SANCTITY OF LIFE SATURDAY Who did Francis Schaeffer influence?

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

WHO DID FRANCIS SCHAEFFER INFLUENCE? Here are some key people listed below:

Theologians Harold O. J. Brown, David Wells, Os Guinness, Timothy George, John Warwick Montgomery, John Piper, Norm Geisler, Wayne Grudem and L. Russ Bush, founders of ministries including James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, R. C. Sproul, Chuck Colson and Tim and Beverley LaHaye, denomination leaders including Paige Patterson, Richard Land and James Montgomery Boice, publishers including Lane Dennis ofCrossway Books and Terry Eastland of The Weekly Standard, writers including Cal Thomas and Frank Peretti, and political leaders including Ronald Reagan, James and Susan Baker, C. Everett Koop, Jack Kemp and Gary Bauer—

How Francis Schaeffer Influenced Me

by Daniel R. Heimbach

I can honestly say that, besides my parents and Jesus Christ, no individual has influenced me more than Francis A. Schaeffer, a pastor-theologian most consider to have been among the greatest evangelical voices, and perhaps even the most influential, of the twentieth century. But Francis Schaeffer and his wife, Edith, were also close friends of my missionary grandparents. For me the Francis and Edith Schaeffer who inspired a generation of evangelicals, myself included, with the importance of engaging the culture for Christ, were also the family friends who nursed my grandparents to health after returning to the United States emaciated following release from a Japanese prison in a Prisoner of War exchange during World War II.

That is the reason my grandmother, Bertha Byram, was one of the earliest and most faithful prayer partners of the work called “L’Abri” founded in Europe by the Schaeffers after the war. That is why my grandmother is twice mentioned in The Tapestry. And that is why the communion table in the chapel the Schaeffer’s built in Huemoz, Switzerland, is dedicated to my grandmother. But I did not know this connection until after I was drawn to Schaeffer’s books for my own reasons.

schaefferheimbach001

I first became aware of Schaeffer while a student in high school struggling with matters of faith and culture, and on reading his first book, Escape from Reason, I found him so keenly in tune with my questions I devoured nearly all he wrote as it was published. That was in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Western culture, and especially American culture, was in turmoil from so many others of my age rebelling against all authority and tradition. Then, like many others on discovering Schaeffer, I also traveled to the mountains of Switzerland to meet him, and ended staying several months trying to understand what was taking place and what it meant to be authentically Christian in a world fast becoming radically post-Christian.

I learned much from Schaeffer that has affected me ever since, but as much from his life as from his thought, as much from his demonstrating Christian love as from his defending biblical truth, as much from how he respected the value and dignity of everyone he met however small or great as from what I learned from his writing. Schaeffer is the one who taught me that truth is a reality we must live and not just believe, and that if Christians do not live God’s truth the world has every right to reject what we claim is right and true. And Schaeffer is the one who taught me, more by example than words, how Christians can and must stand for purity and holiness without ugliness or harshness and should weep for those pursuing what we abhor.

Schaeffer’s many books, especially The Mark of the Christian, Pollution and the Death of Man, How Should We Then Live?, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, and A Christian Manifesto, were instrumental in forming what has become for me a strong sense of calling or mission in the world, which is to promote God’s truth in a culture that is rejecting it, and doing so especially as it concerns resisting moral anarchy and political tyranny.

Francis Schaeffer influenced my decision to become a culturally astute moral influence in Washington, D.C., an effort that resulted in affecting a wide range of issues in public policy. Schaeffer influenced my role in leading the fight against normalizing treatment of homosexual behavior in the military services. Schaeffer influenced my running for Congress in 2000. Schaeffer influenced my vision to develop what is now the strongest program in the world for training evangelicals in biblically uncompromising yet culturally engaged Christian ethics. And Schaeffer has influenced the sort of books I write, all of which have been written to resource evangelical witness on moral issues contested in the culture.

But while Schaeffer had a deep and lasting impact on evangelicals of my generation, shaping the those who led the Jesus Movement, the Moral Majority, the drafting of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, the first Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, the rediscovery of classical Christian education, the formation of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, the Southern Baptist conservative resurgence, and the movement of evangelicals into politics now labeled the Christian Right—and while Schaffer played the major role in launching evangelical efforts to engage the culture on issues ranging from legalized abortion, euthanasia, sexual immorality, environmental stewardship, denying gender roles, reclaiming the arts, and education reform—and while Schaeffer was a major influence on many who rose to positions of significant leadership including theologians Harold O. J. Brown, David Wells, Os Guinness, Timothy George, John Warwick Montgomery, John Piper, Norm Geisler, Wayne Grudem and L. Russ Bush, founders of ministries including James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, R. C. Sproul, Chuck Colson and Tim and Beverley LaHaye, denomination leaders including Paige Patterson, Richard Land and James Montgomery Boice, publishers including Lane Dennis ofCrossway Books and Terry Eastland of The Weekly Standard, writers including Cal Thomas and Frank Peretti, and political leaders including Ronald Reagan, James and Susan Baker, C. Everett Koop, Jack Kemp and Gary Bauer—the legacy of Francis A. Schaeffer is now in danger of being forgotten by a new generation that hardly knows his name much less understands how much they owe to the extraordinary influence of this passionate yet humble prophet used of God to transform and reenergize so much of what they inherit.

Of course, the ways in which any culture challenges authentically Christian witness change over time, but what Schaeffer taught evangelicals about the lordship of Christ over all areas of life, the timeless relevance of objectively reliable truth, the inerrancy of God’s Word, the marred nobility of human nature, the beauty of creation, and the meaninglessness of pretending to live in a self-centered mechanistic universe will never change and are as vitally important for evangelicals today as they were when Schaeffer held forth among us.

It is therefore strategic and absolutely critical that evangelicals revisit, reaffirm, and if necessary rediscover the legacy of Francis A. Schaeffer, lest we forget what we had and lose the art of engaging the culture without accommodating ourselves to the culture, of defending truth without being ugly, of loving those we engage without compromising purity, and of fitting our message to changing circumstances without compromising its content for fear of rejection or desire merely to be accepted by others.

The entrusting of the personal books, letters and papers of Frances A. Schaeffer, by the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, to the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary could not be more timely or important. I am most grateful to my colleague, Bruce Little, and to the Schaeffer family for their vision and generosity, and I am certain this one very significant action will play a key role in revitalizing evangelical witness in contemporary culture. I pray it will also serve to inspire, benefit and aid in equipping of a new generation eager to make a biblically grounded, authentically Christian difference in the world of today.

Daniel R. Heimbach is Senior Professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

  1. Benjamin Pennington   •  5 months ago

    Thank you, professor. I only originally knew of Schaeffer through Piper’s “Pastor As Scholar” discussion. Recently when our church gave away our library books, I found The God Who Is There, Death In the City, and Genesis In Space and Time. I had those books on my shelf for a year l, but started reading the God Who Is There a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely fell in love with his thinking and understanding if man’s despair, need for a universal unifying truth, and the way Schaeffer opened up my eyes to famous artists and what they were trying to accomplish. (I knew of John Cage years ago and hated his music, but Schaeffer really made sense of him for me.) So I have decided to plow through everything else Schaeffer wrote.

    By the way, I enjoyed this article of yours. I am a GGBTS student in California, possibly transferring my units to SEBTS online. I hope to have the privilege of taking a course with you.

  2. Everette Hatcher   •  about 4 hours ago

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    By the way I have reblogged this fine article today on my blog.

    I am Everette Hatcher and in the 1970’s and 1980’s I was a member of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis where Adrian Rogers was pastor and was a student at Evangelical Christian School from the 5th grade to the 12th grade where I was introduced to the books and films of Francis Schaeffer. At ECS my favorite teacher was Mark Brink who actually played both film series to us (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?) during our senior year and believe it or not after I graduated I would come back and join some of his future classes when the film was playing again because I couldn’t get enough of Schaeffer’s film series!!!!

    During this time I was amazed at how many prominent figures in the world found their way into the works of both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and I wondered what it would be like if these individuals were exposed to the Bible and the gospel. Therefore, over 20 years ago I began sending the messages of Adrian Rogers and portions of the works of Francis Schaeffer to many of the secular figures that they mentioned in their works. Let me give you some examples and tell you about some lessons that I have learned.

    I have learned several things about atheists in the last 20 years while I have been corresponding with them. First, they know in their hearts that God exists and they can’t live as if God doesn’t exist, but they will still search in some way in their life for a greater meaningSecond, many atheists will take time out of their busy lives to examine the evidence that I present to them. Third, there is hope that they will change their views.

    Let’s go over again a few points I made at the first of this post.  My first point is backed up by  Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). I have discussed this many times on my blog and even have interacted with many atheists from CSICOP in the past. (I first heard this from my pastor Adrian Rogers back in the 1980’s.)

    My second point is that many atheists will take the time to consider the evidence that I have presented to them and will respond. The late Adrian Rogers was my pastor at Bellevue Baptist when I grew up and I sent his sermon on evolution and another on the accuracy of the Bible to many atheists to listen to and many of them did. I also sent many of the arguments from Francis Schaeffer also.

    Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), (Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), and Michael Martin (1932-).
    Third, there is hope that an atheist will reconsider his or her position after examining more evidence. Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan.  I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? You may have noticed in the news a few years that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.Antony Flew wrote me back several times and in the  June 1, 1994 letter he  commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” I later sent him Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution too. 
     The ironic thing is back in 2008 I visited the Bellevue Baptist Book Store and bought the book There Is A God – How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, by Antony Flew, and it is in this same store that I bought the message by Adrian Rogers in 1994 that I sent to Antony Flew. Although Antony Flew did not make a public profession of faith he did admit that the evidence for God’s existence was overwhelming to him in the last decade of his life. His experience has been used in a powerful way to tell  others about Christ. Let me point out that while on airplane when I was reading this book a gentleman asked me about the book. I was glad to tell him the whole story about Adrian Rogers’ two messages that I sent to Dr. Flew and I gave him CD’s of the messages which I carry with me always. Then at McDonald’s at the Airport, a worker at McDonald’s asked me about the book and I gave him the same two messages from Adrian Rogers too.

    Francis Schaeffer’s words would be quoted in many of these letters that I would send to famous skeptics and I would always include audio messages from Adrian Rogers. Perhaps Schaeffer’s most effective argument was concerning Romans 1 and how a person could say that he didn’t believe that the world had a purpose or meaning but he could not live that way in the world that God created and with the conscience that every person is born with.

    Google “Adrian Rogers Francis Schaeffer” and the first 4 things that come up will be my blog posts concerning effort to reach these atheists. These two great men proved that the scriptures Hebrews 4:12 and Isaiah 55:11 are true, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” and “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

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