The Apologist: Church Discipline is Amoebatization Prevention

The New Testament stresses such purity, for the church is not to be like an amoeba so that no one can tell the difference between the church and the world . There is to be a sharp edge. There is to be a distinction between one side and the other—between the world and the church, and between those who are in that church and those who are not. —Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century

The Apologist: Start Here

Let us understand that the beginning of Christianity is not salvation: it is the existence of the Trinity. —Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century

The Apologist: The Battleground

The real battle for men is in the world of ideas, rather than in that which is outward. All heresy, for example, begins in the world of ideas. That is why, when new workers come to L’Abri, we always stress to them that we are interested in ideas rather than personalities or organizations. Ideas are to be discussed, not personalities or organizations. Ideas are the stock of the thought world, and from the ideas burst forth all the external things: painting, music, buildings, the love and the hating of men in practice, and equally the results of loving God or rebellion against God, in the external world. Where a man will spend eternity depends on his reading or hearing the ideas, the propositional truth, the facts of the gospel in the external world, and these being carried thought he medium of his body into the inner old of his thought, and there, inside himself, in his thought-world, either his believing God on the basis of the content of the gospel or his calling God a liar. …

It is for this reason that the preaching of the gospel can never be primarily a matter of organization. The preaching of the gospel is ideas, flaming ideas brought to men, as God has revealed them to us in Scripture. It is not a contentless experience internally received, but it is contentful ideas internally acted upon that makes the difference. So when we state our doctrines, they must be ideas, and not just phrases. We cannot use doctrines as though they were pieces to a puzzle. True doctrine is an idea revealed by God in the Bible and an idea that fits properly into the external world as it is, and as God made it, and to man as he is, as God made him, and can be fed back through man’s body into his thought-world and there acted upon. The battle for people is centrally in the world of thought.

The third conclusion is that the Christian life, true spirituality, always begins inside, in our thought-world. All that has been said in our earlier study of being free in this present life from the bonds of sin, and also of being free in the present life from the results of the bonds of sin, is meaningless jargon, no more than a psychological pill, if is divorced from the reality that God thinks and we think, and that at each step the internal is central and first. The spiritual battle, the loss or the victory, is always in the though-world. —Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

The Apologist: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

If we forget the absolute uniqueness of Christ’s death, we are in heresy. As soon as we set aside or minimize, as soon as we cut down in any way (as the liberals of all kinds do in their theology) the uniqueness and substitutionary character of Christ’s death, our teaching is no longer Christian. —Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

The Apologist: Desire or Discontentment?

If the contentment goes and the giving of thanks goes, we are not loving God as we should, and proper desire has become coveting against God. There is proper desire, and there is proper rejection of the results of a fallen, abnormal world; but when I can no longer say thank you in the midst of the battle, I have forgotten that God is God and that He is my God, and I am coveting against His proper place as God. I am to be willing for my place m the battle.

This inward area is the first place of loss of true spirituality. The outward is always just a result of it. —Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

The Apologist: Dethroning Jesus in the Name of Jesus

It is curious that we can do things in Christ’s name while pushing Him off the stage. I have seen this most plainly when a church has become caught up in a building project and has moved heaven and earth to complete it. One does need a roof over his head, but this is only a small portion of the church’s ministry. The building is only an instrument.

Fighting for evangelism and the salvation of souls should not become primary either; yet how often this happens! Other people, quite rightly, see the church of our generation threatened by apostasy, but then have made the purity of the visible church the center of their lives. In all of these Jesus may remain as a topic of conversation, but His real centrality has been forgotten. In the name of Christ, Christ is dethroned. When this happens, even what is right becomes wrong.

—Francis Schaeffer, No Little People

The Apologist: Men’s Imaginations Don’t Grow Up, They Grow Sinful

A child may feel sure of himself as he schemes his schemes. When he was a little boy, my son used to devise great plans for fighting off the Russians if they were to come up the mountain. And he was totally serious. But if Russian tanks had ever begun to roll up out of the valley, we would know we were going to be overrun. When the force of reality strikes us with all its drive, our own imaginings are seen in their proper perspective. —Francis Schaeffer, No Little People

The Apologist: Not that Far Off

A sociologist has written that as computers and machines take over more and more tasks, people will have to stop being achievement-centered. Some are saying that in the next generation, the government’s chief job will be to devise ways of keeping a growing mass of people entertained, because machines will have taken their jobs.

…Entertainment so fills every cranny of our culture we can easily escape thinking. —Francis Schaeffer, No Little People

The Apologist: R and R

Often men have acted as though one has to choose between reformation and revival. Some call for reformation, others for revival, and they tend to look at each other with suspicion. But reformation and revival do not stand in contrast to one another; in fact, both words are related to the concept of restoration. Reformation speaks of a restoration to pure doctrine, revival of a restoration in the Christian’s life. Reformation speaks of a return to the teachings of Scripture, revival of a life brought into proper relationship to the Holy Spirit. The great moments in church history have come when these two restorations have occurred simultaneously. There cannot be true revival unless there has been reformation, and reformation is incomplete without revival. May we be those who know the reality of both reformation and revival, so that this poor dark world in which we live may have an exhibition of a portion of the church returned to both pure doctrine and a Spirit-filled life. —Francis Schaeffer, No Little People

The Apologist: Trying to Gas a Diesel

The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us. All these are dangerous but not the primary threat. The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them. —Francis, Schaeffer, No Little People