The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer Part 3

The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer Part 3

THE MARK OF A CHRISTIAN – CLASS 3 – For True Christian Only/The Stand

Published on Mar 20, 2012

The class was originally taught at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS by Dan Guinn from FrancisSchaefferStudies.org as part of the adult Sunday School hour on Mar. 18th, 2012.

This class covers (section headings by Schaeffer)
Section 4 – “For True Christian Only”
Section 5 – “The Standard of Quality”

  • _________________________
I have several spiritual heroes in my life and Francis Schaeffer was one of those. In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthenasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.
Christians should present the truth in love and that is what Francis Schaeffer’s book “The Mark of the Christian” is about. I have a portion of that book below:
Christians have not always presented a pretty picture to the world.

We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.

Now that is frightening.
Should we not feel some emotion at this point?

True oneness

In John 13 and 17, Jesus talks about

a real seeable oneness,
a practicing oneness,
a practical oneness

across all [denominational/organizational] lines,
among all true Christians.

The christian really has a double task.

He has to practice both
God’s holiness and God’s love.

The christian is to exhibit that God exists as the infinite-personal God; and then he is to exhibit simultaneously God’s character of holiness and love.

Not His holiness without His love:
this is only
harshness.

Not His love without His holiness:
that is only
compromise.

Anything that an individual Christian or Christian group does that fails to show the simultaneous balance of the holiness of God and the love of God presents to a watching world not a demonstration of the God who exists but a caricature of the God who exists.

According to the Scripture and the teaching of Christ, the love that is shown is to be exceedingly strong. It is not just something you mention in words once in a while.

Visible love

What, then, does this love mean?
How can it be made visible?

First, it means a very simple thing:

It means that when I have made a mistake
and when I have failed to love my Christian brother,
I go to him and say, “I’m sorry.”
That is first.

It may seem a letdown-that the first thing we speak of should be so simple! But if you think it is easy, you have never tried to practice it.

In our own groups, in our own close Christian communities, even in our families, when we have shown lack of love toward another, we as Christians do not just automatically go and say we are sorry. On even the very simplest level it is never very easy.

If I am not willing to say, “I’m sorry,” when I have wronged somebody else – especially when I have not loved that person – I have not even started to think about the meaning of a Christian oneness that the world can see.

The world has a right to question whether I am a Christian.

And more than that, let me say it again,

if I am not willing to do this very simple thing,
the world has a right to question
whether Jesus was sent from God
and whether Christianity is true.

Dealing with division

How well have we consciously practiced this? How often, in the power of the Holy Spirit, have we gone to Christians in our own group and said, “I’m sorry”? How much time have we spent reestablishing contact with those in other groups, saying to them, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done, what I’ve said, or what I’ve written”? How frequently has one group gone to another group with whom it differed and has said, “We’re sorry”? It is so important that it is, for all practical purposes, a part of the preaching of the gospel itself. The observable practice of truth and the observable practice of love go hand in hand with the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

I have observed one thing among true Christians in their differences in many countries: What divides and severs true Christian groups and Christians-what leaves a bitterness that can last for 20, 30, or 40 years (or for 50 or 60 years in a son’s or daughter’s memory)-is not the issue of doctrine or belief that caused the differences in the first place. Invariably, it is a lack of love–and the bitter things that are said by true Christians in the midst of differences. These stick in the mind like glue. And after time passes and the differences between the Christians or the groups appear less than they did, there are still those bitter, bitter things we said in the midst of what we thought was a good and sufficient objective discussion. It is these things – these unloving attitudes and words–that cause the stench that the world can smell in the church of Jesus Christ among those who are really true Christians.

If, when we feel we must disagree as true Christians, we could simply guard our tongues and speak in love, in five or ten years the bitterness could be gone. Instead of that, we leave scars – a curse for generations. Not just a curse in the church, but a curse in the world. Newspaper headlines bear it in our Christian press, and it boils over into the secular press at times–Christians saying such bitter things about other Christians. The world looks, shrugs its shoulders, and turns away. It has not seen even the beginning of a living church in the midst of a dying culture. It has not seen the beginning of what Jesus indicates is the final apologetic–observable oneness among true Christians who are truly brothers and sisters in Christ. Our sharp tongues, the lack of love between us–not the necessary statements of differences that may exist between true Christians–these are what properly trouble the world. How different this is from the straightforward and direct command of Jesus Christ–to show an observable oneness that may be seen by a watching world!

Forgiveness

But there is more to observable prayer than saying we are sorry. There must also be open forgiveness. And though it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry,” it’s even harder to forgive. The Bible, however, makes plain that the world must observe a forgiving spirit in the midst of God’s people.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus himself teaches us to pray,

Forgive our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Now this prayer, we must say quickly, is not for salvation. It has nothing to do with being born again, for we are born again on the basis of the finished work of Christ plus nothing. But it does have to do with a Christian’s existential, moment-by-moment forgiveness for our sins on the basis of Christ’s work in order to be in open fellowship with God. What the Lord has taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer should make a Christian very sober every day of his or her life: We are asking the Lord to open to us the experiential realities of fellowship with himself as we forgive others.

Some Christians say that the Lord’s Prayer is not for this present era, but most of us would say it is. And yet, at the same time, we hardly think once in a year about our lack of a forgiving heart in relationship to God’s forgiving us. Many Christians rarely or never seem to connect their own lack of reality of fellowship with God with their lack of forgiveness to others, even though they may say the Lord’s Prayer in a formal way over and over in their weekly Sunday worship services.

We must all continually acknowledge that we do not practice the forgiving heart as we should. And yet the prayer is Forgive us our debts, our trespasses, as we forgive our debtors. We are to have a forgiving spirit even before the other person expresses regret for wrong. The Lord’s Prayer does not suggest that when the other person is sorry, then we are to show a oneness by having a forgiving spirit. Rather, we are called upon to have a forgiving spirit without the other person having made the first step. We may still say that this individual is wrong, but in the midst of saying that person is wrong, we must be forgiving.

We are to have this forgiving spirit not only toward Christians but toward all people. But surely, if it is toward all people, it is important toward Christians.

Such a forgiving spirit registers an attitude of love toward others. But, even though one can call this an attitude, true forgiveness is observable. Believe me, you can look on a person’s face and know where that one is as far as forgiveness is concerned. And the world is called on to look upon us and see whether we have love across the groups, love across party lines. Do they observe that we say, “I’m sorry,” and do they observe a forgiving heart? Let me repeat: Our love will not be perfect, but it must be substantial enough for the world to be able to observe or it does not fit into the structure of the verses in John 13 and 17. And if the world does not observe this among true Christians, the world has a right to make the two awful judgments that these verses indicate: That we are not Christians, and that Christ was not sent by the Father.

The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer © 1970 by L’Abri Fellowship. Used by permission of Norfolk Press, London. All rights reserved. No portion of this online edition of the book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, except for brief quotations for the purpose of review, comment, or scholarship, without written permission from the copyright holder.
Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development http://www.truespirituality.org/

I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the video below. It is very valuable information for Christians to have.  Actually I have included a video below that includes comments from him on this subject.

Many liberals actually truly do argue for abortion rights over human rights. Prochoice advocate Elizabeth Williams came out and said that on 1-23-13 in her article on Salon. We hear reasons for abortion such as poverty,and  child abuse,  but why not consider adoption? Instead, the political left will stop at nothing to push the pro-abortion agenda. Why not stop and take an honest look at when life begins for the unborn child and when she begins to feel pain?

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE

Published on Oct 6, 2012 by

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