A Faithful Witness

Rule Rage

In Psalm 2, the nations are depicted as raging against God’s rule. Such rebellion still exists in our day. On the personal level, nothing about the constitutional nature of human beings has not changed since Psalm 2 was written.

Individuals are still, in their fallen condition, at enmity with and rebellion against God and his reign in their lives. This human condition presents itself in different ways, perhaps in as many ways as there are people. But it all stems from their sinful, fallen, and broken condition.

​It shows up corporately as well. Such “raging” against God’s rule and reign is revealed in groups, systems, and even the culture at large, much of which appears as desiring and pursuing the opposite of what God wills and commands.

Wag the Dog

Yet none of this is done in ignorance. The nations (and individuals) know what they are doing. This is where Romans 1:18-21 comes in. God has made himself plain (evident) to all so that no one has an excuse. Yet people in their fallen human condition suppress the truth they know about God in unrighteousness.

They neither glorify nor thank God, but instead, their thinking becomes futile, and their foolish hearts are darkened. They do not want a belief system that stifles their desires and pursuits. They don’t want a worldview and faith that leads to repentance and new life.  They don’t want to be ruled by Another. Thus, their desires and lifestyles wag the dog. In other words, they adjust their worldview to fit their desires and the ways in which they want to live. 

They mistakenly view the freedom God permits to be autonomy with impunity. We know this to be true because God’s Word teaches it. We know this is true because we once walked in their shoes. Thus, our hearts ought to ache for those walking in such rebellion and brokenness.

Salt and Light

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be his ambassadors to bear witness to precisely these individuals, these systems, this culture. Christ tells us we are salt and light in this dark and decaying world. He commands us to go to and be for these people who were created in his image. Ours is a message of reconciliation and reclamation. It’s the good news that even in our rebellion against the King of the universe, he has made a way to re-create that fallen and broken image through our redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord.

​Our task is to learn how to faithfully bear witness to those in our spheres of influence. Instead of a cookie-cutter approach to our witness, we need to really listen to, learn about, and get to know our neighbors so we can discover how their sin, rebellion, and brokenness are manifested in their lives. We know what their ultimate need is. We know what (Who) the ultimate answer to their need is. Yet, we want to be able to communicate that answer to them in a way they will understand, and even appreciate, while trusting God for the results.

Walking Points

  • How does this message relate to your calling as a follower of Jesus Christ?
  • In what ways are you bearing a faithful witness for Christ and serving as his ambassador?
  • What is the hardest part for you in sharing your faith with your neighbor?
  • What are some ways you have gotten to know your neighbors and learned about their struggles?
  • How do groups, systems, and the culture at large rebel against God? In what ways is such brokenness revealed corporately?
  • How can Christians faithfully bear witness to these groups, systems, and even our culture?

Engaging Culture

I made a point in this post of highlighting our need, as Christians, to know the culture (and the times) in which we live. But what comes next? How do we engage the culture we’ve spent our time learning about? This series by T.M. Moore helps us think through the various aspects of engaging our culture.

T.M. Moore is a wise and godly man who walks closely with the Lord and has much to offer the church today. I have been a part of his online fellowship, The Fellowship of Ailbe, for about seven years. In fact, T.M. has been something of a spiritual friend and mentor over those years and I can attest to his deep commitment to Christ and his Kingdom.

This series, on how Christians ought to understand and engage culture, is a helpful tool for all who want to represent Christ well and reach the world for his sake. These studies work well as either your own personal devotional resource or as study material for your small group… or both.

1.) Repudiate (Engaging Culture, Part 1)

2.) Appropriate (Engaging Culture, Part 2)

3.) Redirect (Engaging Culture, Part3)

4.) Transform (Engaging Culture, Part 4)

5.) Innovate (Engaging the Culture, Part 5)

6.) Three “Legs” (Engaging the Culture, Part 6)

​7.) Three “Braces” (Engaging the Culture, Part 7)

Francis Schaeffer

As many others before me, I was influenced early in my ministry by the books, audio messages, and video recordings of Francis Schaeffer. I never gave in to trying to grow his goatee or dress like him, but from time to time I probably tried to speak like him, as I was finding my own voice. That happens to preachers sometimes… they try to sound like their favorite preacher instead of being who they are – along with their particular gifts and graces.

I used to deeply study philosophy, worldview-thinking, ethics, theology, culture, and apologetics through seminary and well into the first half of my ministry. Francis Schaeffer helped me navigate much of that journey. He helped show me how those subjects were all connected and how understanding such things was essential for practical day-to-day life and ministry. More than that, his biblical, theological, and philosophical convictions compelled him to bear faithful Christian witness to the world in which he lived. In fact, he thought of himself, primarily, as an evangelist.

Reading Schaeffer’s works and learning more about him, his family, and his ministry also led me to discover others who have since impacted my thinking and ministry, such as Jerram BarrsOs Guinness, and Dick Keyes.

Though I have never stopped studying those philosophical and theological disciplines previously mentioned, I have had something of a renewal of interest and focus on them over this last handful of years. Therefore, I thought I might share this post on Schaeffer that I put together shortly after the centennial celebration of Schaeffer’s birth. During that time, I read some great tributes to his life and ministry and thought that I would pass those along, as well as a few helpful websites and ministries that are carrying on Schaeffer’s work today.

I hope something you come across here will bless you.

A few articles about Schaeffer…

Remembering Francis Schaeffer by T.M. Moore (good list of links at the end of the article). In many ways Charles Colson and his various ministries (The Colson CenterBreakPoint, etc., are carrying on in the same spirit as Schaeffer.

100th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s Birth by Nathan Bingham at Ligonier Ministries

Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life (a review by Hunter Baker) at Gospel Coalition

Francis Schaeffer at 100 at Credo Magazine

Covenant Theological Seminary’s magazine issue on Schaeffer

The Need to Read Francis Schaeffer by Todd Kappelman at Probe Ministries

Francis Schaeffer and a World in Desperate Need by Lane Dennis at Crossway

Francis Schaeffer at Wheaton

Review: Duriez on Schaeffer by Donald Williams

How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 by Charles Colson

Here are some great websites/ministries serving in the “Schaeffer spirit”…

L’Abri Fellowship -This is the ministry that Schaeffer and his wife founded. It has greatly expanded and continues to do a wonderful job of ministering today. Check out their page on the history of L’Abri.

Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary. Jerram Barrs is closely connected to this. Two of his courses, on the early and later years of Schaeffer, are available (for free!!!) at the Covenant website. And HERE

Francis Schaeffer Studies.org -a new website and ministry launched to celebrate the 100th birthday of Schaeffer. Lots of great resources available.

Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation – The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation was incorporated in 1988 by Edith SchaefferUdo and Deborah Middelmann and several of their friends as a foundation of ideas.

The Francis Schaeffer Study Center – This is an awesome ministry to students. From their webpage… “The focus of the Study Center curriculum is on equipping high school students with basic biblical knowledge, an understanding of the Christian world-view and an integrated study of the literature, history, and art of western civilization.”

Other helpful resources…

And… what would a post on Schaeffer be without something from the man himself…