Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer, Spiritual Reality in the Personal Life, edited by Lane T. Dennis (Crossway, 1985, 264 pp.; $15.95, cloth). Reviewed by R. Laird Harris, professor emeritus, Covenant Theological Seminary.

The legacy of the late Francis A. Schaeffer is well known both inside and outside evangelical circles:

First, his work at L’Abri, his “shelter” in Huemoz, Switzerland, with troubled young people during the sixties and after was phenomenal. And the work of the various L’Abri centers goes on.

Second, his 23 books, beginning with The God Who Is There in 1968, have been widely used and loved.

Now, a selection of his letters dealing with spiritual and doctrinal questions will extend and perpetuate the influence of this leader of God’s people. The editor worked extensively with Schaeffer and his wife, Edith, and was in a position to make a representative selection from an amazing corpus of 19,000 letters. The collection covers the areas of spiritual reality—its awakening, its part in daily life, and its place in marriage, family, and sexual relations. One may wonder what other types of letters were omitted. But for these we are grateful.

Separatism And Balance

I knew Francis Schaeffer as a fellow student, then as a fellow minister, and most of all as a Christian friend, right through to his death in 1984.

At first, Schaeffer was part of the separatist group that, under J. Gresham Machen, had left the Northern Presbyterian Church and Princeton Theological Seminary to form Westminster Seminary. In 1938 Schaeffer graduated from Faith Theological Seminary, which had broken off from Westminster, partly over the proper interpretation of personal Christian holiness. One of Faith’s slogans was “A Vital Spiritual Life.” Schaeffer ...

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.