Chapter 20
How to Become A Christian

When the Schaeffers began L’Abri, they did so for the purpose of being able to give honest answers to honest questions. They sought to give honest intellectual answers to the problems of modern men and women, but they wanted their answers to be based upon the teaching of the Scriptures. They proved that it is possible for a Christian to be true to the clear teachings of Scripture and maintain intellectual integrity at the same time.

The Schaeffers also recognized the importance of demonstrating the truth of their beliefs by the way they lived. The most hardened skeptic would be challenged to investigate the truth of the Christian faith by the Schaeffers' demonstration in their way of life of the existence of the God who is there: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By their keeping these two aspects of their work in balance, they have helped many thousands become Christians as the direct result of their ministry, and Christians around the world have seen the importance of this balanced approach in sharing the claims of the gospel.

Edith Schaeffer has described their work in her book L’Abri and those who have joined the Schaeffers over the years in the work of L’Abri have done so for a reason that certainly relates to their approach to the Christian faith:

There are those who have become Christians, not through a leap of faith on the basis of emotionalism, but on the basis of certainty in the area of logical answers to the real questions which are at the root of the too-often surface considerations. Then, on the basis of making a choice in a given moment of history, they have submitted to the God who is there. They have a burning desire to communicate the truth of the universe and the existence of God in the medium of their own talents. [01]

In the previous chapters of this book you have been given good and sufficient reasons (in spite of my own imperfections) to bow before the God who is really there and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you do not bow, you are guilty before him, and your continuing rebellion will have certain dire results.

In the early days of L’Abri, the Schaeffers used what they called 'The Four Questions' to help a person measure himself to see where he stood in relation to God. In these four areas you can rethink the claims of the Christian 'good news' regarding salvation. As you think through these four areas, God will expect you to make a choice about whether or not you will believe in him or call him a liar.

The Schaeffers emphasized consistently that each person's response to the good news makes an eternal difference: "Man has been given free choice from the beginning. He is not a puppet, and no one will force him to believe, or act upon anything he does not want to. However, consequences of his belief and actions are set forth. The choice is always his." [02]

"As a man thinketh, so is he." If you are not a Christian, or if you do not know whether or not you are a Bible-believing Christian, you need to make some personal decisions in these four areas.

You cannot become a Christian unless you believe God exists. God is truly, objectively there. We have seen that people hold different views of God. You cannot become a Christian unless you believe that the God of the Bible really exists. The God of the Bible is the infinite/ personal God who is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is holy and just. God is Love and Truth. God is Spirit. God is eternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have no beginning and no end. They are uncreated. They have always existed. The three persons of the Trinity have always loved each other and been in fellowship. For this reason we have an explanation for personality in the universe and for why we have personality and a need for fellowship with our Creator and our fellow human beings.

Edith has written: "When we say you must believe in the existence of God, it is the God of the Bible we are talking about, not the God of some human being's definition: whether defined in wood, stone, and gold as a material image, or defined in words as an image of the imagination." [03]

In the preceding chapters we have seen that sin is rebellion against God, and it involves disbelieving the Word of God. If we have ever disobeyed God once, we are objectively guilty before him. We have not even obeyed the standards that we have set for ourselves and others, let alone God's perfect standard. God has simply commanded us to love him and love our neighbors as ourselves, and we must recognize that on many occasions we have chosen not to do this. Indeed, when we are in rebellion against God, we are placing self-love above love for God and neighbor; therefore, our disobedience is destructive of very important relationships. We may not have any psychological guilt "feelings," but we do have true moral guilt. We must recognize our need to get rid of our guilt and overcome our sin. This leads us to consider what the Bible says about Jesus.

Do you believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus? Do you believe he was born of a virgin and God was his Father? Do you believe he lived a perfect and sinless life? Do you believe he died upon the cross in substitutionary atonement for us? Do you believe he physically rose again on the third day? Do you believe he appeared to his followers and commanded them to be his witnesses throughout the world? Do you believe he then ascended into heaven and will come back a second time? These are crucial areas of belief about Christ, if you are going to be saved and be a Bible-believing Christian. But Edith Schaeffer has warned us about stopping at just these three areas:

This is the third area . . . .It's true that a person can believe these first three 'areas' of fact with his intellect, and yet not really be a Christian. The fourth question or area involves bowing to this God, and accepting what Christ did as for you, personally and individually, taking your deserved punishment, for your individual sins, as He died outside Jerusalem. [04]

We have shown that Jesus Christ is God and that he sacrificed himself for us because of his great love for us. He cares about each of us personally, and he is extending his forgiveness to all people on the condition that they will receive him and his atoning death. Will you bow before him, and follow him as your Lord and Savior?

Salvation is "not a matter of grabbing on to a bunch of slogans, nor of having merely an emotional experience ... It is for good and sufficient reasons believing these things are true, and then making a definite decision to accept, and say, 'Thank you' to God for it." [05]



01. Edith Schaeffer. L’Abri. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1969, p. 224
02. ibid, p. 181
03. ibid, p.164
04. ibid, p. 165, 166
05. ibid, p. 166

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