He is quietly fighting for his life.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide things into two categories and those who don’t. Francis Schaeffer has built an impressive assemblage of books, speeches, films, and followers by being one of the best at bisecting the world and slapping on appropriate labels.

Today Schaeffer, 63, stands at the apex of a career that has exploded astonishingly in the last decade. But his past achievements and future projects are not the main thoughts occupying his mind right now: in a small apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, he is quietly fighting a battle for life.

Last fall Schaeffer was being filmed in a five-part series called Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, scheduled for release in September 1979. The shooting schedule had been arduous. He felt exceptionally tired, and had lost weight. Two days after completing the project he went for a medical checkup.

After examining Schaeffer, Swiss doctors rushed him to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and in one week the verdict was in: cancer of the lymph system, with a localized tumor the size of a football and cancer cells present in 30 percent of his bone structure. Since then he has lived several blocks away from the clinic.

Schaeffer has taken chemotherapy treatments, which often usher in debilitating side effects such as nausea and loss of hair. Yet he has been spared almost all side reactions except extreme fatigue. His body seems to be responding well to the treatment. Spiritually, he was as well prepared for the news as it is possible for a human to be. He had just completed a massive work project and had no other pressing ones scheduled. His Reformed background gave him an unshakable faith in a loving, sovereign God. And his wife ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.