Countercultural Spirituality


Ray Ortlund:

As the latest volume in the new Crossway series, Theologians on The Christian Life, William Edgar’s Schaeffer on The Christian Life compels my respectful attention.  The subtitle, in particular, “Countercultural Spirituality,” combines two things attractive to me, true to Francis Schaeffer and prophetic in our time.

Countercultural.  Counter, especially, to a compromised church culture.  Biblical Christianity is a radical adjustment.  We would gain immeasurably from being confronted, even opposed, by the biblical witness.  Our gracious Justifier, who is for us (Romans 8:31), also says to us, “But I have a few things against you” (Revelation 2:14).  Are we willing to face that honestly and find out what he means and receive his correction?

Spirituality.  Personal reality with the living God, according to Scripture.  The Bible is not there for us to polish our theories.  It is not there to reinforce any status quo.  It is there to bring us to God and move us to deeper change and empower us for bold witness in our generation.  This is the rugged, costly spirituality nothing on earth, nothing within the church, can withstand, because God is in it.

Schaeffer: “The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism [or postmodernism] . . . . The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.  The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them” (page 148, italics original).

Such a stance lifts this book above merely speculative interest, thought-provoking though it is.  The entire outlook of Francis Schaeffer, well summarized on pages 189-192, demands personal and corporate reassessment at a basic level.

I needed to read this book.  Maybe you do too.

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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