Schaeffer on the Christian Life {Book Review}

Schaeffer on the Christian LifeLast month Crossway offered a couple of biographies of great Christian theologians.  Having never read or studied any of these people before, I decided to take the opportunity to read about Francis Schaeffer in the book Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Counterculture Spirituality.  It certainly helped me to know this book was less than 200 pages in length.  Also, the Christian Life series is described as "provides accessible introductions to the great teachers on the Christian life gaining wisdom from the past for life in the present."

Francis Schaeffer was a leading influence in bringing young people to understand just what the Christian faith really is during the second half of the 1900's.  The author of this book, William Edgar, an agnostic, became a Christian within days of meeting Francis and Edith Schaeffer, like countless others.  Edgar was a friend of the Schaeffers throughout their lives.

(I will note here that Edith Schaeffer died just days ago at the age of 98.  Sherry wrote about Edith and her influence through books and linked to some other relevant articles).

I found the faith of the Schaeffers to be rather fascinating and inspiring.  In his early ministry days, Francis actually was a pastor in my county in Pennsylvania.  Eventually Francis and Edith built the Swiss community of L'Abri where anyone was welcome to come and discuss Christianity.  Some stayed for a brief visit, while others had extended stays of months while learning and growing in the faith.

L'Abri was a center of prayer and of learning.  It seems that every aspect of daily life and work were consumed within God's reaches.

To me, it seems that Francis and Edith Schaeffer were evangelical, conservative fundamentalists.  They lived their lives in a loving way, opening their home (with children) to others in a way that demonstrated their true faith and purpose of teaching others about Jesus Christ.

William Edgar does not paint Francis Schaeffer as the perfect theologian.  Throughout the book, he points out downfalls in Francis's theology and teachings, and even briefly discusses his bursts of temper, which provides introductory readers some balance.

I deeply appreciated this book.  It certainly made me realize how much we/I (typical Christians, even evangelical Christians) separate our faith from the rest of our lives.

I am now interested in reading, and being challenged by, at least one of his books.  (Any recommendations?  I have a few that stand out to me.)  I also want to read Edith's The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  

My only "complaint" of this book is that though it is meant to be an introduction to Schaeffer, I felt that many religious "big words" were used, sometimes in regards to other belief systems and sometimes related to Christianity.   I would have liked to see more definitions/explanations so I wasn't left guessing, attempting to remember while possibly confusing terms, or interrupting my reading to look up the information (which rarely happens).  This didn't happen all the time, but enough that I thought it worth mentioning.

I am eager for more Christian Life biographies from Crossway and thank them for sending Schaeffer on the Christian Life my way.  You might be interested in reading an excerpt of this book before buying it.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}


  1. I've always wanted to read more about the Schaeffers but just never have. I did read The Art of Homemaking years ago and found it very helpful.

  2. Though I have perused one of his books - How Then Shall We Live, I have not read much about the man himself. Sounds like a good read.


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