Monday, September 27, 2010

Why we still need to learn from Francis Schaeffer

As an undergraduate I read almost everything written by J. I. Packer, John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Francis Schaeffer. For all their discernible faults, these four men rank among the foremost spiritual giants of the twentieth century and the great moulders of classical evangelical theology, ministry and evangelism in the last sixty years.

If you know anything of their lives and ministries they also appear to be conspicuously out of step with the glitzy celebratory culture that pervades twenty first century evangelicalism.

Colin Duriez has done a remarkable job of recording the life of Schaeffer. His biography Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life has the virtues of being interesting, honest and accessible.

Francis Schaeffer was a fascinating human being; born in 1912, he was an only child and grew up in a working class home in Pennsylvania. The story of how he was brought to faith, his call to pastoral ministry, his early encounters with and love of music, art and philosophy, make for fascinating reading. I will in due course write more about the man, how he was moulded by God (including the secondary causes and relationships that shaped him), and his thought and influence.

Francis Schaeffer has a lot to teach us about true authenticity in ministry today. We have temptations that he can help us with, sub-cultural maladies that he can help us identify and avoid. There is an ugly superficiality in evangelical ministry, a grubby clamouring for recognition, a lip service paid to our usefulness to God outside of the spotlight.

Here are some of the themes that I want to explore in future posts:

Continue reading.....