True Education

Francis Schaeffer (1912 –1984), twentieth-century pastor, theologian, and author, is best known for founding the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland in 1955. His many books and lectures sought to educate Christian leaders toward a creation-affirming and culture-challenging message. In this excerpt, taken from his book The God Who Is There, Schaeffer speaks to a fundamental problem in the modern Church—the lack of understanding of the world in which She lives.

In our modern forms of specialized education there is a tendency to lose the whole in the parts, and in this sense we can say that our generation produces few truly educated men. True education means thinking by association across the various disciplines, and not just being highly qualified in one field, as a technician might be. I suppose no discipline has tended to think more in fragmented fashion than the orthodox or evangelical theology of today.

Those standing in the stream of historic Christianity have been especially slow to understand the relationships between various areas of thought. When the Apostle warned us to ‘keep ourselves—unspotted from the world’,1 he was not talking of some abstraction. If the Christian is to apply this injunction to himself he must understand what confronts him antagonistically in his own moment of history. Otherwise he simply becomes a useless museum piece and not a living warrior for Jesus Christ.

The orthodox Christian has paid a very heavy price, both in the defense and communication of the Gospel, for his failure to think and act as an educated man at grips with the uniformity of our modern culture.2


1 James 1:27

2 Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There: Speaking Historic Christianity into the Twentieth Century (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1968), 19.

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