compiled by Daryl E. Witmer During this final quarter of 1998 the PROCLAMATION is featuring excerpts from the teaching of three of the most highly revered definers and defenders of the Christian faith to have lived during the 20th century. This month's answers by the late Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer are all sourced in Dr. Schaeffer's classic work The God Who Is There (TGWIT), ©1968 IVP. For purposes of this series, Dr. Schaeffer's writings are presented here in interview format although there was no actual exchange. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) was an author, thinker, and speaker. TIME magazine once called him "a missionary to the intellectuals." In 1955 he and his wife founded The L'Abri Fellowship, a community in the Swiss Alps intended to assist sincere seekers in arriving at a sound basis for the Christian faith. Dr. Schaeffer's books have been translated into more than 25 languages, with over 3 million in print. For further information on L'Abri, call 508-481-6490. OUR QUESTION Isn't it possible that all religions point to the same God - one that is just perceived in different ways? DR. SCHAEFFER'S ANSWER "The God who is there according to the Scriptures is the personal-infinite God. There is no other god like this God. It is ridiculous to say that all religions teach the same things when they disagree at the fundamental point as to what God is like. The gods of the East are infinite by definition - the definition being 'god is all that is'. This is the pan-everything-ism god. The gods of the West have tended to be personal but limited; such were the gods of the Greeks, Romans and Germans. But the God of the Bible, Old and New Testaments alike, is the infinite-personal God." -TGWIT, p94, ©1968 IVP OUR QUESTION How is God related to Himself and to His creation? DR. SCHAEFFER'S ANSWER "On the side of God's infinity there is a break between God and the whole of His creation. I am as separated from God in the area of His being the Creator and infinite, and I being the creature and finite, as is the atom or energy particle. I am no closer to God on this side than the machine. However, on the side of God's personality, the break comes between man and the rest of creation." -TGWIT, pp94-95, ©1968 IVP _________________________________________________ "A man can only love a God who exists and is personal and about whom he has knowledge." -FAS _________________________________________________ OUR QUESTION What does it mean to believe on Jesus Christ, or to cast oneself on Christ? DR. SCHAEFFER'S ANSWER "I would suggest there are four crucial aspects to be considered... [These] are not slogans to be repeated by rote and they do not have to be said in these words, but the individual must have come to a positive conclusion and affirmation concerning them, if he is to believe in the biblical sense: 1. Do you believe that God exists and that He is a personal God, and that Jesus Christ is God - remembering that we are not talking of the word or idea god, but of the infinite-personal God who is there? 2. Do you acknowledge that you are guilty in the presence of this God - remembering that we are not talking about guilt feelings, but true moral guilt? 3. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died in space and time in history on the cross, and that when He died His substitutional work of bearing God's punishment against sin was fully accomplished and complete? 4. On the basis of God's promises in His written communication to us, the Bible, do you (or have you) cast yourself on this Christ as your personal Saviour - not trusting in anything you yourself have ever done or ever will do? This is what 'believing on the Lord Jesus' means. If a man has believed in this way he has God's promise that he is a Christian." -TGWIT, pp134-135, ©1968 IVP All reprints from The God Who is There by Francis A. Schaeffer. ©1968 by L'Abri Fellowship, Switzerland. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515.
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