95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2002
The Lord has used this book to revive me two separate times. Schaeffer examines the Bible lived in post-modern society. He obviously put a lot of thinking and analysis into this book at his own time of "re-thinking" or personal crisis. This book was written at a time when he had to reconsider his whole position from square one. If we are honest about the intellectual struggles of living in this modern world we are likely to encounter difficulties and apparent contradictions. What bothered Schaeffer also bothers me--that what I see in the Bible I do not see in the lives of modern Christians.
What was especially useful to me recently was his discussion of the tenth commandment and thankfulness. Romans 1 tells us that the lack of thankfulness and acknowledging God as our creator is the root of all perversion. Schaeffer explains how Paul was seized by his own sinfulness when encountering "Thou shall not covet." If we are honest with ourselves we can see that this envy and covetousness is at the root of all sin. We are selfish and not content--not thankful. Yet when Paul confronts his sinfulness in this regard his reaction is correct. "Who will deliver me? Thanks be to God through the Lord Jesus Christ!" (Romans 7)
This is a thinking person's book. The more education you have had to endure the more you will benefit. I get more out of Schaeffer now than I did as a young man. This is a sensitive person's book. If you care and hurt about the way things ought to be, if you struggle with living a life pleasing to God, this book will comfort and encourage you.
This book is about faith and forgiveness and daily new starts. It is not about being justified by following a set of arbitrary rules, but going beyond those rules to live by faith. Schaeffer has helped me to meditate on the depths of my forgiveness and the complete renewal that is possible by faith at any moment.
The thread of Schaeffer's philosophy runs through the book as well. God is there in time-space history. We do not create God or our reality in any sense. He created us. We did not evolve. For the unbeliever reading this book, there will be a good deal of unwinding of presuppositions to understand. Modern religious people often use the same language, but mean something entirely different from a literal interpretation of the Bible and a Christ whose cross you might have got a splinter from if you were there to witness.
The book is also a challenge to live by faith continuously. You cannot live on yesterday's faith. You must daily bear the cross.
This is true spirituality.
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2000
Schaeffer does a superb job in True Spirituality examining the many facets of what it means to be a Christian in the depths of our beings.
As if turning a diamond while holding it up to the light, he allows the reader to see the life of a Christian and what it relaly means, as opposed to possible misconceptions and false impressions that Christians and non-Christians often find themselves believing.
His exploration of the internal and external implications of the Ten Commandments, and the way he gets into the commandments to show how they expose the heart, is crucial for Christians today.
The book is a call to really allow God to be God in all aspects of life, a recurring theme for Schaeffer: lordship. This book is foundational in a similar way that C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" is foundational. While the two books are vastly different in their style and approach to examining Christianity, they both lead readers on critical paths of thought.
"True Spirituality" is a thinking man's / woman's book, but not too cerebral as to be professorial. It will encourage you to really think, and that's something rare among Christian books these days.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2002
What is the meaning and essence of true Biblical Christian spirituality? It was in wrestling with such basic questions that Theologian/Philosopher Dr. Francis Schaeffer developed the Biblical material that became focus of his lectures at L'Abri. Dr. Schaeffer describes "True Spirituality" as the written form of those L'Abri studies.
In "True Spirituality" Schaeffer expounds the meaning of Christ's finished work for Christian living in this life, and the freedom that truth brings to the believer in terms of substaintial personal healing and in substantial restoration of relationships with other people. Faith is not just a "once for all" experiance, but an on-going, moment by moment trusting in Christ and His Word. It is in Christ, and Him alone that we have a security and acceptence that is sure and firm. It is in that security and acceptence we can grow in love to Him, and give of ourselves in service to God and to others.
This book is not for someone looking for a quick "how to" formula, but for the patient and persistent reader, willing to expend the time and work, there is profit to be gained. I could only read one chapter at a setting, and then re-read that chapter several times before going on to the next.
It is one of those classic books that needs to be read every few years or so. In an uncertain world at an uncertain time, we as Christians do well to meditiate often on the ultimate security and acceptence we have in the Gospel of Chirst, instead of looking to the idols of this world; that is those things we consciencsly or un-consciencsly keep wanting to put in in our lives in that place only He can fill.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2007
I have read, and reread this book many times over the last few years. It has done more to influence my life, than any Christian book other than my bible. It is kind of funny but many people who have not read much of Schaeffer, think his book "How Shall We Then Live", is about living the Christian life; it is not. True Spirituality, is that book, and it is excellent. He wrote this should have been his first book, because without the lessons learned, there never would have been a L'Abri community in Switzerland; it was pivotal in launching his ministry. But I am thankful it was written later in his life, because the wealth of both his knowledge and Christian experience drips off of every page. This is not a book to be skimmed; it is a book to be studied. If you have ever been frustrated trying to live the Christian life, if you have began to think it is a futile attempt, if you want to learn to live in the "newness of life", then study this book.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Francis Schaeffer was a Prebyterian pastor who moved to Swiss Alps in 1948 and started the L'Abri Fellowship. God gave him vision and insight into the centrality of the gospel in living that has helped countless others to better understand the truth now. Schaeffer died in 1984, but the depth of wisdom that he was given continues to live through his writings.
True Spirituality is a book that God has used in a way to greatly change the paradigm of my thinking. Dr. Schaffer's thoughts and teachings on grace and the facets therein aide in clarifying how the Christian life might be lived more effectively and freely. By no means do I desire to set forth that Schaeffer was an advocate of antinomianism, he was not, but he was provided a great understanding of the sweet blessedness of salvatory grace.
Schaeffer leads us back to the understanding that God does change the entire man when He makes us into new creations. The healing that we experience goes far beyond superficial and abstract concepts and shows itself to be something greater than we ever hoped or dreamed. The reality of man being complete by the sovereign grace of God is epitomized in realizing that grace is effectual in the spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of who we are. Salvatory grace is not left for a mere longing for something that has yet to be seen while we wait behind the fortressed walls of a church on a Sunday morning. Francis Schaeffer is a man who, like Christ, confronted the culture that he was in by verbalizing and living profound truths of a godly nature. Francis Schaeffer was a man, but he was a man who has been used by God to reach countless others to help the understanding of the depravity of our sinful selves being saved purely by grace for the sake of the glory of God. Without a doubt, this book has had one of the most lasting and profound affects on my life.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2006
Of all of the religious books I have read about the Christian faith, this by far, has been the most refreshing! It takes the believer back to the basics, back to their first love. The author reestablishes for himself as much as for the reader what true unadulterated Christianity should really be about. He strips away the imprisonment of "works" and restores the freedom to worship and love the Lord without fear of condemnation or the heavy burden of guilt. It is a pleasant book to read and I recommend it for anyone, whether a believer or not!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2007
In our falleness, even as Christians, there is a great tendency to fall into putting emphasis of the Christian life on either extremes of adhering to doctrinal purity or loving people; one or the other, instead of both. The danger of the former, where Calvinists and Fundamentalists have much to learn, is to give an impression of Christianity of being dead, cold, indifferent, impersonal and compassionless, with our smarter-than-thou and holier-than-thou attitudes for which I am responsible and have to admit that it is a stench to the world; while the danger of the latter, being the banner of liberal theology, where the emergent church has much to learn, is to love people at the expense of truth by presenting Christianity falsely in complete opposition of what the Bible teaches, by denying the deity and resurrection of Christ, for example. Embracing one and not the other is the source of much ugliness in the church. These are the subjects of this text where Dr. Schaeffer teaches both orthodoxy and compassionate Christianity; the former mainly on Gal 2:20, under the appropriately titled heading of "Freedom from the bonds of sin" where he hammers on the need for Christians to die to self, and to live a new life in Christ; as well as the danger of mechanical and antinomian Christianity; and the later on personal relationship both to the infinite and personal God and to our fellow human beings and treating them as such, as the demonstration to the world of who the God of the Bible is, under the heading of "Freedom from the results of the bonds of sin". What Dr. Schaeffer covers here is an important reminder for Christians; new and mature, and the preaching of the gospel for non-Christians.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2006
This is a beautiful book. I have read it more times than I can remember. I just recently ordered yet another copy to give to a friend of mine.
This book will make you reconsider a lot of your previously held assumptions, and help you to evaluate your spiritual walk.
I highly recommend anything by Schaeffer. This book especially.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2006
I have read True Spirituality and found that it truly challenged me in my faith and how I live my life. This is not light reading, but reading to change one's soul and how you live a Christian life. It does not contain quick easy help steps, but rather your understanding of theology, who we are in Christ and what Christ has done for you. This is a book I believe anyone who takes his/her relationship with Christ seriously should own and read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Schaeffer wrote this book later in his life, but always said that to properly understand his message, this is the book that people ought to read first. In True Spirituality, Schaeffer lays out the foundation for the Christian life - dead to self, alive to Christ. Once a person understands that they are, by faith in Christ, freed from the penalty and power of sin, they can walk in a manner worthy of their calling as they battle to live free from the presence of sin as well. But that sanctification process doesn't begin without justification first, without a surrendering to the will of God our own personal will so that our will now becomes to live out the very will of God - or, better yet, to allow God to live out His will in our lives.
The book is classic Schaeffer and one can hear the seedlings of many of his other messages/books which grew from this spiritual foundation. True Spirituality is not an easy read, Schaeffer is wrestling with difficult theological issues and he packs quite a lot of stuff into a 150-page book...but it is well worth the investment of time and energy and should be a must-read for almost every Christian. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee is another book in this same genre, which personally I liked much better than even Schaeffer's book, but both are excellent works and foundational to the Christian walk and worldview.