A Little Book on Francis Schaeffer

Now here is an interesting and worthwhile Little book. Francis Schaeffer: A Mind and Heart for God (P&R, 2010), edited by Bruce Little, is a collection of five essays on Schaeffer’s work and its continuing relevance in our world, written by arguably the four premiere Schaeffer scholars alive (all of whom knew Schaeffer well and two of whom are his sons-in-law): Udo Middlemann, Jerram Barrs, Ranald Macaulay, and Dick Keyes. It is 108 pages of brain candy, the best one-stop concise Schaeffer resource on the market.

The strength of the book, as Little points out in the preface, is its ability to (1) introduce Schaeffer to younger evangelicals who are unfamiliar with his life and thought; and (2) allow Schaeffer’s life and ministry to provide some guidance on how to engage our society and culture in the 21st century. Udo Middelmann writes on “The Man;” Jerram Barrs on “His Apologetics” and “His Legacy and His Influence on Evangelicalism;” Ranald Macauley on “Francis Schaeffer in the 21st Century;” and Dick Keyes on “Sentimentality: Significance for Apologetics.” The occasion for collecting these essays was the conference “Francis Schaeffer: A Mind and Heart for God,” sponsored by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith & Culture at SEBTS.

Little points out that the contributors “give an in-depth and balanced view of Schaeffer, his mind and his heart for God. They highlight the importance of Schaeffer’s apologetic ministry for those in any culture who desire to communicate effectively the truth of historic Christianity to a world terribly out-of-joint. They reveal his keen mind shaped by a Christian worldview, how that worldview critiqued the culture as revealed through its artifacts, and his love for lost and broken humanity. The book shows how Schaeffer understood man to be, on the one hand, a sinner and rebel against God, and yet, on the other hand, created in God’s image and therefore worthy of dignity and respect when answering his questions. . . . Contrary to what many people have come to believe about Schaeffer’s ministry . . . Schaeffer’s apologetic is, after all, an apologetic model for every Christian in any place as it is crafted on the principle of authentic Christian love.”

Likewise William Edgar (Westminster Theological Seminary) sums up the book: “Each author brings a moving combination of personal tributes and original insights from their own work. Few texts will give the reader deeper insight into Francis Schaeffer, the man and his legacy, than this one. And few texts will better challenge the reader to carry on the work he began.”

In addition to its inherent worth as a work of theology and apologetics, one wants to buy the book out of sheer appreciation for Dr. Bruce Little, who not only is one of the sharpest wits ever to teach, but who has also almost single-handedly brought about a suit-and-bowtie renaissance in evangelical circles. (And for this reason, is sometimes referred to as Dr. Crisp. Or so I have been told.)

Which brings me to my last point: Dr. Little is professor of philosophy, director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith & Culture, and author of numerous books and articles, including the forthcoming God, Why this Evil (Hamilton, July 2010), and Defending the Faith and Engaging the Culture (B&H, 2010). If you are a prospective student interested in studying philosophy and apologetics, come join us at SEBTS where you have the opportunity to study under professors such as Dr. Little.