17 May Remembering Francis Schaeffer
Today is the 35th anniversary of the death of Francis Schaeffer. Dr. Schaeffer was a leading theologian and Christian apologist (a defender of the truths of Christianity). He was a prolific writer and leader among Christians and did much to encourage Christians to live out their faith and in particular to defend the sanctify of life. He, along with Dr. C. Everett Koop helped lead such efforts.
One of his notable accomplishments was the establishment of a ministry in Switzerland called “L’abri” which is French for “the Shelter.” Here people could come with their questions and honest doubts about the Christian faith. Dr. Schaeffer and his wife, Edith, helped lead many people to faith in Christ as they wrestled with their questions about the validity of gospel claims.
I’ve long admired Dr. Schaeffer. I first read one of his books when I was a college student. The book was How Should We Then Live? I was very encouraged and challenged by it. Here was someone who could think through the implications of faith for all of life in ways I’d never seen put in print. He helped me see the need for understanding and developing a Christian worldview.
However, my interest in Dr. Schaeffer became much more personal in the next few years. Dr. Schaeffer was very instrumental in leading Boyd Anderson to faith in Christ. Who was Boyd Anderson? Boyd Anderson was my father-in-law. Around 1968, he and Connie’s mother, Nancy, went to L’abri to look into some of the questions he had about Christianity. God was already at work in him but he wanted to explore his questions. The Lord used that time to draw my father-in-law to a growing and deeper faith. In turn, his family’s life was greatly impacted. This, of course, included his youngest child, Connie, who I met in college while we were students at Auburn and married in 1988. Boyd Anderson went on to serve as a long time Ruling Elder at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
My father-in-law gave me an autographed copy of the complete works of Francis Schaeffer. It’s one of my prized book possessions. Dr. Schaeffer and he remained good friends until Dr. Schaeffer’s death on May 15, 1984. I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Schaeffer but I remain grateful for him. He left a tremendous legacy. Truth be told, I’m most grateful for his ministry to and friendship with Boyd Anderson. That ministry paid marvelous dividends!