J. Richard Pearcey: Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation Now Online ... Promises to Be an Essential Resource
Promises to Be an Essential Resource
Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation Now Online
By J. Richard Pearcey
The new website of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation has recently come online, and anyone who cares about the impact of people and ideas on thought and culture may well want to become familiar with it.
The Schaeffer Foundation is directed by German-born, former atheist Udo W. Middelmann. Middelmann is a thinker, writer, and speaker who has authored Proexistence (available at second-hand bookshops) and The Market-Driven Church, both of which are featured on The Pearcey Report.
Aspects of the site are still in development, but visitors can check out the foundation’s information about the “Summer Study Program,” the “Long Letters section,” and “Footnotes,” which contains articles and comments from the newsletter of the foundation.
A personal note: Nancy and I first met Udo (and wife Debby) Middelmann at L’Abri in Switzerland in the early ‘70s (we were all young!). Whether you are an atheist, agnostic, or just a regular human being looking for answers in the midst of oft-empty power structures, plastic celebrity, cruel but protected “leaders,” pretend thinkers, and whiz-bang spirituality, the resources and perspective offered by the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation could be a welcome breath of fresh air.
You may wonder:
Why the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation? “Few Christians have had as great an impact on their generation as Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer,” says the introduction to the website. “He communicated the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity, artistic sensitivity and a practical loving care. With a sharpened analytical mind he understood and uncovered the roots of modern thinking and its logical conclusion across a wide range of disciplines. In contrast to other worldviews and religions Christianity can stand truthfully, addressing our need to understand reality with our minds, to cope with it in our lives and to work into it with reasonable hope.
“The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation was incorporated in 1988 by Edith Schaeffer, Dr. Lane Dennis and Udo Middelmann as a foundation of ideas to advance the availability of Francis Schaeffer’s ideas in the form of written, taped and filmed resources to interested people around the world. Much more than in organizational structures he believed in the power of ideas and showed that cultures as well as individuals live with the consequences of their worldview. Schaeffer saw the Christian worldview as the only way to understand our existence in the world around us with nobility for all human beings, with real answers to the tough questions of life and death and with a coherent singular purpose to fulfill the mandate of God who has made us in his image.”
And who was Francis Schaeffer? “The unique contribution of Dr. Francis Schaeffer on a whole generation was the ability to communicate the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity with practical, loving care. This grew out of his extensive understanding of the Bible from a deep commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and a critical study of the world of man. These two pillars supported his inquisitive and analytical mind on the solid reality of the truth of God’s creation and of his revelation. He understood the roots of modern thinking in its rejection of reality and rationality and pointed out the logical conclusions in a wide range of disciplines and in society.
“Dr. Schaeffer understood that what a person believes will influence the way he acts in history and individual situations. There is a relationship between a person’s view of truth and life, between philosophy and practice, between faulty ideas and foolish choices. Dr. Schaeffer discussed the truth of reality with anyone in many settings. This in turn brought students, professionals, scholars and others from around the world to his home to learn from his insights. They returned with them to their own world and applied them to their circle of life and work. The ideas continue to bear fruit and to stimulate discussions and discoveries through more than 25 books, several films, taped seminars and lectures at leading universities in Europe, the US and abroad. The result has been a profound and enduring impact upon many thousands, who have themselves gone to make their own mark in history.
“The central thrust of Dr. Schaeffer’s teaching is that Biblical Christianity is the truth about the real world. The only reason to be a Christian is an acknowledgment of what is objectively true about human beings, the real world and the basic human predicaments (emphasis added). The Bible is true in all that it affirms. This emphasis is not so much the summary of academic instructions or doctrinal positions. It is the result of a searching mind, of being exposed to human history, the European culture and art, and of in-depth discussions with knowledgeable people for a life time of study, observation and work.”
Comments, questions, or information about the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation can be emailed to Udo Middelmann at UDDebCH@aol.com. Or write: Udo W. Middelmann, The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, CH 1882 Gryon, Switzerland.