Happy Birthday, Francis Schaeffer!

Some great Schaeffer quotes collected by Doug Groothuis:

We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God’s absolutes. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle? Do we really believe that the part we play in the battle has consequences for whether or not men and women will spend eternity in hell? Or whether or not in this life people will live with meaning or meaninglessness? Or whether or not those who do live will live in a climate of moral perversion and degradation? Sadly, we must say that very few in the evangelical world have acted as if these things are true. Rather than trumpet our accomplishments and revel in our growing numbers, it would be closer to the truth to admit that our response has been a disaster.

-Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1984), pp. 31-32

Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong. Just as what we may call holiness without love is not God’s kind of holiness, so also what we may call love without holiness, including when necessary confrontation, is not God’s kind of love.

-Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1984), pp. 64-65

Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measels. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what world view is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, “not many men are in the room” — that is, although world views have many variations, there are not many basic world views or basic presuppositions.

-Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), p. 20

Suppose we awoke tomorrow morning and we opened our Bibles and found two things had been taken out, not as the liberals would take them out, but really out. Suppose God had taken them out. The first item missing was the real empowering of the Holy Spirit, and the second item the reality of prayer. Consequently, following the dictates of Scripture, we would begin to live on the basis of this new Bible in which there was nothing about the power of the Holy Spirit and nothing about the power of prayer. Let me ask you something: what difference would there be from the way we acted yesterday? Do we really believe God is there? If we do, we live differently.

-Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century, in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, vol. 4, p. 40



J. C. Ryle on Holiness

(a) Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as
we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in
God’s judgment–hating what He hates–loving what He loves–and
measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who
most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

(b) A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep
every known commandment. He will have a decided bent of mind toward
God, a hearty desire to do His will–a greater fear of displeasing Him
than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways. He will feel
what Paul felt when he said,”I delight in the law of God after the
inward man” (Rom. vii. 22), and what David felt when he said, “I esteem
all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every
false way.” (Psalm cxix. 128.)

(c) A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will
not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily
peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was
in Him, and to be “conformed to His image.” (Rom. viii. 29.) It will be
his aim to bear with and forgive others, even as Christ forgave us–to
be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself–to walk in love, even
as Christ loved us–to be lowly-minded and humble, even as Christ made
Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself. He will remember that
Christ was a faithful witness for the truth–that He came not to do His
own will–that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will–that
He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others–that
He was meek and patient under undeserved insults–that He thought more
of godly poor men than of kings–that He was full of love and
compassion to sinners–that He was bold and uncompromising in
denouncing sin–that He sought not the praise of men, when He might
have had it–that He went about doing good–that He was separate from
worldly people–that He continued instant in prayer–that He would not
let even His nearest relations stand in His way when God’s work was to
be done. These things a holy man will try to remember. By them he will
endeavour to shape his course in life. He will lay to heart the saying
of John, “He that saith he abideth in Christ ought himself also so to
walk, even as He walked” (1 John ii. 6); and the saying of Peter, that
“Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow
His steps.” (1 Peter ii. 21.) Happy is he who has learned to make
Christ his “all,” both for salvation and example! Much time would be
saved, and much sin prevented, if men would oftener ask themselves the
question, “What would Christ have said and done, if He were in my

(d) A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness,
patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much,
forbear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his
rights. We see a bright example of this in the behaviour of David when
Shimei cursed him–and of Moses when Aaron and Miriam spake against
him. (2 Sam. xvi. 10; Num. xii. 3.)

(e) A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial. He will
labour to mortify the desires of his body–to crucify his flesh with
his affections and lusts–to curb his passions–to restrain his carnal
inclinations, lest at any time they break loose. Oh, what a word is
that of the Lord Jesus to the Apostles, “Take heed to yourselves, lest
at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness,
and cares of this life” (Luke xxi. 34); and that of the Apostle Paul,
“I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any
means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
(1 Cor. ix. 27.)

(f) A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness. He
will endeavour to observe the golden rule of doing as he would have men
do to him, and speaking as he would have men speak to him. He will be
full of affection towards his brethren–towards their bodies, their
property, their characters, their feelings, their souls. “He that
loveth another,” says Paul, “hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom. xiii. 8.)
He will abhor all lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty,
and unfair dealing, even in the least things. The shekel and cubit of
the sanctuary were larger than those in common use. He will strive to
adorn his religion by all his outward demeanour, and to make it lovely
and beautiful in the eyes of all around him. Alas, what condemning
words are the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the Sermon on the
Mount, when laid alongside the conduct of many professing Christians!

(g) A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence
towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be
content with doing no harm–he will try to do good. He will strive to
be useful in his day and generation, and to lessen the spiritual wants
and misery around him, as far as he can. Such was Dorcas, “full of good
works and almsdeeds, which she did,”–not merely purposed and talked
about, but did. Such an one was Paul: “I will very gladly spend and be
spent for you,” he says, “though the more abundantly I love you the
less I be loved.” (Acts ix. 36; 2 Cor. xii. 15.)

(h) A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all
filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that
might draw him into it. He knows his own heart is like tinder, and will
diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who shall dare to
talk of strength when David can fall? There is many a hint to be
gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a
bone, or a dead body, or a grave, or a diseased person, became at once
unclean in the sight of God. And these things were emblems and figures.
Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this

(i) A holy man will follow after the fear of God. I do not mean the
fear of a slave, who only works because he is afraid of punishment, and
would be idle if he did not dread discovery. I mean rather the fear of
a child, who wishes to live and move as if he was always before his
father s face, because he loves him. What a noble example Nehemiah
gives us of this! When he became Governor at Jerusalem he might have
been chargeable to the Jews and required of them money for his support.
The former Governors had done so. There was none to blame him if he
did. But he says, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” (Nehem.
v. 15.)

(j) A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness
of mind, to esteem all others better than himself. He will see more
evil in his own heart than in any other in the world. He will
understand something of Abraham’s feeling, when he says, “I am dust and
ashes;”–and Jacob’s, when he says, “I am less than the least of all
Thy mercies;”–and Job’s, when he says, “I am vile;”–and Paul’s, when
he says, “I am chief of sinners.” Holy Bradford, that faithful martyr
of Christ, would sometimes finish his letters with these words, “A most
miserable sinner, John Bradford.” Good old Mr. Grimshaw’s last words,
when he lay on his death-bed, were these, “Here goes an unprofitable

(k) A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and
relations in life. He will try, not merely to fill his place as well as
others who take no thought for their souls, but even better, because he
has higher motives, and more help than they. Those words of Paul should
never be forgotten, “Whatever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the
Lord,”–“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the
Lord.” (Col. iii. 23; Rom. xii. 11.) Holy persons should aim at doing
everything well, and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do
anything ill if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give
no “occasion” against themselves, except “concerning the law of their
God.” (Dan. vi. 5.) They should strive to be good husbands and good
wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants,
good neighbours, good friends, good subjects, good in private and good
in public, good in the place of business and good by their firesides.
Holiness is worth little indeed, if it does not bear this kind of
fruit. The Lord Jesus puts a searching question to His people, when He
says, “What do ye more than others?” (Matt. v. 47.)

(l) Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual
mindedness. He will endeavour to set his affections entirely on things
above, and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not
neglect the business of the life that now is; but the first place in
his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to
live like one whose treasure is in heaven, and to pass through this
world like a stranger and pilgrim travelling to his home. To commune
with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His
people–these things will be the holy man’s chiefest enjoyments. He
will value every thing and place and company, just in proportion as it
draws him nearer to God. He will enter into something of David’s
feeling, when he says, “My soul followeth hard after Thee.” “Thou art
my portion.” (Psalm lxiii. 8; cxix. 57.)
J. C. Ryle, Holiness.
Exported from Logos Bible Software 4, 11:19 PM January-26-12.