Today I begin the third week of working my way through Francis Schaeffer’s book, The Mark of the Christian. In the last section, we hit the heart of Schaeffer’s thesis: that love is the “final apologetic” of the church to the outside world. But what does that mean for other forms of apologetics? Are they void? He deals with this question in the next section:
HONEST ANSWERS, OBSERVABLE LOVE
In the first paragraph Schaeffer makes it clear that apologetic ignorance has no place in the Christian’s thinking. He writes: “We should have an intellectual apologetic. The Bible commands it and Christ and Paul exemplify it” (p. 16). Nonetheless, he points out, we should not expect the world to listen without Christians showing true love for one another (p. 17).
Schaeffer will move on to strongly state; there must be no division and segregation in the church, and if the world does not see this, it will not hear, let alone, consider, our apologetics. He writes: “The two should not be placed in antithesis” (p.18).
Key statements from this section (pp. 16-18):
We should have an intellectual apologetic. The Bible commands it and Christ and Paul exemplify it. In the synagogue, in the marketplace, in homes and in almost every conceivable kind of situation, Jesus and Paul discussed Christianity. It is likewise the Christian's task to be able to give an honest answer to an honest question and then to give it.
Yet, without true Christians loving one another, Christ says the world cannot be expected to listen, even when we give proper answers.
The observable and practical love among true Christians that the world has a right to be able to observe in our day certainly should cut without reservation across such lines as language, nationalities, national frontiers, younger and older, colors of skin, levels of education and economics, accent, line of birth, the class system in any particular locality, dress, short or long hair among whites and African and non-African hairdos among blacks, the wearing of shoes and the non-wearing of shoes, cultural differentiations and the more traditional and less traditional forms of worship.
The world must have the proper answers to their honest questions, but at the same time, there must be a oneness in love between all true Christians.
You can read the online edition of the entire book here >>
3 John 8