Posted by: Billy Marsh | January 9, 2008

The Francis Schaeffer Book Club @ SWBTS: Spring ’08

Schaeffer cartoonFor those of you unaware and are readers of my blog that are local to Fort Worth, Texas, you are invited to attend this semester’s session of The Francis Schaeffer Book Club at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For those of you that are aware and are locals, then you know the drill and are welcome at any time. The group is led by Dr. David P. Bertch. He is a professor for The College at Southwestern. This is a unique opportunity since Dr. Bertch was able to study under Schaeffer at L’Abri and has a direct connection to our author.

When I first poked my head in the door at one of these meetings at the persuasion of a good friend, Keith Krepcho, I felt incredibly out of my league. Everyone seemed so much more intelligent and insightful than I perceived myself to be. But, no one can make you feel more welcome than Dr. Bertch. The Lord has placed him into my life unexpectedly as a mentor and a friend. In the years to come, when I am asked to tell of my spiritual journey thus far, his name will appear in bold without a doubt. He is well read, extensively educated, and is always learning. Just the other day I was in his office (which is like stepping into a world traveler’s home office), and he was so excited to show me the new books he was reading on his own and the new lectures that he was listening to on his own time on audio CD. There is hardly a conversation that I walk away from with Dr. Bertch where he has not attempted to challenge me in my personal growth, my relationships, my studies, and especially my marriage. He is one of the best examples of someone who embodies what I long to be: A minister of the gospel with a scholar’s mind and a shepherd’s heart. There is much more I wish to share with you about him, but I will leave some for you to discover on your own.

With that said, Dr. Bertch is more than capable of leading a book club, especially one as provocative as the Schaeffer club. It is hard to describe what reading Schaeffer’s works are like. He has a simple, but profound style much like C. S. Lewis, however, the eloquence isn’t quite the same. Most of his books come across as if he just sat down and wrote the piece all at one time, which is like reading Luther or Lewis. His work is foundational for anyone wanting to address the culture from a Christian worldview. Schaeffer’s main purpose it seems in all his works is for the Christian to live under the Lordship of Christ in all of life. This, in turn, leads Schaeffer to deal with various topics such as politics, the arts, theology, and philosophy. He is a man who writes from a heart that is tremendously passionate for people to know and love God, to bind themselves to the Scriptures, and to make Christ known in every aspect of reality.

If you are interested in attending, our text of choice for this semester will be The Church at the End of the 20th Century and The Church Before the Watching World. Unfortunately, these books are out of print. So you will have to do some hunting in order to purchase a copy. However, a positive note is that the latest release (1985) of the books from Crossway publishers placed them together in one volume. Here is the ISBN#: 089107368X or 9780891073680. I found a used copy at Alibris. We will be meeting on Wednesdays at 12 noon beginning January 23, 2008 in the conference room directly parallel to the Gold Card office in the Naylor Student Center. Please come with an open mind, a willingness to be challenged, eager to engage the culture, ready to build relationships, and a teachable spirit. If you have any questions, feel free to email me using the tab “Contact Billy” and I will respond as soon as possible.

I will close with Dr. Bertch’s signature verse for the group:

“Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, . . . “

~ 1 Chronicles 12:32 ~

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