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Half a century ago, an American pastor named Francis Schaeffer opened his home in Switzerland to anyone who was struggling with the basic questions of life. It was the beginning of L'Abri, a word meaning 'shelter.'
These are not good days for the evangelical church as three recent books agree: 'No Place for Truth' by David Wells; 'Power Religion' by Michael Horton; and 'Ashamed of the Gospel' by John MacArthur. Though the titles speak clearly, the subtitles are even more revealing. Respectively, they are: Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?
Make no mistake. We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman's discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality.
Considerable interest in the question of Presuppositionalism and traditional Christian evidence in evangelism has been created by recent book reviews and articles in The Bible Today. We are delighted to present this article by the Rev. Francis Schaeffer, a former student and a friend and admirer of Dr. Van Til's. Ed.
Shortly after the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America, on 4 December 1973, Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer composed the following thoughts in observance of that event. Notable in his mind was the contrast between the divisions of the 1930's and the 1970's and the manner in which each of these divisions had been conducted.
Two biblical principles must be practiced simultaneously, at each step of the way, if we are to be really Bible-believing Christians. One is the principle of the practice of the purity of the visible church. The other is the principle of an observable love among all true Christians.
We must realize that our being one will take looking to the Lord for help. There will be problems of coordination which must be worked out with patience, with being servants to each other. This will not happen automatically. It will take conscious thought, prayer, and a realistic love not to let our egotisms spoil that which God has given us. I would just say to you there are going to be months, there are going to be times, that you are consciously going to have to realize that there are things that have be worked out in love, and it is imperative that as these things are worked out that the things of personal egotism and personal preference which is not principle would not spoil that which God has given us.
Had Jesus become a dangerous liberal with new ideas, when he argued against the orthodoxy of his day in the Sermon on the Mount? His "But I say unto you...." condemned what had become their traditional teaching. Even the disciples were stunned. He called little children into his audience. Once he pushed off his own family, mother included, when preaching to the crowd about the kingdom to come.
Our education no longer tells us something about the sweep of human drama through time and in different places. It no longer invites us to enter a foreign culture through its language and religion. It does not teach us that perspective is a concept that binds mathematics, philosophy and art together in a bundle of perception. There is little thrill and frustration in the discovery of the continuity of human history.
The Reformation brought a renewed interest in curiosity and discovery, in calling and education, in work and civil responsibility. It achieved this by means of both Scripture's teaching and a shift of mentality. The Bible gave Man again a place of nobility in the realm of thought and work. The price of Christ's finished work for our redemption represented the value God saw in the redeemable person. Furthermore...
It is our VISION and call, and commitment to point the church back onto the path of making disciples. It is our passion and directive to lead Christians away from our false perceptions and into His way.