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Did Francis Schaeffer Believe Rushdoony Was Crazy?

A Recently Discovered Letter from Francis Schaeffer to Rushdoony Casts Doubt on Frank Schaeffer's Testimony...

I've posted my assessment of the recent interviews with Frank(y) Schaeffer regarding his latest book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. It is my contention that Frank(y) is spinning a convoluted revision of his father's history with R. J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstruction. After journalist Jeff Sharlet asked Frank(y) about Rushdoony's influence on his father, Frank(y) states unequivocally that his father Francis deemed Rushdoony as having serious psychiatric problems.
I remember this vividly: I’d just come back from Rushdoony’s Chalcedon commune, or whatever, out in California, where I’d heard all this really weird stuff. Stoning homosexuals, putting adulterers to death, reconstructing Old Testament law. It was some of the most bizarre stuff I’d heard. And I went home and I said to my dad, “Who is this guy? I’ve never heard anything so weird.” And my dad just said, point blank: “Oh no, he’s crazy.” And then he said, “That’s not a figure of speech. I believe he has psychiatric problems.” Later, when all the political stuff started happening, those people tried to muscle in to what dad was doing. Gary North would show up, Rushdoony was writing him letters. But my father was not at all happy about the connection.
In order to make my case against Frank(y), allow me to bullet the important items stemming from his "vivid" memory:

1. Francis Schaeffer believed Rushdoony had psychiatric problems.
2. Rushdoony and North were "muscling in" on what Francis Schaeffer was doing.
3. Francis Schaeffer was not at all happy about the connection.

Ironically, a non-reconstructionist academic recently secured permission from Chalcedon to examine the papers of R. J. Rushdoony as part of his doctoral dissertation for a major university (storage for the material he collected will require up to six DVDs). He brought to my attention, after reading my recent posts on Frank(y) Schaeffer, that only one correspondence between Francis Schaeffer and Rushdoony was found. Even more ironic is the date, content, tone, and names mentioned. All of which paint a much different picture than Frank(y) described:
November 20, 1978
Dr. R. J. Rushdoony
Chalcedon
P.O. Box 158
Vallecito, CA 95251

Dear Friend:

Thank you so much for your letter of October 28, I did appreciate your writing so very much. I, too, am glad for our contacts and the fact that we are speaking on the overwhelmingly central things and to the same issues in our day.

You will be glad to know that I now have the results of the tests from the second set of treatments and we everything to be thankful for. The first set of treatments are only 75 percent strength to see how one tolerates them, then the second set is 100 percent. We held our breath for the results, but both the physical tests and the blood tests are overwhelmingly good and we are thankful. Wonderfully, too, the side effects for me have not been strenuous. Of course, the battle will not be over in a day but at this time we can press on with real expectancy.

Edith has been in Cambride, England for the last several days lecturing at surprisedly open doors--she phoned me last night and things have gone very well. The Lord willing, she gets back tomorrow (Tuesday night). Pricilla and Libby, one of our L'Abri workers from Los Gatos, have been caring for me very well, indeed.

Please do convey my warm greetings to Dr. Gary North, I did appreciate his sending the things which he sent.

With warm personal greetings in the Lamb,

Francis A. Schaeffer
Here's the actual letter for further verification. Click on the image to enlarge it.


For a man who deemed Rushdoony as "crazy" (with serious "psychiatric problems"), Francis appears to be quite sincere in his appreciation of their relationship and mutual missions. He also shares personal medical information regarding his health--something you wouldn't expect from Francis, since he thought so poorly of Rushdoony. Why send such personal information to a "mad man?" Finally, in a stroke of sheer irony, Francis closes his correspondence by asking Rushdoony to "convey his warm greetings to Dr. Gary North."

I'm not sure how to reconcile Frank(y)'s testimony with that of his father's letter to Rushdoony. They both offer different conclusions. In court, the evidence of personal correspondence by Francis Schaeffer would hold more veracity than the hearsay of Frank(y)'s vivid memory. In addition, Frank(y) spends so much ink demonizing the Religious Right and the reconstructionists, you have to consider the fact that he may be repositioning himself again. This would not be the first time.