Saturday, July 17, 2010

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing In The Church

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing In The Church
Comments on Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 13 - In this, our final chapter we cannot emphasize enough that the Church is not immune to the results of the bonds of sin. While we acknowledge the work of the Church in time and space, through the supernatural aid of the Holy Spirit, we must never elevate the Church to the status of infallibility. The Church is made up of people, and people are imperfect. The great hymn written by Samuel J. Stone, The Church’s One Foundation speaks so well to this.

While we affirm the first verse...

“The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.”

...we must also be mindful of the fourth:

“Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!”

The Church is in battle and is distressed on every side with schism, heresies and all manner of brokenness and sin in her very midst. We must not deny this. While the fourth verse might lead us to believe that the only hope of the Church is to endure, this is not the message of the hymn’s author. We should also read verse six.

“Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.”

While Schaeffer does not mention this hymn in True Spirituality, this song is in harmony with his message. He intends for us to know that the Church can have substantial healing in this life. It can embrace the strengths; it’s union with the Triune God and each other. Even through distress, human failure, and imperfection we can apply the gospel to the Church and achieve substantial victory. The Church must acknowledge it’s supernatural union with the Triune God, as well as the mystical union that binds us to both God and fellow believer. We must continue to grasp the Master’s hand through deathly waters, to find repose (rest) in him now as citizens of the new Eden; The kingdom of the ever-living God.

A True Resurrection

Dr. Schaeffer begins the chapter first with the resurrection of Christ. He does so in order to combat the position of some in liberalism which take the phrase used in scripture, “the body of Christ” and mis-characterize it as the real meaning of any talk of resurrection in the New Testament. Simply put, according to these persons when Jesus indicated He would rise from the dead he really only meant that he would build his church. A lot of this comes from a blatant misuse of John 2:19 - “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’”), and an ignorance of the rest of scripture. Their interpretation is founded on the intent to “de-mythologize” the text, but in actuality this is simply unbelief. If Holy Scripture is now lowered to the state of “mythology” in their eyes, then there is really nothing different from it and other text. What prevents us from abandoning it altogether, or replacing it with something else of our liking?

To Schaeffer’s point, the Church cannot hope to have real healing without a proper view of the resurrection of Christ. A de-spiritualized concept of resurrection is a very poor substitute for a risen savior. If Christ is not raised then we are still in our sin. If Christ is raised then we ought to live to exhibit a risen savior to the world.

The Body Of Christ Resurrected

On a personal level we need to realize our role in the body of Christ. We are each different and endowed with different gifts to give toward the growth of His kingdom.

“4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 1 Cor 12:12-14

“As His body, the Church should exhibit him to the world, until he returns. Just as our bodies are our means of communication to the external world, so the Church as the body of Christ should be Christ’s means of communication to the external world. We think our thoughts and then we convey our thoughts to the external world through our bodies; our physical body is the point of communication with the external world and this is the way we affect the the world.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 164

One might wonder why Schaeffer labors at this explanation, taking time to give such a specific illustration of the way that our bodies are like the body of Christ and then how we are connected to the external world. However, what Schaeffer hopes for us to grasp is the “organic” aspect as well as the spiritual aspect. We were created in the image of God, yet corrupted by sin. We are being re-created in the image of Christ. Thus now, we ought to “naturally” (organically) and honestly exhibit this change through our bodies before the watching world. Together as the Church, we are the point of communication between God and His creation. We exhibit the communication of re-creation in this life.

“So the Church, as the body of Christ, is called to be the means whereby He may be exhibited and whereby He acts in the external world until He comes again. Since the fall of man there have been two humanities, and not just one. There are those who are still in revolution against God, and there are those who by God’s grace have returned to Him on the basis of Christ’s work. The Church should be the reality and the exhibition of this distinction, in each generation.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 164

The Called Out
Dr. Schaeffer reminds us that the word for Church, in the Greek is Ecclesia, which means “that which is called out”. But what are we called out from and why? Dr. Schaeffer explains:

“In our generation in the arts, in music, in philosophy, in drama, everywhere you turn, man is coming to see that man is less that he knows he should be. Our generation sees this, but the problem is not new in our time. Ever since the fall rebellious man has been this way. And the Church is called out of this humanity, in order to be humanity before a lost humanity.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 166

What Schaeffer is stating here is significant. We are a walking apologetic! A life lived in true spirituality is a defence of the faith by it’s mere existence. A life changed testifies of the truth of the gospel and it’s power to awaken mankind to new life.

Our Source of Unity

There are groups today that teach unity at all cost. It is surprising that so many would sacrifice principle in order to join people together in organizational unity. Looking at things from the outside, this might seem like a worthwhile cause. Yet inside, people are still sinful people at the end of the day, without principle and a Christ-centered union, there will be further infighting and all sorts of error propagated. At the end of the day, this is not true unity, but merely a facade of human invention. What separates a “non-doctrinal” church without beliefs from a mere social gathering?

Now let’s be clear, it is not that we are to reject others who do not believe as we do, but rather it is that we are to stand and teach the principles entrusted to the Church. Wherefore we cannot form a “non-doctrinal” church for the purpose of unity, as the Church must be the Church. We have the curious role of both opening our doors to the world and showing them love as well as standing for the Truth.

“The unity of the Church is basically the unity of the Head controlling each of the parts. If I as an individual, or if groups of Christians, are not under the leadership of the Head, the Church of Jesus Christ will be functioning like hands that cannot find each other; the whole thing will be broken and a ‘spastic’ situation will exist in which the Church functions in a most disjointed way” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 166

Sitting In The Right Chair Together
Dr. Schaeffer ask us to recall the “two chairs” illustration. If we are, by the power of the Holy Spirit, sitting in the right chair, then we have victory. When others are doing this as well, we have victory together.

“Remember the ‘two chairs.’ As I am living individually in the supernatural, moment-by-moment there will be individual results, and an individual exhibition. But equally, as we are living as a corporate body in the light of the supernatural, there will be corporate results and an exhibition. It is not only that the individual should so think and live, but the whole group as a group should be attuned to living consciously, moment-by-moment, in the reality of the supernatural. Then there is exhibition; then there is the result there should be.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 166, 167, 168

A Balanced Exhibition
Schaeffer is well known for teaching the concept of the balance of truth and love in our discussion with the watching world. Here he extends that concept though slightly different language. The proper balance must be struck between the “legal aspect” (truth) and the personal aspect (love) of our exhibition of God to our generation.

“The proper legal aspects of the Church will deal first with doctrine, because otherwise the body is telling lies about its head. The Church is not a body that thinks up ideas; the Church is a declarative statement of what God has revealed concerning himself in Scripture. So the legal aspects are fixed by God himself. The Church should represent the supernaturally restored human race in reality...” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 167

“Only God is infinite and finite man cannot exhibit that. But as we are made in his image, individually and together we are called upon to exhibit the fact that he is personal. This we can do; it is our calling.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 168

We must stand firm however, on the premise of mankind’s need for redemption in our exhibition rather than merely put forward a blind inclusivism:

“As orthodox Christians we reject the present emphasis that destroys the distinction between saved men and lost men.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 164

As quoted earlier:

“Since the fall of man there have been two humanities, and not just one. There are those who are still in revolution against God, and there are those who by God’s grace have returned to Him on the basis of Christ’s work. The Church should be the reality and the exhibition of this distinction, in each generation.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 164

The Conscious Church
Schaeffer further emphasises the need for the Church to be ever conscious and vigilant to be who it is called to be. By doing so the Church can have substantial victory in this life.

“What should the Church consciously be then? The Church consciously (and my emphasis is very strongly on the word consciously) should be that which encourages its members in the true Christian life, in true spirituality—in that which we have set forth in this book. It should encourage them in freedom in the present life from the bonds of sin, and in freedom in this present life from the results of the bonds of sin. It should encourage substantial healing in their separation from themselves and a substantial healing in their separation from their fellowmen, especially fellow Christians.

No matter how legally right a church is, if it does not provide an environment conducive to these things, it is not what it should be. First the Church should teach the truth and secondly the Church should teach a practice of the existence of God, and a practice of the reality of and the exhibition of God’s character and holiness and love. The Church cannot merely teach these things in words; we must see the practice of these things in the Church as a corporate body.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 169

A Church of Faith
Dr. Schaeffer ponders the question, “Can faith be taught?” His answer is, “Yes, faith can be taught, but only through exhibition.” (Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 169, 170). The value of living out faith before others is substantial in the Church’s calling. Not only to it’s members but to the watching world. It cannot be that only the holy people are those who are in her pulpit or else the Church has failed.

“The church or other Christian group that does not function as a unit of faith can never be a school of faith. There is only one way to be a school of faith and that is consciously to function by faith.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 170

“...the Church’s or Christian group’s methods are as important as its message. It is to deal consciously with the reality of the supernatural. Anything that exhibits unfaith is a mistake, or may even be a corporate sin.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 171

Dr. Schaeffer further pushes us to the natural end of thinking in unfaith:

“If I [we] woke up tomorrow morning and found that all that the Bible teaches concerning prayer and the Holy Spirit were removed (not as a liberal would remove it, by misinterpretation, but really removed) what difference would it make in practice from the way we are functioning today?” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 171

Consider this question, what would your practice be like? What would your Christianity look like? Would it look like the Christianity of the Bible?

“The tragic fact is that in much of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ—the evangelical Church—there would be no difference whatsoever. We function as though the supernatural is not there.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 171

The Church Led By The Holy Spirit
Schaeffer ask us to remember the promises in scripture to the Church regarding the Holy Spirit. These are absolutes in our faith and not to be taken lightly.

  1. “you shall receive power” (Acts. 1:8).
  2. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
  3. Christ will be with us, through the agency of the Holy Spirit our comforter (John 14:16-18).
  • He will be with us; “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.”
Since we have the power, aid, and fruits of the Holy Spirit working in us what should the world see when they are watching?

“There are things that the world should see when they look upon the Church—something that they cannot possibly explain away. The Church should be committed to the practical reality of these things, not merely assenting to them.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 172

“Organizational and financial matters should not be allowed to get in the way if the personal and group leading of the Holy Spirit.”

Yet the challenge to being led by the Holy Spirit is when our faith is challenged.

“Throughout Church history , one is aware that the danger always comes at a time of emergency. An emergency arises which causes us to cut off the exhibition of faith, and discount the possibility of God guiding through financial matters. There always seems to be a legitimate reason for reaching out and touching the ark.[1]” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 173

“There is to be a moment-by-moment supernatural reality, for the group as well as the individual.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 173

Schaeffer again brings us back to warnings that hint of the mechanical and non-personal. We cannot live moment-by-moment in the Spirit as a church and simply operate as an impersonal business.

“How many times do we find that in doing the business of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a rapid opening prayer, a rapid closing prayer after half the people have left, but in between there is no difference between doing the Lord’s business and the business of some well organized business enterprise.?” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 173

Through Total War in Prayer
There are consequences in living this way as a Church, although there is glorious healing in this life, there are obstacles to this faith.

“This [the Church living by faith] places the Church in supernatural battle, extending into the heavenlies, and not just a natural battle...a real battle of the Church in total war, including the unseed war in the unseen portion of reality. This makes the Church the Church and short of this, the Church is less than the Church.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 174

Knowing that we are the Church, building the kingdom of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, in moment-by-moment in faith is significant. Yet knowing that we are in a battle, a total war, yet we are not alone, though we may be under seige, should greatly impact the nature of prayer in our lives.

“Prayer now becomes something more than merely an abstract religious, devotional act.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 174

Knowing Our Loyalties
At this point Dr. Schaeffer takes a moment to clarify the important of loyalties. When we see the Church not properly exhibiting Christ as it should, we need to remember the order in which our loyalties rest.

1. Loyalty to the person of the living God.
2. Loyalty to the principles in revealed Christianity.
3. Loyalty to organizations.
4. Loyalty to human leadership.

He ends by pointing our that when we love Christ properly, then the natural result is to love all those in Christ. This sort of charity goes a long way toward advancing the Church as a whole.

In True Community
Defining The Environment Of This Community

We should aspire to meet together and help each other.

“God commands that we should assemble ourselves together, until Jesus comes (Hebrews 10:25). We are commanded not only to meet together, but to help each other (verse 24). Christianity is an individual thing, but it is not only an individual thing. There is to be true community, offering true spiritual and material help to each other.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 176

Our relationship should be practical and organic in relation to each other.

“You will remember that we have previously seen that true spirituality has meaning in all the practical relationships of life; husband-wife, parent-child, employer-employee. These things must be taught in the church as an aspect of the conscious side of sanctification, to be understood and then acted upon by choice. The environment of the local church or other Christian group must be conducive for these things to grow. ” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 178

It should be moment-by-moment in instruction and example.

“There must be moment-by-moment teaching, there must be moment-by-moment example, of the present meaning of the work of Christ, and a conscious choice of the individual and the group to lay hold of these things. There must be faith, moment by moment, in God’s promises, to lay hold on these things—first in instruction, and then in example.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 178

It should not be based on doctrine alone but on God as a person.

“This is not a matter of just hanging everything on doctrines about the infinite and personal God, but upon him as a person—because he is there, and he knows the local group by name, and the individuals in the group my name.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 178

Into the Total Culture
“And having come this far, true spirituality—the Christian life—flows on into the total culture.” Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 180

Dr. Schaeffer ends on a note that is quite telling. It tells us where these thoughts lead. It tells us the basis upon which all of the rest of his work was based. It tells us the nature of the work of L’Abri and it’s calling before the Church and the watching world.

This notion might seem romantic to some, and yet simplistic to others. However, his point is clear; when the Church lives as the Church, it naturally touches the world around it. It cares about people and it cares about the consequences of ideas. It laments over broken lives, separated from God and themselves. It is passionate about the re-creation of mankind and the renewal of the soul. It touches every area of life. If the individual man lives the gospel, his whole world is transformed, if the church lives the gospel the entire world and total culture is transformed. It is a simple equation, with unbelievable impact for us, our lives, and the watching world. “And having come this far, true spirituality—” Truthfully, Changes Everything!

[1]See 2 Sam. 16:6,7 for information on the story of Uzza, who disobeyed God and touched the ark of the covenant and died. Interestingly enough, some liberal theologians now teach that the Ark of the Covenant was electrically charged.

Monday, July 5, 2010

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing In Personal Relationships

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing In Personal Relationships

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

Note: This particular chapter was very important to Schaeffer and the foundations of L'Abri and although it is full of many wonderful insights, it is also quite lengthy. Due to the length of this chapter this study will generally need to be broken into segments. The study has been divided into suggested segments of part 1 and 2. Please use your discretion on how best to divide this section for your group.

- Part 1

Chapter 12
- At the center of the discussion on healing of personal relationships is what Dr. Schaeffer calls "the problem of personality." What Dr. Schaeffer means by this phrase is wrapped up in the dehumanizing effects of living below our circle of existence. At every level when living this way there is a loss of personality.

Let's review for a moment what we have learned. When mankind tries to act as God and fails, he is left in a state of despair and often hopelessness, whether it is obvious to him or not.

Review - Two Forms of Dehumanization

Man as the Animal/Machine (A lower story response.)
From the state of hopelessness man often responds by dehumanizing himself to avoid further hurt and pain. The result is a person who lives in contradiction to how he was made. A person without heart, impersonal, in many ways mechanical and machine-like. By missing the spiritual dynamic, the consequence becomes cyclical and the person is eventually given over to hidden or overt passions bring self destruction.

Man the Mystic (An Upper Story Response)
Of course a second option is possible in which the person responds by rejecting his despair and taking a "leap of faith" into some form of mysticism. So rather than wallow in the failures of the idol of self, the person replaces himself as god with something else. The idol of self is still here, as the person chooses the replacement. However ultimately the belief in some other form of deity is an abstraction. For those who delight in this new-found "synthetic faith", have usually minimalized it to various mere bare principals without depth. So we will often see that these people are optimistic without any real content to what they believe. Some, such as those involved in nature religions for example, may have a somewhat systematized belief system but it is still shallow and does not provide the "upper story" relationship that is needed for fulfillment. Ultimately they are living in contradiction, as God made us to be containers of a truth with real and practical Truth content. 

The Problem of Personality

Communication With the Animal Machine
So with these problems a loss of personality occurs and this touches communication. When man communicates as a machine he is often cold and uncaring, impersonal. When he communicates as an animal he in an area of nature alone. Nature is both cruel and non-cruel, it does not care for you. Furthermore, if man communicates out of some form of leap of faith he speaks in an area of non-reason.

A friend of mine recently changed positions from a ministry setting to a secular work environment. She was overwhelmed by the change of communication in the workplace. Having worked with Christians for sometime she was used to greeting people with friendly smiles and experiencing genuine concern from others. However, she repeatedly found that people were surprised by her smile or responded to it with coldness in her new environment. She shared this moving story with me.

"It’s been a while since I’ve spent much time in a secular workplace. I’m amazed at the impact a simple smile or saying hello has on some people. Some have smiled back; several have thanked me; still others have ignored me completely.

One day, I smiled and said hello as three women (who were talking with each other) got on the elevator with me. They acted as though I wasn’t there at all, didn’t even look at me. (That was surreal, but I kept on smiling.) An hour later…and I’m sure it was the Lord who timed it this way…I got back just in time to hold the door as they returned from lunch. I smiled again and said something like we couldn’t have timed this more perfectly if we’d tried…and they completely ignored me again! The four of us were by ourselves in the elevator, and again it was as though I didn’t exist. The doors opened, they marched out, and I was alone.

You might think I was angry. Not at all; I was more fascinated than anything. It was like being in high school again, where the popular girls ignore the untouchables. When I was young, I would have been devastated by this treatment. Now I think…wow, those women are broken inside.

I can tell I’ve been out of the world too long. My simple smile is needed out here!"

As we think about this story we should consider the dehumanization that occurred. It was blatant and cold. Mankind living in this way continues to do harm and violence to one another.

The Problem of Love

This becomes more complex when we consider the problem of love. Man, from this perspective, does not understand how to communicate love. Since the concept of love itself is skewed when viewed from a mere mechanical or animal perspective, man cannot even hope to communicate it rightly. A machine does not seek love but pursues task for pragmatic reasons. It is not real love, but it sees love as a concept only for what benefit it can bring to itself. Likewise the animal seeks love for the fulfillment of passions, it desires and lust. It too is only concerned with what personal satisfaction can be achieved for itself. Neither of these solutions are ultimately fulfilling. Whether loving out of a pragmatic or lustful mindset, man is left desiring more. When people do not fulfill their concept of love because they are seeking their own interest, mankind is left hurt and further broken. This cycle continues to heap more and more damage on the human heart.

We should be mindful that we are not immune to this. It is us, but for the grace of God that would be living this way. We ourselves often lapse into these mindsets of the carnal nature. If my friend had not been previously inoculated, she also would have been left hurt and unfulfilled by the events she experienced.

This is the background the current chapter speaks to, now we can move on to the subject of healing this starts by learning from God himself.

God's Dealing with Man

Think about how God communicates with us in His Word.

On the Basis Of Existence
"Throughout the Word of God it is made very plain that God deals with us first of all on the basis of what He himself is; and secondly on the basis of what He has made us. He will not violate that which he himself is, nor will he violate that which He has made us to be." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 148

This is important, since so many false religions get this wrong. God deals with us as God, not as an arbitrary force. He remains God in heaven authoritatively at all times, yet He communicates with man distinctly in a way that is mindful of man's perspective.

In a Personal Manner
God is personal and we have been made as personal creatures. He deals with us in a personal manner.

"It is always a person-to-person relationship. More than this, because God is infinite He can deal with each one of us personally as though each one was the only man who existed." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 148

Not Mechanical Or Primarily Legal
"We also find that God's dealings with men is never mechanical. There are no mechanical elements to it it. His dealing with man is also not primarily legal, though there are proper legal aspects to it which are founded and rooted in God's character. The God of the Bible differs from the gods that man makes. He is  a God who has a character, and that character is the law of the universe, total and complete." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 148

It is important to understand what Schaeffer is saying in that last portion quoted. God, while unchangeable deals with mankind creatively and in so many ways. His dealings with mankind are not done blindly in some sort of blind justice, but in real tangible, caring, intelligent and truthful ways. God shows patience, and love, He is long-suffering. Yet at times He displays justified righteous anger. Finally, most of all we should never forget; He shows grace! While His righteous Law condemns us all, thankfully He has shown the greatest sign of mercy in history, in that He gave His Son rather than destroy humanity for their sins. Legally, He has the right and authority to exercise judgment on mankind, nevertheless He he did not, but rather placed the judgment sentence upon His Son.

It must be further clarified that God is legal first only by the nature of His divine character, yet His love and compassion for us superseded that enough to motivate a sacrifice on the part of the Divine Trinity. As I say quite often, "God cared for us enough to inflict himself from all eternity on our behalf." By doing so He both satisfied His Law and stayed true to His heart which was full of steadfast love for us.

Following His Example
Knowing what we have just discussed insist that we ought to deal with God in kind. It is a creature-to-Creator relationship, however, we ought not to be impersonal with God, nor mechanical, or think of Him in terms of just our legal status with Him, but we ought to worship and adore Him personally as He is a personal God. We ought to desire to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.

Separation From Our Fellowman

By all accounts Francis Schaeffer truly had a deep compassion for people. There seemed to be no one he would not talk to. As we may remember from previous chapters the story of Schaeffer even attending a rock concert in the 60s at Berkley to talk with young people. Udo Middelmann, comments in the forward of No Little People, on Schaeffer's character.

"It was not a gimmick, a model, or a method but a deep conviction. He was not slick, he revolted against false appearances of leadership, growth statistics, and any show, in which he saw dangers pretense, performance and praise of men. "

I believe that much of Schaeffer's motivation for his type of open interaction with people was wrapped up in what we have just covered. Understanding the dilemma of man, and the proper relationship that man should have with God drew him into deep compassion for the Christian as well as broken and hurting people.

When we analyze Schaeffer's view of our separation from our fellowman, it is essentially  two-fold. On one level there is a separation in that they are separated from God, both legally and personally, and secondly on the basis that they are broken as we have already described. They are broken by the results of the bonds of sin. Now, granted some are broken worse than others but the simple brokenness of their personal disconnect from their creator is enough. Nevertheless, we should be guarded not to assume ourselves greater. But for the Grace of God we also would be in various states of brokenness. Furthermore, we all deal with resolving brokenness on some level in the process of sanctification, we just have the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

        Love Thy Neighbor
"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth." Acts 17:26a

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" Matt 19:19b

Schaeffer further elaborates that there is no distinction in the word "neighbor" between Christian and non-Christian.

  • Mankind-to-mankind or equal-to-equal - We should deal with man as one of man and not as something lower. Even if man behaves as an animal or machine at times we ought not treat him without dignity. It is by showing dignity to man that he may see the worth and value that he truly is.
  • Mankind-to-Creator-to-Mankind - We must recognize that the connection between ourselves and our fellow man goes through God. When we address on our fellow man we address God's creation.
"Every time we act in a machine-like way toward another man we deny the central teaching of the Word of God-that there is a personal God who has created man in His own image." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 150
Obviously, these precepts carry over to our interaction with man in evangelism.
While there is a legal relationship that must be communicated to mankind;

"The church has always recognized "..."This is an ordinance to to all men" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 151 (In context Schaeffer is commenting on the legal aspect of marriage and an ordinance to all men.)

We ought not to be cold salesmen, but show empathy, concern and compassion toward men.

"We are not to stop with a proper legal relationship for example, to think of a man as legally lost, which he is, in the sight of a holy God - without thinking of him as a person. Saying this, we can suddenly see that much evangelism is not only sub-Christian, but subhuman-legalistic and impersonal" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 151

        A Right Demonstration of The Truth Within Us
The demonstration of truth in the life of the believer is an apologetic to the non-believer.

"The Christian is to be a demonstration of the existence of God. But if we as individual Christians, and as the Church, act on less than a personal relationship to other men, where is the demonstration that God the Creator is personal? If there is no demonstration in our attitude toward other men that we really take seriously the person-to-person relationship, we might as well keep quiet. There must be a demonstration; that is our calling: to show that there is a reality in personal relationship, and not just words about it." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 153

Living out lovelessness on the other hand is not only un-godly it obscures the truth about out existence.

"Lovelessness is a sea which knows no shore, for it is what God is not." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 153

In demonstrating the truth we must also not forsake doctrine, otherwise we are not in the truth at all.

"As Christians, we are not to be in fellowship with false doctrine. But in the very midst of the battle against false teaching, we must not forget the proper personal relationships." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 153

L'Abri, The Shelter
It is the opinion of the writer that one cannot fully experience the scope of what this section implies without visiting L'Abri. There are many locations around the world. As Dr. Schaeffer says at the beginning of this book, "Without the material in this book, there would be no L'Abri. Much of what has been described in this section spells out the concepts lived out at L'Abri on a daily basis. For more on L'Abri visit

Part 2

Dethroning Self In the Midst of Truth
"Every time I see something right in another man, it tends to minimize me, and it makes it easier for me to have a proper creature-creature relationship. But each time I see something wrong in others, it is dangerous, for it can exalt self, and when this happens. my open fellowship with God falls to the ground. So when I am right, I can be wrong. In the midst of being right, if self is exalted, my fellowship with God can be destroyed. It is not wrong to be right, but it is wrong to have the wrong attitude in being right."  Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 153

The Use of Knowledge
Schaeffer brings out something here that is so very important, both in our daily lives and especially in our study of Schaeffer. It is so easy, once one builds a body of knowledge of how things should be, to then turn and use that knowledge on others. If this knowledge is not filtered through the grace of God we can take on a self-righteous attitude that is abusive to others. We can be completely right, and yet completely evil in how we wield that knowledge. It is not wrong to judge, if by judge we mean to judge rightly (John 7:24). However, when we judge and then degrade others and elevate ourselves we have judged in error.

The Example of the Family

"The next practical question must be, If I am to see myself as equal to all other men, and I live in a fallen world in which there has to be order imposed, where is this order to come from?" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 154

Parent-to-Child & Child-to-Parent
Schaeffer of course answers this, clarifying that order comes from the Bible. Yet he places an important emphasis on the fifth commandment, "Honor Thy Father and     Mother." He hopes to point out that the family is the model. For while there is a legal relationship between the parent and child, there is also a personal aspect. In order for there to be harmony these must be balanced.

"The children are to love the parents, and the parents are to love the children on a personal level, within the legal framework." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 154

Thus likewise, as has been stated in the earlier parts of this chapter our relationships must be balanced. We do not deal with others legally and constantly calling them on their sinfulness, but with personal compassion in a balance of truth and love.

Husband & Wife
Dr. Schaeffer spends a good deal of time in Ephesian 5. Which largely deals with the divine roles of marriage in the ladder section. I would suggest that for summary purposes we concentrate on the verses that deal so effectively with this point.

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Here again Schaeffer's analysis holds true. While there are Biblical offices in the situation of marriage (a legal framework), there are also personal compassion and the honor of submitting to each other (v.21) in love in the marital relationship. There must be both or abuse will transpire in one form or another.

In The Church
Likewise, Dr. Schaeffer points us to passages of scripture that shows this same perscription for the church.

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:1-5

Note the usage of both a legal command to "exercise oversight" and the compassionate aspect warning not to "domineer over those in their charge." Yet further this is a command to all where the apostle says, "all of you, " but this is no arbitrary command. He commands them to "clothe themselves" in humility. Literally, he means, "Wear it!" It one thing to tell you to be humble in certain occasions but he specifically means all the time.

In Our Office (Our Station In Life)

"... when I use whatever office God gives me, whether it is in the State, the Church, or the home, or as an employer, it is to be for God's glory and for the other person's good." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 156

When we must make judgments, especially those of right and wrong, we must:

"...consciously show that all I can do is let the Bible speak. I have no intrinsic authority in myself. I am an equal creature with the other person, and I too am a sinner" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 156-157

Dr. Schaeffer reminds us how we must be different that the humanist.

"One of the problems with humanist is that they tend to "love" humanity as a whole —Man with a capital M, Man as an idea—but forget about man as an individual, as a person. Christianity is to be exactly the opposite. Christianity is not to be love in abstraction, but to love the individual who stands before me in a person-to-person relationship."  Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 157

In true personal relationship there must be reconciliation. It is impossible to be personal without addressing the hurts of others, especially when we ourselves are responsible.

"When I hurt the man, I sin against God. But let us never forget that this does not change the fact that because man has been made in the image of God, the man I have hurt has real value. And this must be important to me, not only as a concept but in my practice and demonstation. My fellowman is not unimportant: he is God's image-bearer. That is true of the non-Christian man as well as of the Christian. " Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 157

We must be, "...willing to admit our equality with the one we have hurt. Being his equal it is perfectly right that I should want to say, "I am sorry." Only a desire to be superior makes me afraid to confess and apologize." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 158

"Of course, confession to God must always come first. It is confession to God and bringing sin under the shed blood of Christ that cleanses us—not confession to man. We must always stress that, over and over again, because men get confused. But this does not change the fact that after there has been confession to God, then there must be real communication in a man-to-man, personal relationship with the person I have hurt." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 158

  1. Not to do it to merely be seen by men.
  2. It may mean going back many years.
  3. Just as Christ crucifixion was real and public, so must our confession of sin to others (used with patient discretion in the situation).

The Bridge
In the closing parts of the chapter Dr. Schaeffer uses the topic of marriage and relationships to clarify the false integration in relationships and the Biblical answer.

"Modern multiple divorce is rooted in the fact that many are seeking in human relationships what human relationships can never give. Why do they have multiple divorce, instead of merely promiscuous affairs? Because they are seeking more than merely the sexual relationship. But they can never find it, because what they are seeking does not exist in a purely finite relationship. It is like trying to quench thirst by swallowing sand.
    If man tries to find everything in a man-woman or a friend-to-friend relationship, he destroys the very thing he wants and destroys the ones he loves. He sucks them dry, he eats them up... " Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 161

By doing this we have overloaded the bridge. Schaeffer uses the illustration of "The Bridge" elsewhere, such as in How Shall We Then Live. The concept is that when a meaningful pathway is forced to carrying a weight it was not intended to bare it will collapse. In relationships when we put unrealistic expectations on another we will find them wanting and destroy "the bridge" of personal communication, and thus the relationship. Being personal requires that we are understanding of the imperfections of ourselves and others and respond with grace and patience through our relationship with God. The body is an instrument, but it was never intended to be fulfill a demand for perfection, which only God can fulfill.

I have strung together several of the passages where Schaeffer clarifies relationship using the intimate marriage analogy.

"Love is the interplay of the whole personality. The relationship of the personal, and the whole personality of man is the unit of the soul and the body... The emphasis in Scripture is upon the unity of the man, the unity of the soul and the body. And with communication—substantial, though not perfect—the body is the instrument. Actually there is no other way to have communication, except through the body. But in marriage this becomes a very special thing to understand. Sexual love and romantic love are both equally out of place if they are extramarital and therefore outside the proper legal circle... but if the couple stand as personalities— personality facing personality—within that which is the proper legal circle, then both the romantic and the sexual has its fulfillment in the full circle fo what we are, in thinking, acting, and feeling... There is to be joy and beuty in the interplay of the total personalities." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 162

Dr. Schaeffer is bringing us now to the understanding of living out both the legal aspect of our relationships (truth) and fulfilling the personal aspects of our relationships (love). This sort of love is the love that is spoken of in 1 Cor. 13.

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.

Love never ends. 1 Cor 13:4-8a

I have personally come to see these passages as the most convicting passages in scripture and I believe they are exactly what Schaeffer is talking about. How often to we try to live out love imperfectly? We love but we are envious. We love and yet we boast in ourselves. We love but we are arrogant and rude to those we love. We love but we insist on our own way. We love but we are irritable or resentful. We love but we ignore wrongdoing and do not stand for the truth. We love but we do not bear all things or endure all things. We love but we do not hope all things, we do not love enough to not covet against God and man. We come full circle now back to the law of love in chapter 1. True love, which is steadfast and immovable is beautiful and fulfilling. 

"How beautiful Christianity is! First because of the sparkling quality of its intellectual answers, but secondly because of the beautiful quality of its human personal answers. And these are to be rich and beautiful." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 164

Dr. Schaeffer summarizes and concludes the chapter by stating this is fun. There is a joy to be had in the Christian life as we experience beauty of Christ centered personal relationships.

"They [the answers] come only on the level of what God made us to be in the first place, and that is personal. There is no other way to have these beautiful answers. They cannot be achieved mechanically, or by only standing in the proper legal circle, as important as that is. They grow in the light of what wesay we believe as orthodoc Christians: that we are creatures, and that while we are not perfect in this life, even after becoming Christians, yet moment-by-moment faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, beautiful human relationships can and do come forth. There must be orthodox doctrine, true. But there must also be orthodox practice of those doctrines, including orthodocy in the human relationships.
    I hesitate to add, but I will, that this is fun. God means Christianity to be fun. There is to be a reality of love and communication in the Christian-to-Christian relationship, individually and corporately, which is completely and truly personal."