Posted by: Billy Marsh | August 26, 2009

The Francis Schaeffer Book Club @ SWBTS: Fall ’09

Schaeffer cartoonIn collaboration with Dr. David Bertch, we have chosen some very exciting works by Francis Schaeffer to read and to discuss for the 2009-2010 school year. The Francis Schaeffer Book Club is going into its fifth year of existence at SWBTS. I am honored to have been a part of it now for all but the first year.

I cannot even begin to tell of how influential reading Schaeffer has been both in the development of my theology and in the practice of my spirituality. It is no wonder he is viewed across the board as a unique and prophetic man of God. And though his audience was primarily the 20th century, his ministry will endure much longer. His relevance continues to be more relevant each and every day in the 21st century as the church and the world head down many of the paths that he foresaw.

25 Basic Bible Studies We will be meeting in room 114 in the Naylor Student Center at 12noon every Tuesday. Dr. Bertch normally leads the group, but as always, he is unpredictable. He is very quick to pass the torch to one of the other members which creates a setting where varying aspects of Schaeffer and his teachings can be highlighted that would otherwise lie unnoticed.

I’m posting this a little bit late this semester, so unless you were present with us today (Aug. 25), then you will miss out on our first reading which was from Schaeffer’s article “Two Contents, Two Realities” located in the book 25 Basic Bible Studies. We will be finishing our discussion on this work next week.

Genesis in Space and TimeFor the remainder of the semester, we will be reading Genesis in Space and Time. This book will demonstrate how Schaeffer reads Scripture and how he sees its relationship to history, reality, and the nature of man. Schaeffer saw the first book of the Bible as the key to answering modern man’s question about himself and the universe (nothwithstanding their theological context within the canon). What you may not know is that there is actually a second part to Schaeffer’s Genesis which is the book Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History. This work will be our focus for the Spring semester. It continues to unfold Schaeffer’s theology of history and how the biblical book of Joshua is a timeless example of how God loves his people and functions within a covenant relationship with them.

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History I’m anticipating great things from pouring over these two works for two main reasons. First, we are going to see Schaeffer interact in somewhat of a new light, meaning, directly with the biblical text. Thus we will see his theological method come to light which is something I’m interested in as a Ph. D. student. Also, I’m anxious to see whether or not Schaeffer’s work on Genesis and Joshua could be considered a form of theological interpretation. Second, I’m curious to see how Schaeffer construes a theology of history by means of fleshing out a theology of biblical history. I’ve written on this subject before regarding some things that Schaeffer has said elsewhere, but I’m sure that in these two texts his approach will come out more explicitly and substantially.

Whether or not you are a SWBTS student or not, as long as you can be there in person, you are invited to come and to be a part of the group. If you have any questions about attending, please let me know. I hope most of all that you will give Schaeffer a try even if you are not going to be able to come to our meetings. It is always wise to surround yourself with great men of God, and this would without a doubt include Schaeffer.

As Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

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Responses

  1. Any updates you can share from the Schaeffer book club? Just bought the books and looking forward to digging in…

  2. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the first couple of meetings where we discussed Two Contents, Two Realities. My work schedule has kept me from being able to attend. I tried at first to keep up with the reading on my own, but I’m just spread too thin right now.

    I did speak with another member of the group who said that Genesis has become his favorite Schaeffer book. He said that it is so foundational for understanding everything else that Schaeffer has written. I’m extremely disappointed that I haven’t been able to read along with them since it was myself who had encouraged Dr. Bertch to require Genesis and Joshua as the next works to go over in the club. I’m going to try and read Genesis over Christmas Break.

  3. Hi Billy, we would like to hear more about the book club, check out our new site and send us an email if you can. Thanks! Dan

  4. Dan,

    Thanks for stopping by and I visited your site. It looks like a wonderful resource for all things Schaeffer! Unfortunately, due to work I’ve not been able to be a part of the book club for the past year and a half. But as far as I know it is still up and running.


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