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Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

Francis August Schaeffer was an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is most famous for his writings and his establishment of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. Opposed to theological modernism, Schaeffer promoted a more traditional Protestant faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics, which he believed would answer the questions of the age. A number of scholars credit Schaeffer's ideas with helping spark the rise of the Christian Right in the United States.

Covenant Theological Seminary has established the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute directed by a former English L'Abri member, Jerram Barrs. The purpose of the school is to train Christians to demonstrate compassionately and defend reasonably what they see as the claims of Christ on all of life.

Schaeffer popularized, in the modern context, a conservative Puritan and Reformed perspective. He is credited with helping spark a return to political activism among Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists in the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially in relation to the issue of abortion.

Christian Right leaders such as Tim LaHaye have credited Schaeffer for influencing their theological arguments urging political participation by evangelicals. Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, also acknowledged the influence of Schaeffer.

Francis A. Schaeffer wrote twenty-two books, which cover a range of spiritual issues.

      Francis August Schaeffrer was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and became a Christian in 1930 at the age of eighteen, and graduated magna cum laude from Hampden-Sydney College, VA in June, 1935. Schaeffer entered Westminster Theological Seminary in 1935 and transferred to the newly formed Faith Theological Seminary in 1937, graduating from there in 1938.

      Following graduation, he was by some accounts the first person ordained by the Bible Presbyterian Church and became pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Grove City, PA. In 1941 he was elected moderator of the Great Lakes Presbytery [BPC] and began serving as associate pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church in Chester, PA. From 1943 to 1947, he pastored First Bible Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO, and served as moderator of the Midwest Presbytery [BPC].

      During this time Schaeffer and his wife founded the Children for Christ ministry in St. Louis, which soon became widely adopted by other evangelical churches. In 1947 he traveled throughout Europe as a representative of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and as the American Secretary for the Foreign Relations Department of the American Council of Christian Churches. In 1948 he moved with his family to Lausanne, Switzerland to begin mission work, and moved the following year to Champery, Switzerland, where he wrote Basic Bible Studies.

      In 1953 he returned to the United States on furlough and began an extensive speaking tour. Later that same year, he returned to Switzerland and moved to Huemoz, Switzerland. By 1955 he had resigned from the mission board and began L'Abri Fellowship, which became the primary focus of his life. In 1971 he received the honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Gordon College, Wenham, MA.

      In 1981 he reedited and pubished The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer. The Simon Greenleaf School of Law awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1983, but he was forced to return in critical condition from Switzerland to the Mayo Clinic. Despite the debilitating illness, he was able in 1984 to complete The Great Evangelical Disaster and a seminar tour. On May 15, 1984, he died at his home in Rochester, MN and was buried at Oakwood Cemetary in Rochester.

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Francis Schaeffer

Adultery and Apostasy: The Bride and Bridegroom

In Ephesians 5:21-32, Christ makes a very strong statement concerning the church as His bride. In this passage, God very carefully intertwines His relationship and the church with the marriage relationship between husband and wife. In fact, the two ideas are so fused together that it is almost impos... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer on Education

Francis Schaeffer on Education From a speech given in 1982... Now, moving from public schools to private schools, what is the priority? Notice I am not saying Christian schools, but all private schools, including Christian schools. If you are really going to do something here, you have to think larg... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 1-Intro)

When Francis Schaeffer first appeared on the American scene in 1965, evangelicals hardly knew what to make of him. He was 53 years old. His Christian faith had been formed in the furnace of the fundamentalist-modernist controversies of the 1930s, and he was a card-carrying member of the impeccably f... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 2-Agents for Fundamentalism)

The Schaeffers’ story properly begins with the fundamentalist-modernist conflict of the 1920s. Edith and Francis first caught each other’s eye when they both stood up to defend Christian orthodoxy at a church youth meeting. She was the daughter of missionaries to China and grew up with table talk ab... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 3-Hospitality at L’Abri)

In 1954 Schaeffer took his new message of observational love back to the Bible Presbyterians in the U.S., where it was not universally received as a word from the Lord. Moreover, the Schaeffers reported that the simple receiving of guests was an increasingly important part of their work, prompting t... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 4-Return to North America)

In 1965 Edith at last relented, and Francis got the larger stage he longed for. Harold O. J. Brown, then working with college students in Boston, arranged for Francis to give several lectures in the area. These were followed by a series of talks at Wheaton College, which were later published as his ... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 5- The Turn to Activism)

In 1974 Franky, now 21, propelled Francis in a new ministry direction that would end up leading toward an old ministry style. Franky dreamed up a ten-part documentary film series with the working title “The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture.” It was to be a Christian response to Kennet... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer (Part 6-The Meaning of Francis Schaeffer)

By the end of his life, Francis Schaeffer had come full circle. A ministry born in the ecclesiastical battles of the early twentieth century now completed its course by urging evangelicals on to another round of internecine warfare. And when all was said and done, evangelicals still did not know wha... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The Mark of the Christian

Christians have not always presented a pretty picture to the world. Too often they have failed to show the beauty of love, the beauty of Christ, the holiness of God. And the world has turned away. Is there then no way to make the world look again -- this time at true Christianity? Must Christians co... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

Who was Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer?

The unique contribution of Dr. Francis Schaeffer on a whole generation was the ability to communicate the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity with practical, loving care. This grew out of his extensive understanding of the Bible from a deep commitmen... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

A Christian Manifesto

This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title. Christians, in the last 80 years or so, have only been seeing things as bits and pieces which have gradually beg... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

A Day of Sober Rejoicing

An address by Dr. Schaeffer to the 10th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America on the occasion of the receiving into its' body of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod. It is a profound privilege to be asked to speak today as this day we are one church. It is a day of re... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

A Review Of A Review

Considerable interest in the question of Presuppositionalism and traditional Christian evidence in evangelism has been created by recent book reviews and articles in The Bible Today. We are delighted to present this article by the Rev. Francis Schaeffer, a former student and a friend and admirer of ... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

A Step Forward

A Step Forward of One in Christ, the Bulletin of the National Presbyterian and Reformed fellowship. Shortly after the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America, on 4 December 1973, Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer composed the following thoughts in observance of that event. Notable in his mind was the... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

Death In the City: The Universe and Two Chairs

In the course of this book we have focused attention on the way God looks at the culture of our day, and at both the men with the Bible and the men without the Bible who have turned away. In this final chapter we will examine the way God looks at those who have the Bible and have responded by believ... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The Fundamentalist Christian and Anti-Semitism

We live in an age in which anti-Semitism is a powerful force. In many lands it has resulted in the death of countless Jews. Even in our own land it shows itself in various guises from time to time. Even among those who call themselves fundamentalist Christians we find an occasional individual who sp... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

The Great Evangelical Disaster: What Really Matters?

Time magazine recently, 1983, published a special sixtieth anniversary edition with the title "The Most Amazing 60 Years." In recalling the world into which Time was born, this special issue began with the words: "The atom was unsplit. So were most marriages." Here two things occurring in our era ar... Read More
Francis Schaeffer

We Don't Have Forever

Two biblical principles must be practiced simultaneously, at each step of the way, if we are to be really Bible-believing Christians. One is the principle of the practice of the purity of the visible church. The other is the principle of an observable love among all true Christians. Those of us who ... Read More

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