This is the opening post in what I hope will be an engaging experience – a study into the works of one of the great modern-day Christian thinkers. “The Great Evangelical Disaster,” by Francis Schaeffer.

Francis Schaeffer is the founder of the L’Abri Fellowship. That word, in French, means “shelter”. Francis was deeply concerned about the state of Christianity in the philosophical, theological, and public arenas. While not really an apologist, per se, his insights into the philosophy and basic tenets of Christianity may give us a better understanding of the world we live in, the ideas we face, and the true state of affairs the Church, and we as Christians, are in.

The introductory chapter to this book is entitled “What Really Matters?” The title question is actually asked at the end of the chapter, in a sub-section titled the same as above. He asks: “What is it that matters so muchin my life, and in your life, that it sets the priorities for everything we do?”

His answer: Matthew 22:37-40.

And He said to him, ” `YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, `YOU R812 SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

That was Jesus’ answer, when asked a similar question, is it not? They asked Him, in verse 36, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Sounds like the same question to me.


Francis takes this and rewords it a bit, so as to reinforce his point.

Here is what really matters – to love the Lord our God, to love His Son, and to know Him personally as our Savior. And if we love Him, to do the things that please Him; simultaneously to show forth His character of holiness and love in our lives; to be faithful to His truth; to walk day by day with the living Christ; to live a life of prayer.

That is the first part. The second part – to love our neighbor as ourselves.

He takes this forward a step.

Because we love the Lord Jesus Christ and know Him personally as our Savior we must, through God’s grace, love our neighbor as ourselves. And if we love our neighbor as Christ would love our neighbor, we will certainly want to share the gospel with our neighbor; and beyond this we will want to show forth the law of God in all our relationships with our neighbor.

You see where’s he’s going? He’s laying down the fundamentals of Evangelical thought, and doctrine.

He doesn’t stop there, however.

Evangelism is primary, but it is not the end of our work and indeed cannot be separated from the rest of Christian life. We must acknowledge and then act upon the fact that if Christ is our Savior, He is also our Lord in all of life. He is our Lord not just in religious things and not just in cultural things such as arts and music, but in our intellectual lives, and in business, and in our relation to society, and in our attitude toward the moral breakdown of our culture. Acknowledging Christ’s Lordship and placing ourselves under what is taught in the Bible includes thinking and acting as citizens in relation to our government and its laws. making Christ Lord in our lives means taking a stand in very direct and practical ways against the world spirit of our age as it rolls along claiming to be autonomous, crushing all that we cherish in its path.

Hard teaching, friends. Later on in this book, he introduces the concept of “Flaming Truth”. It evokes a certain mental image – perhaps the angel who guarded Eden, with his flaming sword. A guardian – a defender. Dare I say… an apologist? What do we use? The Sword of the Spirit. What is the only real, objective truth? The Word of God – which is that selfsame sword. What must an apologist use, as the only weapon in the Christian arsenal? The Sword of the Spirit.

Flaming Truth. We must take a stand. It must be done. We pledge to defend the Lord, and His Word. This is what that concept is!

If we truly love our Lord and if we truly love our neighbor, we will ache with compassion for humanity today in our own country and across the world. We must do all we can to help people see the truth of Christianity and accept Christ as Savior. And we must not allow the Bible to be weakened by any compromise in its authority, no matter how subtle the means. This is especially so when those doing this call themselves “evangelical”. But we must stand equally against the spirit of our age in the breakdown of morality and the terrible loss of humanness that it has brought. It will mean especially standing for human life and showing by our actions that every human life is sacred and worthwhile by itself – not only to us as human beings, but precious also to God. Every person is worth fighting for, regardless of whether he is young or old, sick or well, child or adult, born or unborn, or brown, red, yellow, black, or white.

Several parts here.

Compassion – “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt 9:36)

Truth – Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

No Compromise – “but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4:2)

Subtle Errors – “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

Being of one mind – A Correct Mind. – “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)

Stand Firm – “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Eph. 6:13)

Protection of Life – “In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:10)

It is God’s life-changing power that is able to touch every individual, who then has the responsibility to touch the world around him with the absolutes foun in the Bible. In the end we must realize that the spirit of the age – with all the loss of truth and beauty, and the loss of compassion and humanness that it has brought – is not merely a cultural ill. It is a spiritual ill that the Truth given us in the Bible and Christ alone can cure.

I don’t know about you – but that hits me directly between the eyes, and sinks into my heart – with hooks. This is aimed directly at you, and at me.

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:8)

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

(All, and I do mean all of this, is from ONE subsection, of one chapter. The entire book is full of this. Look forward to these. I will be.)