Posted by: Billy Marsh | January 18, 2008

Francis Schaeffer: On Aliens and Pilgrims

In case you haven’t noticed or are new to “Joy in the Journey,” the intended overarching theme and atmosphere of my blog is the sojourner mentality. Not long ago, as promised, I wrapped up an intensive study in this motif as seen in Hebrews 11:13-16. Click here to browse those articles or just click on the “Sojourner” link in my sidebar in the category listing.

Although this theme is the predominant message that I’m trying to impart whether directly or indirectly, I haven’t focused on it as much in the past couple of months. However, I do plan to return to it soon by finishing up my analysis of Stephen Nichols’ book, Heaven on Earth and other various posts characterized by the pilgrim mindset. Still, this blog is not exclusive to this particular theme since most of what appears in my posts are simply outworkings of my own personal walk with the Lord, my personality, and all that God is teaching me collectively. It just so happens that the sojourner mentality plays a prominent role in who I am in Christ.

In this post, I’d like to briefly revisit the idea of the Christian pilgrim with a short testimony concerning Francis Schaeffer by Jerram Barrs. Barrs is the Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture at Covenant Seminary. In addition, he serves as the Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, which is also part of Covenant Seminary. Since he was able to personally serve under Schaeffer at L’Abri, Barrs has a special connection to him and his ministry.

I found an article that Barrs published on the Reformation21 website which was a mixture of biography and survey of Schaeffer’s life, ministry, and theology. As I scrolled through it, I found the subheading: “Aliens and Pilgrims“. I am always encouraged whenever I read a great theologian or Christian history figure speak on the sojouner mentality. Here is a brief story of a man who has become very dear to my heart teaching on an aspect of the Christian life that is equally valuable to me:

Aliens and Pilgrims

(exerpt from Francis Schaeffer: The Man and his Message by Jerram Barrs)

[Schaeffer] often spoke about the biblical theme, first appearing in the life of Abraham and then developed throughout Scripture, of the believer being an alien and stranger in this world.

I will never forget his leading a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, when he was here in St. Louis for a series of lectures at Covenant Seminary. He turned up wearing a raincoat and carrying a pack and walking stick. He gave a short homily on the manner in which the Israelites celebrated that first Passover in Egypt, eating unleavened bread, ready to leave the country where they were unwanted aliens. He spoke of the fulfillment of this in the ministry of Jesus and finished as we partook of the bread and wine with a call to “go to Jesus outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:13-14).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: