Francis A. Schaeffer: An Evaluation -- By: Kenneth C. Harper

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:530 (Apr 1976)
Article: Francis A. Schaeffer: An Evaluation
Author: Kenneth C. Harper

Francis A. Schaeffer: An Evaluation

Kenneth C. Harper

[Kenneth C. Harper, Assistant Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Mount Holly, New Jersey.]

Starting in 1968 a steady stream of books has come from the pen of Francis A. Schaeffer, founder and director of the L’Abri Fellowship in the Swiss Alps. His books have enjoyed a wide distribution, many persons have visited his L’Abri community, and thousands of persons in the United States and Europe have attended his public lectures and discussions. Because of his widespread influence, the Christian leader may be helped by evaluating his theological position.

A difficulty in evaluating Schaeffer’s work lies in the fact that it encompasses such a large body of material ranging over a broad scope of subjects. He has remedied this to some extent by publishing (both as an appendix to Genesis in Space and Time1 and as an Introduction to He Is There and He Is Not Silent2 ) an indication of the place of each book in his total “comprehensive program” of publication. For Schaeffer, the three books, Escape from Reason,3 The God Who Is There,4 and He Is There and He Is Not Silent, constitute the foundation on which all the other books are built. These three provide a cultural and philosophical justification of the Christian faith. From this position, implications follow—exegetical implications (Death in the City;5 Genesis in Space and Time;

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History6 ), sociological implications (The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century7 ), ecclesiological implications (The Church before the Watching World8 ), scientific implications (No Final Conflict9 ), ecological implications (Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology10 ), psychological implications (Back to Freedom and Dignity11 ), and aesthetic implications (Art and the Bible12 ).

Lest the Christian system become dry scholasticism divorced from daily life, Schaeffer insists that Christianity ought to be lived as well as taught and thought. Tru...

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