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

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Francis Schaeffer Studies has now made several trips to St. Louis visiting the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary. The first trip took place in May, 2015 and the second in June. You can see some pictures from the first trip here.

Schaeffer's "Summer Bible School"
St Louis Globe Democrat
July 23rd 1944
(Click the link, then click
on the image to zoom)
Part 1 - 1944 Schaeffer's Summer Bible School Newspaper Write-up

While we were in St. Louis, we had a wonderful opportunity to connect with two of Dr. Schaeffer's students from his early days as a pastor in St. Louis prior to the formation of L'Abri in Switzerland. One of these students of the Summer Bible School, Barbara Sprick, mentioned on the phone that she had a "newspaper clipping" to show us. Providentially, we had been able to meet with Mark Ryan, Director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary, who informed us that he had been contacted by Barbara and that he had vouched for us (Thanks Mark!). So we were excited to meet her for an interview and to see this clipping. Well, as it turned out, it was not just a clipping! It was a full page write-up!
Not only that, she had a collection of photos of the students over multiple years and a brochure with an original photo taken by her father! We'll share more on these a little later. However, what further surprised us, is that she not only showed them to us, but she wanted us to have them! We are honored and blessed to receive these wonderful glimpses of Schaeffer history into the FSS collection. He hope that they will be a valuable resource for others in their studies in future!

The full-page write up provides a wonderful glimpse of Dr. Schaeffer's early ministry. One thing you will note upon viewing is that this activity was in cooperation with the school district who even provided buses. My how far we have come!

According to Wayne Sparkman at the PCA Archives, young Francis Schaeffer, had first utilized this new concept of "Summer Bible School" (what we would now call Vacation Bible School) in his first church in Grove City, Pennsylvania, with much success and had finally wrote to Dr. A. L. Lathem who had founded the idea. Francis would eventually become a member of his Board of Directors of the Summer Bible School Association which grew his relationship with it's elder founder. Dr. Lathem was the senior pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church in Chester, 50 miles way from Grove City, and eventually Francis would receive an offer to work with Dr. Lathem as an assistant pastor. While Francis did well at the position, he was largely tasked with overseeing a building project, rather than working more directly with the children's ministry he had come to love and see as a calling. With another building project on the horizon, Francis and Edith realized the need to accept a new pastorate in the pursuit of their calling. They would assume the pastorate of the First Bible Presbyterian Church in St. Louis from John W. Sanderson Jr. Their ministry flourished through the founding of the first Summer Bible School program in St. Louis, which later led to the founding of Children for Christ. Here is a thought from Edith on the development:
This was the beginning of our work with young people that later grew into L'Abri, even as the Bible School was our beginning work with children that was going to include our "Children for Christ" work later. Many seeds were planted in Grove City. ~ Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry
It is wonderful to think that a man who is often known to be one of the greatest Evangelical intellectuals of the past generation, was also a deeply gifted communicator to children. Dr. Schaeffer's tenderness, excitement, emotion and thoughtfulness must have resonated well with them. Something for us all to deeply consider.

~ Dan Guinn

Watch for our next article in this series and also an upcoming mini-documentary!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


In April, while presenting a workshop at the 2015 International Society of Christian Apologetics Conference in North Carolina, I spent some time in the home of Pastor Adam Johnson, whose family showed me great hospitality and warmth during my stay. Adam is a friend and fellow researcher of Dr. Schaeffer's works. After many talks, I asked Adam if he would share with us his experience researching at the Francis Schaeffer Collection at SEBTS, and the journey of life that led him there. I am sure you will find it edifying! Watch for more from Adam in the future! ~ Dan Guinn, FSS

Adam Johnson
I’m a PhD student studying Philosophy of Religion under Dr. Bruce Little at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  I also serve as an Associate Pastor at Tega Cay Baptist Church.  My church allowed me to take a four week sabbatical in December 2014 in order to help Dr. Little research the Francis Schaeffer Collection at Southeastern.  Not only was it a terrific academic opportunity, it was also a spiritual experience for me.

Francis Schaeffer’s books played a huge role in my spiritual development.  I became a Christian in 1994 around the age of 17 but in my twenties I went through a terrible spiritual crisis.  I was struggling with questions and doubts about whether or not Christianity was true.  It’s difficult to explain the emotional stress and anxiety I felt during that ordeal; trust me when I say that I was nearly at my wit’s end!  As I see it now, there was some incorrect theology in my background which led me to wrong conclusions about what faith is, how sovereignty worked, and the role of apologetics.  For instance, I thought it would be ungodly and unbiblical to use apologetics to try and strengthen my faith.  Thankfully someone gave me a copy of Schaeffer’s Trilogy – The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.  Needless to say, it changed my life.  Through his books, Schaeffer helped me come to, as I see it today, the correct understanding of faith and reason, sovereignty, and apologetics. 

As I worked through my own struggles and conquered my major doubts, I began talking openly about my struggles.  I found that many others were also struggling with doubts too and God began using me to help them work through their questions.  I had always aspired to serve in ministry but had recoiled back because of guilt over my struggle with doubt.  Having overcome this struggle, I decided to follow God’s leading and leave my career in Actuarial Science to pursue whatever ministry He would call me to.  I completed my M.Div. in 2013 and immediately started on my Ph.D. at Southeastern.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Udo and Deborah Middelmann had entrusted Southeastern to hold in custodianship the Francis Schaeffer Collection.  The Collection includes vast amounts of Schaeffer’s personal correspondence, his early drafts and manuscripts, books and articles he annotated, his seminary notes from the 1930’s, as well as numerous audio and video items.  Needless to say, this is a literal treasure trove!  You can read more about the Collection here.

In the rest of this article I’ll summarize my experience researching the Collection.  First of all, access to the Collection requires the approval of Dr. Little who serves as its Director.  After I was approved, archivists in Southeastern’s library (Dr. Bill Youngmark and Steve Jones) helped me find my way through all the material.  The research is made much easier by the finding aid they’ve created.  This finding aid is simply a massive spreadsheet that is 50,000 rows long.  It lists all the paper material (letters, notes, articles, books, etc.) in the Collection but not the audio and video items.  Each row represents a different item in the Collection and some items are several hundred pages long.  For example, Schaeffer took 108 pages of handwritten notes in his Apologetics class at Westminister and this item is described in one line of the finding aid spreadsheet. 

Thus there are hundreds of thousands of pages of material in the Collection.  The finding aid also lists what physical box and folder each particular item can be found in.  Thankfully though, all of the paper material has been digitized (not all of the audio and video has been digitized yet).  So when I found something in the finding aid I wanted to look at, say a specific letter from Francis Schaeffer to Billy Graham, I could access a digitalized version of that item in just a few seconds.  I spent four weeks digging through the paper material.  I estimate that I looked at roughly 2,000 items but I specifically made detailed notes concerning 700 items that were pertinent to my research.  Through my research I came to have a much better understanding of Schaeffer’s epistemology and apologetic method.  I wrote a research paper for Dr. Little this spring about Schaeffer’s epistemology and Udo Middelmann gave me permission to quote from some items I found in the Collection.  I’m hoping the research I did will eventually roll up into my dissertation work.        

I’ve often described the time I spent researching the Collection as a spiritual experience because it was similar to reading the biography of someone who God had worked through in a mighty way.  I felt like I got to know Francis Schaeffer in a more intimate way as I read about his personal struggles, concerns, weariness, and victories.  I was inspired to see how God could use a normal human being in such a mighty way in so many people’s lives.  A lot of the personal letters are just about logistics—making arrangements for people coming to L’Abri, or plans for Francis and Edith to go and speak somewhere, etc.  But there were also many letters from those who were searching for truth and struggling through various spiritual issues.  It was humbling to read Schaeffer’s replies and how he poured out his heart to so many strangers.  You can really see his love and compassion for others in his letters.  Schaeffer continues to inspire me to serve Christ with everything I am.  

~ Adam Johnson

To learn more about the Francis A. Schaeffer Collection at SEBTS you can watch videos from our playlist documenting the collection, including our documentary filmed in 2012:

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Every once in a while you see that God has answered a prayer so perfectly that you are utterly amazed and truly thankful. Such is the case with the new addition to our team, Paul Reynolds.

In this, our fifth year, we are more busy than we have ever been before. So, it has been the subject of many prayers to add a like-minded student of Francis Schaeffer to our work. Paul Reynolds is that guy. Paul is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and an Associate Pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Olathe, KS.

Paul brings with him a background of study and interest in Francis Schaeffer, and a knowledge of his importance. He asserts that he is not an expert, but a simple conversation shows he has a solid grasp of Schaeffer's thought. As a student at Covenant, he was involved in the student activities of the Francis Schaeffer Institute, and sat under many Schaeffer scholars such as Jerram Barrs, Mark Ryan (Director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute), and adjunct L'Abri teachers such as Dick Keyes. All of whom we highly respect and have learned much from over the years.

Perhaps Paul's most highly valued strength is his warmth, service and a humble depth of knowledge. Jason and myself already greatly appreciate our new friendship with Paul and are excited to see what Paul brings to the team.

Paul will first be assisting me (Dan) directly in various ways under the generic title of Operations Assistant, as we explore his specific gifts and strengths. His first projects will be related to editing various writing projects. 

Please join us in welcoming Paul to Francis Schaeffer Studies!

Dan Guinn


Saturday, January 24, 2015


During our time working on Francis Schaeffer Studies, we have explored the numerous biographies on Dr. Schaeffer. Sometimes people ask us, "What would you recommend?" We thought it would be a good to share with those of you who are interested in learning about Francis Schaeffer. So where to start?

If you are looking into the life of Francis Schaeffer, it is best to get the most qualified and accurate resources. Those beginning to read, may find that there are some authors that have written on Dr. Schaeffer, who actually seem to have read very little of his work. There are also those who have injected their own bias into the interpretation of Dr. Schaeffer's life. For this reason, we have chosen the following works, based on their accuracy, integrity and closeness to the Schaeffer story. It goes without saying, that perhaps the most significant works on the history of Francis Schaeffer, have been written by Edith Schaeffer. So, while these works, should not be forgotten, we will focus our attention on others who have written about them for this blog post. However, if you have not read Edith's L'Abri we highly recommend you do so. Also, her books The Tapestry and Dear Family, as well as With Love Edith, all explore their history at greater depth.

#5 - Francis Schaeffer, The Man and His Message, Louis Gifford Parkhurst, Jr.

This work was chosen because of Mr. Parkhurst familiarity with the Schaeffers. The author describes what he is providing as a "biographical sketch," which may not be the depth that many may be looking for in understanding Dr. Schaeffer.  Yet, what one will find very endearing about the book is the personal relationship Parkhurst describes that he had with the Schaeffers and his descriptions of their spirituality. His brief anecdotal accounts are full of value.

Mr Parkhurst became a Christian while speaking with the Schaeffers, and would serve as their pastor during the last years of Dr. Schaeffer's life. In the introduction, he mentions in passing, that he celebrated Dr. Schaeffer's last communion with him at his hospital bedside a few months before he died. 

Mr. Parkhurst also wrote two other works on the Schaeffer's, 1) Francis and Edith Schaeffer and 2) How God Teaches Us to Pray: Lessons from the Lives of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.

You can also read Dr. Groothuis' review here.

 #4 - Francis Schaeffer, Portraits of the Man and His Work, Edited by Lane T. Dennis

In this work, we find important essays on Schaeffer's life and work. So although not a chronological biography, there is an ample amount of biographical information that helps form a rounded perspective on Schaeffer, from those who knew him.

#3 - Francis Schaeffer, A Mind and Heart for God, Edited by Bruce A. Little

At the number three spot there is this wonderful newer book that was a product of a conference on Dr. Schaeffer held in 2008 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is the home of the Francis Schaeffer Collection. Dr. Bruce A. Little is the custodian of the collection owned by The Francis Schaeffer Foundation. This book was chosen because it contains five lectures by L'Abri members and Family (Udo Middelmann, Jerram Barrs, Ranald Macaulay and Dick Keyes), who give a wonderfully insightful glimpse into Schaeffer's heart and thinking. 

#2 - Schaeffer, on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality, William Edgar

The newest work on Schaeffer is from Bill Edgar, who explores with an objective eye, the compassionate nature of Schaeffer and his spirituality. It is well worth the read as it will truly edify you.

Some of you may be familiar with Bill's work that was published in the Westminister Theological Journal, entitled, Two Christian Warriors: Cornelius Van Til and Francis A. Schaeffer Compared. As a student of both men, he provided some wonderful insights into their similarities and differences. 

#1 - Francis Schaeffer, An Authentic Life, by Colin Duriez
Perhaps still the most significant work on Dr. Schaeffer to date is by Colin Duriez, as it provides a very objective viewpoint and addresses many significant questions about the Schaeffer's life. Colin's ability to weave the many threads of Edith's work, and numerous other source materials, into a rounded historical context, with concise explanations of complex subject matters, makes it extremely valuable. Yet, it is a very down-to-earth account, that is easy to read and hard to put down. When I have picked it up for references, I sometimes found myself stuck in it for a while. This is probably because Colin's primary work is as a fantasy writer, with books on the likes of Tolkien and Lewis. Moreover, when it comes to the biographical account, Colin himself interviewed Dr. Schaeffer back in 1980, and is known by both L'Abri and the Schaeffer family.

It is significant that Dr. Schaeffer's former editor James Sire had this to say this:

Francis Schaeffer was an amazing man-intellectually brilliant and set on truth, emotionally intense, devoted to God and compassionate; like Jeremiah, perplexed by the world, not because he didn't understand it but because he did. As one of his editors, I came to know him well, but only after he emerged as a writer. For me Colin Duriez fills in the fascinating details of his early years. Yes, this was the man I knew-one who was surprised by God as his influence grew from his pastoring small churches to teaching thousands in auditoriums around the world, from conversations one on one or with a handful of students to intellectual sparring with elite secular scholars and pundits. Duriez knows his subject; Schaeffer, the Jeremiah of the twentieth century, walks and talks again in these pages.

James W. Sire, Author, The Universe Next Door and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics
Read Dr. Groothuis' review here.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk through the top five Schaeffer biographies that we recommend. You are sure to be blessed by reading them and will find them worth your valuable time. You may not feel called to make understanding Dr. Schaeffer a personal quest as much as we have, but you may find that by exploring some of these works, you will understand why we do!

Let us know what you think of these selections on out Facebooh Group!

Dan Guinn

Dan Guinn  


Sunday, January 4, 2015


Francis Schaeffer Studies is now four years old!

As we stop and reflect on the many developments over the years, we are thankful for all that God has done, and we are renewed in our vision for the future. This year will be a big year in many ways, as not only is it the start of our 5th year of work. Look for our new Yearbook Series, that looks back on the history of

This year will also be a big year as it marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Schaeffer's 1965 Wheaton Lectures, the lectures that started it all! If you aren't already aware, these lectures where the source materials for The God Who Is There, Dr. Schaeffer's first book. We know of several events that are being planned and we will keep you posted as they develop.

In addition to this, we will continue to work on our various projects as mentioned in the Fall, but also add a new Social Media structure to promote more engagement around Schaeffer's works (watch for information on this in the next few days and weeks).

Finally, setup on our FSS Studio is nearing completion which will allow us to move forward on more video work. With this, we are planning to launch a new Web Video Series called "Schaeffer FAQ" which will answer many of the Schaeffer Questions that we get asked quite often, with research information and sometimes even actual video from Dr. Schaeffer himself. You will want to be sure to catch these!

We know the fall work has been rather slow and we have not moved forward as quickly as we would have liked to have, but we are staying on course. We would appreciate your prayers as we continue this valuable work. Thank you for following along and for your prayers. Have a happy new year!