PART FIVE: Application

This paper, to the most part, has been an exercise in remembering what this student learned many years ago from a great "theosopher" (theologian/philosopher). If we were to go back to the beginning of this paper and just try to summarize, we could just ask the questions that were asked, give what we believe the answers were in short form, and call it a day. But the Christian life always demands more. It demands action. It demands application. What is the application this time? What did Dr. Schaeffer want this student to learn by the research paper that (maybe) should have been done many years ago? Finally, because this paper was supposed to have as its subject, Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, what did it explain about Dr. Schaeffer?

Something that has become more and more important to this student over these many years is the concept of "Family" and "Church." The two go hand in hand. They can not, and it is this student's belief, that they should not be studied apart. Depending on the way you look at it, they are each an outgrowth of the other. In using the word outgrowth in this context, what this student is actually talking about is the element that causes both to grow. This element is Christian Love, the Mark of the Christian. It is also the essential element in living a supernatural Christian life. They go hand in hand with each other, like the Church and the Family. To this student, this is what Dr. Schaeffer wanted this student to learn and what this student believes is what Dr. Schaeffer and the whole L'Abri ministry are all about.

If you want to live the supernatural Christian life, then wear the Mark of the Christian. It is an imperative in the Christian life not just a nice thing to have. You must not only see it in the church but each individual family that is a part of that church. If you are a pastor, this should be the main thing taught and the main thing experienced by every family in the church, whether that family is only one person or many. If you are a parent, especially the head of the house, whether that is male or female (single parent), this should be the main thing taught and the main thing experienced by every member of that family. And if a family in the church consists of only one person, that person should be "adopted" by another family. This is true spirituality. This is living the supernatural Christian life.

Our concepts of family and church are as mixed up and as varied as a tossed salad. When we go "shopping" for a new church, what are the questions we ask? Is this church conservative or liberal? (Would we like a conventional or Greek salad? Conventional, okay.) Are the children taken care of all through Sunday School and Church so that we can relax a little and actually listen to the message being presented? (Would we like tomatos in our salad? Okay, fine.) Is the music program for the worship services good? (Would we like to have cucumbers in our salad? Okay, fine.) How good a speaker is the Pastor? (Would we like a little garnish on the side?)

Then as you experience the church (your salad), you remember the most important part. Are the people friendly? (What kind of salad dressing would we likeBlue Cheese, French, or Thousand Islands?) If you are more or less independent and really do not want to get involved in the church, then you are happy when the people just shake your hand as you come in and when you leave. (Blue Cheese? Okay.) If you want to get more involved, like maybe choir or a Bible study, then you are happy when they stop and talk to you a little and maybe ask a few personal questions. (French dressing? Okay.) But when you have just moved into an area and you really want to make some real Christian friends, you wait to see if they have not only done all of the above, but a few days later, whether the Pastor or a Deacon, or one of the ladies of the church stops by your house to get to know you better. (Ah, Thousand Islandsgood choice!)

This is an example of the Mark of the Christian that we should be looking for. And the church should be looking for the same Mark in prospective members. Therefore the same analogy of the salad could be used. But in the final analysis, when that church member goes knocking on a door, it does not matter whether inside there is a single person, a one or a two parent home, or whether their house is neat or messy. What matters is the salad dressing.  What brand of the Mark is there? And if it is not Thousand Islands, would they be interested in changing brands, sharing with them that you understand that maybe Thousand Islands takes an "acquired taste." Enough with analogies. Does the picture that has been drawn make any sense?

 

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