Category Archives: Francis Schaeffer

The First Sin and Unequal Yoking

Writes Francis Schaeffer in his book Genesis in Space and Time (IVP, 1997), page 86:

Paul in 1 Timothy 2:14 points out: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Temptation is extremely hard to resist when it is bound up with the man-woman relationship. For example, in Exodus 34:16 we are warned not to let the man-woman relationship lead us into idolatry.

Two great drives are built into man. The first is his need for a relationship to God, and the second his need for a relationship to the opposite sex. A special temptation is bound up with this sexual drive. How many young women are faithful as Christians until they come to a certain age and feel with their whole being, without ever analyzing it, the need for marriage and are then swept over into marrying a non-Christian man. And how many men are faithful until they feel the masculine drive and give up their faithfulness to God by marrying a woman who carries them into spiritual problems for the rest of their life.

I look upon such young men and young women as I see them going through this, and I cry for them, because in a way there is no greater agony than suddenly to fall in love and then to realize that one must say no to this natural drive because it leads in that particular case to a severing of our greater relationship — our relationship to God.

While what happened in the Garden of Eden was a space-time historic event, the man-woman relationship and force of temptation it must have presented to Adam is universal.

The Unwasted Life

Francis A. Schaeffer was born 100 years ago today (Jan. 30, 1912). He died in 1984. In 1974 he wrote this in his book No Little People:

As I see it, the Christian life must be comprised of three concentric circles, each of which must be kept in its proper place.

In the outer circle must be the correct theological position, true biblical orthodoxy and the purity of the visible church. This is first, but if that is all there is, it is just one more seedbed for spiritual pride.

In the second circle must be good intellectual training and comprehension of our own generation. But having only this leads to intellectualism and again provides a seedbed for pride.

In the inner circle must be the humble heart — the love of God, the devotional attitude toward God. There must be the daily practice of the reality of the God whom we know is there.

These three circles must be properly established, emphasized and related to each other. At the center must be kept a living relationship to the God we know exists. When each of these three circles is established in its proper place, there will be tongues of fire and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, at the end of my life, when I look back over my work since I have been a Christian, I will see that I have not wasted my life.

Lost, But Great

Writes Francis Schaeffer [Works, 4:258­­–259]:

I am convinced that one of the great weaknesses in evangelical preaching in the last years is that we have lost sight of the biblical fact that man is wonderful. We have seen the unbiblical humanism which surrounds us, and to resist this in our emphasis on man’s lostness we have tended to reduce man to a zero.

Man is indeed lost, but that does not mean he is nothing. We must resist the humanism, but to make man a zero is not the right way to resist it. You can emphasize that man is totally lost and still have the biblical answer that man is really great. In fact, only the biblical position produces a real and proper “humanism.” Naturalistic humanism leads to a diminishing of man and eventually to a zeroing of man. But the Christian position is that man is made in the image of God and even though he is now a sinner, he can do those things that are tremendous—he can influence history for this life and the life to come, for himself and for others. …

In short, therefore, man is not a cog in a machine; he is not a piece of theater; he really can influence history. From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great.

Not Your Father’s L’Abri

… Though they sometimes come seeking debate, students and workers today [at L'Abri] have no use for Schaeffer’s presuppositionalist apologetics, which he adapted from the teachings of his professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, Cornelius Van Til. …

More from Christianity Today.

Thankfully, Schaeffer’s legacy has been preserved on paper. His Complete Works are available from Crossway. I hope to write more on Schaeffer in the near future, as this CT article and a forthcoming biography will stir some interest.

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