There are no humans to be found within arm’s-length or through the bounds of history, clothed in total-perfection or near-perfection. This applies among Christian role models. There is but Christ alone who is entirely without fault, in whom no stain of sin is found. However, there are those nearer to Christ than you and I. And as Paul calls Timothy to follow him, as he sets his face on Jesus Christ, these role models I’m speaking of–those we seek out and those who seem to fall in our laps–beckon us in the same light.
There are many people who display through the course of their lives, or in a specific instance, admirable qualities such as perseverance, thoughtfulness, love, courage, humility, boldness, compassion, or a dialed skill set. These cause our eyes to land on them and books to be written about them. There are role models at large from battlefields, laboratories, explorations, sports, family lineage, church, local community, the arts, or university lecture hall (some of which overlap and intertwine). We hear stories of these individuals and our love lands on them. We see what we desire for all of man, or what we aspire after for our future selves. We are deeply intrigued and we want to know more. More of who they are (or were); more of what motivated them.
For me, among those I’ve never met but through their writings and materials, that person is Francis Schaeffer. Through his books and recorded lectures and the life story of his family, I have been challenged to be real before man and committed to Truth in ways I never considered. He has shown reasonableness and compassion towards the Church and outsiders, while remaining firmly rooted in the Word given to us by God. He lived unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with a true desire for his neighbor (all those he met) to be saved, not slammed–not diminished, not rung up or rung out.
I’ve recently begun listening to a lecture series by Jerram Barrs of Covenant Seminary. He was well acquainted with the Schaeffer family and remains still, with some of their children. These are recorded on the Covenant Seminary app and made available to the public. Tuning in to various audio material via this app has been lovely and is becoming part of my routine. I believe there are 48 lectures in this particular series, from the early years to the later years of Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s life together.
In the second lecture a quote caught my attention that I wanted to share with you. You can read it below. It’s nothing fancy, but it made me smile. It’s what I hope will be true of my life, which might be satisfied however and wherever the Lord leads. As life is spent around people, image-bearers, that is who I pray for and where I desire any impact in these short days given. I admire how the Schaeffers did life among people–though flawed–for the glory of Jesus Christ. I commend their writings to you; specifically True Spirituality, by Fran.
Here is the note from Barrs lecture:
I pray that you and I will display a readiness to serve, sacrificially, for the benefit of the Church and that lost friends and complete strangers (even enemies) might be saved. I pray we who call ourselves Bible-believing Christians would be Bible-reading Christians. I pray we would do the bold and gentle work of evangelists.
The Spirit will move through you and me. I pray we will see that there are no little people, and that Christ died for those around us who presently have no understanding of the Gospel. God has us (you, where you are presently) in the places, groups, interactions, and relationships we are in, to the end that Christ would be made known.
May we rightly humble ourselves. May our view of Christ be ever-growing, all the clearer. Give us a burden for lost souls, Lord. Let us meet folks where they are, truly listen, and share the Gospel with clarity in speech and life.
If you choose to read the Schaeffer’s writings, you may find them difficult. Do not be dismayed, I turn their pages much slower as well. Their thoughts are not spoon fed. The words can be piercing and have required much reflective thought on my own life. I hope you will accept the commendation and/or challenge.