Schaeffer – Just as Timely as Ever
- Randy Newman Campus Crusade and the C.S. Lewis Institute
- 2014 17 Jun
I just finished reading an excellent biography of one of my heroes, Francis Schaeffer. Colin Duriez has done an excellent job of weaving insights from numerous sources – most notably, Schaeffer’s writings and interviews of family and friends who knew him best.
Several things stood out to me as I read the book and relived my own interactions with Schaeffer’s work.
• Schaeffer loved art, not only for its own sake, but because it was such a revealing window into the soul of a people or culture. You could tell so much about the people around you by appreciating the art they adored, whether you personally liked it or not.
• For Schaeffer, it was not enough to have the “correct” theological views, crucial and unwavering as they must be. Christians also need to experience the gospel in their emotions and attitudes. He underwent a significant spiritual crisis when he saw how very few orthodox, Bible-believing Christians had any love for the lost people around them. I remember the many places where Schaeffer wrote that we must proclaim what we believe “with tears” as we interact with non-believers around us.
• If I had to summarize Schaeffer’s thinking, I would emphasize two central ideas: 1) “the finished work of Christ,” and 2) the Lordship of Christ over all of life. The first idea frees people to live joyfully and compassionately, regardless of one’s circumstances. The second idea shapes the way Schaeffer viewed all of life, not just our internal, personal lives, but all of life – relationships, politics, art, philosophy, the church, the Bible, our highest hopes and deepest disappointments.
Duriez’ biography includes a delightful coda as an appendix: an interview with Schaeffer shortly before his death. One quote stood out to me as worthy of much reflection: “If God is really there, he is to be worshiped, he is to be adored, but he’s also to be obeyed.”
If you’re not familiar with Schaeffer’s work, please find a way to change that. Duriez’ biography could be a good place to start. Better still, dive into one of Schaeffer’s earliest and foundational (and shortest!) books, Escape from Reason. You won’t regret it.