Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) attended Hampton-Sydney College and upon graduation married Edith Seville (daughter of missionaries to China) and entered Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1935. After two years he transferred to the newly established Faith Seminary in Wilmington, Delaware along with Vernon Grounds and others. Schaeffer served two churches as pastor before moving his family to Switzerland in 1948 where he started a ministry for children living in war-torn Europe. In time, his ministry developed beyond a children’s ministry to university students and as Time magazine noted, to a ministry to the European intellectual. This was not something that was planned, it merely developed as the Schaeffers prayed and lived out their lives the best they knew how under the Lordship of Christ. In time, their work was known officially as L’Abri (Fr. Shelter) which continues to this day.
Schaeffer was a Christian apologist known for allowing unbelievers to realize the logical conclusion of their worldviews. He referred to this as “taking off the roof” in that, he allowed the unbelievers to see that the system which they were trusting in simply did not fit the real world. Once they come to that point he would show them how historic Christianity answered the questions reality presented. A hallmark of Schaeffer’s apologetic was that it was driven by a deep and abiding love for humanity in which he truly empathized with those who were struggling with life in a world that was terribly out of joint. He would spend hours with one person asking questions until the individual had sufficient information to think further on the matter.
In 1978 Schaeffer learned that he had lymphoma cancer, succumbing to it in May 1984. However, almost until his death he maintained an active speaking schedule. During his life time he carried on a voluminous correspondence with many of the great evangelical minds of the day. He wrote 27 books (and many pamphlets), and produced two films with his son Frank. Of the two films, the most well-known is How Should We then Live? which is a companion to a book by the same title. In the second film, Whatever Happened to the Human Race with Everett Koop, Schaeffer shows the social and philosophical outcomes of abortion. Also, he wrote on responsible stewardship of creation long before others were talking about it. Schaeffer not only could think with the best minds of his day, he lived out his Christianity in very practical ways and urged all in the church to do the same.
It is a privilege of enormous proportions to serve as the director of this collection. In the end, only the Day will properly declare the breadth and depth of influence the life of this one man had on the Kingdom of God.