Skip to comments.L’Abri comes to Roseville - Christian conference provides ‘honest answers to honest questions’
Posted on 07/26/2010 10:07:53 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
Although David George now serves as a church pastor, he once struggled with his Christian faith.
George, senior pastor at Valley Springs Presbyterian Church in Roseville, credits whats called the LAbri Fellowship with answering his questions about Christianity and cementing his devotion to the religion during his youth.
LAbri, which means shelter in French, is a study center started in Switzerland by Christian theologian and philosopher Dr. Francis Schaeffer in 1955. Schaeffers ideas are often credited for the rise of the Christian Right.
Now, his centers exist throughout the world. The centers help clarify the Christian faith within the culture that we live, George said. Some students stay for months, while others may stay only a week.
In August, Valley Presbyterian Church will bring the teachings and discourse of LAbri to Roseville with LAbri California 2010, a conference held every two years. This years theme centers on thinking and living the way of Christ.
While the study centers appeal to young people struggling with what they believe about God, the four-day conference is open to people of all ages and beliefs, and features guest speakers, workshops, worship, a concert and art show.
George, 61, was once one of those questioning youth. During his high school and college years, the Philadelphia native struggled with his Christian upbringing.
He had several lingering, unanswered questions: Was the Bible a trustworthy document or a book of fables? Did the Bible have historical integrity? He wondered if the Jesus of the Gospels was actually the true Jesus.
These are some of the fundamental questions the Christian faith is based on, George said.
As a history major at the College of Wooster in Ohio, George spent a semester in Israel. Around this time, he became acquainted with the writings of Mr. And Mrs. Schaeffer and decided to spend a month at LAbri in Switzerland in 1970.
I felt it would be really good for me to sort through what I believed, he said. I did get a number of my intellectual questions addressed. I was really helped in my understanding of my beliefs I had a sense of call to ministry.
What followed for George was Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pa., a time living in Green Bay, Wis., and a move to Roseville where he and his wife Jayne launched a new congregation in the form of Valley Springs Presbyterian Church in 1989.
The thing that grabs me on the intellectual level is no one addresses human issues better than (Christianity), George said. It does so much better than any other philosophical system. Were incredibly intelligent and we have so much potential as human beings (but) were a mess.
The Christian faith tries to address this dilemma with great integrity, he said.
Robert Brekke, who will attend his third LAbri conference this year, shares this sentiment.
(LAbri) has been eye-opening to say the least, Brekke said. It tends to rearrange my thinking. It focuses on the interface between Christianity, culture and arts, which is an area the church doesnt normally direct itself toward. The talks are enlightening. You might say revolutionary and a bit controversial because it doesnt speak kindly to mainstream evangelical culture.
Raised an atheist, Brekke spent his college years studying to be a high school biology teacher.
I had no interest in religion, he said. I actually had an aversion to it.
But as he learned more about physics, biology and chemistry, he ended up thinking there might actually be a designer, or creator, of the universe. He soon became a Christian.
Brekke said his current place of worship, Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, feeds my heart and my head.
Organizers expect this years conference to attract around 200 attendees, partly because of guest speaker Os Guinness, author, social critic and senior fellow of the EastWest Institute. Also keynoting the event is Dick Keyes, director of the LAbri Fellowship in Massachusetts.
Workshops focus on topics such as hospitality in modernity, value of reading to children, gender and vocation, mystery of prayer, case for civility and the moral power of satire.
This is not Believe it because I say it, George said. LAbri is well-known for its intellectual activity. Its not fluff, not smoke and mirrors. Its sorting through philosophical issues and having honest answers to honest questions.
Sena Christian can be reached at email@example.com.
What: LAbri California 2010 conference
When: Thursday, Aug. 5 to Sunday, Aug. 8
Where: Valley Springs Presbyterian Church conference center, 2401 Olympus Drive in Roseville
Cost: $95 per single registrant and $170 per couple. (If paid at the door, there is no discount for couples). Special discount rates are available for students and groups of 10 or more.
Info: Visit www.labri-california.org or call (916) 786-7940
....(LAbri) has been eye-opening to say the least, Brekke said. It tends to rearrange my thinking. It focuses on the interface between Christianity, culture and arts, which is an area the church doesnt normally direct itself toward. The talks are enlightening. You might say revolutionary and a bit controversial because it doesnt speak kindly to mainstream evangelical culture.
The Letters of Francis Schaeffer
Letter One: The Reawakening of Spiritual Reality
Letter Two: Gradually My Thinking Has Changed
Letter Three: On Resting
Letter Four: A Root Planted in a Garden
Letter Five: On Sickness
Letter Six: The Art of Spiritual Growth
Letter Seven: No Perfect People, Physically or Psychologically
Letter Eight: Being Angry at God
Letter Nine: Something with Both Usefulness and Beauty
Letter Ten: On Knowing the Presence of God
Letter Eleven: Imperfection and the Continuing Work of Christ
Letter Twelve: Spiritual Battles Draw Real Blood
Letter Thirteen: Times of Strength and Times of Weakness
Letter Fourteen: Salvation, Works and Grace, Eternal Security, and the Sacraments
Letter Fifteen: Do Not Be Afraid of the Past
Letter Sixteen: Everything Is Spiritual Because God Made Everything
Letter Seventeen: Quiet In the Presence of God
Remembering Francis Schaeffer [25th anniversary of his death: May 15, 1984]
Schaeffer scholars continue his legacy
A Step Forward [Francis Schaeffer on the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) ]
Not Your Father's L'Abri: Swiss retreat now tends to disaffected evangelicals
A (Borrowed) Christmas Reflection [Francis A. Schaeffer's "What Difference Has Looking Made?"]
Using her voice
Morality starts with humanity
Learning to Cry for the Culture: Let's remember Francis Schaeffer's most crucial legacy--tears.
Meeting, talking with Ford always a pleasure
BAPTISM, by Francis Schaeffer [Schaeffer's defense of paedobaptism]
Baylor prof says Francis Schaeffer returned to fundamentalist views [Francis A. Schaeffer]
A Christian Manifesto (Francis A. Schaeffer)
"...Our culture and our country deserve to be under the wrath of God..."
Love Francis Schaeffer!! Saw him at the LA airport many yrs ago. He was very short and had on shorts and suspenders and knee socks. Didn’t want to bother him because he looked in a hurry. His books are great.
For those who would like to know more about Dr. Schaeffer’s teachings I would recommend they start with the book “How shall we than live?”. It is one of his best and easily the most accessible of his works. If you like what you read then move up to “The Francis Schaeffer Trilogy”. These three books provide the theological and philosophical underpinnings for everything Schaeffer wrote.
Just a word of caution. “The way of Jesus” or “in the way of Christ” is emerging church speak. They believe there are many paths to God, and that Jesus isn’t the only way. That’s why they use this phrase. Also, the conference’s “emphasis on the arts, culture, and faith” also smells like emerging church to me.
The workshop on “The mystery of prayer” has me wondering if they are talking about mysticism, aka unbiblical contemplative spirituality.
There is also a workshop about the heretical, universalist, New Age book “The Shack.”
This deception is creeping in everywhere these days, even among previously well-respected Christian organizations and leaders. Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) is now dabbling in contemplative/emergent. Be watchful, be vigilant!
I would also add this to consider:
"the mystery of prayer"... The real issue in prayer is how we as Christians pray. There is no mystery in it. One thing we must really remember is that we must observe this in our live as a son of God (Romans 8:14-15):
We are sons of God [men and women alike]. Think, Live, Labor...is the essential way of life to commit to God and Jesus Christ in life and earnest Bible study and theology.
Prayer is not a mystery... prayer is fully demonstrated by our Apostle Paul, and explained by our Apostle Paul, and it is the purpose for which the Holy Spirit provides for our prayers, that "the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26). Prayer today is correctly performed as a Pauline Prayer. When we pray, we do not know the actual thing that is most essential for us in respect to God's Will. In Pauline prayer, we allow the "Spirit itself [to] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" in order to benefit us greatly by aligning our actual needs, rather than perceived needs [our eye], and to allow the Holy Spirit bring the correct groaning [the actual needed prayer request] to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the correct prayer life for today. Not one in which we pray for things seen by our eyes, or desired by our sin nature (the old man, sin nature). Try it, it works!