|Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer by Bryan A Follis.
Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois. 2006. Pb. 206 pp. $15.99 US.
In the mid-1960s, Francis Schaeffer, the founder of L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, became known as a highly effective apologist who succeeded in helping many young people grasp the truth of the gospel. He had a high view of nature and authority of Scripture. He was sharply critical of those who rejected its inerrancy. He contended for a revelation that was without error in all that it affirms. He pointed out that anything less than a position of full inerrancy would lead to the rejection of the authority of Scripture. Central to his ministry at L'Abri was prayer and his distinctive person-centred approach. He wanted to help the individual by showing personal compassion and sympathetic listening. He was always ready to give honest answers to honest questions. Personally, I am greatly indebted to Schaeffer and L'Abri. In the 1970s, I spent three weeks at the Dutch branch of L'Abri. The fellowship was wonderful, and intellectually and spiritually stimulating. I also had the privilege of meeting Schaeffer at the North West L'Abri Conference in Calgary, and in Toronto had the opportunity to listen to his introduction of his film series, How Then Shall We Live?
Schaeffer was a generalist in an age of specialists. He used broad strokes and popular language. He was an able communicator who possessed the gift of discernment. He was not a careful scholar. Sometimes his broad-brush analysis led him to describe events or personal attitudes that were factually inaccurate. He was a general practitioner with a heart burdened for the millions in spiritual darkness. He sought to present the Gospel to 20th century people, showing what it means "to believe it, to think it through, and to live it out." Critics have severely criticized Schaeffer for his lack of in-depth scholarship. Among them was Clark Pinnock, who was at times rather personal and patronizing. He regarded Schaeffer as being, much of the time, "beyond his depth." But no one can specialize in every subject.
Follis' book provides the reader with timely material for an ongoing discussion of the many facets of Schaeffer's works. His ideas are still powerful and noteworthy. Follis rightly points out that when Schaeffer is considered in the totality of his writings and ministry, and as we consider his stress on both rationality and spirituality, he has much to offer in the twenty-first century. I highly recommend this book to college students, teachers, and pastors.
Johan D. Tangelder