Reviews of books we recommend
Thursday February 7, 2013 21:56
We have a friend who reads lots of good books on a variety of Christian subjects, and we have asked him to write reviews of some of these books so that we can share them with you..
The first one is a review of a Francis Shaeffer Trilogy - a combination of three of Shaeffer's most important writings.
Schaeffer, Francis. (1990) Francis Schaeffer Trilogy. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 368p
Reviewed by Stephen Smith
The Francis Schaeffer Trilogy is a combination of Schaeffer’s three key books:
- The God who is there
- Escape from reason
- He is there and He is not silent.
Schaeffer starts this work off by explaining that the thinking of mankind went on a significant change about the turn of the twentieth century – first in Europe, then in the USA. Prior to the twentieth century the dominant thinking was that absolute truth existed but it could be found apart from the Scriptures. The humanists of the time mocked the bible as being inconsistent with absolute truth. However the problem was that this optimistic humanism had no foundations to build on and ultimately collapsed.
As a result a new worldview developed – the idea that there is no absolute truth. Schaeffer calls it “going beyond the line of despair” because this modern view is irrational and cannot build a solid foundation for anything. To give an obvious example – if I said there was no absolute truth, obviously that statement is self-refuting because I have made a truth statement.
Schaeffer explains how this modern thinking has affected many key aspects of life including:
- Language and literature
The rest of this book (3 books combined) develops this theme. Book 2 demonstrates how modern man has become irrational because of this modern thinking. Book three ties all the themes together by showing from the scriptures that modern man need not be in despair because God is not silent – God indeed does exist and has revealed Himself. He has spoken through the pages of Holy Scripture and therefore there is hope – both spiritually and philosophically – for modern man.
There are a number of things I appreciate about this book:
- Schaeffer gives a very clear description of the gospel. He points out that the gospel is the way that man is reconciled with God and that he comes to God not on his own righteousness, but on the righteousness of Christ.
- Some very helpful guidelines are given on how to reach people in our post-modern society. Schaeffer suggests we “find the point of tension”. For example, if you are witnessing to a person concerned with social justice, you would challenge them as to the foundations for social justices on a humanistic foundation. Schaeffer calls this the “point of tension” because this person obviously believes in ultimate standards (in this case social justice) and yet is unable to find a foundation for this apart from biblical foundations. This is a helpful tool to challenge and reach people.
- It is quite clear through the book that Schaffer has a great love for people because they are made in the image of God. This sets us a high standard as we witness.
- One of Schaeffer’s unique gifts was effective communication. Some of the concepts in this book grapple with serious issues in philosophy. Yet Schaeffer explains his terms well and uses helpful diagrams to help the reader understand the key concepts. Further, there is a glossary included in the book.
I highly recommend this book. It is a helpful tool for witnessing to non-Christians, and can help people think through the issues of their faith.