Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thanks, Schaeffer!

The first time I heard Ravi Zacharias speak was as a college student in UP Diliman. I didn't even know who he was, and I was, like, "Uy, he's good ha!" (If only I'd known, I'd have bought all his books and had them signed!) But anyway, since then his messages and books really helped stabilize me during my intellectually tumultuous years in the country's premier (and secular!) university.

I wondered then, at how profoundly this man engaged with the philosophy and art of modern society in order to advocate faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Little did I know that there were many others like him, foremost of whom in my mind is D. A. Carson. And only recently did I learn that this brand of culturally-engaged apologists (ie, "one who defends the faith") really only emerged after the Second World War.

It all began with Francis Schaeffer and his desire to minister to thinking people who were earnestly seeking for answers to life's big questions. For the most part, his teachings were nothing new. He simply adopted the best from the different styles of apologetics. But he was, during his time, virtually the only evangelical leader who seriously engaged non-Christians on their own terms, so to speak.

In 1955, he and his wife established L'Abri (the Shelter) ministry in their home in Switzerland. It became known as a place where anyone could come for "honest answers to honest questions." It was during this time that Schaeffer articulated his views on humanistic philosophy, art, science, etc., and its disastrous consequences on modern man. He also gave a much-needed emphasis on love as an essential ingredient to an authentically Christian apologetic. Finally, he insisted that theology had to be "real," that it had to actually have a bearing upon our lives.

As his readership widened, so did his public life. Near the end of his life, he and his son produced what is probably his best known work, the documentary series, "How Should We Then Live?"

He continued fighting the good fight until the Lord finally took him in 1984. In his wake, he left an untold number of evangelicals reawakened to the need to engage the non-Christian world with truthfulness, wisdom and love.

Thanks, Schaeffer. I've been benefiting from your ministry, and I never even knew it until recently.


  1. "Uy, he's good ha!" Did you really say it like that and in those words? :p

  2. Anyway, about Schaeffer, have you tried reading his son? :)