Monday, December 28, 2009

True Spirituality - In the Spirit's Power

True Spirituality - In the Spirit's Power

Comments on Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 4 - In Chapter 4 Dr. Schaeffer picks up again on with the concept of the transfiguration and hopes for us to further comprehend our resurrection with Christ in time and space. Schaeffer is intent on establishing that the keys to understanding reality rest in comprehending Biblical truths in this manner. The understanding of these truths eventually point us to the the need for a helper who is with us in time and space.

It is because the death of Christ is real, that we understand our need for a savior who would suffer. The resurrection and the concept of resurrection is real. Schaeffer sites that the idea is very old and that it was understood somewhere around 2000 BC or earlier by Job (Job 14:12-14) and later by Abraham according to Heb 11:17-19 and Daniel in Daniel 12:2. So finally Schaeffer points out that Paul "hangs everything" on the resurrection principal.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Cor 15:12-19

"The argument is very simple. If the Christian dead are not raised up; and if Christ is not raised up, everything falls to the ground." Schaeffer, pg. 46, True Spirituality

Schaeffer points out that in interpreting Biblical truths in time and space that there are "two strands" to time and space they are both parallel in the concepts of truth.

"This is the Biblical view of truth: there are two streams, two strands, a space-time reality—one in the seen, and one in the unseen." Schaeffer, pg. 52, True Spirituality

It's important to note the Schaeffer is not suggesting a completely unified view of human temporality and the spiritual realm when he calls then "two equal lines of reality" (Schaeffer, pg. 52, True Spirituality). He realizes there is some discontinuity between the two realms. Rather, he is pointing out the continuity of them as they relate to time and space. He is hoping to point out that God has purposed a connection between them. Other theories abound about time and the spiritual realm in Christian history. Aquinas for one, suggested that angelic beings might live in a quasi-temporal existence. Augustine conceived that God, at least, experienced time as an "ever present now". It is significant to realize that Schaeffer is not debating either of these points. Schaeffer is purely concerned with time and space as it relates to the spiritual facts of our redemption which scripture reveals quite plainly without conjecture.

It is more important to realize that Schaeffer is addressing the "mystical union of the church" as and evidential truth, which is a very brilliant observation. For earlier he had said the following:

"The new liberal theology would take the after-life and either deny it, or make it such an uncertain quality that it has no meaning to us. But this is not true of the Bible. Standing on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Elijah, who was translated, yet has a body. There is no reason to think it is otherwise. He is holding a conversation with Moses and Christ. But here is Moses as well-Moses who died and was buried. And yet he can share in the conversation and he can be seen. He can be recognized and there can be communication." Schaeffer, pg. 52, True Spirituality

By stating this, in this manner he establishes that the transfiguration is a foundational event displaying the mystical church union. Here what he says on this point.

"I am not here thinking of it [mystical union of the church] as a 'doctrine.' I am thinking of the reality: that God ties us in at the present time to the reality of those who are already in this other situation. They are there, they see Christ face to face, they are dead, and we have the earnest of the Holy Spirit." Schaeffer, pg. 54, True Spirituality

Schaeffer here identifies this as "Christian Mysticism." The result of this line of thinking. Don't be frightened by the term. He intends to contrast this view against secular forms of mysticism. Here he gives us an understanding of the apologetic value of understanding this concept.

"Here is true Christian mysticism. Christian mysticism is not the same as non-Christian mysticism, but I would insist that it is not a lesser mysticism. Indeed, eventually it is a deeper mysticism, for it is not based merely on contentless experience, but historic space-time reality - on propositional truth. One is not asked to deny reason, the intellect, in true Christian mysticism. And there is to be no loss of personality, no loss of individual man. In Eastern mysticism - for which the West is searching so madly now, that it has lost the sense of history, of content, and the truth of Biblical facts- there is always finally a loss of personality" Schaeffer, pg. 54, True Spirituality

If you did not catch it, Schaeffer has just given us the formulation of the apologetic against mysticism by way of explaining the unification of the church through the Holy Spirit. It is so foundational that we probably might have missed it. True Spirituality does not come by the pure denial of self through countless rituals as this leaves one empty and hopeless when it evolves to it's natural end. True Spirituality comes by the denial of self and the acceptance of a reasonable faith in time and space, connected and supported by the Holy Spirit unifying us with the kingdom church through the work of Christ. This is the communion of the Holy Spirit (John 14:18, 2 Cor 13:14).

Schaeffer gives us three points to help us make sense of the practical way that we are connected on page 56.

  1. Judicially we are already dead and raised (Romans 6:11, Romans 5:1, Romans 7:24,25).

  2. We rely on the agency of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

  3. This is not to be merely passive on our part (Luke 1:38).

So as we focus on the life in the spirit, we are to be motivated to action on our part, but not on our own action alone but what Schaeffer calls, "active passivity." Dr. Schaeffer found the words of Marry quite beautiful when she said, "Be it unto me according to thy will." She was active in her confession and actions in response to the angel that spoke to her but passive in submitting to the will of God for her life.

"True Spirituality is not achieved in our own energy. The 'how' of the kind of life we have spoken of, the true Christian life, true spirituality, is Romans 6:11: 'Reckon ye also yourselves' (there is faith) then the negative aspect: 'but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' This is the 'how,' and there is no other. It is the power of the crucified, risen, and glorified Christ, through the agancy of the Holy Spirit, by faith."

True Spirituality - Through Death to Resurrection

True Spirituality - Through Death to Resurrection

Comments on Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 3 - In Chapter 3 Dr. Schaeffer speaks to the reality of Christ resurrection in relation to our own spirituality. We have already explored what Schaeffer calls the "Law of Love" and the "Centrality of Death". We have learned thus far that true spirituality starts with Christ plus nothing and moves toward actions motivated out of love for God and others (not coveting but giving). The love of God in the life of a believer involves an inward change, not merely an outward one, producing contentment, thankfulness and longing. Yet all of these actions are motivated out of a transformation rooted in the centrality of the death of Christ. Our own personal death to self is connected in the sacrifice of Christ. So in this chapter we move forward to an understanding that our victory does not end in Christ sacrifice, but in His resurrection and the glorification.

Schaeffer ends the last chapter dealing with the circumstances surrounding the Transfiguration. He picks this topic up again here.

"Now let me emphasize that these things happened in history. This is important, especially today, when religious things are constantly being pushed away into a non-historic realm of 'other.' But here in the account of the transfiguration, we have an emphasis on time and space. Luke, for example, records that 'on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met them" (Luke 9:37). Christ and the disciples at a certain point in time went up the mountain, and at another point came down. As they went up the hillside, they did not move into a non-spatial philosophical or religious 'other.' They were still connected in space with the foot of the mountain, and down there in the plain the normal activities of life were going on." Schaeffer, pg. 30 (1971), pg 27, 28 (2001), True Spirituality

Schaeffer also emphasized that Jesus' words following the event, "The Son of man must suffer" (Luke 9:34), which speak of the hardships of real life that Christ must endure further emphatically clarifies that these are events happened in time and space. The son of man would be rejected, slain and raised in history.

Historical Fulfillment of the Prophets
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27

Actual Hands and Feet ("In the Flesh")

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:39

Appearance to Disciples in Time and Space

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

The Physical Ascension in Time and Space

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Likewise, the gospel is revealed in time and space as well. There are multiple instances of special acts of revelation "intruding" upon or speaking into time and space. For example the point of Paul's conversion and the giving of the Revelation of John.


Speaking in time and space in an earthly language.

13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Acts 26:13-15

        In the Spirit on the Lord's day... write what you see in a (physical) book.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Rev 1:10-11

Moreover, scripture indicates clearly that the second advent will be a literal event in time and space highlighting our final glorification and unification with the real physical-spiritual kingdom of Christ.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
Rev. 1:7

"... the day will come when both saved and unsaved will look upon the glorified Christ. They will see him. Every man will see him, not as a religious idea, but glorified, in a real space-time situation" Schaeffer, pg. 37 (1971), pg. 33 (2001), True Spirituality

Finally our resurrection and glorification likewise transpire in time and space.

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

A resurrection and glorification that is linked with Christ.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 

Romans 6:8

Schaeffer clarifies that we are called to be glorified. This calling brings meaning to man's existence much higher than being a mere animal as science teaches us. It is much more than merely making a mental assent to a religious maxim.

"I am a creature, it is true, but I have a calling to be the creature glorified. I must be the creature...I am called to be a creature by choice, on the basis of Christ's finished work, by faith: The creature glorified.
    Now I am ready for war, now there can be spirituality of a Biblical sort: Now there can be a Christian life. Rejected, slain, raised: now we are ready to be used. But not only ready to be used in this present space-time world, but ready to enjoy it" Schaeffer, pg. 45, True Spirituality

"...this is not once for all. This is a moment-by-moment thing a moment-by-moment being dead to all else and alive to God." Schaeffer, pg. 45 (1971), pg. 40 (2001) True Spirituality

This is what it means to live the victorious Christian life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

True Spirituality - The Centrality of Death

Note: This differs from my previous article "The Centrality of Death, Death & Redemption in the Heart of God" which was inspired by this chapter in Schaeffer's book and some other studies I was doing at the time.
Read Here

True Spirituality - The Centrality of Death

Comments Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 2 - Chapter 2 moves from learning the Law of Love to explaining the central means by which we begin to live it out. It is not possible to live in love, not coveting against God and our neighbor, without sacrifice on our part. Moreover, he begins to explain the connection between our own personal sacrifice and that of our savior from which we receive our strength.

While for the purposes of our study we must take each section by itself, it is important to realize that each chapter is connected and is building upon the previous concepts established. It would not be beneficial or honest for example to take chapter 1 as the lone precept for spirituality, as chapter 2-4 describe by what power the Christian may live out these concepts. A quote from Calvin that Schaeffer quoted at different times was that, "Man's heart is a idol making factory". Therefore we must be constantly mindful and diligent not to elevate any system, by any man above Christ.

  1. Negative & Positive Aspects
    • Dead to Ourselves / Made Alive in Christ
  2. Negative: Saying "No!"
    • To the dominance of things / To self
  3. Obstacles To Self Sacrifice
    • Success Mentality
    • "Mentality of Abundance"
  4. Death to Self And The Death of Christ
    • The Profession of Faith Required His Sacrifice and Our Own
    • Changing Perspective: The Transfiguration
    • The Prophesy of Our Redemption

Negative & Positive Aspects

Dead to Ourselves / Made Alive in Christ
- It is always important to note the negative and positive aspects of the truths of Christianity. The events of our spirituality are connected in "time and space" with the physical aspects of our lives. There are actions and reactions. In order to live in the positive aspects and benefits of love we must die to self. Yet when we live in Christ we find that the negative 'death' we experience makes us alive in Christ and brings joy and contentment and moreover, a longing for God and His will being done in our lives.

"4 We were buried
therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk
in newness of life." Romans 6:4

Negative: Saying "No!"

To the dominance of things/To self - "We are to be willing to say "no" to ourselves, we are to be willing to say "no" to things, in order that the command to love God and men may have real meaning. Even in things which are lawful to me, things which do not break the Ten Commandments, I am not to seek my own. but I am to seek another man's good." pg. 19 True Spirituality

Dr. Schaeffer, here teaches us that the principle of saying "no" ought to be observed in such a way that it transcends the law. It is a higher moral principal that does good not for the sake of obedience alone but for the sake of love. This is the example given by Jesus in his sacrifice for us. An example of obedience unto death, Love beyond personal interest and self preservation.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

"2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:2

Obstacles To Self Sacrifice

Success Mentality- "We are surrounded by a world that says "no" to nothing. When we are surrounded with this sort of mentality, in which every thing is judged by bigness and by success, then suddenly to be told that in the Christian life there is to be this strong negative aspect of saying "no" to self, it must seem hard. And if it does not feel hard to us, we are not really letting it speak to us." pg. 19 True Spirituality

For Dr. Schaeffer, this self sacrifice was not to be taken lightly. It is real sacrifice, it is painful. At times everything that is in us will speak against this and against this change. Our world often teaches us that the only way to be fulfilled is to satisfy your personal longings. Yet, Dr. Schaeffer reminds us that scripture teaches that the satisfying of these longings only gratify the sinful nature ("the flesh") and that we have a higher calling to satisfy a new nature in Christ that brings true fulfillment. This is truly the basis for nearly all of Francis Schaeffer's cultural criticism.

"Mentality of Abundance - "We have produced a mentality of abundance, wherein everything is to be judged on the basis of whether it leads to abundance. Everything else must give in to this. Absolutes of any kind, ethical principles, everything must give in to affluence and selfish personal peace." pg. 20 True Spirituality

This concept in Dr. Schaeffer's other work was sometimes expressed as "the idol of personal peace and affluence". Here he is directly addressing the concept of hedonism ("whatever feels good is good"), in our society. It is important to note that Schaeffer believed that when abundance is made the rule for judging what is "good" thought and ethics begin to break down. So we can see that this not only affects doctrines of philosophy and theology but the practical way that we live out these philosophies and theologies.

Death to Self And The Death of Christ

The Profession of Faith Required His Sacrifice and Our Own
- Schaeffer spends a good deal of time exploring the way that Christ communicates the connection between the profession of who He was, in Peter's words, "The Christ of God", and the sacrifice He would make. In the mind of Jesus, the profession (v.20) that He is the Christ implies He must die (v.22). Yet it also implies something more. It implies that we must die also (v.23, 24). Jesus knows without a doubt what His death would represent both for himself and for us.

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God. 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The
Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and
chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be

23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For
whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be
ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of
the holy angels.

Luke 9:18-26

Changing Perspective: The Transfiguration - Dr. Schaeffer pinpoints the Transfiguration (the events that followed after the verses above) as a critical point in scripture pre-figuring the resurrection of Christ. The topic surrounding the event speaks directly of Jesus death. Yet, Dr. Schaeffer is also careful to point out that it was in fact an historical event. Not believing in the transfiguration is to call the apostles liars, yet believing in this event demands that we place it in time and history. This was significant as it replies to post-modern thought and Dr. Schaeffer knew it.

As it applies to us as believers, the Transfiguration speaks not only to our absolute death in Christ but also our glorification in resurrection with Him.

The Prophesy of Our Redemption - Schaeffer also wished for us to realize the that not only was the event in time and space but also that ourselves and the world are witnesses to the event. The prophets prior to the event foretold it from the beginning. The apostles directly witnessed it in time and space. We behold the steadfast preservation of the Word of God and His church in time.

We will talk about some of these prophetic verses (Gen. 3:15; Gen. 15, Isaiah 53) in class and I will provide several papers on areas that can be studied for greater depth in the near future.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

True Spirituality - The Law of Love

True Spirituality - The Law
and The Law of Love
Lecture Notes On Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 1 - As we begin, we need to mention that Dr. Schaeffer starts the chapter with two important questions for us. Firstly, "What is True Spirituality?" , and secondly, "How can it be lived out in a twentieth-century setting?" To clarify, the "twentieth century setting" that Schaeffer is referring to is the time in which we live, yet also the culture in which we live. Our challenge in living out true spirituality today is that our culture has been changed over time from a culture that once largely esteemed the Christian message to one that has mistakenly rejected it in many respects and is now far less accommodating. These changes have been brought about by many forces in concert, yet primarily by the influence of religious and philosophical Liberalism. It is important to note that much of Schaeffer's aim throughout the book is to speak to, and give answers to the problems the Christian faces in living in that particular setting. Thus, I think you will find out as we study through the book that the answers both instruct us, as well as equip us with answers for the watching world. 

Now, in chapter 1, The Law and The Law of Love, we are given a framework for learning the nature of true spirituality. It is helpful to analyze the system presented to understand it's value. However, we should understand that while it is systematic, it is not a mechanism. Schaeffer explains in a later chapter that, "It is not possible to say, read so many chapters of the Bible every day, and you will get this much sanctification." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 87 (1971), pg 78 (2001) Just as in our earthly relationships we can follow guidelines but there are always other factors involved. If we are just going through the motions alone or proceeding with the wrong motives we will soon be off the course and not achieve the desired end.

You Must Be A Christian
While it might seem like "a given" to many of the people listening to this lecture that you must be a Christian in order to practice true spirituality, there are many in our culture that think otherwise. Likewise, some may even think that it is arrogant for the Christian to claim such a thing. However, our basis for teaching this is what Christianity and the Bible teaches. 

Scripture is clear that there is an obstacle for the non-Christian in understanding. Unless his eyes are opened then he cannot see God.

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

In our day the exclusivity of Christianity is often mistakenly categorized as "hate". This unfair evaluation is the natural result of religious pluralism and liberalism in our culture. It believes that all religious ideas are equal and should be tolerated as equal opinion. This is a naive treatment of religion which naturally breaks down religion and logic itself. If we believe that "all religious ideas are equally true" then there really is no basis for determining if any religions are true. Moreover, we are at this point not far removed from the opinion of some who teach that all religions teach basically the same thing.

While non-Christians may exhibit spiritual behavior it is only that. Behavior without the heart change only brings a simple surface level fix alone.

Christ Plus Nothing
If we assume we can add anything to the work of Christ for our redemption we are in fact saying that Christ work was insufficient. We must believe that Christ's death accomplished our redemption entirely. The gift of faith and a changed heart produce the outward action rooted in Christ's love. If we strive to do good works outwardly without the inward change we are only honoring ourselves.

Having said this, there are times in our Christian life when we must "do" out of obedience to Christ alone without inward confirmation. This is because the inward spirituality is not based upon inward feeling but an inward transformation.

The Law of Love
As Dr. Schaeffer explains, the Law of Love is not outward but inward. It begins with learning not to covet. Now Schaeffer wishes us to understand that coveting as a command is deeper than the "thou shalt not" aspect. Rather, we should not only not envy, but we should also give. We should seek the good of God and man, which is really the basis of the entire law. 

Positive and Negative Aspects

To understand how Schaeffer arrives at this we need to understand that in the ten commandments each command also implies and opposite. "Thou Shalt Not Murder" also implies "Thou Shalt Preserve Life." Therefore in that same way, "Thou Shalt Not Covet" also implies, "Thou Shalt Seek the Good of God and Others." Let's read the commandment with this in mind.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” Exod 20:17

In referring to Christ words on the greatest commandment, Schaeffer says, "Coveting is the negative side of the positive commands" - Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 8 (1971), pg 78 (2001) 

37 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. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 22:37-29

It is easy to see Christ position here. He gives us the positive side of the commandment. The negative is by default implied.

Not Outward But Inward
Living in the Law of Love through grace and through Christ, brings about a "heart change" that changes us from the inside out. Sin falls away because the changed heart begins to desire God.  

1 John 3:9 "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God."

Rom 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"

Even though we are free from the curse of the Mosaic Law we are not lawless. Since we are under a new covenant, we are under the law of it's priesthood. Christ law is a law of faith and love full of grace written on our hearts. It is a law within us. I have added a few verses here not mentioned by Schaeffer to assist us in this.

 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

1 John 5:1-3

So now we desire to follow our new covenant priest, Jesus, who desires us to keep His commandments.

John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

John 14:21 "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

Contentment & Thankfulness
In practice, the life of love without coveting produces contentment and thankfulness. For Schaeffer this is "reality."

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phil 4:6

"20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Eph 5:20

"28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28

So those who do not live in thankfulness corrupt their own heart.

"21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." Rom 1:21

Longing in Love
This further produces "Longing in Love" for the good of God and others in the Christian life.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Transformation - Death/Life
Finally, this process is what it means to die to oneself (negative aspect) and live in Christ (positive aspect).

"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Rom 6:4

"20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Gal 2:20

Dr. Schaeffer notes that "crucified with Christ" is a negative,  but it rolls over to a positive.

"So although there is a negative, it sweeps over to a positive, and to stop at the negative is to miss the whole point. The true Christian life is not hating life, in the way that we are apt to do when we get into despondency or other psychological problems. The Christian negative is not a nihilist negative; there is a true Biblical negative; but the Christian life does not stop with a negative There is a true life in the present as well as the future." Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 15 (1971), pg 13 (2001).

Book Study "True Spirituality" Dr. Fr...

True Spirituality
Dr. Francis Schaeffer

A Book Study by Dan Guinn
Edited by Laura Muckerman

Author: Dr. Francis Schaeffer
It is possible that most people taking this class have a general familiarity with Francis Schaeffer and his work. If, however, you have not yet been introduced to Francis Schaeffer, perhaps the best place to begin is with a brief survey of his life struggles just prior writing True Spirituality. Out of these struggles would come one of his most important works. This is not just my opinion, but the opinion of Francis Schaeffer himself.

While most who are familiar with Francis Schaeffer are acquainted with his powerful social apologetic work in the How Shall We Then Live video series and book, some might have missed True Spirituality. Perhaps you have already read one of Schaeffer's earlier hallmark books, such as The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, or He Is There and He Is Not Silent, which now form his famous Trilogy. Yet it might surprise you to know that Dr. Schaeffer viewed True Spirituality to be his most important and foundational work. It can be argued that if you don't know True Spirituality, you really might not know Schaeffer. I have to admit that I have read and utilized many of Schaeffer's books as a springboard for my studies in philosophy and theology but have only recently read True Spirituality. I believe the spirituality Francis Schaeffer suggests in True Spirituality may have more weight than all of these books. For True Spirituality is the intersection of Dr. Schaeffer's belief system and the true heart of Christian apologetics, the result of which is a changed human heart immersed with the heart of God. In True Spirituality Schaeffer walks us through the concept of redemption in such a way that, if we are honest, will move us to take a valid inventory of our relationship with the sovereign God who is there--who has spoken into our lives from all eternity.

The Crisis

The catalyst for this book was a crisis of epic proportions in Schaeffer's life, a crisis encountered after he had already served for over ten years in the ministry, and served with some distinction. He had pastored. He and his wife, Edith, had founded "Children for Christ." He had previously been appointed American Secretary, Foreign Relations Department of the American Council of Christian Churches, and he had toured Europe after WW II, later speaking throughout America on the state of the church in Europe and the dangers of liberalism and modernism. So Schaeffer was neither untried in his faith, nor lacking in his understanding of his faith: but He needed something more.

Many notable experiences factored into Francis Schaeffer's crisis, all of which happened in the context of the highs and lows and strains of his life prior to the time. He had toured Europe relentlessly in the summer of 1948, a time which he recounted as "the great spiritual experience of my life."1 At the end of the three-month tour, Schaeffer experienced a life-threatening crisis when the aircraft on which he was traveling nearly plummeted into the sea. He was spared by the grace of God, but the demands of the tour and the strain of his brush with death were extensive. Upon his return home, he suffered a physical collapse; he was "mentally and bodily exhausted."2 At times thereafter he struggled with depression. When he recovered, his position as moderator of the Bible Presbyterian Church placed extensive demands on his time. He was also still serving as a pastor and board member, the latter a position from which he would soon resign. He then continued an aggressive six-month speaking schedule that took him away from his family. Finally, he moved his family abroad as missionaries during that same year. They would live temporarily in Holland before finally settling in Switzerland. However, the family moved yet again during their time in Switzerland.

All of these event--combined with the new intense formulation of ideas about life, art and culture spawned during this time in Schaeffer's life--created an overwhelming need in his spirit and intellect.

Although Dr. Schaeffer writes in True Spirituality that the crisis was in 1951 and 52, his wife, Edith, wrote that Schaeffer was actually referring to 1948 - 1950.3 According to Colin Duriez, author of Francis Schaeffer an Authentic Life, "Both sets of dates, the original and Edith's amendment, point to the period of crisis being extensive, It strongly seems that the onset of their exposure to the life in Europe, leaving behind the 'parochialism' (Edith's words) of their prior American experience, is a major context of the crisis."

This onslaught of change in Schaeffer's life was increased by his involvement in the very core of discussion on Karl Barth's New Modernism (Neo-Orthodoxy) and in August of 1950 Schaeffer and four others would meet with Barth personally. Although the meeting was cordial, Schaeffer's resulting address to the Second Plenary Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches was met with a negative letter from Barth. [Interestingly enough, in this letter Barth accused Schaeffer of responding to Barth's views with the "same kind" of critical response as that of Cornelius VanTil (Schaeffer's former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.)]4

As the final trigger of the deeper crisis, Edith came to believe that a significant article Dr. Schaeffer wrote marked a point of "radical self-questioning."5 While she sites a specific article at the beginning of this period, there were likely other influencing non-public writings he also produced at this time. In my personal correspondence with Francis Schaeffer's nephew Dr. Richard Krejcir, Krejcir recalled that Dr. Schaeffer mentioned he had written numerous letters to an agnostic doctor in Switzerland. In an effort to evangelize this man, Schaeffer found himself challenged again as a former agnostic. The notes generated from these discussions apparently later became the source of the Bible studies given in a Bible Camp Barn in 1952 (mentioned in the preface). These of course became True Spirituality 15 years later.

Dr. Schaeffer begins the book's preface with these words:

"This book is being published after a number of others, but in a certain sense it should have been my first. Without the material in this book there would be no L'Abri."

Considering that L'Abri is the spiritual community for thought and study in which much of Schaeffer's work grew and flourished, this statement is rather fantastic. Yet this viewpoint is echoed in other accounts as well.

"Schaeffer always believed that without this deep struggle to find reality in the Christian and thus human life, the work of L'Abri would have never started."6

In the preface of True Spirituality, Schaeffer goes on to recount how his spiritual crisis stemmed from the problem of "reality." For Schaeffer the struggle with "reality" embodied a disconnect between his personal life and the truth:  It was not enough simply to believe in the truth, Schaeffer desired to have the truth permeate the whole of his life. His autobiographer Duriez comments on Schaeffer's "Unshakable Realism."

Defining True Spirituality

"He is concerned" wrote Duriez, "with living authentically as the key to effective Christian apologetics, which meets people both in their need and at the point of the inconsistency--whether this involves their large scale 'cheating,' as he bluntly calls it, or being willing to be consistent enough to contemplate suicide as a consequence of their non-Christian worldview. Placing this authenticity at the center of apologetics soon led Schaeffer into his own crisis period, when he felt forced to lay his own faith on the table in a necessarily reckless realism. Unknown to him, he was halfway through his life--it seems now, as we look at the whole of his life, that this was a very appropriate moment for him to reflect upon his faith in this radical way. He was familiar with Plato's dictum, 'Know thyself, ' and the opening of the Shorter Westminster Confession, 'The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.' He was following Calvin's footsteps in associating the knowledge of oneself with knowing God."7
In an interview with Colin Duriez, Schaeffer said that there are many misconceptions about true spirituality. In the same interview he commented, "I would say if Christianity is truth, it ought to touch on the whole of life. The modern drift in some evangelical circles toward being emotionally and experientially based is really very, very weak. The other side of the coin, though, is that Christianity must never be reduced to an intellectual system."8

Lastly, this introduction would not be complete without Dr. Schaeffer's own definition of this concept.

"To believe Him not just when I accept Christ as savior, but every moment, one moment at a time: this is the Christian life, and this is True Spirituality" --Schaeffer, True Spirituality, pg 98

This summary statement might seem like a spoiler to the book, but it is not. Rather, it is but a wonderful signpost. For as you read and understand how Schaeffer describes this concept, and discover the path to your own true spirituality, you will see that "moment-by-moment" is a journey on a road of consistency and faith. The way is fraught with hardship, and few travel there, but our reward is all-sufficient and glorious.

Dan Guinn
Footnotes from Francis Schaeffer an Authentic Life by Colin Duriez, pages 70 (1), 71 (2), 89 (3), 99 (4), 90 (5), 105 (6), 89 (7), and 106 (8).