FRANCISSCHAEFFERSTUDIES VIDEOS

The Francis Schaeffer Collection - The L. Rush Bush Center for Faith & Culture The Schaeffer Legacy Project - An Interview With Dr. David Calhoun of Covenant Theological Seminary True Spirituality Class Francis Schaeffer at International Congress of World Evangelism, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 1974 Whatever Happened To The Human Race? - Playlist The Mark of A Christian Class - Playlist The Question of Apologetics A Christian Manifesto - Playlist
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

ARTICLE: CHRISTMAS HOPE IN CONTRAST TO STATISM

At this time of year my family and I spend a lot of time watching Christmas movies together, and one of our favorite Christmas themes is the story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. After watching numerous adaptations in various levels of accuracy to the original story, one begins to be struck by the more specific intentions of the tale that still come through. At first blush, each year we get the drift that Scrooge just doesn't like Christmas, but the deeper elements of the story speak of greed, poverty, the roles of the church and state, godlessness, Godliness and statism. Dickens has crafted a profound Christmas story on social justice. For while we might disagree with some of the theological symbolism used in Dickens' story, we must realize that the portrayal of ghost was meant to cut through to matters of deep self reflection rather than form a systematic teaching on the paranormal. 

So after watching different versions several times over and reading from the story to refresh my memory, in my mind this prompted some correlation with Schaeffer's teachings in certain areas. Although, this might seem strange, I think it will be worthwhile for your consideration and very relevant for today.

Scrooge, as we may remember, is confronted near the beginning of the story with the request to give a donation for those in need by a Christian who is trying to raise funds to help the poor. 
'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.' ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Scrooge questions the very necessity, since in his thinking, there are programs to answer these needs. Yet, it is at this point we hear from the Christian that he feels the normal social programs are not only inadequate, but further that they do not furnish the Christian standard. History in fact suggest that the standards were horrific.
'Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,' returned the gentleman, 'a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?'  ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Yet, we must not forget that from a certain paradigm, Scrooge's justification for not giving seems like a quite logical one, for he asserts that since he pays his taxes, he funds the prisons, Union Workhouses, and such, and he has paid enough.
'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.' ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
However, when told that "Many can't go there; and many would rather die." Scrooge makes the most memorable and appallingly cold statement which shows the darkness of his heart:
they had better do it [die], and decrease the surplus population ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Scrooge later attempts to further excuse himself from not knowing of people's desire not to go into the state system by claiming such matters are not his business, after all, he has enough to attend to with his own business. This may be a truthful remark for the character, due to how we know he has shut himself off from society. Yet, ignorance of the matter only serves to highlight his neglect.

What Dickens so masterfully crafted in his time is a tale that both has an immediate relationship to the results of greed, but also the matters of social injustice and the Christian answer. While the injustice described of a growing state with often inhumane "solutions" and questionable ethics is a far cry from our circumstances, we should all nevertheless see some resemblance to practices that are alive and well today, as the tendency of the state to establish cold and impersonal solutions, which is still happening in our time.

Even with a Christian base, in a fallen world, the solutions, although intended for good, can always be abused. The Dickens story for example, has Scrooge mentioning prisons at first as one of the solutions he supports. This might seem out of place unless one understands that in that day and age a person would be more likely to be imprisoned for being a vagabond than they are now. As a society, it was unacceptable for one not to work, as there was a strong adherence to at least the concepts conveyed by 2 Thess 3:10 ( If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.), although over-zealously so. It was not until the Elizabethan Poor Law that England saw progress toward correcting poverty rather than mostly punishing it indiscriminately. In Dickens' time, idleness (laziness) was still very punishable. So it should be noted that we are very far from these sort of laws in our times, so much so, that Dickens would likely view our culture as greatly immoral in this area.

So if Christian solutions in a fallen world can be abused, or on converse even ignored, we easily can see how, in a fallen world with an improper base, the results will be exponentially worse and be more consistency inhuman. This is something Schaeffer understood well:
We must realize that this view will with inevitable certainty always bring forth results which are not only relativistic, and not only wrong, but which will be inhuman, not only for other people, but for our children and grandchildren, and our spiritual children. It will always bring forth what is inhuman, for with its false view of total reality it not only does not have a basis for the uniqueness and dignity of the individual person, but it is totally ignorant as to what, and who, Man is. ~ Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
In fact, when Schaeffer was asked once by R.C. Sproul, what his most processing concern was for America, his answer was immediately: "Statism." While we may think to point fingers at our culture at this point, it is quite another to provide workable solutions, and the church has been inept to do so sufficiently.

Yet, in contrast, it often surprises me that Christians do not often stop and reflect on the substantial example the church has had and the answers we have over the two children under the Ghost of Christmas Present's robe, known as Ignorance and Want.

Ignorance: Schaeffer said that...
Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched. ~ Francis Schaeffer
Want: Scrooge, in Dickens' story, was content with treating men in a mechanical way and would leave them to the care of some social program rather than taking the time for to give personally. In contrast, Schaeffer affirmed the Biblical dignity of man that requires us to address the needs of others as we treat them as they are, created in the image of God. Here again a relevant quote:
Every time we act in a machine-like way toward another man we deny the central teaching of the Word of God-that there is a personal God who has created man in His own image. ~ Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

Christmas Hope
In the end, A Christmas Carol hopes to inspire a right devotion and celebration of Christmas. Thinking of Christmas, what other tradition in history has celebrated a global impacting celebration for over a thousand plus years? What other tradition throws the world into celebration of giving each year and promotes such goodwill? The legacy of Christmas as a holiday itself has promoted more goodwill in the world than any other tradition in history?

One scene that is often skipped in most of the versions of A Christmas Carol, is the one where Scrooge goes to church and the realization of his newfound "walk," which implies the right devotion and Christmas hope.
He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk -- that anything -- could give him so much happiness.  ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
 It is remarkable the joy that comes, and the delight Scrooge found:
 The Creator, as Abba, Father, will even now dry my tears and there will be joy. this is the meaning of true spirituality... ~ Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality
 And it was unmoved by ridicule:
Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol
My validity and my status are found in being before the God who is there. My basic validity and my basic status do not depend upon what men think of me. ~ Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

So now finally, upon reflection of all of this, I will leave you with the significant closing remarks of Dickens, which are all the more significant when we consider the secondary themes.
it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One! ~ Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas!
from francisschaefferstudies.org

Dan Guinn
      

Saturday, November 30, 2013

FIRST SOUNDWORD L'ABRI VIDEO RELEASED!! - THE QUESTION OF APOLOGETICS

We are pleased to announce the first release of the 1983-84 Soundword L'Abri Conference Videos. If you would like more information on this project please select one of the two following links.
NEWS: RARE SCHAEFFER VIDEOS TO BE RELEASED

SOUDWORD SCHAEFFER VIDEO PROGRESS

Our first release is entitled The Question of Apologetics by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer. In this lecture Dr. Schaeffer reads from and discusses Appendix A of the first volume of his Complete Works.

Dr. Schaeffer opens with an explanation about the Complete Works and a fascinating clarification about his apologetics. He states that, "When I wrote The God Who Is There, I had no intention of writing a book on apologetics. It took me by surprise, the furor it made in some sections [of the church]." This tells us much about Dr. Schaeffer's core desire for writing his first works. It seems quite clear that although these first works have apologetic value, his interest was one of speaking the historic Christian position into the twentieth century (the subtitle of his first work and the 1965 Wheaton lectures), as an evangelical message. In fact, we know from the Francis Schaeffer Collection manuscripts at SEBTS that "Speaking the historic Christian position into the twentieth century" was the title of The God Who Is There before the name was changed during the editing process. So Schaeffer's first work was not written out of an academic desire to produce his first work as an apologete, but simply to challenge culture with the historic Christian position. Nevertheless, we know from from his history, that his work inspired and enabled many an apologist. This is all part of the enigma that is Schaeffer and what fascinates so many of us.

At the end of the lecture, there is a short Q&A time where he fields a question in regard to his old teacher Cornelius Van Til. It is a fascinating answer, yet in watching you will note Schaeffer's fatigue is showing a bit at this point, as in all of these videos he is dealing with the difficulties of cancer in these late years of his life. Dr. Schaeffer nevertheless answers the question, although perhaps not at the length or depth many of us would have desired. You'll want to make sure you catch this part!

This video is largely uncut. There was a pre-lecture segment that we cut, which we will utilize in a later video. Our reason for this cut was to get the viewer directly into the lecture content which is one hour and 10 minutes long with the Q&A section that followed included. The camera work is rather rough at times and we did not take time to do adjustments to compensate for them as we were content to leave the video in it's more vintage original form. Our methodology was to capture at the highest possible resolution from the original tapes and then make slight adjustments to the lighting to best bring out the original composition. The graphic footer overlays and production additions are part of our agreement for distribution.

We would again, like to thank Soundword Associates and L'Abri Fellowship for entrusting us with this task. We hope you enjoy the video and seeing Dr. Schaeffer once again!

Friday, October 11, 2013

SOUDWORD SCHAEFFER VIDEO PROGRESS

Work continues on the Soundword L'Abri Conference videos and we are over half way through the capture process! We are already making some major discoveries that are sure to stir up interest. Some of these are just a greater realization of what we are working with. However, others are more significant in relation to understanding Schaeffer's thought.


Note: if you are just finding out about the video project read this related post.

Firstly, as we anticipated, we are finding that there is slightly more content that was originally described on the labels. In the case of one of the Introductions to L'Abri tapes we found, for example, we also had material from L'Abri workers such as Dick Keyes, Richard Winter, Hank Hervormddussen of Dutch L'Abri and Udo Middelmann. So we were really overjoyed to see these "young men" speaking on the work of L'Abri.

Dick Keyes Hank Hervormddussen

Dr. Richard Winter Udo Middlemann


Yet, the other category of findings are in relation to common questions asked in regard to Schaeffer even today. These come out in the Q & A segments, where Schaeffer fields these questions. Here are just a couple:
  1. Is Schaeffer a Reconstructionist? You'll be able to hear him answer this question in his own words!
  2. How is Schaeffer's apologetic different than Cornelius Van Til? Schaeffer fields this question as well.
  3. What should we do to evangelize our culture and stand for truth? What role does spirituality have in this? (Note: That Schaeffer's lecture was in relation to politics.)  Schaeffer's answer is pretty much a lecture within itself... and we can tell you that you will not want to miss this one!

Next Steps?

Our plans are to begin to release a few of the more significant segments such as the ones mentioned above and then release items in both larger portions and also the full un-cut videos that have been selected by our Facebook Group.

However, some of the Q & A content is so substantial, that we have decided to launch a new project called Schaeffer FAQ, in which we answer common questions we are regularly asked about Schaeffer with video from Schaeffer himself.

Expect some more immediate small segment releases shortly!

Providence!
Dan Guinn

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NEW-MODERNISM OR CHRISTIANITY - SCHAEFFER'S FORGOTTEN FIRST BOOK?

As you might have noticed our acquisitions project has really began to take off. We have much to tell you about the many finds we have had in the last several months, but there are some that we have had to push to the front. This title of course is one of them.

On the same day we received the video masters of the Schaeffer videos from 1983 & 1984 from Sound Word that we will soon begin to release for public viewing in digital form,  we also received a book in the mail from Italy which my partner Jason Schaitel was able to track down. This is not just any book mind you, but a book in French dated back to 1951 and perhaps is Schaeffer's oldest book.

The name, Neo_Modernisme-Ou-Christianisme, translated is New Modernism or Christianity: Barthianism in the Light of the Word of God. In order to get a scope on the significance of the booklet, consider that this book is privately published 14 years before Schaeffer's 1965 Wheaton Lectures which was privately printed for Wheaton and Westmont called Speaking the Historic Christian Position Into the 20th Century and is the basis for The God Who Is There. In fact, this bookled was published 17 years before Schaeffer's first officially printed work and predates the foundation of L'Abri by four years.

To be clear, this is actually a small booklet and the contents is perhaps about the length of The Mark of a Christian, but it is six chapters long and gives a rebuttal of the teachings of Karl Barth. Yet to our knowledge, outside of printed pamphlets and articles, this seems to have been the first of any material by Schaeffer ever put into a book-like form.

Some readers may recall from Schaeffer's history that in 1950 he gave a lecture at the Second Plenary Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches on Barth and the new modernism entitled, The New Modernism (Neo-Orthodoxy) and the Bible. The following year it was published in the Baptist Bulletin as An Examination of the New Modernism (which you can read on line here). Yet, apparently the work on the subject did not stop there. It was further developed into the content of a booklet, and here it is!

Although the work itself has been somewhat forgotten, with a little digging we can see that Mrs. Schaeffer once again comes to our aid. Edith, ever the documenter, although not mentioning the book by name explicitly anywhere (that we know of), did in fact tell us about it in The Tapestry.  Here is what she said:

In August of 1950 Fran gave a talk at the Second Plenary Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. The title was "The New Modernisn (Neo-Orthodoxy) and the Bible." This talk contained material which really has been the basis of all he has said since on the "existential methodology" showing the destructiveness of Karl Barth's teaching. (This was translated into French and Portuguese at the time.) 
Note the last line. It is not specific, but tells us that the aforementioned lecture was translated into French and Portuguese. We'll continue with this in a moment.

In The Tapestry (page 314), Edith goes on to tell about the exchange between Schaeffer and Barth that is worth retelling to clarify why Schaeffer was writing this paper. Just prior to the presentation to the I.C.C.C. in Geneva, Schaeffer and four other scholars visited with Karl Barth face to face to discuss many of the related issues. The meeting attendees included Schaeffer and the four other theologians (G. Douglas Young, J. Oliver Buswell, James E. Bennet, and Peter Stam). During this meeting Schaeffer asked Barth a simple question, “Did God create the world?” Barth answered, “God created the world in the first century A.D.” As Edith recalls the dialogue, she describes how Fran then “waved his arms out over the beauty in front of them, pointing to the tree-covered hills sweeping down to the lake” and asked, “This world?” Barth answered, “This world doesn’t matter.” These responses served to underscore what Schaeffer had already concluded and was preparing to present. Barth’s concept of “religious truth” systematically analyzed, stripped Christianity of it's historicity and put religious concepts in the "upper story." Schaeffer admits at the end of his presentation, “In the short time we were with Barth it was not possible to explore all the facets contained in this paper, but it’s basic approach and conclusions were shown to be sound.” Schaeffer sent the paper to Barth and had hoped that Barth would pursue further dialogue, but Barth’s response was one of dissatisfaction.


So now, picking up where we left off, upon finding an actual copy of the book on this topic by Schaeffer in French, we were able to find out that the organization that published the material is called "Action Biblique," an evangelical organization that does ministry to French and Portuguese speaking countries. Edith notes in her letters that after the Congress, Schaeffer went with Dr. MacRae to Morges to speak with the leaders of a French Christian organization gathered there (pg 177 With Love, Edith), while we cannot be sure that this is the same organization it is at least plausible. Likewise, she later recalls in passing, a humorous story of her and Fran running late, rushing through the market section of Geneva to meet with "Action Biblique,"  all along trying to get Francis to stop for deals on oranges and dates. Yet we are never given the specifics of the arrangement of the printing or if it was established at this time. However, what we can conclude is how the booklets were used based of how Edith explained the ministry. The ministry of "Action Biblique" was such that they trained persons for ministry and in a trade for a year and then sent them out to minister. They would then return for another year of training and so on. Their trade would allow them to specify on their passports a worker designation and would allow them more access. They, in turn, would often distribute various forms of literature. Since the dimensions on this little booklet are only 12cm x 18cm (Approx 4 3/4" X 7"), we can conclude that they were designed to be used in this fashion and were a means to reach out to people in these countries.

After we confirmed the booklet, we were in contact with Dr. Little the custodian of the Francis Schaeffer Collection at SEBTS and he was able to confirm that they have several of them. We were extremely excited to make this discovery and to own a copy to further research.

Our plan for the booklet is already underway. We have completed a digital graphic scan of the booklet and will be performing an OCR scan next. Thereafter, we will run the copy through a digital translator and then we will begin working with one or more French speaking persons to help us confirm the translation. Finally, when we are done, we will explore copyright restrictions and what rights we might be able to procure to release the the information publicly or not.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

NEWS: RARE SCHAEFFER VIDEOS TO BE RELEASED IN COOPERATION WITH L'ABRI AND SOUNDWORD ASSOCIATES

Schaeffer Apologetics Video Snapshot
AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

In mid-August, we were able to acquire through public vendors a VHS copy of a 1983 lecture by Francis Schaeffer on Apologetics. Finding this rare tape was quite a find in itself, however after some further inquiries, we were surprised to discover more than we bargained for.

After finding this publicly available, out-of-stock video, my partner Jason Schaitel, inquired further with the company who produced the video to see if we might be able to digitize the video and make it available on line. The company, Sound Word, may be known to some of you, as they still do audio conference recording for L'Abri. You can find a list of currently available audio recordings here.

Sound Word, not only was willing to allow us to handle the Apologetics video for these purposes, but was also willing to offer a total of 11 master copies of video (9 segments) from conferences in 1983 and 1984. These historic lectures are of Schaeffer in his final two years of life on some very significant topics. They also include footage from Edith Schaeffer and Susan Macaulay (their daughter) as well.

We are thankful and honored to have been given permission by Sound Word and  L'Abri Fellowship to be entrusted with the task of digitizing and making these videos available to the public. Accordingly, francisschaefferstudies.org has purchased the masters and will digitize, edit, and produce them beginning in just a few weeks. We will then begin releasing them this fall and winter and throughout 2014, which will be thirty years after Dr. Schaeffer's passing. We cannot help but think this is a bit of Providence at work.

The following is a list of the contents of the videos we will be working on. The information provide is subject to change depending on the actual contents of the tapes. We will provide more information as it becomes available:

L'Abri Conference, Atlanta 1983

  1. Introduction to L'Abri - Dr. Schaeffer and Susan Macaulay (daughter)
  2. Names and Issues - Dr Schaeffer
  3. Who Is For Peace? - Dr. Schaeffer
  4. It is Your Life Involved - Dr. Schaeffer
  5. Common Sense Living (Nehemiah) - Edith Schaeffer
  6. Apologetics - Dr. Schaeffer

L'Abri Conference, Knoxville 1984
(All videos are labeled E & F Schaeffer)

  1. Introduction to L'Abri (Various)
  1. Discussion on The Great Evangelical Disaster (Book) - Part 1
  2. Discussion on The Great Evangelical Disaster (Book) - Part 2
  3. Conference Discussions / Dr. Schaeffer's Last Address - Part 1
  4. Conference Discussions / Dr. Schaeffer's Last Address - Part2

Watch for updates and follow the releases as we make them available.

Providence!
Dan

Updates:

  1. Promo Video Released
  2. FIRST SOUNDWORD L'ABRI VIDEO RELEASED!! - THE QUESTION OF APOLOGETICS
  3. SOUDWORD SCHAEFFER VIDEO PROGRESS
  4. COMMON SENSE CULTURAL REFORMATION
  5. 5 IDEAS - AN INTRODUCTION TO LABRI - DICK KEYES - 1984 SOUNDWORD LABRI CONFERENCE VIDEO

Friday, July 5, 2013

PHOTO ACQUISITION: 1979 SCHAEFFER PRESS PHOTO

We are pleased to announce that we have been blessed to acquired another press photo of Francis Schaeffer. Our previous acquisition, from the 1982 Congress on the Bible was a wonderful find. We are equally excited about this particular rare press photo from 1979.

In the photo on the left, Francis Schaeffer is show seated in discussion with his hand outstretched, wearing a turtleneck shirt, sporting his trademark chin-beard. 

Our research thus far has not been able to determine the exact promotion for which this photo was used, however from the dating on the back of the photo, stating that it was used during 1979, it can likely be placed in promotions related to the book and film release of Whatever Happened to the Human Race? However, there is reason to allow for the possibility that the photo may have been taken up to a few years prior. The photo, containing brick walls in the background, and Schaeffer in a turtleneck, could potentially have been a shot taken while Schaeffer was on location on the earlier film How Should We Then Live? and used later promotion-ally. Many of his location shots on that film show him wearing a turtle neck shirt and jacket. However, this is not to say that he never wore one again! 

Either way, to understand 1979, it is important to grasp the prior year. 1978, was a significant year in the shaping of the latter years of Schaeffer's life. Early in the year, work on the script for Whatever Happened to the Human Race? was ready and Edith had finished perhaps her most significant work, perhaps second only to L'Abri, called Affliction. It was to be released in August and contained a substantial message on the subject of suffering.  Yet, as if on cue, various trials would beset the Schaeffers requiring them to live out in greater depth the principles in that book. Just as the book was to be released and filming on Whatever Happened to the Human Race? was all set to commence, Edith would have to have an operation to remove an ovarian cyst. She remarks in her family letters the following:
 Is there an element to Satan's attack in here, of having to make a "barb" concerning what I have said in Affliction, and of trying to make the beginning work on the film harder for Fran? Perhaps, but there is also the promised "sufficient grace," and His strength made perfect in weakness so that counter-victory is not just a vague possibility but something we are given to expect. The doctor says I will be needing to be eight days in the hospital, and then will need three more weeks of rest! - April 13 Letter, Dear Family, pg. 287.
Nevertheless, filming did commence and continued on through October. The film crew, Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Koop filmed in the United States, Israel, Austria, and finally Switzerland. They had been scheduled to film in Greece, but due to cancellation of permission by the government, they were actually a week ahead of schedule. Toward the end of filming in Israel, Francis had expressed to Edith that his fatigue was growing hard to deal with. They both thought that it was due to the extensive travel and pressures of filming. Upon returning home to Switzerland to film the rest of the forth and fifth episodes in their chalet, the work was still weary for Francis and one of the workers had commented to family that his jackets were too big, yet others noted that they were the same ones he had worn. One evening, on his way down to the next shot Francis stopped and weighed himself and realized that he had lost twenty-five pounds. An earlier consultation with his doctor that week had revealed that he likewise had an enlarged spleen. Thereafter, it was suggested to Edith that she look up the doctor at the Mayo Clinic Francis had been providentially corresponding with about Francis' books The God Who Is There and Escape from Reason. She was surprised to be able to contact him that same night, and his remarks to her were:
Come as soon as possible. Finish up the film, if it's only a couple of days, then come next week. I'll meet your plane. ~ Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry, pg. 609.
Edith comments in the Tapestry that when remaining mountain shots were needed, "As Fran walked up the hill, he puffed, not his usual way of walking." We know from those who have commented on Schaeffer's walking, such as Dr. Calhoun, despite his smaller frame and stature, Schaeffer generally walked rather fast and effortlessly. Yet not this time. Nevertheless, in spite of the physical problems of the moment, Schaeffer knew that the completing of this film was a like reaching a peak. Edith further remarks,
For Fran, a job had been completed, and the future history of his own life was a question mark. What would be found in the complete examination in Mayo Clinic? His verbalization at that time consisted mostly of, "well, whatever happens, I've finished this job anyway."~ Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry, pg. 610.
At the Mayo Clinic on October, 17 1978, the diagnosis finally came, explaining that Francis had lymphoma and that he had a large mass the size of a watermelon in the back of his intestines. Edith writes in her letters several meaningful observations from the time that shows their state of mind and the truth they were seeking in the midst of the earthly situation:
We need to realize that there is danger in wasting precious time in simply agonizing, rather than using well our opportunity to feel and see things in a perspective closer to heaven's perspective. ~ Edith Schaeffer, November 12 Letter, Dear Family, pg. 293.
We are to live on the edge of time with today as the day Jesus might come back, but with today;s creativity and care for each other as urgently important as it would be if we knew we had a long time to prepare for right here. ~ Edith Schaeffer, November 12 Letter, Dear Family, pg. 295.
Providentially, Edith had a section of scripture placed upon her heart for Fran, Psalm 71:17-20. It became for them the fulfilled promise for the next year.
    O God, from my youth you have taught me,
        and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
    So even to old age and gray hairs,
        O God, do not forsake me,
    until I proclaim your might to another generation,
        your power to all those to come.
    Your righteousness, O God,
        reaches the high heavens.
    You who have done great things,
        O God, who is like you?
    You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
        will revive me again;
    from the depths of the earth
        you will bring me up again.
(Psalm 71:17-20 ESV)
In answer to prayer, Francis would be quickened again to proclaim God's power to the generation. After the various treatments at the Mayo Clinic, Francis' cancer would go into remission for a time and Fran was discharged. The time at Rochester had however not been at all unprofitable either. Schaeffer spoke many times while he was there and in fact the seeds were planted for a future L'Abri Conference (and eventually a L'Abri branch). It seemed that God was expanding L'Abri to the states. As also during this time God was already working miraculously in the formation of a L'Abri in Scarborough, Massachusetts to be headed up by L'Abri workers Dick and Mardi Keyes (watch our interview with Dick Keyes here). Edith comments on Schaeffer's convictions after his recovery:
When Fran was asked to say something for the radio concerning this news, he felt strongly the need to point out that it is not a demonstration of greater faith when an answer like this comes. Many whose faith is just as great as ours who have been praying for this "longer time to make Your Truth known to this generation" for Fran, have been praying for someone just as precious in the sight of the Lord, just as dear a child of His, and have been praying with as great or greater measure of faith. ~ Edith Schaeffer, November 12 Letter, Dear Family, pg. 303.
In fact several friends of theirs were suffering with such illness during this time, and it was not uncommon for Schaeffer to be calling to encourage them while he himself was undergoing treatments. 

Consequently, Francis Schaeffer did not take the opportunity for granted and wasted no time in "continuing the proclamation" and soon thereafter embarked on a 20 city seminar tour promoting the book and film in 1979. Upon returning back to Rochester at their completion, they would meet with the newly formed L'Abri Conference Committee to plan the first L'Abri conference in Rochester and then return home to Switzerland.

Looking at the photo, one has to reflect on Schaeffer's intense desire to communicate on the matters of importance of life to our culture. He is intent on making a significant impact and accomplishing the calling to which he has been directed. It is up to that generation and ours to consider the proclamation given and either reject it at our peril or receive it to our edification. Listen to these words from the closing work on the film,
As Fran walked up the hill, he puffed, not his usual way of walking. But the words were clear and important. "Each man, woman and child is of great value.... We know our origin.... As I look at myself in the flow of space-time reality, I see my origin in Adam and Eve, the parents of the whole human race--and in God's creating man in His own image. At this point, words such as sanctity of life, justice, fulfillment, truth, beauty and love begin to make real sense again." ~ Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry, pg. 610.

Friday, June 28, 2013

EDITH SCHAEFFER SERVICE MAY 11, 2013

(Note: Please download the audio here if you encounter problems with the player.)

After the passing of Edith Schaeffer on March 30th of this year, there were several services in her honor. The first of which were arranged by the family in Gryon, Switzerland and St. Paul, MN, with a graveside service in Rochester. Thereafter, in the following weeks, one significant service took place in Rochester, MN, her home for many years. It was one of two services arranged by L'Abri in her honor, the other was arranged by the Southborough branch in Massachusetts.


For many, traveling to these beautiful services was not convenient or possible at the time, yet thankfully L'Abri Rochester has graciously allowed us to post the service. You will be blessed by the beautiful music and wonderful speaking with insights into her life and legacy. Click on the image below to see pictures from the service.

List of Performers and Speakers

Click to view photos of this event.

Cheryl Stewart & Bryonie Moon violin & piano

Jock McGregor – Director L’Abri, Rochester, MN

Larry Snyder – Former Director, Rochester, MN

Mrs. Kaye Peng, Rochester Chinese Church

Larry Snyder

Cheryl Stewart & Bryonie Moon

Mrs. Dorothy Prentice

Prof. Jerram Barrs – Francis Schaeffer Institute

Rev. Chris Harper – Trinity Presbyterian Church

 Special Thanks to Larry J. Lorence (audio) and Jerome Monsen (photos) and L'Abri Fellowship.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

PHOTO ACQUISITION: GEA - ANABEL BAKER


In chapter five of Edith Schaeffer's book L'Abri, which chronicles the early development of L'Abri Fellowship, one finds the account of two visitors named Betty and Gea. To the left is a new photo we have acquired of Anabel Baker, "Gea," Miss Kansas, being crowned queen of the 50th Anniversary American Royal, a large annual event here in Kansas City (Special thanks to William Gebby for directing us to this find).  

Of the two girls mentioned by Edith, Betty is of course Betty Carlson, author of several books on L'Abri, and artist in residence, who lived and worked side-by-side with her dear friend and opera singer Jane Stewart Smith at L'Abri. She is especially noted for having paid to send send Edith away to write the story of L'Abri and having consulted Francis Schaeffer on "writing books," prior to his first works. Gea's real name however, is never given in Edith's book. The only real information given describes her as being "dark and beautiful (Miss Wichita, Kansas, of the year before. She could both dance and play the piano and had Hollywood as her goal." (L'Abri, pg 55) Edith later documents, "As for Gea, she today is the wife of a pastor in mid-west America, and the mother of five children. Her husband wouldn't be her husband, and the children wouldn't have been born, if it hadn't been for what happened that week in [Chalet] Bijou." (L'Abri, pg 55).

Likewise, Betty Carlson does not give us any clues either in her account, The Unhurried Chase that Ended at L'Abri. She describes their meeting on page 88, saying "Gea and I had met about a year before at Camp Eleanor on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where she was a music director, and I was the swimming and tennis instructor. I don't recall when we first talked about Switzerland, perhaps I talked about it; but I believe that I was trying to explain to her why I was going back. It got involved, because it sounded melodramatic to say that there was an outer force compelling me to go back." She further talks about how that she inspired Gea's interest in Switzerland and eventually talked her into traveling, although she generally disliked it, "Even coming from Kansas to Wisconsin had been a hardship for her. But I gargled on about how marvelous it was, what extraordinary piano, drama, and ballet teachers where were in Lausanne. I was at the height of my persuasive power..." On page 86, Betty mentions in passing that Gea's husband's first name is Wayne, but we still have no mention of Gea's real name. Gea's account of their meeting is also in the book on page 94, where she recalls being introduced to Betty as the "world traveler"  and was shocked to find a less-than-interesting travel enthusiast who was more concerned about comfortable clothes and shoes than style. This of course was something she was intent on changing!

So in order to find out who "Gea" is one must do a little research. We were able to consult the records for Ms. Kansas, from Wichita of 1950 and see that she was known for her acting particularly Shakespeare's Macbeth. The name of that winner is Anabel Baker. There is another name from Wichita a few years earlier in 1948, but she is the well-known Vera J. Ralston (Vera Miles), who played Lila Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Psycho. Thus finally, just for due diligence, Colin Duriez in his book, Francis Schaeffer, An Authentic Life, also confirms this conclusion in the footnotes on page 118. 

Betty did eventually convince Gea to travel with her to Switzerland in the Autumn of 1950. They would eventually end up being directed to the Schaeffer's home by a mutual friend of the Schaeffer's, Baroness von Dumreicher. The Chalet Bijou, where the Schaeffer's first met the baroness, was regularly rented to artist and creatives, and was the Schaeffer's second home in the village of Champery before they eventually wound up at Les Melezes in Huemoz where they founded L'Abri (Betty and Gea's visit was actually five years before it's founding).

Betty had first met the baroness on her first trip to Switzerland after riding her bike from Sweden. Upon arriving at her pension, Baroness von Dumreicher would providentially become her friend and translator, helping to get her settled. So now, on this second trip, this time with Gea, a series of events transpired to bring about their trip to meet the Schaeffers. Both Betty and Gea had somewhat on a whim visited the Scotch Church and read the Bible a bit as a result but it remained something on the sideline with no deep appeal. Yet Betty, out of her conversations with a local man about politics, had written a series of about 50 "good will letters" to the states to encourage other students to study abroad and she had been fascinated with promoting the new idealogical fascination of a "the united states of Europe" to encourage nations to have a reason for not fighting with each other (remember this is right after World War II). One of these letters ends up getting published in a newspaper and is read by a sailor who is a Christian. He begins writing to Betty and sending her literature, explaining that there could be no lasting "good will among men" without Christ. Betty, although pitying the poor misguided sailor, had a fascination with the printed page, and read everything he sent. In continuance with her "good will" notion, her and Gea decided to found a traveling musical group to that end. They purchased instruments and a motor scooter for travel, and even invited a talented friend they knew from camp named Marianne. She traveled all the way from Chicago to meet them. When she arrived however, they discovered that she had become a Christian which presented some road-blocks to their big plan. Soon Betty developed a serious sinus infection that required her to be operated on. During her recuperation, Gea and Marianne ran the scooter into a taxi. This of course ended their dream of "good will troubadoring." When recounting their story to a Swiss friend, she said, "Well, it's simple. When you need to get over something in Switzerland, you go to the mountains." Yet there was one problem, they were broke. That next morning a letter arrived from Madamme Dumreicher, informing them that the Schaeffer's had written to her that they would like her friends to come visit them. Those who know the story of L'Abri, know that such coincidences were a regular happening as the Schaeffers prayed for God to bring them those whom He desired.

Although Betty and Gea were directed to the Schaeffers without knowing of their background and were astonished to find out they were staying with missionaries, there were soon overcome by their genuine care for them and hospitality. They realized that the Schaeffers were not some misguided zealots as culture has so comfortably labeled many Christians at times. Much to their surprise, they found themselves even defending them. On a venture down to a local hotel (Edith notes this as the Hotel Champery in her letters, With Love Edith pg. 208) to see their friend Angela, whom Edith describes in her letters as an English Jewish girl. Angela started by making some slightly disparaging remarks about the Schaeffer's calling them "balmy," which prompted both Gea and Betty to speak up in their defense. Gea said rather hotly, "They are the nicest family I have ever met in my life Angela. Maybe I don't agree with them straight down the line, but nobody calls the balmy in my presence!" Likewise Betty spoke up in regard that the Schaeffer's "might go overboard on their religion" and said, "Whatever it is that they believe, it surely hasn't hurt them. They know more about what's going on in the twentieth century than the three of us put together. And furthermore, the more you think about it, there's not much point in believing something, unless you really believe it." Yet Angela was not without a comeback stating, "I don't doubt their zeal of sincerity, but their insistence that Christianity is the ultimate truth in the universe happens to be nonsense, passe, and you know it! There isn't a respectable school in England that doesn't teach that all religions are equally good..." To this Betty interrupted, "Angela excuse me, but for the first time in my life I'm beginning to see how the old refrain belittles God, to keep saying that all religions are basically the same and basically good. Why that reduces the supreme being to a status lower than a floorwalker in a department store. For years I have thought it was the open-minded, intelligent thing to say that are all religions stem from the same God! A foreman in a factory has better organization that the popular vague god-of-all-religions who tells people to believe anything, do anything, and we'll all come out together in the end!" (see conversation in The Unhurried Chase that Ended at L'Abri, pg 134-135)


Betty and Gea did come to follow Christ soon thereafter. Edith notes in her letters (With Love Edith pg. 209) spending hours over supper preparations and canning, hearing Gea's life story. In her book L'Abri on page 54,  she tells us that Betty came in one day and told her rather nonchalantly and matter-of-factly that she had come to believe the Bible and wanted to accept Christ as her savior and likewise Gea left a message to the same affect in their guest book. Their story is one of the early stories foreshadowing what would come to happen at L'Abri. It really typifies what so many have encountered. As Betty remarks in her book, "Many continue to come to LAbri along a path similar to the one Gea and I traveled. They arrive hungry, contentious, full of themselves, not knowing Who or what they are seeking; but they knock on the L'Abri door because someone along the way cared enough to direct them to risk upsetting them in order to set them straight." (The Unhurried Chase that Ended at L'Abri, pg 147)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

VIDEO: ELLIS POTTER - THREE THEORIES OF EVERYTHING


In march of this year (2013) we had the privilege of recording a lecture from The Culture House lecture series by Ellis Potter on his book 3 Theories of Everything. What you will find here is a powerful and engaging journey through the basic question of reality, "What is there?"

As you will see, Ellis has a wonderful way of walking one down the road of absolute world-views with humor and deep introspection. It is with great joy that we are finally able to present this lecture. We know that you will be moved.

See also our interview with Ellis Potter here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

What is Christian heritage? Why is it important?

Listen to this interview with Ranald Macaulay (Francis Schaeffer's son-in-law) on the 'Men@Work' program, with Nick Battle (Original Broadcast: May 4th 2013, 8pm.)

Ranald describes the work at Christian Heritage and the Cambridge Apologetics Apprenticeship (cambridgeapologetics.org), and goes on to discuss his own conversion, a bit about Francis and Edith Schaeffer, L'Abri, and meeting Susan (one of Schaeffer's daughters) who later became his wife.




(Note: Please download the audio here if you encounter problems with the player.)

Friday, May 17, 2013

LEGACY AND LOSS

Early this year we had the chance to sit down with Ellis Potter for an interview to be included in our Francis Schaeffer Legacy Project series. Yet since that time there has been much change in the life of Ellis Potter. Just after Edith Schaeffer's passing on Saturday, Easter weekend, Ellis' wife Mary passed away the following Tuesday. So it is with a heavy heart that we release this video, knowing that the life of a friend has been greatly impacted. We wish to share our most sincere condolences to Ellis and his family. Please join with us in prayer for Ellis and pray additionally for ministry and health concerns in this time.

For us, this news is yet another reminder of the brevity of life and the importance of what we feel called to do here at francisschaefferstudies.org. One of the motivations behind the Legacy Project is to capture something of "the story" before it is lost in the present life to the passing of a generation. It is our duty in a "abnormal world," as Schaeffer called it, to preserve something of the memories of what God has done in the lives of real people. Not for their sake alone, but for the sake of the Gospel. Yet further, not to merely preserve, but to imitate what God has wrought.
  • Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:17 ESV)


Watch for additional video of Ellis' lecture at The Culture House on 3 Theories of Everything. Also be watching for an earlier filmed Legacy Project video, to be released in the near future, in which we interview author and photographer, Sylvester Jacobs. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EDITH SCHAEFFER : 1914 - 2013 - Ranald Macaulay

Photo by Sylvester Jacobs
Every generation produces individuals who seem larger than life. Like meteors they
blaze into life and become something of a wonder to those looking on. ‘What remarkable talents,’ we say, ‘what energy, what achievements’ This is what Edith Schaeffer was like and for 17 years Rochester was her home.

Like many coming to the Mayo Clinic the reasons for her arrival were hardly auspicious. Her husband, Francis, had just completed filming in Switzerland for his second major documentary series called, ‘Whatever Happened to the Human Race’. At the end of a gruelling day on the slopes near their alpine home, his dramatic weight loss over the previous week led Edith to telephone a medical friend at Mayo to seek advice. ‘Get him here as quickly as possible’ he said. So on the 9th October, 1978, Edith and Francis arrived in Rochester. Within hours he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and put on chemotherapy. It was to be the beginning, for Edith certainly, of a long association with the city and its people. Happily, Francis responded well to treatment and continued to be active and influential throughout the world for another seven years. By then Edith had moved their home from Switzerland to Rochester and it was there, on the 15th May 1984, that she heard his last quiet words… “from strength to strength” – taken from the sentence ‘they go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion’ in Psalm 84:7. Her days as the wife of one of the world’s most significant evangelical leaders in the 20th century had come to a close.

However, her surprise at finding herself living in Rochester was hardly her last! She
seemed to specialize in surprises in fact. The next one came within weeks of her
husband’s death and through what had been the major part of her life’s work, namely L’Abri Fellowship. She and her husband had founded this Christian work in Switzerland in 1955 and one of its half-dozen branches (now ten world-wide) had moved from California to Rochester to provide, amongst other things, practical support for them in their medical need. Not long after the funeral in Rochester came the new surprise - a Steinway grand-piano no less. This was a gift to L’Abri in memory of Francis Schaeffer and it held pride of place in her gracious living room. But the surprise contained yet another surprise and one which opened up a new chapter in her life. For what she quickly realized was that the actual piano involved, discovered not far from Rochester incidentally, had been manufactured the same year as her marriage – and came into her home the 6th July 1984, 49 years exactly after the very day she and Francis had their wedding - 6th July 1936! This piqued her already vibrant curiosity. So the next time she was in New York she arranged to call at the Steinway factory. Quite unexpectedly she found herself in the midst of a red-carpet-welcome and all because the company’s senior piano-voicer, Franz Mohr, had for many years been one of her avid readers and admirers.

The visit began a lasting friendship and even resulted in a new book called ‘ForeverMusic’. Amongst other things it was a paean to the wonder of God’s creation. It also provided her with a medium to express one of the leading characteristics of her life, namely her delight in anything and everything beautiful. She herself was a beautiful woman and always dressed impeccably. When she provided meals it became an occasion not just for good food but for a ‘work of art’ – hence the title of another of her books, ‘Hidden Art’. But ‘Forever Music’ also described how God works into our
individual lives – in this case via the biography and conversion of Franz Mohr himself. This in turn led to a concert with the Guaneri Quartet in Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Centre, NY, and to personal friendships with some of the world’s most illustrious musicians like Rudolf Serkin, Vladimir Horowitz and Yo Yo Mah.

Her ongoing life continued to be part of the ‘Rochester L’Abri’ for more than a decade and it enabled her to put her gifts of teaching, hospitality and creativity to good use. Many, for example, were the musical soirees in her living room around the Steinway. She spoke regularly at the annual Rochester L’Abri Conferences in February. But she also served as an international Trustee of L’Abri until 2001 making a grand total of 46 years within the life of the Fellowship. She also went on with her writing. Already she had completed nearly a dozen books, some of which, like ‘The L’Abri Story’, ‘The Tapestry’, and ‘Christianity is Jewish’ had sold almost as successfully as her husband’s – as they still do. The scope of her activities went well beyond Rochester, though, both within the United States and abroad. For example, she had been instrumental in the formation of the Francis Schaeffer Foundation based in New York and Switzerland and also in the Francis Schaeffer Institute in St. Louis, an adjunct of Covenant Theological Seminary. Her speaking itinerary was extensive.

Then followed another major surprise when she returned, now aged 80, to the very place in China where she had been born. Once again she found herself the subject of an official red-carpet welcome laid on, believe it or not, by the secular city dignitaries! The third and last of three daughters born to missionary parents, she was only five when they returned to the United States. Like all her memories, however, her recollections of China remained vivid and these she put into a children’s book bearing her Chinese name ‘Mei Fuh’.

For all her fizz and sparkle, however, and despite frequent displays of energy and
creativity, even in old age, which left her younger colleagues in L’Abri breathless, the
time came for her to return to her beloved Lac Leman in Switzerland. There she lived in a flat in a small lakeside village beside Vevey where she and her husband had spent many happy years. In due course she needed more care and one of her daughters, Mrs Debby Middelmann, with her husband, Udo, graciously provided a home in the mountains not far from where she and Francis had first founded L’Abri Fellowship in 1955. There, after a long decline in health, she died on the 29th March 2013 - aged 98.

It was a long and remarkable life – truly meteoric. But when all is said and done the best thing about Edith was who she was as a person: she never became big-headed because of her successes; she was always generous (even to a fault!); she consistently, and however inconveniently, treated all who came within her ambit with a gentleness and love both radiant and deeply genuine. In short, she was ‘real’ - a true Christian lady whose first desire was to glorify her Maker and Saviour. What she and her husband took as their life-long goal was to try to demonstrate and declare to all they met that the Bible really is true and that the Judaeo-Christian God is a kind and gracious Saviour to those who come to Him. She never swerved from that object. Nor, right until the day she died, did she ever flinch from the costliness of that call. She obeyed the apostolic summons to ‘present your body as a living sacrifice to Christ’ (Romans 12: 1). And now she is with Him. Hallelujah!





Written by Ranald Macaulay MA Cantab
(Son-in-law of Edith Schaeffer)
The Round Church, Cambridge.
http://www.christianheritageuk.org.uk/








Read also: FINALLY ENTRANCE TOGETHER INTO ETERNITY  - Edith Schaeffer (1914 - 2013)

Friday, April 19, 2013

NEWS: NEW SITE, NEW FEATURES, SAME FOCUS

As you may know, we launched the new francis schaeffer studies.org on the weekend of  April 14, 2013. The primary motivation for the change has to been to further advance our ministry focus. Our goal from the beginning has been to continue to be a resource for the study of the works of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. In order to do this we have realized that we needed a better user experience on our web site that would allow people to quickly research. Secondarily, we realized we needed to build a site that would support further expansion of the Schaeffer database and allow our research to grow.

Features: The new web site has many features designed to encourage easy access to the works of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.

Accordion Menu:

The new accordion menu allows various categories of links to be presented for easy navigation and a clean page appearance.



Feature Area:

The new landing page feature area allows you to follow the ongoing work of Francis Schaeffer Studies. This area will include blog post, single videos, video play list, special news and topical information.

Four features to choose from.

Selecting from videos in a playlist.
Book Carousel:

The new book carousel allows you to scroll through the works of Francis and Edith quickly with your "mouse wheel." Scrolling down spins the carousel to the left and allow you to look through the books quickly. Scrolling upwards will spin the carousel back to the left. You may also use the navigation slider at the bottom of the carousel to rotate the carousel.

Book Carousel, select carousel options from the left.
If you would like to see the current carousel listings as text, there is a toggle in the upper-right-hand corner. Clicking this option will drop a display of book title links. Clicking it again hides the text-version.


If you are browsing the carousel and you decide upon a book, you simply click on the book thumbnail and read more about it. If you are in text-mode you can click on the link you prefer.

New Book Pages & Book Page Features:  

Book pages are now more helpful. You will right away notice that when there are multiple book thumbnails in our database you will see them animate as a slide show. Under the book images, you will see new options that allow you to preview via Google Books, look up a book via WorldCat Library search, see general places you can buy the book and ways to interact with others socially.



On the right, you will find all of the general book information, including publisher information and items from FSS such as overviews and history (when available). Underneath the provided information, you will see that you can comment on each book with Facebook. If there is related L'Abri Ideas Library information for the book,  you will see a box indicating this. Below is an example:




Schaeffer Collections:
At the bottom of every page is a horizontal menu with links to the various Schaeffer collections that exist as well as other important links. Part of our service to the Schaeffer community is to promote these collections. Please take time to visit these sites during your studies.  

Schaeffer Collections menu.


 You will later find additional features on those books where we have produced related media content. Additionally, we are excited to finally begin adding book reviews from prominent scholars. So you will want to check back for these!

We hope that you will enjoy the new site and that it will become a valuable means of research for your studies of the works of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

GOD'S POWER ON DISPLAY IN TEXAS PRISON

Brandon Warren, Jason's mentor (left), Jason's brother, Jackie (right).
Jason and I were recently at the ISCA conference where I was presenting a paper on Schaeffer's perspective on the historicity of Adam. Yet much to our surprise, our hearts were tweaked by a powerful and significant story that seemed far more important than what we were doing at the given moment.

Jason was interested in sitting in on a workshop on St. Anselm, where a paper was being presented entitled "EPISTEMIC VIRTUE AND THE REASONING PROCESS IN ST. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY" written by a man named Jason Karch. However, we were surprised that the paper was actually to be read by his brother, Jackie, as he was not able to attend because he was serving a life sentence in Texas’ Darrington Penitentiary. Jason Karch is a freshman student at the Darrington Penitentiary Seminary, (privately funded by The Heart of Texas Foundation) which is an extension campus of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Upon exchanging cards with Jason Karch's mentor Brandon Warren, he informed me, "We love Schaeffer in the program." At that moment, I could think of very few more relevant and practical places for world-view training than in a prison! The program has already proven to be transformational as inmates perhaps more than any others can see their need, they have seen the results of a failed world-view and are responding to a call to minister.



What is the end-goal? Well, when they graduate, many of these students who are serving some very long sentences (even life) will travel to other prisons as missionaries! I was moved to tears watching the above video. God loves to use the most unlikely of places to display His glory and transformational power in the lives of people. It could be in unlikely places like high on a Swiss mountain, or in the heart of a prison turning convicts into clergy!

~ Providence!
Dan Guinn

Saturday, March 30, 2013

FINALLY ENTRANCE TOGETHER INTO ETERNITY - Edith Schaeffer (1914 - 2013)

Edith Schaeffer
Photo by Mustapha Ashrad
 “How I hope we may have many years of service together, and finally entrance together into eternity.” ~ Francis Schaeffer to his wife Edith, 1935.

As we reflect on the passing of Edith Schaeffer, who went to be with the Lord in the early hours of March 30th, 2013, it is worthwhile to note the events of her life to get a sense of who she was. It is a most distinct providence that guided such a couple as her and Francis together. Both whom were avid defenders of the faith, who were passionate about people and truth. Yet, as we reflect, consider the story, but also consider Edith's passion. She was passionate for Christ, for ministry, for children, and especially her dear husband "Fran" whom she loved and served with side-by-side for so many years.


1914 - “Edith Rachel Merritt Seville was born in Wenchow, China on November 3. [1]” She was the fourth child of missionaries, George Hugh Seville and Jessie Maude Merritt Seville. [2] They served in what was formerly known as the China Inland Mission, founded by Hudson Taylor. Edith had a wonderful family Christian heritage and was well educated and highly artistic and loved the arts greatly. She and her family had tried to learn Chinese culture and even adopted some Chinese dress. Edith was known as Mei Fuh during their time in China. Edith notes in her children’s book by the same title that because of the time difference, her birth was recorded officially a day earlier in the United States as November the 2nd. [3]



1920 - Edith’s family would move back to the states when she was six years old. When her family relocated to Germantown, she began attending Germantown High School (Fran's former school) in her senior year. [4]

1932 - Fran met his future wife on June 26 at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania in the defense of the faith. Edith had just graduated from Germantown High School [5]. Fran had just returned home from college. They both were at a Young People’s meeting, where a former member, now a member of the Unitarian church, was lecturing on the topic, “How I know that Jesus is not the Son of God, and how I know that the Bible is not the Word of God.” During the lecture, Edith jumped up and began to make a reply, when across the room Fran, who was already standing began to speak. Edith sat back down and listened in amazement. Edith asked her friends, “Who’s that boy?” She was not aware of anyone in the church who knew any replies against Modernism. Edith soon rose to make her points, quoting from J. Gresham Machen, and Robert D. Wilson. of Westminster Theological Seminary nearby. Schaeffer likewise asked his friend, “Who’s that girl?” Fran was impressed and was not aware that anyone attending the church was familiar with Old Princeton Apologetics (In fact, Edith would first introduce Fran to J. Gresham Machen’s book, Christianity and Liberalism early in their friendship). Thereafter, Francis would ask Edith if he could walk her home, to which Edith replied, "I have a date." Schaeffer looked at her calmly and simply said, "Break it!" Thus began their life together as defenders of the faith. [5]

Edith would go on to enter Beaver College [6] for a degree in home economics that same year. Edith was highly trained in foods, dietetics, dressmaking, interior decorating, and art appreciation. All of which she would put to good use eventually at L’Abri.

1935 - Francis Graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in June and graduated second in his senior class, magna cum laude. [7]


Fran & Edith's Wedding
July 6, 1936
Francis and Edith would be married on July 6th. They were married at Wayne Avenue United Presbyterian Church, by Edith’s father George Seville. Fran was twenty-three and Edith was twenty. Fran and Edith saw their relationship as rooted in ministry. He remarked to Edith in a letter, this wonderful thought: “How I hope we may have many years of service together, and finally entrance together into eternity.” [8] They would spend their honeymoon working at a Christian camp. Immediately, they would discover that they contrast each other, as Fran was intense, passionate and sometimes overly driven, while Edith could be romantic and idealistic and prone to flighty thoughts of the ideal. Yet they would also discover that they complemented each other as well. Edith was cultural and refined, gifted in the formal aspects of hospitality and Fran took great interest in personal relationships, and they both grew to have strongly convictions about the personal aspects of hospitality. Both of them stood passionately together for Biblical Truth against Liberalism and where avid readers, and eventually would be great writers, speakers and teachers.

Fran would enter Westminster Theological Seminary in September of that year.  Edith discontinued her education at Beaver College only completing 3 of the 4 years, to support Fran in seminary, but it was no passive support. She was very purposeful and took time to share everything with him. She made him lunches, but she also made a second, and tried to eat at the same time he ate so that she could be aware of how hungry he might be when he came home. She studied alongside Fran and received a seminary education right along with him from home. She stayed up late with him and shared in the discoveries of theology and philosophy, and learned some of the Greek and Hebrew words he was studying (although Fran needed a considerable amount of time alone studying Hebrew due to his battle with dyslexia). She learned the faculty names and took great interest in the happenings of the seminary. During the day she worked from home as a leather-worker and seamstress working on numerous projects. Fran had received a small grant from Westminster, but Edith was the primary source of income during this time.

1938 - Fran Graduated from Faith Theological Seminary on Willmington, Delaware [10]. “Francis is ordained as the first pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church denomination. Francis began serving as senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Grove City, Pennsylvania. [11]”


The Schaeffers started a large Summer Bible School program that grew and grew. These were formative years in the ministry work of Fran and Edith. Fran persistence and tenacity are well noted, he once squeezed twenty-one boys into a car! Edith’s creativity, on the other hand, broadened the programs available for the summer school. Francis regularly made house calls to every member of the church as well as many of the parents of the children that attended the Summer Bible School.

1943 - After serving as an associate pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania (1941), God would lead the Schaeffer's to pastor a church in the Midwest. “Francis began serving as the senior pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. [11]” The Schaeffer’s picked up where they left off as senior pastors at their first church, creating and establishing ministry with a particular emphasis on children and youth. Several months after arrival, the Schaeffers founded Children For Christ which in a very short time would develop into an international ministry. All of this was based on their earlier work with children in Grove City.

As we consider the early story of the life of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, we can see the youthful passion that they had for both beauty and truth. Edith the creative, and Francis the strong teacher. They were young, idealistic, and full of life. They realized very quickly as a young couple that there were limitations in each other. Yet they learned also that God had given them gifts, that they could use, and that complimented each other. They did not yet know how God would use all of them, but they applied their gifts in each new setting and grew together through good times and tough ones. They felt in many ways like they were on an escalator, quickly moving forward in greater service together. They had just began to settle in toward a long term ministry, and the future looked stable and bright. Edith envisioned a life for them in the home where they lived in St. Louis. It was beautiful, and conventional. But in a five short years their idealism would be tested by living in a fallen world, impacted by a post-war climate of hurt and needs. They would be asked to reconsider the nature of Truth, and the nature of beauty in a quest to find answers to the question of “reality.”

1947 - Fran was asked to travel throughout Europe for three months to evaluate the state of the church in 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. Schaeffer toured 31 cities (many more than once), in 13 countries in just 90 days. He slept in 56 different places in that period of time. This trip was both incredibly stimulating and yet deeply exhausting touring in war-torn Europe, just two years after the war, which was still under rationing and with many travel restrictions and a broken infrastructure. It was both psychologically and physically draining on him. The highs and the lows of the events during his travels would catch up to Schaeffer when he got home and he would experience a bout of what some have described as depression and fatigue that fully immobilized him. Edith, carefully nursed him back to health. Edith believed that he was in many ways just short of an absolute physical and mental collapse. She was a solid strength in Fran's life and was his consummate helper, friend and source of encouragement.



This trip would result in them being called by the missions board to be missionaries to Europe, with the specific calling to, “strengthen that which remains.” They would have a particular emphasis on spreading their work of Children For Christ there.

1948 - The Schaeffers move to Lausanne, Switzerland with their three daughters to be missionaries to Europe. Their primary work involved their Children for Christ ministry, and helping with the formation of the International Council of Christian Churches. Their first home would be the Chalet Bijou. Eventually their prayers would be answered to stay in Champery and they would move to Chalet des Frenes. [12]



1951 During the early winter months, Fran would begin to go through a spiritual crisis. Edith would prayerfully support her husband as she always had and in this time with much prayer. As a result of this crisis, Schaeffer recognized that something was deeply wrong and he carefully reconsidered his Christian commitment and the concepts of truth and reality. Schaeffer emerged from this experience with a new certainty about his faith in True-Truth, and a new emphasis on sanctification and the work of the Holy Spirit, and a new direction in his life which would unfold over the next four years. 

Edith’s Begins Writing Her “Family Letters” - Edith begins to write her letters in August. [13] These were sort of a family newsletter that recounted what they were going through and the various happenings. They were not filled with promotional or advertising content, but just family news. Edith was a wonderful and honest writer. She was the other voice of L’Abri, and it is very easy to fall in love with her wonderful creative spirit. People connected with her words, and attitude of prayer. God used these letters in many ways to work through His people miraculously and naturally in a very organic way. People would often give timely gifts that were direct answers to prayer, and very often they did not even know the need. As Edith wrote their story, people responded not out of compulsion, but out of the good of their heart in both prayer and giving.

1953-54  - The Schaeffers return to the US with family on furlough, and Fran began an extensive speaking and traveling schedule. Schaeffer traveled across the country speaking 346 times during 515 days, sometimes three times a day, about the deeper spiritual life. 

As the family returned to Champery, Switzerland in September. It was on the deck of the of the USS Ile de France that Francis first told Edith of the desire to use the word "L’Abri," for their ministry and thought of changing the name of their chalet in Champery. [14]

1955 - In the following year, on February 14 the Schaeffer received notice from the Swiss government on that they must leave Switzerland permanently within six weeks for their “religious influence” in the Catholic canton. Each Swiss canton are member states within the federal state of Switzerland. The word canton is a French word that more literally means “corner” or “district.” The Schaeffers were at this time living in the Roman Catholic bishopric of Valais.

The Schaeffers, by April 1st would move out of this canton and into another. Their new home would be Chalet Les Melezes in Huemoz, Switzerland. God brought about a series of miraculous circumstances which would open the way for a new beginning in ministry. The circumstances that surrounded this event are numerous and amazing all recounted in Edith's book entitled L'Abri. Edith's strong faith and conviction in the matter proved to open the door to the new location, as at just the right time God would provide both the location as well as the provision through a gift in the mail to start L'Abri.

Edith’s March 7-9th family letter makes the official announcement of the work of L’Abri. “L’Abri is what we feel the Lord would have us add to the work He had given us here in Switzerland. L’Abri means “shelter” in French, and our thought is to have a spiritual shelter for any who have spiritual need. [15]”


In her May 30th family letter, written just after they had completed their move into Chalet les Melezes, Edith remarks, “And so literally L’Abri began in Chalet les Melezes immediately upon our arrival--with a German musician, a Swiss peasant, and an English ex-Wren and ex-nurse for our first guest.


The Schaeffers officially resigned from the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions on June 4, marking the final commitment to L'Abri Fellowship.

1955 - Following the resignation, in her June 17th letter, Edith explains in a bit more detail how L’Abri will operate. “And so we face a busy summer as L’Abri Fellowship begins, and such a thing as a vacation must be put off again. But the Lord is sending those who need a time in L’Abri, and he can just as easily provide an opening for a vacation when He knows it is necessary.  
       There are a few things you should know about L’Abri Fellowship. The material needs of the work, and ourselves, will be met as the Lord sends in gifts in answer to prayer. We believe that if He sends the people to us who need to be here for study and asking questions and prayer, He will also send in the means to feed them.” Edith goes on to explain the garden and matters with the appliances, the states, “Each need will be prayed about and we will wait for guidance to proceed according to His specific answers in sending the means.
Finally, and most important--L’Abri Fellowship may seem very small--but we know there are many who are having a daily part in the work here through your faithful prayers. The ones who are working here through prayer we wish to speak of as the Praying Family of L’Abri. You yourself know whether you are one whom the Lord has joined to us in this way or not. May L’Abri truly be a shelter in a weary land for those who will find Christ their shelter here. [16]”


Edith clarifies in her work L’Abri that L'Abri Fellowship became official in July when her father, Dr. George H. Seville, former missionary to China with the China Inland Mission took on the work of creating a home office in the states for them. He had just retired from his teaching position at a theological school and wanted to work as their “home secretary” as his contribution to the work of L’Abri. While he assumed legal roles and the handling and sending of gifts, Edith’s mother duplicated and mailed the family letters to their family. These letters, with family members in mind would become “Dear Family” and would grow as God brought people to follow the work of their ministry. [17]


1959In November of 1959 a journalist from Time magazine, showed up at L’Abri, who had been tipped off by a journalist parent who had a daughter in school with Deborah Schaeffer. The following day a photographer would also drop in to shoot the photographs.

1960 - The Time magazine article was published entitled “Mission to Intellectuals” in the January 11th publication.[18]

1964 -  It was about this time that Betty Carlson is convinced that the Lord is leading her to give a month’s wages to send Edith away to write the story of L’Abri. [19] Edith in fact does write her book on L’Abri. It however sits as a completed manuscript under the Schaeffer’s bed for the next five years! During which time Betty remained confident that it would be published at the right time. [20] 

Probably one of the first converts from the reading of the book, and in this instance, in it’s pre-published state, was Larry Snyder, future leader of the Rochester branch, who ran the branch with his wife Nancy. Larry and Nancy have now since retired. Larry came to L’Abri searching for answers when he met a person in a youth hostel in Europe who that told him, that he seemed confused and that L’Abri was a place he could go to get his questions answered.[21] Many others in Larry’s situation would find their way to L’Abri under similar circumstances. Larry was quite intent on finding answers and immediately inquired about them. As Edith describes it, as soon as he had heard the person say L’Abri, he felt driven to go there, and began working in order to do so. Finally, he arrived late one night on his motorcycle and wanted to know all that he could so that he could start studying the next day. Edith apparently saw how intent he was and let him read her manuscript. He read it that night and started study at the Farel house the next day. Although Larry noticed something happening, he could not quite grasp it yet, and he was not an immediate convert. Larry would have further discussion with Dr. Schaeffer, in which he told him flatly that he did not want to discuss his God or his religion. Yet much to his surprise, Francis did not see that as the end of the conversation, but rather encouraged him to stay and keep asking his questions. Edith notes, “As time went on, Larry became an understanding Christian and the problems he had in philosophic areas and areas of doctrine cleared up. He not only studied hard, he was an outstanding help...” During his time as a L’Abri worker he would become convinced that he was being led into further Christian ministry. He would leave in the following summer for Covenant Seminary.

1968 - Fran's first books, Escape From Reason and The God Who Is There are published.

1969 - Edith publishes her first book, L'Abri.
Fancis and Edith saw L'Abri as a witness of living by faith and prayer before the watching world. Their work was always seen as being in tandem. Here Edith sets out to chronicle the early history of L'Abri. Edith here writes a very personal and "real" work that recounts the history of L'Abri thus far. It is a testimony of the hand of God at work in their lives "before a watching world" as thousands of visitors journey to their house from all over the world.

As we mentioned before, L’Abri had actually been written five years earlier. Betty Carlson gave Edith a gift which allowed her to get away for a time and write the work. The manuscript would sit under the Schaeffer’s bed, until Francis published his first books. The timing of the printing would allow the book to become very popular along with Francis’ books.

1969-2000 - Edith would go on to publish 20 books, and her works would be popular in their own right, with a unique and endearing writing style. Perhaps her most notable works are L'Abri, The Tapestry, Hidden Art, and Affliction.  These last two books won her the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively).

1984 - Fran and Edith had relocated to Rochester, MN for Fran to receive treatment. From there she continued a busy speaking schedule and wrote further books.

[READ THIS SPECIAL SEGMENT FROM RANALD MACAULAY for more information on this time period.]

2000 - Edith moved to Switzerland to live with her daughter Debbie and husband Udo Middleman.

2013 - Edith passes into eternity to be with Fran and her Lord Jesus. 
[1] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer. 
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.


[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Edith Schaeffer, Mei Fuh, Memories from China, 
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1998.  1-2.

[4] Colin Duriez. Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. 
Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 2008. 29,30.

[5] Ibid., 30.

[6] Ibid., 32.

[7] Ibid., 33.

[8] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer. 
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Colin Duriez. Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life. 
Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 2008. 45.

[11] Lane T. Dennis. The Letters of Francis Schaeffer. 
Westchester, IL, Crossway Books,1985. 25.

[12]  Schaeffer, Edith. The Tapestry: The Life and Times of 
Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Waco, Tx, Word Books. 308.

[13] Schaeffer, Edith. With Love Edith. 
Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. 1989. 5.

[14] Ibid. 402.

[15] Ibid. 308.

[16] Ibid. 332.

[17] Schaeffer, Edith. L’Abri. Tyndale House, USA. 1969. 135. 

[18] “Mission to Intelectuals,” Time, January, 11, 1960.

[19] Carlson, Betty. The Unhurried Chase that Ended at L’Abri. Good News Publishers. Westchester, IL. 1984. Forward by Edith Schaeffer.

[20] Ibid. 12.

[21] Schaeffer, Edith. Dear Family. Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. 1989. 98-98.