Apologetic evangelism and personal rectitude : the existential perspective in Francis Schaeffer's trilogy
The purpose of this study is to assess the cogency of Francis Schaeffer‘s apologetic in light of John Frame‘s triperspectival epistemology, giving special attention to the existential perspective evident throughout Schaeffer‘s trilogy. The study achieves this aim by employing the instrumental case study method to meet five specific objectives. First, the study determines the extent to which Schaeffer‘s existential perspective is recognized within the apologetic literature that critically engages with his ideas. Based on these sources, the study determines that this perspective is recognized in Schaeffer‘s work but not as an integral component within a broader perspectival approach to apologetics. Second, the study discovers the ways in which Frame‘s triperspectivalism may be used in analyzing apologetic systems to reveal their strengths, weaknesses and cogency. By giving attention to Frame‘s system as a meta-apologetic, it is evident that this tool is applicable to Schaeffer and to other apologists. This establishes Frame‘s perspectivalism as an appropriate theoretical model to use in an instrumental case study on apologetics. Third, the study analyzes the ways in which Frame‘s triperspectivalism is reflected in Schaeffer‘s trilogy, highlighting the existential perspective. Meeting this objective establishes the central theoretical argument of the study, showing that Frame‘s epistemology reveals the underlying cogency of Schaeffer‘s apologetic credibly (?) and does so most profoundly with respect to the existential perspective. Fourth, the study compares Schaeffer‘s existential perspective with that of E.J. Carnell and secular existentialism, which both apologists confronted. On the basis of Carnell‘s critique of existentialism and his existential apologetic of personal rectitude, credible support is offered for Schaeffer‘s engagement with this philosophical movement and his own existential perspective. Fifth, support is offered for the current relevance of Schaeffer‘s apologetic of personal rectitude by showing how the postmodern situation he anticipated is best addressed using the apologetic tools he offers.
- Theology