Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America
Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was probably the single greatest intellectual influence on young evangelicals of the 1960s and '70s. He was cultural critic, popular intellectual mentor, political activist, evangelist, Christian apologist, and the author of over twenty books and two important films. Along with his wife, Edith, he founded L'Abri, a loving community of intellectual and spiritual exploration where visitors ranged from European existentialists to American evangelicals and even some radicals. In America he lectured widely on college campuses, where he encouraged world-wary evangelicals to engage the culture around them. Along the way he attracted a great many admirers, a few critics, many admirers who became critics, and a few critics who learned to admire him. It is, in short, impossible to understand the intellectual world of evangelicalism today without understanding Francis Schaeffer. Barry Hankins has written a critical but appreciative biography that explains how Schaeffer was shaped by the contexts of his life - from young fundamentalist pastor in America, to greatly admired mentor, to lecturer and activist. Drawing extensively from primary sources, including personal interviews, Hankins paints a picture of a complex, sometimes flawed, but ultimately prophetic figure in American evangelicalism and beyond.