Book Review – Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life (16/11)

Francis Schaeffer has often been term as an important modern intellectual, and having read The God Who Is There by Schaeffer, it sparked my interested to read a biography on him. Through this biography, I’ve grown deeper in my knowledge of the life of Francis Schaeffer, not only so, I have grown even deeper in my appreciation of Schaeffer.

Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic LifeColin Duriez has masterfully written a good biography fit for the important christian thinker. As Duriez traces the life of Schaeffer, he not only brings out what is happening in Schaeffer’s life. More importantly, Duriez shows the progression of the thoughts of Schaeffer. For example, Schaeffer was at first quite adamant about using voice recorders to record his conversations with those living in L’Abri. He felt it wasn’t fair to his questioners that others were able to hear what he thought was private conversations. He was finally persuaded when he learnt that the participants were completely fine with letting others in to this discussion. This then sparked off to the tape ministry that is still in use today.

Duriez also shows very clearly how Schaeffer struggles through the various stages in his life. For example, early in his student life, Schaeffer had decided to embark to study theology towards the end of becoming a ministry. Duriez shows how Schaeffer struggled through in this decision, on one end, he did not want to disappoint his father, yet he knew clearly that God has called him to enter training for the ministry. In the midst of this struggle, Schaeffer with tears pleaded with God for guidance and help and reassurance. He finally emerged and given his dreaded decision to his father. Duriez shows the readers that Schaeffer, like us is one who had to work through his struggles in life, depending solely on the Lord always.

Duriez also shows how the decision to set up L’Arbi was not an ambition of Schaeffer. Rather it was a journey of faith and one filled with dependent on the Lord. In setting up and running L’Arbi Schaeffer faced many issues, funds to buy the location came only at the very last minute. Even in winter logs that had to be very sparingly due to the high cost of firewood, Schaeffer often even sieved through the ashes to see if there’s any firewood was unburned that could be used!

I have enjoyed the many insights that Duriez has highlighted in the life of Schaeffer. I’ve come to learnt how to listen, really listen to everyone who I talk to. These are just some of the lessons I’ve learnt from reading the life of Schaeffer. I hope if you interested to read about his life to pick up this book. I’m quite sure you will go away with a much deeper appreciation of Schaeffer. Schaeffer was not just as an intellectual or apologist, he was also Christian, and one who was truly concern for the people around him, hoping to help them through their struggles in life.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

P.S. I would also recommend The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy as an excellent introduction to Francis Schaeffer. Get it here and here (free international shipping).