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

Monday, February 25, 2013


C. Everett Koop
As we reflect on the passing of C. Everett Koop who passed away today (Feb. 25th, 2013), at the age of 96, it is probably best to remember him first as a gifted Christian physician who lovingly cared for so many children and was instrumental in the growth of pediatric surgery we know today. Long before he collaborated with Dr. Schaeffer on Whatever Happened to the Human Race? or became the Surgeon General under Ronald Reagan's administration, Dr. Koop was on the front lines of care for children. His skill in this area is what providentially would bring him into contact with the Schaeffers.

In 1946 Koop established the pediatric surgical division at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It was the first in Philadelphia and only the second of it's type in America. It was also in Schaeffer's home town.

The Schaeffers who likewise had an interest in children had founded their work called Children for Christ just three years earlier in 1943. In 1947 Schaeffer would be asked by the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions to tour post-war Europe to determine the state of children and the condition of the church.  The following year, in 1948,  the Schaeffer's were called to be missionaries to Europe. After accepting this call, Francis would travel for six months in the United States lecturing on his discoveries in regard to the state of the church in Europe. This time away from the family was a period of trial and hardship for Edith with various difficulties. One of which was that their daughter Priscilla had contracted a rare ailment that the doctor they were seeing was unable to diagnose. As the story goes, Priscilla was waiting to be x-rayed when a young pediatric surgeon "who had a specialist knowledge of mesenteric adenitis" happened to spot her and notice she had recognizable symptoms. He arranged to have her appendix removed the following day, which cured her ailment. That young surgeon was C. Everett Koop.

During Priscilla's treatment Dr. Koop was impressed with the Schaeffers and their visible faith and he mentioned to Edith that he had just become a Christian. Edith at some point gave Dr. Koop a message from Priscilla from Francis, so as he wheeled Priscilla's cart into the operating area he read aloud the telegram: "Dear Priscilla, Remember underneath are the everlasting arms. Love Daddy." Now, this all might sound quite unusual for a surgeon to do such a thing, but it shows us two things. Firstly, that there was an immediate connection between Dr. Koop and the Schaeffers, but also that Dr. Koop had a true love for children and his work.

This seemingly chance meeting speaks of providence at work. The fact that the Schaeffer's met Dr. Koop just months away from their move to Europe, and a short time after his conversion and that he had just the right knowledge of Priscilla's ailment is cause for reflection. The fact that this providence would eventually unite two great minds in both friendship and significant subjects of life is very significant. Not surprisingly Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Koop would become close and a long friendship would begin.

Uniting In The Cause of Life
Most notably and against perhaps Dr. Koop and Francis Schaeffer's wishes the cause of life has been most often reduced to abortion alone. While abortion is no small matter and should not be in any way minimized, yet what both men were interested in was not a single issue of abortion alone, but life. The reality was that the secular humanistic worldview was challenging life itself on may fronts. This conception most definitely includes both abortion, euthanasia, but also the loss of the high view of man and human dignity.

"If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. Human life is cheapened. We can see this in many of the major issues being debated in our society today: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the increase of child abuse and violence of all kinds, pornography (and its particular kinds of violence as evidenced in sadomasochism), the routine torture of political prisoners in many parts of the world, the crime explosion, and the random violence which surrounds us.

In communist countries, where materialism and humanistic thinking have been dominant for over several generations, a low view of people has been standard for years. This is apparent not only in the early legislation about abortion but also in the thousands of political prisoners who have been systematically oppressed, tortured, and killed as part of the very fabric of communism. Now, however, as humanism dominates the West, we have a low view of mankind in the West as well. Let us consider some more of the direct and indirect results that this low view of people has brought into our society in the noncommunist world." ~ Schaeffer, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?

Yet instead of acknowledging this, the culture attacked the person rather than the core argument, much to Schaeffer's lament:

"For example, all you have to do is to consider the way the media treated Dr. C. Everett Koop. Dr. Koop is one of the foremost pediatric surgeons in the United States, and among other honors, he was given the highest honor of the French government for his pioneering work in pediatric surgery. But when he was nominated for the position of Surgeon General, he was attacked by the secular media with total disregard for objective reporting — and with total disregard for his brilliant humanitarian record as a surgeon. Those in the media holding the humanist world view could not tolerate Dr. Koop’s voice to be heard — they could not tolerate his articulate defense of the sanctity of human life to be expressed." ~ Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto

Do we still value life?
Now is as good a time as any to remember what Dr. Koop and Dr. Schaeffer were striving for. For the church and culture to wake up and sees the cultural monolith that advances on every front... advancing a cause that will always be inhuman and always jeopardize life and human dignity. Today, we must ourselves find ways to speak around the political marginalization that has marginalized us much as those who are being put to death. Our compassion must be evident and our message must not fail to sound, as life depends upon it. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

SCHAEFFER 101 - #1 True Spirituality

Perhaps the most significant contribution of Francis Schaeffer is his teachings on spirituality. While one might say that his teachings in these areas are not new in the scope of the history of the Christian faith, his emphasis and way of saying things are revolutionary.

His work entitled "True Spirituality" explores the very basics of Christian spirituality to more significant aspects of Christian living and practice. Yet what is most significant is that when we read the singular work in the context of his collective works we begin to understand how far reaching the concept is. It is not that Schaeffer is just laying out an isolated concept of spiritual practice but a basis for a living a personal, relational and cultural organic apologetic. In simple words, he is applying the historic Christian position on spirituality against the prevailing  secular worldview. 

Born Out of Crisis

In the forward, Schaeffer mentions that if it were not for the findings of True Spirituality, there would not have been a L’Abri. Although Dr. Schaeffer writes in True Spirituality that the crisis was in 1951 and 52, his wife, Edith, wrote that Schaeffer was actually referring to 1948 - 1950 in The Tapestry. Colin Duriez, author of Francis Schaeffer an Authentic Life, makes the following observation: "Both sets of dates, the original and Edith's amendment, point to the period of crisis being extensive, It strongly seems that the onset of their exposure to the life in Europe, leaving behind the “parochialism” (Edith's words) of their prior American experience, is a major context of the crisis."  (footer pg. 89)

 The best dating perhaps in light of Schaeffer's articles and history is perhaps 1948 to early 1951. One thing seems to be clear and that is that during the early winter months of 1951, Schaeffer would begin to go through the pinnacle of his spiritual crisis. As a result of this crisis, Schaeffer recognized that something was deeply wrong and he carefully reconsidered his Christian commitment and the priorities of life. By June of that year in an issue of The Sunday School Times carried Schaeffer’s article entitled, “The Secret of Power and the Enjoyment of the Lord” which would begin to indicate the spirituality born out of Schaeffer’s spiritual struggles. When reading this work one can see elements of both The Mark Of A Christian as well as various thoughts that are now found in True Spirituality. It is important to note the connection between these two works. Schaeffer often described his works as a wheel with True Spirituality at the center. However, it is quite conceivable that the concepts conveyed so strongly in The Mark of a Christian and the earlier The Secret of Power and the Enjoyment of the Lord which focus so heavily on the proper balance of truth and love indicate to us that the concept itself is perhaps the axle on which that wheel rest.

Origins of Writings

Schaeffer emerged from this experience with a new certainty about his faith, 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 and beyond. This crisis would be the catalyst for the studies he writes for various lectures in 1953-54. In 1954 the Schaeffers returned to the US with the 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. Several of the sermons that he developed during this time are now found in the book No Little People. These titles include, “The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way,” “It is Difficult to walk in Mud and Not Get Dirty” (we believe this is probably the source for his lecture called “Walking Through The Mud”), and his classic, “Ash Heap Lives,” which was the title of the prior-published British version of  No Little People. Yet of the sermons specifically relating to True Spirituality, there was his illustration of “The Two Chairs,” which was an illustration Schaeffer used quite often, and shows up in different forms in his work Death in the City, as well as True Spirituality. Another message, closely related was “Living in the Supernatural Now,” which is the subject of chapter 5 of True Spirituality. Yet perhaps the most significant of the talks during this period was the development of a series of talks for a summer Bible camp in Dakota. Schaeffer seemed to have had a brainstorm of thought on spirituality and stayed up for many hours, night after night, preparing a series of talks which he called “Sanctification I, II, III, IV, V,” which he delivered from July 5th through the 12th. These it seemed would finally form the full corpus of True Spirituality, the study that for him would change everything (See The Tapestry, pg. 387).

Substantial Results

Much of Schaeffer’s personal tension in spirituality was over the matter of what he calls “reality.” He had seen so much ugliness, both in life, the struggle against Liberalism, and the separatist movement, which had left him cold. He was not seeing the “reality” of the Christian life or it’s practical application for everyday life.

Out of Schaeffer's findings came his general realization focused on the nature of the teachings of scripture as “True-Truth,” touching every aspect of life, and loving God enough not to covet against Him and one’s neighbor. His prescription for spirituality is realized in the concept of a real “moment-by-moment” relationship with God that produces substantial healing in relationships and champions the life of prayer. Note that his "moment-by-moment" spirituality is in direct contrast to Existentialism's emphasis on living in the moment to define one's own existence. Rather, Schaeffer is taking the truth of the notion of living in the moment but correcting it to it's earlier Biblical understanding of living before the God who is there, before a watching world, praying without ceasing and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ in the ongoing relational aspect of sanctification. He champions the idea of substantial victory in this life, not exhaustive, but substantial victory in relationships, our church, our government and total culture. The Lordship of Christ in the whole of life.

This is why I often say that Schaeffer has constantly and consistently led me in his writings to be bowed before the feet of Christ. Very few writers have inspired as much devotion in the whole of my person and as many areas of life to Christ Lordship as Schaeffer. This very fact alone is the most significant reason why we do this. We are exceedingly thankful.

Monday, February 11, 2013


One of the things we are quite passionate about is Schaeffer's apologetic. Not as an academic exercise, but as a real way that the "man on the street" can reach out effectively to others around him or her in "the watching world."

We will be joining The Razor Swift and talking about how Schaeffer spoke to people and the method he used. What we will describe however, is not some mechanical approach, but rather a way of personally directing people to consider their worldview in an honest way. Join us this Wednesday, February 13th at 5 pm Pacific, 6 pm Mountain, 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern. Here is the call in number: (714) 242-5180.

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The show will be live and hosted on Grok Radio at:

Please note: We are mindful that we will be representing Schaeffer's method and this is why we will be carefully presenting his position using his own words and diagrams and elaborating on them. We will use a couple of helpful diagrams we have made from the analysis of Schaeffer's descriptions as well. If you would like to read ahead, you can read over the documents here and then have them ready when you listen to the interview: (Note: These documents are subject to change before the show.)

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