Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality by William Edgar

5 out of 5 Stars
Author: William Edgar
Publisher: Crossway
Buy Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality
Reading Level: Easy

I dig this series. Last year I reviewed Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel so check that out. I was overjoyed to receive word on three more in this series (Schaeffer, Bonhoeffer, & Wesley) being released this year. The Schaeffer volume being the first of the bunch. These books are theological biographies focusing on the major contributions of our spiritual forefathers.

William Edgar has a unique perspective into the impact of Francis Schaeffer’s ministry because he was converted at L’abri and spent considerable time with the Schaeffer’s. Because of this close proximity, Edgar is able to not only explore the Schaeffer’s counterculture spirituality but also speak frankly about how the Schaeffer’s lived out this spirituality daily. He highlights the successes and he doesn’t shy away from the shadows. I appreciated the inclusion of Edith Schaeffer’s theology as well. This wasn’t just Francis’s ministry; Edith played a vital role at L’abri (and had her own views on theological points).

What struck me most was the Schaeffers’s daily expression of dependence on God through a robust prayer life. Every thing they needed at L’abri they prayed for and trusted God for. It challenged me to daily express my dependence on God by approaching him with my every day needs. There is something counterculture about that even among Christians. Maybe it shouldn’t be. In the West we live an abundant life and we don’t know how to wage war on our self-dependence through prayer. We don’t know how to bring our burdens to the throne of grace. We have our daily needs met by default. If we waged war on our self-dependence I wonder if we would think more deeply about what we truly need, what we could truly give, and what God would receive the glory for providing.

I could spend a lot of time discussing Schaeffer’s apologetic approach but I’ll keep it short. We could all learn a lesson from the way he engaged people in a way which put them off balance while expressing care and love. Schaeffer learned that truth always required love and we could learn that lesson in our current culture.

If you want to counter our current age’s blindspots I would recommend reading this series on Christian living. It will provide a helpful introduction to church history and biography within the framework of the theological contribution of these men.

A free copy of this book was provided by Crossway. If you plan on purchasing Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

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