Over the years there have been various books written on Francis Schaeffer, ranging from books reflecting on his life, discussion of his legacy to the critical evaluation of his apologetics. So why read another book on Francis Schaeffer, and particularly this book? What makes this work stand out among other books? What is unique about this book, is the author’s focus on the spiritual life of Francis Schaeffer, something the author argues was Schaeffer’s “most significant raison d’ete” that could be more thoroughly examined (Page 13). This work is not just a simple chronological presentation of historical facts from Schaeffer’s life; though Part one discusses the necessary biographical information of “the man and his times.” Rather the meat of the book is divided into two parts: (1) True Spirituality and (2) Trusting God for all of life. I enjoyed how the book captures Schaeffer’s spiritual life of embracing Biblical doctrines and a Spirit filled life. Schaeffer was a man who didn’t compromise with the fundamentals of the faith while at the same time he was able to truly love those who were lost and desiring their salvation. I’m particularly grateful for the author’s anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book of his personal knowledge of Francis Schaeffer and his family. Francis Schaeffer was used by the Lord to bring the author, William Edgar, to salvation when he was a young Harvard college student. Edgar is currently a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, a testimony of the spiritual impact that Francis Schaeffer has made upon the author. Schaeffer did not always have everything accurate when it came to the details of philosophy and Edgar acknowledges this in his book. What I appreciated about this work is that Edgar was able to admit to Schaeffer’s imperfection without tarnishing the man or being nit-picky. In fact, I thought this further advanced the author’s thesis that Schaeffer’s spiritual life played a greater influence in his ministry than just philosophy or apologetics in of itself. As the author recounts: while not everyone necessarily came to faith after visiting Schaeffer’s L’Abri, no one doubts that Francis Schaeffer is a loving worldview evangelist with a pastoral heart. And in an age where doubt is encouraged as a virtue, that’s very telling. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Readers who are familiar with Cornelius Van Til and Hans Rookmaaker will also get a treat from Edgar’s perspective in his comparison and contrast of these men, and Schaeffer’s relationship to these men.
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Thank you Angie Cheatham at Crossway for proving me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.