Schaeffer understood that the modern spiritual crisis is an intellectual crisis, and that the intellectual crisis is a spiritual crisis. At the center of this crisis is a denial of God, and that denial of God produces an intellectual crisis that quickly translates into a cultural and moral catastrophe. The one central point that Schaeffer drove home was that the existence of the God of the Bible changes everything.
One of my personal eccentricities has to do with the way I remember books that have changed my life. I remember them chronologically and spatially. I remember where I was when I first read the book, and when I read it. I also write that information on the inside back cover of the book, just in case I need a prompt to memory.
When it comes to Francis Schaeffer’s book He Is There and He Is Not Silent, I need no reminder. It was 1976, I was 16 years old, and this was the first of Schaeffer’s books that I read. More accurately, tried to read. Even with my limited understanding of his argument, Schaeffer’s book changed my life.
I was too young to visit L’Abri, the hostel for young people that Francis and Edith Schaeffer founded in 1955, at its prime, but I read Schaeffer’s books at just the right time. I needed help, and in a hurry. I was a teenage Christian thrown into spiritual trouble by a succession of the awful educational, moral, and cultural experiments of the 1970s. I was in an intellectual crisis. I needed to know that God is real and that the Bible is trustworthy. I had a couple of atheist teachers who were undermining every theistic argument and I was surrounded by a moral revolution that directly contradicted the Bible. I needed help. My pastor and youth pastor offered help, but I needed a lot more.