The greater his understanding of Scripture grew, the more convinced Francis Schaeffer was that our faith must be put into action, that there must be an outpouring of our beliefs that makes a mark on society. To that end, this Christian apologist, known as the “missionary to intellectuals,” dedicated his life to helping others foster a biblical worldview and make daily choices through that lens.

“Fran,” as his friends called him, was not always a staunch, conservative believer. Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1912, he attended church throughout his formative years. Sadly, the church he attended was quite liberal and did not believe the Bible was true. So, when the library loaned him a book on philosophy, in error, he decided to read it, find out what the world out there had to offer. By the age of 17, he was an Agnostic.

However, God’s hand was on Francis Schaeffer, even if he wasn’t aware of it at the time. The young man decided he should read the Bible – to give it a fair shot. He spent six months reading from Genesis to Revelation and concluded it answered all the essential questions of life, a realization that shaped his life and ministry. He surrendered his life to Christ when he was 18 years old.

When Francis married Edith, he found a life partner who was also passionate about apologetics. They moved to Switzerland in 1948. But in the 1950’s they both faced a faith crisis. They had become apathetic. Though they still firmly believed in God, they had quit actively seeking Him. They were spiritually dull and resolved to rekindle their faith.

In 1955, they founded the L’Abri Fellowship. L’abri means “the shelter” in French. Thousands of people came to the institute to study and learn more about God’s Word and Christian living. Schaeffer authored 22 books that had a tremendous impact on the conservative Christian world. One of his most influentials books was How, Then, Shall We Live? which challenged people to live out their faith in practical ways. As a champion of human dignity, Schaeffer encouraged Christians to actively oppose abortion and euthanasia. While he did not believe Christians should wrap themselves in flag or affiliate with a particular party or candidate, he did believe they should understand and actively respond to current cultural issues. He sparked Christian activism throughout the United States.

At the core of all he did was this over-riding belief: “The local church or Christian group should be right, but it should also be beautiful. There is no truth without love and there is no love without truth.”

Francis Shaeffer is no longer with us but his work lives on through the L’Abri Fellowship and the thousands of souls eternally impacted by his ministry.