Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

Archive for the ‘Francis A. Schaeffer’ Category

Early Tracts by Francis Schaeffer, Part 5 : Children for Christ

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 09/03/2012 at 10:36

These last three tracts by Dr. Schaeffer all concern the Children for Christ organization which he established in 1945. When Schaeffer moved to St. Louis to serve as the pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church, he had already been quite involved with children’s ministry, both with his first church in Grove City, PA and at the church in Chester, PA, under the leadership of the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem. Schaeffer had employed Lathem’s Summer Bible School program immediately upon arriving at his first pastorate and took that church from twenty members to one hundred members in just two years. Regrettably, under Dr. Lathem, Schaeffer was tasked largely with overseeing the construction of a new church (during the Great Depression and constructed by the members of the congregation!). Schaeffer soldiered on through the construction, but when the building was built and Schaeffer was ready to get back to full time ministry, Lathem’s decision to construct an education building prompted Schaeffer’s departure to another pastorate.

In those same years, Dr. Lathem had been pondering the need for something more than just a summer Bible program. A solid year-round program was needed. Schaeffer shared that same concern, and not long after his arrival in St. Louis, after an initial association with the Child Evangelism Association, Dr. Schaeffer and others in the St. Louis church came up with the Children for Christ program in 1944. Named after a well-known book by Andrew Murray, the program was described as “a complete, integrated program for the entire children’s work of the local church or mission.”

The first tract, above, is a simple tri-fold promotional tract telling about the program. The content of the tract places the publication date around 1949-1950.  The second tract, “7 Points . . . How?” is dated 1946 and is a more extensive description of the full program of the Children for Christ ministry. This tract bears only the St. Louis address of the ministry, which incidentally was the address of the church manse. Pictured on the cover of the tract are two children from the St. Louis church, Susan Schaeffer and Nick Barker. The original photographer’s still shots for this cover were recently located among the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr.

By 1945 the program had become national. Our third tract thus bears a copyright date of 1945, but was printed around 1949-1950, given that the cover has both the St. Louis address for the ministry and an address in Switzerland for the director, Dr. Schaeffer, who had by this time relocated his family there in order to begin a ministry of church planting, as well as overseeing the establishment of Children for Christ chapters in Europe.

The seven points of the Children for Christ program were as follows:
Evangelization of the Children
1. Home Classes.
2. Dismissed or Released Time Classes.
3. Open-Air Work.
Directing the Children to the Church.
4. Boys and Girls Club Work.
5. Summer Bible School.
6. Camp.
7. Rallies.

Advertisements

Early Tracts by Francis Schaeffer, Part 4 (1946)

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 02/03/2012 at 15:47

From our recent accession of the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr., the next in our series of early tracts by Dr. Schaeffer is one titled “Peter Versus The Papacy”.  Whereas we already had one or two copies of each of the tracts on Baptism and The Holy Catholic Church, I had not previously seen a copy of this tract.

Like the other two tracts, this title bears a date inside the front cover indicating when the message was originally delivered—in this case, February 17, 1946.

Rev. Schaeffer’s message in this case is shorter than that of the previous tracts. The tract prints out to just fourteen pages in length. And there are no printed subdivisions of the text, as there were with the others. Rev. Schaeffer opens the message in this way:

Tomorrow is February 18. This is a great date in thereligiouslife of the world. It is a great date: (1) for the Roman Catholic Church, because the largest number of men ever to be named as Cardinals at one time will receive their official notification from the Pope; (2) for Protestants, although most Protestants do not seem to realize the significance of the day, because tomorrow marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther.

. . .The falling of these two events on a single day could not be by coincidence. Rather, Rome has chosen this time to name her Cardinals to join the issue once more between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Since Rome has so seen fit, our theme for this morning will be “Peter Versus the Papacy.”

The keystone of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is the primacy of Peter. Therefore, today let us see what the Word of God has to say concerning Peter and his teaching. . .

Physical aspects: The construction of the tract is similar to that of the other two. Four sheets of tan 30-35 lbs. paper, measuring 6″ h. x 7″ w. and duplex printed with dark brown ink, folded and assembled to form the signature, with a single saddle-stitch staple for binding. And as I mentioned before, the Moginot collection has copies of the “Holy Catholic Church” tract with this same tan colored paper, as well as with a salmon colored paper. That message was first printed in 1944 and the one on “Peter versus the Papacy” in 1946. Given the related topics, it is easy to see how there might have been a need to reprint the first title.

Early Tracts of Francis Schaeffer, Part 3 [1944]

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 01/03/2012 at 12:55

Continuing with our series on the handful of tracts by Francis Schaeffer, all of these tracts were published while he was the pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri. That pastorate began in December of 1943 and ended late in 1948. Leaving that pulpit, he then moved his family to Switzerland to begin a ministry of church planting.

Today we’ll focus on another of these tracts which were recently accessioned from the estate of the Rev. Albert F. Moginot.

“The Holy Catholic Church”

Inside the front cover of this tract there is the note that this message was originally preached in St. Louis on 12 November 1944. At that time Dr. Schaeffer had been the pastor of the St. Louis church for just less than one year. St. Louis is a city with a particularly large population of Roman Catholics. In fact, the city is second only to New Orleans in the observation of Mardi Gras. So in that setting it would not be surprising to find many in a Protestant congregation who were troubled by some of the words in the Apostles’ Creed. It is a common concern and misunderstanding, one that the young pastor sought to address. Going beyond that, the tract is also a brief apologetic for a biblical faith, over against the errors of Roman Catholicism. Rev. Schaeffer begins his message with the following statement:

Of all the phrases of the Apostles’ Creed, the one which is most open to misunderstanding is: “I believe in the holy Catholic Church.” Many Protestants, feeling that in some way this portion of the Apostles’ Creed refers to the Roman Catholic Church, are ashamed to repeat it. Let us say, as we begin, that not only does “the holy Catholic Church” have no reference to Roman Catholicism, but it is the very antithesis of it.

Schaeffer then touches on the following points in examination of his topic:
• The Church Is One.
• Entrance into the Universal Church.
• The Bible.
• The Sacraments.
• Baptism.
• Confirmation.
• Penance.
• Mass.
• The Church Is Holy.
• Conclusion.

Rev. Schaeffer’s conclusion provides an excellent summary of his message:

We should repeat this portion of the Apostles’ Creed with heads held high and with the determination not to give up this name catholic, which is ours. We who are true believers are the holy Catholic Church. I am a Christian because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and for no other reason. My friends, therefore, I am a member of the universal Church, the Church catholic.
. . . Let me say again that I do not hate or dislike the individual Romanist. I hate no man because of his creed any more than because of his race. There is no place for these things in the Christian heart. I also realize that there may be Christians in the Roman Catholic Church; but if there are, they have been saved through faith in Christ in spite of the errors of their Romanism. Perhaps there are Roman Catholics here this morning, and perhaps there is someone here that the Roman hierarchy has sent to hear what we have to say because of the ad we had in the paper yesterday. If this is so, I am glad you are here, and it is my prayer that you will put your faith in Jesus instead of any church, and thus be saved. Do no misunderstand us, we are not urging you to believe in our church to be saved. No church can save you—ours or any other. You must believe in Jesus Christ who paid all the price for your sin on the cross. Then you will have everlasting life immediately and forever. Jesus Christ Himself said in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him (on Jesus) is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
For those of you who are Christians, it is my prayer for you that you go from this place with a realization that it is our task to lead the Romanist to Christ. If you leave with any other feeling, then our study this morning has been a failure. By the grace of God, realizing that no church saves, but that each individual soul must put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be determined that we will bear a good testimony to all who are lost.

Physical features of the tract:
This tract is similar in quality and construction to the tract on baptism. Four sheets of salmon colored paper, approximately 30-35 lbs. basis weight, form the signature with a total of 16 numbered pages. The text is duplex printed with dark red ink. Two saddle-stitch staples bind the assembled tract. Apparently there was at least a second printing of this tract, based upon the presence in the collection of another copy of this title but with light tan paper printed in dark brown ink. I judge this to be a second printing, probably dating from 1946, based upon another tract of that date with the same color scheme. We’ll look at that tract tomorrow.

Early Tracts of Francis Schaeffer, Part 2 [1944-1946]

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 29/02/2012 at 12:29

Continuing with our review of some of the Schaeffer tracts found in the estate of Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, all of these tracts were published while he was serving as the pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis. The tract featured in our previous post, “The Bible-believing Christian and the Jew”, was written and published prior to his taking that St. Louis pulpit. These next several date entirely from within the period of his St. Louis pastorate.

The Federal Council Represents You If . . .

Rev. Schaeffer apparently produced this tract in concert with Carl McIntire’s efforts to establish the American Council of Christian Churches as a theologically conservative answer to the Federal Council of Churches, though the ACCC is never mentioned in the tract. The Federal Council had been established in 1908 and had come to hold a controlling position over access by pastors to the nascent Red and Blue radio networks. The federal government also looked to the Federal Council of Churches for direction in the allotment of military chaplaincy slots. McIntire’s initial goals for the American Council of Christian Churches, organized in 1941, were to gain radio air-time for conservative pastors and to open the doors for conservative pastors to serve as chaplains.

This tract, like the previous, was simple in its production and relatively inexpensive to produce. It is made from a single sheet of blue paper, 25-30 lbs. basis weight, measuring 6″ h. x 7″ w. and folded to create four panels. The address shown at the bottom on the title page is that of the church. [for more on that church building, click here.]

Baptism

This next tract can be dated more exactly, as it has the statement on the inside front cover that it was a message preached in St. Louis on 30 March 1947.  It must have been a long sermon, for the tract prints out to twenty pages in length. The outline of Dr. Schaeffer’s argument for infant baptism is as follows:
INTRODUCTION
IMMERSION
• Baptistic Arguments
INFANT BAPTISM
• Salvation by Faith Alone
• Covenant Is Immutable
• Covenant Is Primarily Spiritual
• The Outward Sign
• Sign Applied to Infants
• New Testament Practice
• Church History
• Baptistic Arguments
CONCLUSION
Questions Asked Publicly of Parents Before Infant Is Baptized

While this message was not included in the five volume Works of Dr. Schaeffer, still this title has remained in print and is currently available in a nicely reformatted edition from the PCA’s Christian Education & Publications bookstore. The content of that edition remains the same, but for the deletion of an opening statement by Dr. Schaeffer, and that statement provides the historical context of the sermon as originally delivered:

In the almost three and a half years that I have been your Pastor, I have not preached on the subject of Baptism, but now we come to this subject in our series of sermons on “What We Believe.”

The production values of this tract are obviously higher, with the use of a heavier paper stock. Five sheets of light gray paper measuring 6″ h. x 7″ w. are duplex printed with dark blue ink, and the sheets assembled to form the signature, a single saddle-stitch staple completing the binding of the tract.

Remembering Bud Moginot

In Bible Presbyterian Church, Francis A. Schaeffer on 28/02/2012 at 09:29

I’ve spent the last three Saturdays retrieving the Papers of Albert F. Moginot, Jr., a PCA pastor known to all simply as “Bud”.  Rev. Moginot died this past December at the age of 88, and about a year after the death of his beloved wife Vivian. He was born in 1923, was educated at William Jennings Bryan College and Washington University, and then prepared for the ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he was ordained in the Bible Presbyterian Church and installed as associate pastor to Francis Schaeffer in 1948, right about the time that the Schaeffer’s were preparing to move to Switzerland to begin a ministry of church planting and children’s ministry. Bud’s wife Vivian served as Dr. Schaeffer’s secretary. The picture on the cover of the funeral bulletin dates from about that time with the Schaeffers.

From 1948 to 1973, Rev. Moginot was the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alton, Illinois. He then stepped away from pulpit ministry to serve from 1974 to 1993 at Covenant Theological Seminary. In the latter years of that term, he also began to be active as a chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol. I think he was especially proud of that service, serving in that capacity right up until about a year before his death. But it was probably his term of service as Pastor of Visitation ministry at the Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church where Bud really hit his stride. He began that work in 1991, and continued faithfully until forced into retirement by a brain aneurism. Rev. Moginot led many to Christ and pointed everyone to his Savior.

Bud Moginot also served as the Stated Clerk for Missouri Presbytery from 1982 to 1995, and from what I can tell, the dear brother never threw anything away. The kind of guy archivists love! Regrettably, not everything has been found in the best shape. Some things were stored in the basement; some things were stored in the attic. Neither location is suited to preservation. But in all, some thirty boxes of documents have been retrieved from Bud’s house, and I’ve begun the work of an initial sorting of the papers. Much of the material concerns the Missouri Presbytery, as you would expect. But every once in a while there are some unexpected jewels. The next several posts will focus on some of those jewels that I’ve found among Bud’s papers.

Who Are the True Revolutionaries?

In Francis A. Schaeffer, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Modernism on 09/07/2011 at 12:38

As the Schaeffers were preparing to move to Europe, the following article was published in BIBLICAL MISSIONS, the newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, under whose auspices the Schaeffers initially moved onto the European field, with the intent of planting theologically sound churches. The picture shown here is from the January 1949 issue of that same newsletter.
Some will remember that this same title “Revolutionary Christianity” appears as the title of the last chapter of Schaeffer’s book,
THE CHURCH AT THE END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. The content of the 1948 article is entirely different, though it would be an interesting exercise to compare the two messages. Great minds are always building on prior accomplishments and advances, and I have to think that Schaeffer hadn’t forgotten this 1948 article when he so titled that last chapter of his book in 1970. For instance, does the latter contain an outworking of ideas first formulated in the earlier article.

REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANITY
Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer
[Biblical Missions 14.2 (February 1948): 27-31.]

The International Missionary Council met at Whitby, Ontario, in the summer of 1947. In reporting on that meeting, Reinhold Niebuhr’s paper, “Christianity and Crisis,” in its issue of November 10, 1947, gave an account of one of the speeches in which account it stated: “Bishop Neill, successful Oxford missioner, warned lest the church cease to be revolutionary and identify itself with the status quo, the powers that be. ‘Then,’ he said, ‘the revolution goes forward under demonic powers, which God uses to discipline the Church.’ The church losing its mission becomes irrelevant.”

This is a highly significant statement, for it is an illustration of the type of thinking that dominates the modernistic missionary movements, including those that are Barthian and neo-Barthian. Insofar as this statement was presented at this un-Biblical, but influential missionary conference, it is well to analyze carefully this problem in a Bible-believing missionary magazine.

What is meant by “revolutionary Christianity” is that we now need a socialized gospel. To these men the revolutionary concept of Christianity is a part of world betterment through a revolution in the economic field; to them, socialization is the next upward step for Christianity to take. When therefore these men speak of “irrelevant Christianity” they mean Bible-believing Christianity. To them, our historic emphasis that the church’s task is to preach Christ crucified and raised from the dead that men might accept Christ as their personal Saviour and be justified by faith alone, is irrelevant and little more than magic.

The sad thing is that there are some Bible-believing Christians who five excuse for such charges. Orthodoxy is in a constant danger of allowing hat orthodoxy to ossify so that it has no impact on life. Historic, Bible-believing Christianity believes that the task of the church is to preach Christ and Him crucified and that men are justified by faith alone; but his does not mean that after a man has accepted Christ as his Saviour his Christianity should not show, or need not show, in every aspect of his life. In spite of the minority of Bible-believing Christians who are irrelevant, historic Bible-believing Christianity has been and is the true revolutionary Christianity. We have the revolutionary Christianity, not the Modernists and neo-Barthians.

Spiritually

Historic Christianity is revolutionary Spiritually. By revolutionary, I mean that it is totally contrary to all the other religions of the world. Consider the prophets. They were the revolutionists, and they stood alone against their day. Christ, God the Son, when He was on earth, was revolutionary in that He stood alone against His day. Paul was revolutionary, and wherever he went, both Jews and pagans felt the clash of his message against the established religious order. In church history, the outstanding leaders have always been considered revolutionary. Who could be more I revolutionary than Luther standing against the established order of the I Catholic Church? The Reformation Monument in Geneva has carved in stone, “After the darkness came forth light.” Let us never forget that Calvin and those who were with him were revolutionists of the first order in spiritual things. Whitefield and Wesley preached in the fields because the churches were shut to them. The churches were shut to them because these men were spiritual revolutionists against the whole trend of the dead orthodoxy of their day. In our day, has the matter changed? Not a bit. We are the spiritual revolutionists of our hour. All else are agreed against us. The message of the cross is always against the whole world concept around about us. It is against the prince of this world. In spiritual matters, we have the revolutionary message, because the Biblical message in our age, as in every age, is totally contrary to all the religions of the world.

The Christian Century in reporting our attempt, by the grace of God, to form an International Council of Bible-believing Christians, said this attempt was of the Devil. Why have these men resurrected the Devil for us? It has been years since we have heard them mention the Devil. They do not say that the Roman Catholics are motivated by the Devil. At times, it is true, because of growing Roman Catholic political power, we hear them say that Rome is wrong politically, but in religious matters they hold out the hand of fellowship to Rome. They do not say that the Unitarians are of the Devil. In the leadership of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America and in the World Council there are men who individually hold the Unitarian position. They do not even say that the Hindu and the Mohammedan, or the Shintoist is of the Devil. In the Religious Congress that is being called in Boston for the United Nations, the modernistic leaders are calling to these primitive paganisms that they should labor together for world fellowship and brotherhood. However, when it comes to the Bible-believing Christian, then it is a different matter. Why is it that we are the only group they will fight religiously? Because we are the revolutionary group. The simple fact is, that religiously Modernism (including Barthianism and neo-Barthianism). Romanism, Greek Orthodoxy, and the rest, while having differences among themselves, are one in their basic errors. Read the rest of this entry »

The Old Place Is Up For Sale

In Francis A. Schaeffer on 08/07/2011 at 14:51

Pastor Ryan Laughlin, Covenant PCA here in St. Louis, notified me today of the availability of the old building on the corner of Union & Enright where Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer served as pastor in the 1940’s. Schaeffer was the second pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, following John Sanderson. The building has an interesting history  as detailed below. Links to the current listing and the realtor’s description of the property appear at the end of this post. [I have no financial interest in the sale of the property—only historical interest.]

The building was originally constructed in 1907 as the fourth location of the Church of the Messiah, a Unitarian congregation led by William Greenleaf Eliot, noted also as the grandfather of T.S. Eliot.  That group moved to 5007 Waterman near Kingshighway in 1917 and it is unclear what the status of the building was between 1917 and 1938, though they did retain ownership of the property. An Orthodox Jewish body, the Agundas Hakhilos Congregation, used the building as their first place of meeting in 1938, but moved out in January of 1939 when they were unable to negotiate a successful agreement for purchase the building from the Church of the Messiah.

Thus in the providence of God, the property became available to the recently organized First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis. Comprised of people who were leaving the Memorial Presbyterian Church, the group had organized on 11 December 1938 at 5849 Cates, in the home of B.E. Fisher, and their first services were held on that day with services led by the Rev. Carl McIntire.  In the early months of 1939, Drs. Harold S. Laird and J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. each came to preach to the young congregation. Then in April of 1939, the building at 800 N. Union was purchased from the Church of the Messiah.

Until 1940, student supplies from Faith Theological Seminary served the church. Boyd Lentz was the first of these men, followed by Phil Lytle and Philip Stutsman. Some improvement on the situation was made when the Rev. Dwight C. Chapin came to serve as supply until the church was finally able to call the Rev. John Sanderson as its first pastor in 1941. In September of 1943 Sanderson left to serve as a professor at Faith Theological Seminary and the church called a young minister by the name of Francis A. Schaeffer as its next pastor. Schaeffer first came to preach for the congregation on 3 October 1943. A call was extended by the congregation on 20 October 1943, with provision for a salary of $175 per month and an allowance of $45 per month for rent [though a decision was soon made to purchase the property at 5842 Waterman Ave. as a manse].

Schaeffer “informed the congregation of his desire to build up and increase attendance, especially at the Sunday evening worship service and the Wednesday evening prayer meetings, emphasizing the importance of both meetings and requesting the elders to give prayerful thought to the matter. He also spoke of the importance of child evangelism and his desire to forward that movement. Children For Christ was one of the key ministries established by Rev. Schaeffer during his time in St. Louis. Much of this ministry was built on the Summer Bible School program established by the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem, a program which Schaeffer utilized in his first pastorate, at Grove City, PA. His first sermon as the new pastor of the church was on 5 December 1943 and was titled “Believing in the Light of His Coming.”

Rev. Schaeffer and the Summer Bible School,
on the steps of the 800 N. Union property in 1944.
Click here to view a (much!) larger version of the photograph.

Not two years later, in September of 1945, the Session Minutes of the First Bible Presbyterian Church record this note:

Our pastor F.A. Schaeffer brought before us a letter he received from Dr. J. Gordon Holdcroft general secretary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions asking if he would consider or be willing if he felt that the Lord had called him to go to Germany as a missionary to start a work there that would be sound. It was stated that Rev. Carl Straub pastor of the Afton Bible Presbyterian Church might go along as a helper.
There was much discussion about it and it was the general consensus of opinion that the board might have been hasty in the matter and not given it as much thought as it should have, due to the fact that it might have a detrimental effect on the work here in St. Louis.
No concrete action was taken at this time as it was the thought of the session as well as the moderators that the will of the Lord be done and since no one present knew what the Lord would have Mr. Schaeffer do the meeting was brought to a close after a season of prayer asking God for His guidance. Read the rest of this entry »

F.A. Schaeffer : “A Review of a Review” (1948)

In Francis A. Schaeffer, J. Oliver Buswell on 02/07/2011 at 09:04

Though not widely known, this work is significant among Dr. Schaeffer’s writings as it sets out the general direction of his apologetic and evangelistic method. Essentially, he finds a middle path between evidentialism and presuppositionalism while at the same time refusing to be confined to either posture. Instead, his overwhelming emphasis is on the presentation of the gospel, utilizing whatever tools are at hand to expose each person’s sin and need of the salvation which is in Christ alone.

Schaeffer mentions “the articles” (plural) and that caused me to look back in some of the earlier issues of THE BIBLE TODAY. While our focus here begins with Buswell’s article in the May issue, the fuller scope begins with an earlier review by Buswell of Gordon H. Clark’s book, A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION in the October 1947 issue. That review led in turn to three replies by Clark plus an article by Vernon Grounds titled “Does the Bible Sanction Apologetic?” All of these appeared prior to the exchange that I am now posting. Perhaps at some later date I’ll post the earlier exchange between Buswell, Clark and Grounds.

A Review Of A Review
Presuppositionalism, THE BIBLE TODAY, May, 1948
By the REV. FRANCIS A. SCHAEFFER.
[originally printed in The Bible Today, October, 1948, pages 7 – 9.]

Editor [i.e., Buswell] : Considerable interest in the question of Presuppositionalism and traditional Christian evidence in evangelism has been created by recent book reviews and articles in The Bible Today. We are delighted to present this article by the Rev. Francis Schaeffer, a former student and a friend and admirer of Dr. Van Til’s.

The material which has appeared in The Bible Today dealing with what Dr. Buswell calls “Presuppositionalism” has interested me greatly. I have before me these articles in The Bible Today, and on the other hand I remember vividly the good things I received from Dr. Van Til’s courses. It seems to me, as I understand it, that the problem is not unsolvable.

1. Both sides agree that the unregenerate man cannot be argued into heaven apart from the Sovereign Call of God. (The Bible Today, May 1948, page 242, “Certainly the Scriptural doctrine of the Sovereignty of God forbids the elimination of compulsion,…” Page 244 “The distinction between Presuppositionalism and the philosophy of traditional Christian evidence is not by any means that the one recognizes the power of the Holy Spirit more than the other. It is agreed that arguments, inductive and deductive, are never sufficient to work the work of regeneration.” “Nothing but the specific work of the Holy Spirit in conviction and regeneration can be regarded as the efficient cause of individual salvation.”

2. From the human viewpoint, neither side would say, I am sure, that it is possible for a man (remembering the fall) to simply reason from nature to a saving knowledge of nature’s God without an act of personal faith. Bare knowledge without faith cannot save. (Page 244, “one may be intellectually convinced that Christianity is true and yet may reject Jesus Christ.”)

3. Neither side, I am sure, would say that it is no use talking or preaching to the unsaved man. Both sides do. Neither would either side say that the Holy Spirit does not use Christian apologetics when it pleases him to do so. Both sides certainly use apologetics in dealing with the intellectual unbeliever.

4. As I remember Dr. Van Til’s practical approach, it was to show the non-Christian that his world view, en toto, and in all its parts, must logically lead back to full irrationalism and then to show him that the Christian system provides the universal which gives avowed* explanation of the universe. It is Christianity or nothing.
[*As per a correction issued in the November 1948 issue of The Bible Today, the words “avowed explanation” should have read “a valid explanation” ]
Read the rest of this entry »

First Commencement: Faith Seminary

In Faith Theological Seminary, Francis A. Schaeffer, Theological Seminaries on 23/05/2011 at 17:05

Second in our series on first commencement addresses —

“Soldiers and Servants of Christ”

Delivered by the Rev. James R. Graham, at the First Commencement of Faith Theological Seminary, in Wilmington, DE.
[The Christian Beacon 3.24 (21 July 1938): 3-4.]

2 Tim. 2: 3.—”Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

In the second chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy we have the seven characterizations of the Christian believer. In the first verse we find the initial relationship of sonship. In the third verse we find the soldier, and in the fifth the athlete. In the sixth we have the farmer, and in the fifteenth the skilled workman. In the twentieth verse we have the vessel, and in the twenty-fourth the servant.

It should be the purpose of the well-rounded believer to stand before his Saviour with a combination of the distinctive features found in these seven characterizations. None save Jesus of Nazareth, the only-begotten Son with the full-orbed perfections of His moral glory, ever attained fully to such a combination of virtues. It is a goal to be striven for, however — the intimate fellowship of sonship, the courageous devotion of the soldier, the strict training and rule-observance of the athlete, the unapplauded labor of the farmer, the dexterous use of our implement (the Word of God) as a skilled workman, the golden receptacle of divine truth unaffected by the acid canker of time, and finally the unobtrusive patience of the servant.

We are particularly concerned in this study with the second character, the soldier, in comparison and contrast with the seventh, the servant.

There, are clear distinctions between these two characters as regards their place of service, qualifications, responsibility, duration, and time.

It is necessary, first of all, for us to be born into the family of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit before we can possibly fulfill any character of service, but it is significant that the first character enjoined after the prerequisite initial step is that of the soldier and the last is that of the servant.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The clear understanding with which any man enlists in an army is that he must be prepared to encounter any degree of danger, even to the extent of giving up his life for the glory of his master and captain, and for “the successful prosecution of the war.” It is inherent in the character of the soldier that he be an offensive as well as a defensive agent. Since it is his business to fight he can expect nothing more on occasion than to be attacked by the opponents of the cause with which he has allied himself. He serves in a place of perpetual danger. He is not only exposed to physical danger but must gladly share the criticism and opprobrium heaped upon his captain by the adversaries; and must endure the murmurings and defections of weak and fearful allies. Read the rest of this entry »

Francis Schaeffer on our Presbyterian heritage (1982)

In Francis A. Schaeffer, Joining & Receiving, Presbyterian Church in America on 01/07/2009 at 09:35

The following quote is taken from an address given by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer before the Tenth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, on the occasion of the reception of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod into the PCA.  Dr. Schaeffer’s address was subsequently printed as a separate monograph and it is also available online at the PCA Historical Center’s web site.  The direct link is http://www.pcahistory.org/findingaids/schaeffer/JandR.html

“As Presbyterians our heritage is with a Calvin who dared to stand against the Dukes of Savoy regardless of what it
cost.  Our heritage is with a John Knox who taught us, as I’ve stressed in A Christian Manifesto, a great theology of standing against tyranny.  Our heritage is with a Samuel Rutherford who wrote those flaming words, Lex Rex—only the law is king and “king” under any name must never be allowed to arbitrary law.  Are you Presbyterians?  Have we a Presbyterian body?  These men are the men who give us our heritage—Calvin and his position, John Knox and his, Samuel Rutherford his, and no less than these in our own country, a John Witherspoon who understood that tyranny must be met and must be met squarely because tyranny is wrong.  These who understood that true love in this fallen world often meant the acceptance of the tears which go with confrontation.  None of us like confrontation, or I hope
none of us do.  But in a fallen world there is confrontation, there is confrontation concerning truth, there must be confrontation against evil and that which is wrong.  The love must be there but so must the hard thing of acting upon differentiation, the differentiation God gives between truth and falsehood, between what is just, based on God’s existence and His justice, and injustice.”