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No Perfect People, Physically or Psychologically - from The Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer
The Letters of Francis Schaeffer (Crossways Books, 1986) as reprinted at ^ | July 19, 1963 | Francis A. Schaeffer

Posted on 04/08/2005 6:26:54 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Words Written to Friends
selections from the letters of Francis Schaeffer

Letter Seven
No Perfect People, Physically or Psychologically

Increasingly I am so aware that just as there are no perfect people physically, so there are no perfect people psychologically. There are differences in intensity of physical problems and differences of intensity in psychological problems. But there is no such thing since man has revolted against God as people who are completely well, either physically or psychologically. Thus, as I have people come here who have problems, my own contact with them always involves a very deep realization that there may be differences of degree and kind of problem, but it is not that they are sick and I am well. I think this makes for a depth of human contact that is so lacking in much medical and psychiatric treatment. So often the doctor stands without a human contact with those who are before him. But when we come to one another on a really Christian basis, it seems to me this need not be the case; rather, we can stand together as poor people who are marked with the sorrow of a mankind who has revolted against God.

At the same time, as Christians we do not have to allow the pendulum to swing between [the extreme of] a false idealism and romantic hope, or the opposite [extreme] of despair. The infinite finished work of Christ upon Calvary's cross not only opens up the gates of Heaven to us when we accept Him as Savior; but it also provides, in the present life, for a substantial advance in the areas of psychological need.

The same thing is true in the areas of sociological need - the communication of man to man on a truly human level. There are no such things as perfect bodies, perfect psychological balance, or perfect communication between men in this world. This must wait until that glad day when Jesus comes back again and our bodies are raised from the dead. But yet, just because there is no perfect balance in the present life, this does not mean that there cannot be substantial advance. What this means will be different in different individual cases. But how thankful I am, in my own problems and in dealing with the problems of so many others, that it is possible, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, not to either have to say foolishly and falsely that all is well (when all is anything but well), or else to simply plunge into the abyss of despair.

July 19, 1963
Huemoz sur Ollon,, Switzerland

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Skeptics/Seekers; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: calvinist; evangelicalism; letters; presbyterian; reformed; schaeffer


Widely recognized as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer was the founder of the L'Abri Fellowship, an international study center and Christian community with branches in Switzerland, England, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. Through his work at L'Abri, Dr. Schaeffer came into personal contact with thousands of people searching for truth and reality in their lives. Before his death in 1984 he lectured frequently in the leading universities in the United States and abroad on the relevance of Christian thought. Author of twenty-three books, Dr. Schaeffer was a dedicated writer of letters, corresponding with many of the thousands of individuals his life and teaching had impacted. This brief compilation gathers excerpts from a few of these letters, offering an intimate view of a passionate Christian communicator and mind.

The unique contribution of Dr. Francis Schaeffer on a whole generation was the ability to communicate the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity with practical, loving care. This grew out of his extensive understanding of the Bible from a deep commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and a critical study of the world of man. These two pillars supported his inquisitive and analytical mind on the solid reality of the truth of God's creation and of his revelation. He understood the roots of modern thinking in its rejection of reality and rationality and pointed out the logical conclusions in a wide range of disciplines and in society.

Dr. Schaeffer understood that what a person believes will influence the way he acts in history and individual situations. There is a relationship between a person's view of truth and life, between philosophy and practice, between faulty ideas and foolish choices. Dr. Schaeffer discussed the truth of reality with anyone in many settings. This in turn brought students, professionals, scholars and others from around the world to his home to learn from his insights. They returned with them to their own world and applied them to their circle of life amd work. The ideas continue to bear fruit and to stimulate discussions and discoveries through more than 25 books, several films, taped seminars and lectures at leading universities in Europe, the US and abroard. The result has been a profound and enduring impact upon many thousands, who have themselves gone to make their own mark in history.

The central thrust of Dr. Schaeffer's teaching is that Biblical Christianity is the truth about the real world. The only reason to be a Christian is an acknowledgement of what is objectively true about human beings, the real world and the basic human predicaments. The Bible is true in all that it affirms. This emphasis is not so much the summary of academic instructions or doctrinal positions. It is the result of a searching mind, of being exposed to human history, the European culture and art, and of in-depth discussions with knowledgeable people for a life time of study, observation and work.

With the Bible as his base and a profound interest in human beings, Dr. Schaeffer's insights were developed through the experience of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the study of Florentine society and art, in lectures followed by tough discussions at modern Cambridge, in rude exposure to the slums of Bombaay and in probing questions of people from a great variety of backgrounds, in abortion protests, in response to life in the wider arena of human need and pervasive intellectual confusion in our world.

- Udo W. Middelmann
President - The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation

1 posted on 04/08/2005 6:26:54 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: All
This letter is taken from a collection of Francis Schaeffer's letters, published by Crossways Books shortly after his death. In my "formative" years as a new Christian, this book was a profound influence on my thinking, and my working through what it meant to be a Christian living in a fallen world. Schaeffer's words, more than once, proved an immense comfort when I was deep in despair. I thought these letters would make good devotional-style material for the Religion Forum.

Fortunately, instead of having to type book excerpts by hand, I discovered a website that has reprinted seventeen of the letters from his book. Earthly duties permitting, I plan to post one each day and hope that each of you will benefit from a brief glimpse into the mind and heart of Francis A. Schaeffer.

Please let me know if you would like to be included on a ping list to these threads.

2 posted on 04/08/2005 6:28:28 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Psalm 73)
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To: Gamecock; ksen; HarleyD; suzyq5558; Frumanchu; Dr. Eckleburg; keeper53; bygrace85; hope; ...

Francis A. Schaeffer ping

3 posted on 04/08/2005 6:29:12 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Psalm 73)
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To: Alex Murphy

Hmmm, sounds like it was written as a response to current events.

4 posted on 04/08/2005 6:30:14 AM PDT by Gamecock ("He that knows nothing will believe anything." Thomas Fuller)
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To: Alex Murphy

Thanks much. Timely.

5 posted on 04/08/2005 1:31:19 PM PDT by Quix (HAVING A FORM of GODLINESS but DENYING ITS POWER. 2 TIM 3:5)
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To: JockoManning

Francis Schaeffer bookmark.

6 posted on 04/08/2005 7:05:45 PM PDT by JockoManning (
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