Hero of the Faith: Francis Schaeffer


In today’s sermon I quote Francis Schaeffer’s book, How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture.  For those of you unfamiliar with Schaeffer, he was a 20th century American theologian, pastor, and philosopher of sorts.  He sought to answer questions and skepticisms found prevalent in his day (and ours).

Francis Schaeffer was born in, educated in, and pastored in Pennsylvania.  But he is best known for his work in Switzerland where he started L’Abri (French for “shelter”).

There in his home, Francis, and his wife Edith, lived their lives as a demonstration that God exists.  People from all walks of life, from all over the world, flocked to their door to ask Schaeffer questions about faith, life, reason, etc.  Unbelievers received two things there: (1) Detailed answers to their questions, and (2) A demonstration that God exists.

Schaeffer believed—that in order to share Christ—we need to take away the false props that people are standing on: be they psychological, intellectual, sociological, etc.  If he only had an hour to share with them, he would spend 45 minutes showing them their real dilemma (morally dead, separated from God) and 15 minutes sharing the gospel.  He said, “Unless he understands what is wrong, he will not be ready to listen to and understand the positive.”

In 1 Peter 4:4, unbelievers are shocked when you no longer join them in sinful behavior.  What is implied in the text is that you are still conversing and interacting with old, unbelieving friends.  It is imperative that you push them to the logical end of their worldview—as those who will give an account (v.5), as those under judgment—then share the hope of Christ.