“Historic Christianity, biblical Christianity, believes that Christianity is not just doctrinal truth, but flaming truth—true to what is there, true to the great final environment, the infinite-personal God.” Thus said the great prophet of the 20th century, Francis Schaeffer, whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year.

Central casting in Hollywood could not have produced a better character for the prophet’s role: his trademark knickers, often straggling hair, goatee, and intense scowl. His voice may have been shrill at times, but his words were piercing. Those words spoke of what he called “true truth,” and warned the church against succumbing to relativism, which—even back in the 1970s—had conquered academia and infiltrated broader society.

Schaeffer, with laser-like precision, hit upon the most fundamental issue of our day: The denial of “true truth” was not some passing academic fad. In both its post-Kantian and postmodernist garb, this denial detaches language from reality and leads to the kind of moral and spiritual relativism that is the current coin of contemporary discourse, especially in Europe and North America.

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