to counteract despair
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...
Published on September 14, 2008 by Judy K. Polhemus

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Proof is in the Pudding
If you are looking for proof that there is a "...God Who is There", as given to us by Francis A. Schaeffer in 1968 in his book, `The God Who Is There", unless you are willing to convert to Christianity on the spot, you will probably look elsewhere. In this book Schaeffer is not writing as an apologetic to the masses who have not found salvation through Jesus Christ. He...
Published on December 22, 2008 by Jim Muccio


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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal work in Christian lit to counteract despair, September 14, 2008
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
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!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge, Not Belief, March 11, 2004
By 
Aaron Long "Young Academic" (Iowa City, IA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
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.
ALong
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Five Stars, May 25, 2003
By 
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
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
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for People with Questions!, February 22, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic for it's time, highly applicable today, April 1, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Hope for Philosophies Dying of Despair, April 2, 2007
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
This is one of the most informative books I've ever read. It often seems as though the path or road by which we arrive at Truth gets muddled, confused and chaotic; and this book clears away the debris from the road and shows exactly how modern thought arrived at where it is today. It's a great review of philosophies progress; and not only offers an accurate diagnosis to the problem, but also suggests a prescription and a remedy. I would definitely recommend this book to any Christian seriously committed to offering the hope he has inside of him to others around him. It isn't light reading, though. I wouldn't start here. If your just getting into the subject, I think that there's better authors to start out with, that will subtly introduce you to the kind of thinking you will find helpful to understanding the concepts in this book. In that case, I would probably recommend C. S. Lewis, or Ravi Zacharias.

If you're already familiar with the subject matter and are comfortable with the terminology, this is a great follow-up book to take you to a deeper intellectual level; following the logical stream of thought to it's source and giving you a background to the philosophies that birthed what a lot of people on the street think today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God Is There and Men Know it, April 13, 2011
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
Schaeffer asserts: "To fail to exhibit that we take truth seriously at those points where there is a cost in our doing so, is to push the next generation in the relative, dialectical millstream that surrounds us." Schaeffer is known as a moderate presuppositionalist who makes many striking points for theism; although trained by Van Til, he did not utilize some important aspects of VT's apologetic. But because Schaeffer pressed the notion that men "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" he had an effective ministry; he knew that scripture taught that men are made in the image of God, but some men attempt to deny God and live without Him.

Schaeffer in "The God Who Is There" discusses the Christian view of:

- Philosophy
- music
- art
- entertainment
- education
- and more.

Schaefer opines: "The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. It is not to be romanticized as the old lady romanticizes her cat (that is, she reads human reactions into it). . . . But while we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize that God made it and it deserves respect because he made it as a tree. Christians who do not believe in the complete evolutionary scale have reason to respect nature as the total evolutionist never can, because we believe that God made these things specifically in their own areas. So if we are going to argue against evolutionists intellectually, we should show the results of our beliefs in our attitudes. The Christian is a man who has a reason for dealing with each created thing on a high level of respect."

Chapters include:

- The Gulf is fixed
- First line of despair: philosophy
- Art
- Music and culture
- Fifth step: theology
- The dilemma of man
- How do we know what we know?
- And more

I recommend this volume to those who study apologetics, ministers, and others who are prodigious readers.

See my apologetic book that defends Christian truth:
Truth, Knowledge and the Reason for God: The Defense of the Rational Assurance of Christianity
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to basic intellectual clarity., April 21, 2009
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This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
I read this book back in 1979 prior to my first trip to Europe. While my brother and I backpacked our way across the continent we stopped at L`Abri Switzerland where Schaeffer wrote, listened and spoke. Prior to traveling our way up the mountains to Huemoz we stopped at several major museums across Europe to include the Louvre, Paris. In every major and minor gallery we saw the dynamics in intellectual thought ingrained into the works of master painters and how they communicated their worldview, or hoped to answer the foundational questions of rational meaning, truth, humanity, and existence.

Now after retiring as an Infantryman of 23 years from the U.S. Army, surviving two wars, and completing a degree in history, I decided to pick up this amazing piece of profound intellectual and academic truth to reopen my arterial pedagogy, to question again...why? Schaffer's book "The God who is There," even today, challenges the secular progressive norms of mindless rationalism, impersonal science, contemporary `faith traditions' and atheist dogma to, and if you are an honest thinking person, articulately communicate from a historical perspective the basis of logic, truth, and reality. Schaeffer blends a coherent voice, not exhaustive, to speak to the unread as well as a basis for the scholarly. The book quantitatively clarifies the existential. The book speaks to the atheist universal (limited) worldview which cannot answer the thinking person's being, and thus affectionately paints an evolutionary mosaic of meaningless, cold science, arbitrary logic in dialectics, calculates pragmatic bias evidence, existential escapism and delusional humanistic pixie dust to gratify the impersonal in order to keep the animal herd controllable. Unfortunately, cold science is trying to fill the chasm by Neuro Socialscientists who are revisioning their definitions to give an emotional blanket, a Noble lie, to the meaningless human existence. And that is the despairing truth.

I have returned to several of the museums in Europe to see the art work captioned in this book, to include the Louvre, to see the historical movement of religion, political, philosophy, and art. I have reread a couple of Kierkegaard's old books to confirm information. Anyone who doesn't find this book intellectually challenging, academically compelling, and a rationally moving module, well then there is a deep chasm of disconnect and dysfunction in honest self polemic, and quite frankly, ignorance in self. As LINKIN Park remorsefully sings; "Leave Out all the Rest," which screams of hopelessness, meaningless finality, and existential wishful memory, so too the atheist anthem sings into the cosmic abyss to hide the truth of their real despair. There are no tidy explanations to the expanded human narrative and tracing the historical path of how we, as individuals, came to limited rational understanding. However "The God Who Is There," who has created all things, and who has spoken, will rationally answer the historical `open system' in which we live.
I highly recomend reading all of Schaeffers books.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Work, November 25, 2003
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This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
I would say that this book is a classic. Francis Schaeffer doesn't mince any words, this is a potent response to postmodernism. I found the book to be very helpful, especially the diagrams he provides. His descriptions of the "line of despair" and other concepts are very helpful in understanding postmodernism.
This book is just what you need if you want to understand more about worldviews and their relation to apologetics.
I would recommend this book as it is a captivating read and is very informative also.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bridging theology, philosophy, art and culture, May 8, 2007
This review is from: The God Who Is There (Paperback)
An excellent tracking of the evolution of theology, philosophy, art and culture that has brought us to the present post-modern situation in the West. As an artist (actor, writer, etc.) and Christian discipler of 20-somethings, I really appreciate his eloquent observations and practical suggestions.

I especially like what I see in Mr. Schaeffer's heart. He is not a culture-basher (although he does point out the ungodliness of post-modern culture). His goal is always restoration, and his hopefulness and insights are encouraging. This book is a must for anyone wanting to bridge with or evangelize those trapped in the post-modern theology/culture swamps of North America, Europe and elsewhere.
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The God Who Is There
The God Who Is There by Francis A. Schaeffer (Paperback - September 16, 1998)
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