Remembering Francis Schaeffer at 100 (Part 11)

The Gospel of Christ in the pages of the Bible

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 This year Francis Schaeffer would have turned 100 on Jan 30, 2012. I remember like yesterday when I first was introduced to his books. I was even more amazed when I first saw his films. I was so influenced by them that I bought every one of his 30 something books and his two film series. Chuck Colson’s website www.breakpoint.org  and I was directed from there to Probe’s website where I found this great article below. I will share it in 4 parts. Todd Kappelman is the author and here is some info on him and Probe.

Todd KappelmanTodd A. Kappelman is a field associate with Probe Ministries. He is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University (B.A. and M.A.B.S., religion and Greek), and the University of Dallas (M.A., philosophy/humanities). Currently he is pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Dallas. He has served as assistant director of the Trinity Institute, a study center devoted to Christian thought and inquiry. He has been the managing editor of The Antithesis, a bi-monthly publication devoted to the critique of foreign and independent film. His central area of expertise is Continental philosophy (especially nineteenth and twentieth century) and postmodern thought.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe’s materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org
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This is the fifth part:

The Need to Read: Francis Schaeffer Print E-mail

Todd Kappelman Written by Todd Kappelman

The Need to Read series began several months ago with a program on C.S. Lewis . The rationale for this series is that many of the great writers who have helped many Christians mature are now either unknown or neglected by many who could use these authors insights into the faith.

This installment focuses on Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984), one of the most recognized and respected Christian authors of the twentieth century.

Francis Schaeffer and “The Man Without a Bible”

The purpose of this discussion of the works of Francis Schaeffer is that we hope Christians will once again turn to this great apologist for the Christian faith and learn from him. In closing, we will address one of his lesser known works titled Death In The City. In chapter seven, The Man Without a Bible, Schaeffer offers some advice for Christians living in a post-Christian world. He argues very convincingly that the church in America has largely turned away from God and the knowledge of the things of God. This occurred in just a few short decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s.{12}

We must always bear in mind that many people do not believe that the Bible is inspired or authoritative. For these people the Bible is just another book. The dismantling of biblical authority has been very efficient in the last 150 years. Very few of our major secular universities treat the Bible as authoritative anymore. Yet many of these universities were founded at a time when no one would have doubted the importance of the Holy Scriptures. The majority of men at the end of this century hold vastly different views about the Bible than did their ancestors at the close of the previous century. So, how do we share the Christian message with the man without the Bible?

Schaeffer cites three instances where Paul spoke to non-Christians and did not appeal to the Scriptures. These are found in Acts 14:15-17; 17:16-32, and Romans 1:18-2:16. The reason that Paul did not use the Scriptures on these three occasions is that the people he was addressing did not recognize the claims that the Holy Scriptures made on their lives. In approaching these individuals, Paul appealed to the moral knowledge that men possess as a feature of their created being. Schaeffer refers to this as the manishness of man.

In Romans 1:18 we have the description of Gods wrath being poured out on man. Schaeffer believes that this is an ideal place to approach modern man. We may tell the modern non-believer that he knows that God exists and that he has suppressed this knowledge. (The knowledge of God must be understood here as natural revelation, and not the gospel.) Paul means that each and every man, regardless of what he says, knows that God exists. This knowledge of God that the non-believer possesses is supplemented by the moral argument for Gods existence. The fact that men hold beliefs about right and wrong betrays the fact that they know that God necessarily exists. Men willingly suppress this knowledge of God and this brings His wrath.

The man without the Bible has suppressed the natural revelation of God, not the special revelation found in the Scriptures. The man without the Bible has not followed his initial knowledge of God to the proper conclusions and therefore remains lost. The many men without the Bible present both an opportunity and a challenge for the Christian. The opportunity is that this man is lost and Christians can share their faith with him. The challenge is in showing these lost people how the world around them and the human nature within them point toward the existence of God.

Francis Schaeffer was wonderful at discussing Christian truths with non-believers without appealing to the Scriptures. It is our loss if we do not familiarize ourselves with, and use, the works of one of this countrys greatest Christian thinkers.

Notes

  1. J.I. Packer, forward to Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, by Francis Schaeffer (Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 1990), xiv.
  2. Hosea 4:6.
  3. Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There in Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy (Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 1990), 109-114.
  4. Ibid., 196.
  5. Ibid., 217-224.
  6. Ibid., 225-236.
  7. Ibid., 261-270.
  8. Ibid., 207-208.
  9. Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent in Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy (Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 1990), 277.
  10. Ibid., 275-290.
  11. Ibid., 291-302.
  12. Ibid., 211.

©1999 Probe Ministries.

schaeffer

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Andy Rooney was an atheist

How Now Shall We LiveClick here to purchase Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey’s How Now Shall We Live?, dedicated to Francis Schaeffer.

Click here for a list of Francis Schaeffer’s greatest works, from the Colson Center store!
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