In Spirit and Truth: Schaeffer, True Spirituality, and the Emergent Church (Bryan Follis)
In the recent issue of Credo Magazine, “Francis Schaeffer at 100,” Bryan Follis has contributed an article titled, “In Spirit and Truth: Schaeffer, True Spirituality, and the Emergent Church.” Bryan Follis is Rector of All Saints Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland and he is the author of Truth With Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer.
Here is the beginning of his article:
Francis Schaeffer was sometimes described by his publisher’s publicity machine as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the twentieth century (which he wasn’t) and was idolised by many Evangelical Christians who saw him as a modern day prophet and who took his teaching as the final word on any subject. Then there are those who view Schaeffer as some sort of monster (which he wasn’t) who is responsible for the launch of the Christian Right in the USA and what they see as all its subsequent mistakes and problems. When you mention Francis Schaeffer’s name, emotions can run high with some adoring him and others despising him. Therefore, it can be very difficult to have a rational (never mind an objective) discussion about his contribution to Evangelical Christianity and society at large.
However, it is important to remember that while Schaeffer is now best known (for good or bad) for popularising the idea of a Christian world-view and for calling Christians to actively engage with their society, this only forms a small part of the man’s ministry. Indeed I would argue that the later phase of Schaeffer’s ministry does not bring us to the heart of who he was, what he believed and sought to share nor how he remains most relevant to us in 2012.
I therefore want to step back from the culture wars and Schaeffer’s role to consider the man and in particular his faith in Christ and how he wanted to grow in that relationship by nurturing his personal spirituality. Rather than detailing the profound spiritual crisis Schaeffer went through in 1951, I wish to pick up the story following Schaeffer’s crisis of faith, to highlight some of the lessons he learned, to examine how he attempted to maintain his walk with Christ and to evaluate how his teaching on spirituality compares with some contemporary Emergent church writers.
Read the rest of this article today!
The year 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984). It is difficult to think of an evangelical figure in the 20th century who so seriously engaged the philosophies and ideologies of the secular world and set them over against the Christian worldview than Francis Schaeffer.
But Schaeffer was no ordinary evangelical. The man wore knickers and knee high socks when he lectured, sporting not only long hair but a goat’s-chin beard! Most importantly, Schaeffer did not fear man, but feared God. Not only did he engage secular worldviews, but he confronted his fellow evangelicals, even rebuking them for doctrinal concession and compromise.
As many have observed, it is not an overstatement to say that the Schaeffers transformed, reshaped, and in many ways reformed American evangelicalism. Those writing in this new issue of Credo Magazine are proof, each writer bearing testimony to how Francis Schaeffer has made a monumental impact on how we understand and articulate the Christian faith and life in the world of ideas. Contributors include Bruce Little, William Edgar, Bryan Follis, and Stephen Wellum, and many others.