Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality
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Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality

Crossway / 2013 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW531392

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Francis Schaeffer was one of the most influential apologists of the twentieth century. Through his speaking, writing, and filmmaking, Schaeffer successfully transformed the way people thought of the Christian faith, from a rather private kind of piety to a worldview that addresses every sphere of life. Schaeffer on the Christian Life written by William Edgar--a man converted from agnosticism within days of meeting Schaeffer--is the first book devoted to exploring the heart and soul of Schaeffer's approach to the Christian life, and will help readers strive after the same kind of marriage of thought and life, of orthodoxy and love.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Crossway
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1433531399
ISBN-13: 9781433531392
Series: Theologians on the Christian Life

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Publisher's Description

Exploring the views of Francis Schaeffer on the Christian life, Edgar helps readers strive after the same kind of marriage of thought and life, of orthodoxy and love.

Author Bio

William Edgar (DTheol, University of Geneva) is professor of apologetics and John Boyer Chair of Evangelism and Culture at Westminster Theological Seminary. William lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Barbara. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books, including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by the Gospel Coalition.


Friendly, passionate, intellectual, and constantly engaged with people as well as ideas and contemporary affairs, Francis Schaeffer comes alive in Edgar's objective but affectionate portrait. Rescued from the distortions of both lionisers and demonizers, here is 'FAS' as so many of us knew him in the great years of L'Abri—and with so much to contribute to our world today.
-Os Guinness,
cofounder, The Trinity Forum; author, The Dust of Death and The Last Christian on Earth

This book by Dr. Edgar on countercultural spirituality is much needed as a trustworthy guide in the dark confusion of the postmodern world.
-Wim Rietkerk,
Chairman, L’Abri Fellowship International Board of Trustees

An engaging, fascinating account, seasoned with unusual insight into one of the truly original apologists of our time.
-David F. Wells,
Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

For many years I hoped that I could spend some time at L’Abri, but that was not God’s plan for me. Instead, God enabled me to become friends with many L’Abri alumni, of whom Bill Edgar was one. I have been impressed with the intellectual caliber of those men and women, but even more with their godly character. L’Abri evidently had a way of leading people from intellectual atheism, to conversion, to spiritual maturity. Bill’s book focuses, more than other L’Abri books, on theis process of what we now call spiritual formation. The whole church can learn much from it. I commend this excellent book to all how seek to draw nearer to God.
-John M. Frame,
J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida

Francis Schaeffer was small of stature but a giant in his tenacious concern for truth, for God, for people, and for reality. He became convinced that Christian faith was the radical path for our own day, the realistic answer to the hard questions of a modern, troubled world. William Edgar’s compulsively readable study of Francis Schaeffer’s thought is set in the context of his rough-edged life and his brilliantly-inspired work in the L’Abri community he established with his remarkable wife, Edith. L’Abri, perched high on the slopes of a remote alpine valley, drew a motley procession of mainly young travellers from the ends of the earth. Schaeffer’s own, sometimes anguished, quest to communicate the ancient biblical text in a century of unprecedented historical changes attracted and opened doors for a generation of Christians. It also convinced many outside the faith with honest questions (like Bill Edgar himself) to follow the way of Christ. This engaging book captures the fire of Francis Schaeffer’s thought and concerns, and revisits and reinvigorates the still urgent challenge he presented to the church in the modern world.
-Colin Duriez,
author, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend and C. S. Lewis: A Biography of Friendship

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  1. Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Faith lived out with Beauty and Reality.
    March 20, 2013
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The first chapter of this book drew us in, helped us imagine the atmosphere of L'Abri, and convinced us we needed to read more of Edith and Fran's books. William Edgar is the perfect man to write this book about Fran and his spirituality. As a nineteen year old student, Mr. Edgar met an extraordinary professor and friend of Fran's who witnessed to him about the glories of the Christian worldview and suggested that William visit L'Abri. It was summer time, in the 60's, and this reader of Camus and believer in existentialism found himself calling Mrs. Schaeffer and making plans to stay at The Shelter, L'Abri, for the weekend.

    We read of the trip up the Swiss mountainside in the mail bus, climbing up to a place named for Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the Shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

    Upon arriving, William is given a bag of fresh peas and asked to help shell them for lunch tomorrow. A group of people is busily shelling peas, listening to one of Fran's lectures on tape. Walking outside before supper, William found Fran. Fran's principle legacy is no doubt people, William tells us, for he experienced this himself. "I knew right who he was, even though I had never seen a picture of him. His face was radiant. Slightly wrinkled, his visage communicated the weight of many years, years of suffering and of pondering deeply, and yet also a fundamental joy. He was fifty two at the time. He came right up to me, obviously knowing who I was, and extended his hand for a warm greeting. I'll never forget his broad smile, so full of kindness. I felt right at home in this strange and wonderful place."

    God was working in this Shelter. After supper came a time of discussion and prayer. "At L'Abri, prayer was not a ritual. It was practiced as though, were there no God, this would have been the most absurd performance possible."

    God was moving in Mr. Edgar's life. "I would later understand that the Holy Spirit was prompting me, moving me toward the Savior. But for now, it was simply something from another world."

    At worship the next morning, they began to sing Bach chorales in four part harmony. "How good could it get? As a music student, I had spent two years in Harvard analyzing Bach...and here we were not studying them, but singing them and believing them."

    Fran had invited him to meet with him and talk after worship, and he went up to a little chamber and sat with him. Fran greeted him "with that same profound face, its warm grin and the clear sense that he cared about me as well as the issues we needed to discuss." William asked questions, and "he came back with an extensive, thoughtful reply. We went back and forth. After a couple of hours, I just knew this was all true. If it is possible to feel the Holy Spirit come into one's heart, I could and I did... Less than twenty four hours after my arrival at L'Abri my life was completely turned upside down. Or was it right side up?"

    Through this book we learn that L'Abri was a place of serious study and practical care for people. Apologetics with a touch, Ravi Zacharias calls it. And this makes sense, because Fran and Edith wanted to provide both theological precision and loving community.

    Listen to William Edgar describe this... "Francis Schaeffer was a brilliant man...his method of learning was...more an informal collecting of insights from Scripture, people, articles, clippings, and his own hunches." He could defend Scripture before Buddhists or liberals, and at the same time in the Scaheffer home you were made to feel like a friend... "There were usually tea and cookies, a warm fire and then intense discussions about the Christian world-and-life view with any guest who showed up." In contrast, much evangelism today is "not only sub Christian, but sub human- legalistic and impersonal."

    This is a reminder we all need, every day. Someone, somewhere, is leaving what they think is cold orthodoxy. It is not orthodoxy that is at fault- not at all! It is a lack of heart. Through the reuniting of the two "Fran and Edith rescued numerous evangelicals who were ready to jettison their faith because it was not lived out with beauty and reality." Fran and Edith were "a statement of authenticity in a compromised church."

    This is what we are to take away from the work of L'Abri, and from the work and life of Fran. "Christ is Lord of all of Life, and because of that, there is no realm of life not subject to our scrutiny and to our calling as Christians in the world. For many, this calling and this practice represent what is so wonderful, so exciting, about the Schaeffer legacy."

    This book captures that spirit: Faith lived out with Beauty and Reality.

    I was blessed to receive this book for my family library from Crossway Publishing.
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