Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Francis Schaeffer

At Antioch (my church in Bend, Oregon),* Pastor Ken Wytsma is in the middle of his annual two-week sermon biography series. This year, he's doing Francis Schaeffer, one of my favorite Christian apologists.

For Schaeffer, the ultimate apologetic for Christianity was loving others. Oh, he could reason with the best of folks--he recognized Christianity as the uniquely coherent and explanatory worldview and spent the latter part of his life defending it to seekers and skeptics alike.

But he also recognized that without the love of Jesus evident in one's life no amount or quality of argument was sufficient. This led him--with his wife Edith--to open L'Abri, their chalet home in the Swiss Alps, to strangers of all sorts, especially young, disillusioned intellectuals looking for meaning in life. Through their hospitality and concern, the Schaeffers earned the right to speak truth into the lives of uncounted folks who found in the L'Abri community the answers--and the love--for which they were searching.

At Antioch, we, too, are taking seriously Jesus' love for the "least of these." It was fitting (on a Sunday on which the sermon was about Francis schaeffer) that our Director of Compassion and Advocacy, Courtney Christenson, shared with us a very tangible example of this. As part of our three-week Human Rights Series (back in November), we began supporting Ransom Wear, an organization that helps Nepalese women escape sex slavery (in India) and rebuild their lives. An integral part of their program is houses at strategic border crossings where Ransom Wear personnel help prevent young girls (often sold by a male family member) from crossing into India where an unspeakable life of sex slavery would otherwise await them. What Courtney shared with us was that this aspect of the ministry would have had to have been shut down, but for the support that Antioch folks have provided.

This is just one of the ways in which we, as a community of Christians, are attempting to follow Jesus. Like the great apologist Francis Schaeffer, we can all recognize what an effective apologetic this sort of compassion is.

*Antioch is moving this Sunday from the Regal Cinemas (where we've been since our birth in October 2006) to Summit High School (with a single service at 10:00).

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