Sunday, September 20, 2009

Benjamin Ho On Francis Schaeffer and Reformation

It is said that, Schaeffer was more into "practice" rather than "method" at which he had differences with Van Til. So once again, if apologetics has cash value in practice outside the classroom, what does Schaeffer's view of apologetic says of defense against secularism in his times? Benjamin Ho, whom working in the Singapore government service as a policy analyst had addressed the good stuff that reminds us of the remarkable man here. An Exerpt:

“What we need is a presentation of the Bible’s historical truth in such a waythat it is acceptable to today’s intellectuals…it is irrational to think thatwatertight doors exist between religion and intellectual thinking. A step of faith is no step in the dark” (Francis Schaeffer, Time Magazine, 11 Jan 1960)

Mejlina Tjoa's review here.

As elaborated in the paper, Francis Schaeffer has left a lasting impact on his generation and beyond. He demonstrated that the robust framework of reformed theology has its relevance beyond classroom theological discussions and nostalgia of former glories.

[This paper is now opened for discussion.]


Hedonese said...

Francis Schaeffer embodies the kind of 'honest answer for honest question' apologetics lived out in the context of community (with the weak, disabled members of humanity) in L'Abri... It's not the mainly negative form of apologetics that shoots at everything that moves from the safety of an armchair or behind a computer screen. It's worked out in the changing realities of the world in which he lives in. Semper reformanda!

Anonymous said...

Mejlina wrote"The paper shows that the content of Schaeffer’s faith was communicated not only
through what he taught, but how he taught – his methodology, with the way he lived
and related to others also reinforcing what he taught. That he treated people with
patience and grace, and his L’abri ministry provided a platform for open questions and
discussions rather than merely giving answers," ...this remind me of the ministry of Stephen Tong. I think their ministry often provided a platform for discussions rather than merely giving answers.

CREDO500 said...

Thanks for the interesting comments.

Good to have Schaeffer here, what a brilliant mind yet with agapeic heart, walking alongside the street with tears, warning against the humanism while showing the absolute truth of God to His people in the postmodern age.

Two quick points: I esp agree with his disagreement on Barth's existential view of the Scripture(personal peace and affluence). Also, his echoing with Calvin on the necessity of the knowledge of God in determines our way of life.

I’m learning a lot about Schaeffer, and plan to read more of him. Seemed he was little known outside the western world, we should promote this to Asian. Now, wonder when would we have Labri fellowship branch for the Mainland China.


Hedonese said...

A friend of mine seriously wanted to start a L'Abri in malaysia... maybe on top of Genting/Cameron Highlands? but now, he decided to plant a church instead hehe...

CREDO500 said...

David, that would be great. Keep me informed if this happens to be real someday, I’ll sure follow.
Someone should make a start, who knows, Benjamin would initiate another branch in Singapore hehe...

The point is to change!

Benjamin Ho said...

Well, it would be my most incredible privilege to conduct bible study classes on Schaeffer's Complete Works! Let's see how God leads us!

CREDO500 said...

Hi Benjamin, that sounds exciting and important, am behind you with this project.

Just looking over you site, wonder if you can post more thoughts on Schaeffer, preferably relevant to our culture, it would be very helpful.

And thanks, your paper is a good piece, you forced me to read him. Cheers!

PuritanReformed said...


may I know who you have in mind in [negatively] attacking "mainly negative form of apologetics that shoots at everything that moves from the safety of an armchair or behind a computer screen"? Thanks.

PuritanReformed said...


Schaeffer is indeed a treasure to the world. However, he has his weaknesses, and thus in especially his praxis, I would be more critical there.

Benjamin Ho said...

Well, i suppose Schaeffer has his detractors - his son, Franky being one of them, unfortunately. Having said so, his "personal" approach to evangelism and apologetics is soemthing that we all can learn from. His compassion, honesty and authenticity are traits that the church of the 21st century needs.

Anonymous said...

In his last days, Francis Shaeffer was deeply troubled. "The Great Evangelical Disaster" was his last book and testament! Listen to this short audio by his son, Frank, about his father's progression in faith.

Anonymous said...

Correct url:

Augustinian Successor said...

One must distinguish liberal Protestantism and modern evangelicalism from classical Protestantism.

Frank Schaeffer's testimony says nothing about classical Protestantism.

The problem with fundamentalism is basically the failure to distinguish Law and Gospel. It is legalistic and antinomian one at the same time.

Sola fide and sola Scriptura are affirmed but SEPARATED. Instead, the original Reformational understanding is that both are CO-relates.

Augustinian Successor said...

By extension, I don't think the late Francis Schaeffer expressed disillusionment with the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Rather it would seem he grew frustrated with the modern-day expression of Protestantism which oscillates from one extreme to the other.

PuritanReformed said...

The late Francis Schaeffer saw the beginning of the fracture of the [Neo] Evangelical movement, but he did not identify the root problem. Of course, as an apologist first and foremost, his focus was mainly elsewhere. Yet, having such a singular focus, while an asset in his field is a weakness for the church at large, since no one in the by now mainstream Evangelical camp realized the flaws in the New Evangelical project. By the time doctrinal degeneration started, there is simply nothing for the Evangelicals to do. The Gospel Coalition Network is probably conservative Evangelicalism's (a redundent phrase if not for the developments in the last 50 years) last struggle for doctrinal purity. Time will tell how this new project will turn out to be.

Augustinian Successor said...

Actually, 'there is nothing new under the sun.' One challenge is evangelicalism's incapacity to *discern* the *age* in which they live in.

The situation in which the church finds itself today is exactly the same situation *prior* to Constantine.

The role of the church is not transformation but proclamation.

The proclamation of the Gospel is what makes Christians who go back to this world to serve the neighbour in vocation.

God is Sovereign in creation *and* redemption. He is Lord over *all*.

The church is in this world and simultaneously not of this world. This means upholding the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.

The Law expresses the church's solidarity and unity with this world. The Gospel expresses the church's antithesis and opposition to this world.

The Law has its *limits*. Where the Law exceeds its limits, there legalism and antinomianism flourishes.

Example, the Christian is not to redeem popular culture. It belongs to the *old* world which is passing away. It is *irrelevant*. Antinomianism and legalism results when that happens.

What is to be redeem is *creation*. Creation under curse remains essentially *good*. In Jesus Christ, creation has *already* redeemed. The rupture between the two ages is complete. the rupture between 'heaven' and 'earth' is restored.

The world to come is underway in its advancement *towards* this world here and now.

Thus, by *faith*, the church perceives creation and redemption one at the same time. Hence, the church lives in hope of the Last One, Jesus *is* coming.

This is what St. Peter meant by giving the reason of the *hope* that is in us.

PuritanReformed said...


interesting thoughts.

Hedonese said...

Hi Daniel,

If you think that comment was directed specific individual in mind, then you have misunderstood.

A lot of people on blogdom (including myself!) may fit that description in differing degrees. So he who has ears let him hear.

I can certainly recall my younger, more foolish days when I dun have any sort of meaningful positive ministry to real persons and major only in heresy hunting on many lonely nights... There but the grace of God go I still...