Edith Schaeffer

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A Christian Apologist of the Twentieth Century

What more can be written about Francis Schaeffer that has not already been said?  Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1912 . . . Born again in 1930 . . . College graduate from Hampton – Sydney, Virginia . . . Seminary student in two historic seminaries, Westminster and Faith Seminary . . . Pastor to three conservative Presbyterian churches for ten years before he went to Europe to begin L’Abri Fellowship, reaching intellectuals for Christ . . . An advocate of both the gospel and cultural mandate to the masses.  In short,  Francis Schaeffer had an effective ministry in the seventy-two years in which he lived in the twentieth century.

On a personal note, this contributor was barely an adolescent when Dr. Schaeffer came to my chaplain father’s Army installation in Dachau, Germany for a series of evangelistic meeting in the late forties. Night after night, the gospel was presented to lonely American soldiers in post-war Germany. And the meetings were held right down the road from the infamous concentration camp building of Dachau where sinful depravity was the order of the day barely five years previous to these meetings. They were present in all their stark reality in that this was before the whole site had been memorialized by the West German government.  But beyond the meetings to the adults, day by day, this youngster, and a whole host of others, learned Psalm 19 by Edith Schaeffer, which I remember today! (Edith Schaeffer writes about all this visit in her book, The Tapestry.) In short, the Schaeffer’s were hungry for the power of the gospel unto salvation to be demonstrated  for all who believe.

It was in 1978 that cancer was discovered in Francis Schaeffer’s body. Despite this disease, even by his own admission, more was done in his ministry in the last five years of his life than before. He rewrote his book legacy and ministered to large crowds everywhere. He spoke to the combined General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in America and Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod in 1982, which had just merged together into one church. [click here to read “A Day of Sober Rejoicing”]

As the days grew difficult, Edith Schaeffer tells how ten days before he died, she brought him home from Mayo Clinic. She spoke about her conviction that he would want to go to the house he had asked her to buy in Rochester, Minnesota to pass from his body and be with the Lord. The medical staff agreed with that decision. Edith Schaeffer surrounded his bed with the things he loved, including music played into his room. All the favorites from Beethoven, Bach, and Shubert were played. On the morning of May 15, 1984, he was taken home to glory with Handel’s Messiah in the background.

Words to Live By: Francis Schaeffer was a sinner saved by grace, as all believers are. We by no means believe that he was without difficulties in his life towards those nearest and dearest to him, as well as the Christian family as a whole. But despite these foibles, he will be remembered as the spiritual father of many a Christian today, while his work continues on in many lands today to reach the intellectuals of the twenty-first century with the same precious gospel. As God enables us, let us each be faithful, in word and in deed, in proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

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From the Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (PCA), September 14-15, 1984:

A MEMORIAL STATEMENT

schaeffer02The Rev. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, having successfully communicated the Gospel of Christ to the Christian world and to the world in general, and having stressed by his books and verbal proclamation the practical outworking of the Gospel in the daily life of man, is hereby memorialized by the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America as a true and faithful servant of the Lord.

His recent departure from this life into the throne presence of our God reminds this Presbytery that at the outset of his ministry, after his seminary years, he originally came under care of the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church which by historic continuity contributed its record and its ordained men to the present Philadelphia Presbytery, PCA. He was licensed, ordained, and began his pastoral ministry in that Philadelphia Presbytery. he was a member of the St. Louis Presbytery, PCA, when he went to be with the Lord.

Dr. Schaeffer’s stand for the truth encourages us all, these years after his original commitment, to teach and preach the contents of the inspired and inerrant Word of God, to stand firmly for all our God has revealed to us, and to spread it through our society and our world effectively as He enables.

Mrs. Edith Schaeffer later wrote in reply, thanking the Presbytery for their formal statement on his life and work, and noting that she was keeping their letter with the many other letters, telegrams and documents received from all over the world, upon Dr. Schaeffer’s death.

Note: While the PCA Historical Center does have preserved among its collections the Minute Book of the Philadelphia Presbytery (BPC), those minutes only begin in 1939, and so we are lacking a copy of the minutes for the meeting at which Dr. Schaeffer was ordained..

Words to Live By:
This author [TE David Myers] can still remember, when as a young boy of eight or nine years of age, Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith came to the Army installation at Dachau, Germany, where my father was the installation chaplain, for a series of evangelistic services.  (And yes, it was that Dachau which was infamous for a World War II concentration camp.)  In the shadows of that place of horrors in the little  chapel which had been built by SS soldiers after the close of the war, the good news of salvation was proclaimed by the fullness of the Spirit to a spiritually hungry body of American occupation troops, with souls and hearts being won to Christ and strengthened in the things of the Lord.  Written memorials are better than nothing, but living memorials which are found in the souls of men and women are the best memorials of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.  They will continue on the spiritual legacy which he so faithfully began in days gone by.  Praise the Lord for the ministry of Francis (and Edith) Schaeffer.

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

A Christian Apologist of the Twentieth Century

What more can be written about Francis Schaeffer that has not already been said?  Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1912 . . . Born again in 1930 . . . College graduate from Hampton – Sydney, Virginia . . . Seminary student in two historic seminaries, Westminster and Faith Seminary . . . Pastor to three conservative Presbyterian churches for ten years before he went to Europe to begin L’Abri Fellowship, reaching intellectuals for Christ . . . An advocate of both the gospel and cultural mandate to the masses.  In short,  Francis Schaeffer had an effective ministry in the seventy-two years in which he lived in the twentieth century.

On a personal note, this contributor was barely an adolescent when he came to my chaplain father’s Army installation in Dachau, Germany for a series of evangelistic meeting in the late forties.  Night after night, the gospel was presented to lonely American soldiers in post-war Germany.  And the meetings were held right down the road from the infamous concentration camp building of Dachau where sinful depravity was the order of the day barely five years previous to these meetings. They were present in all their stark reality in that this was before the whole site had been memorialized by the West German government.   But beyond the meetings to the adults,   day by day, this youngster, and a whole host of others, learned Psalm 19 by Edith Schaeffer, which I remember today!  (Edith Schaeffer writes about all this  visit in her book, The Tapestry.)  In short, the Schaeffer’s were hungry for the power of the gospel unto salvation to be demonstrated  for all who believe.

It was in 1978 that cancer was discovered in Francis Schaeffer’s body.  Despite this disease, even by his own admission, more was done in his ministry in the last five years of his life than before. He rewrote his book legacy and ministered to large crowds everywhere. He spoke to the combined General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in America and Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod in 1982, which had just merged together into one church. [click here to read “A Day of Sober Rejoicing”]

As the days grew difficult, Edith Schaeffer tells how ten days before he died, she brought him home from Mayo Clinic. She spoke about her conviction that he would want to go to the house he had asked her to buy in Rochester, Minnesota to pass from his body and be with the Lord. The medical staff agreed with that decision. Edith Schaeffer surrounded his bed with the things he loved, including music played into his room. All the favorites from Beethoven, Bach, and Shubert were played. On the morning of May 15, 1984, he was taken home to glory with Handel’s Messiah in the background.

Words to Live By: Francis Schaeffer was a sinner saved by grace, as all believers are. We by no means believe that he was without difficulties in his life towards those nearest and dearest to him, as well as the Christian family as a whole. But despite these foibles, he will be remembered as the spiritual father of many a Christian today, while his work continues on in many lands today to reach the intellectuals of the twenty-first century with the same precious gospel. As God enables us, let us each be faithful, in word and in deed, in proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

Through the Scriptures: Psalms 103 – 105

Through the Standards:  The Nature of repentance

WCF 15:1
“Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minster of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.”

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