Francis Schaeffer’s Double-Edged Ethic
by Peggy J. Haslar
Though we may desire with all our hearts to “speak the truth in love,” a look at any two Christian groups in conflict will prove how difficult this commandment is to practice. It is the orthodox Christian’s dilemma: how is an uncompromising defense of the Christian faith maintained, without appearing to belittle those outside it? Why is conviction so often equated with lack of love, while the “peacemakers” among us hesitate to confront heresy at all? Francis August Schaeffer (1912–1984) was one who spoke unequivocally for both the practice of purity within the church, and the simultaneous practice of love. The man who summed up his message in the phrase, “the Lordship of Christ in the totality of life,” provided helpful instruction in, and a practical example of a loving, yet uncompromising, Christian life.
At L’Abri Fellowship, which Francis and Edith Schaeffer founded in Switzerland in 1955, modern men and women found an intellectually-grounded Christian faith which could stand against the tide of twentieth-century relativism. Schaeffer’s analysis of history and culture showed Christianity to be the only philosophy which could adequately address both intellectual questions and real, human problems. He was particularly adept at exposing the fallacies of existentialism, Eastern mysticism, and religious liberalism.
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