Given the cultural challenges facing the church in our day— not only from the outside, but increasingly from within—it is appropriate that we remember some of the keynote truths at the heart of Schaeffer’s work.
It is hard to overstate the impact the late Francis Schaeffer has had through his writings, ministry and work of L’Abri, the study centre he and his wife established in Switzerland. He was a man for his times who provided a Christian response to the cultural mega shift that began in the Sixties and which he tracked right through until his death in 1984. He provided a God-centred response to the blatantly man-centred culture that was emerging and which came of age during his life-time. For those who benefitted so much from his writings, lectures and video materials (which were ahead of their time), we can see how so much of his insight and foresight have been proved true in today’s world.
Given the cultural challenges facing the church in our day – not only from the outside, but increasingly from within – it is appropriate that we remember some of the keynote truths at the heart of Schaeffer’s work.
The first major impact through his published works was the trilogy, The God who is There, Escape from Reason and The God who is not Silent. Together, they challenged a generation and laid down a thought-provoking response to the secular revolution that defined the 1960’s.
Not surprisingly, The God who is There laid the theological and philosophical foundation to this response. It was intentionally aimed at the epistemology that underpinned the moral and cultural revolution which was gathering momentum. It is the foundation the Bible itself provides from the very first assertion found in Genesis and one we must ever keep in mind. It provides the only reliable basis for knowledge, faith and hope in this world and for the one to come.
It gives us the starting point for all true knowledge by reminding us that knowledge is not limited to what is visible and tangible. In the science-obsessed world we live in, it is vital to be reminded there is a Someone behind the Something we observe. It isn’t just that, like peeling an onion, when science peels back the layers of what is observable, it is left with the great imponderables of ‘From what, from where and from whom?’ but, more than this, ‘How can we know what is beyond the reach of science?’ Or, in the language of Immanuel Kant, how can we know what belongs to the noumenal realm?