Sunday, December 28, 2008

Letter to Edith Schaeffer

[I sent the following letter on December 22, 2008, to Edith Schaeffer, widow of Francis Schaeffer. She is now in her mid-90s. A good friend of mine took care of Mrs. Schaeffer for a few weeks in Switzerland, which prompted me to write this letter of thanks and encouragement. Please pray for this elderly saint. I also encourage your to read her books, especially L'Abri.]

Dear Mrs. Schaeffer:

We have never met, but your ministry has had a marvelous effect on my Christian life. I converted in 1976 (at age 19) after having been interested in secularism and Eastern religions. Shortly after this, God led me to read The God Who is There, which was the most important and influential book I ever read. This helped set my course as a Christian teacher, preacher, and writer. (I am a Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and the author of books and articles on philosophy and apologetics.) I also read your books, L’Abri and The Tapestry and portions of your other books. These books, along with the rest of Dr. Schaeffer’s works, laid an invaluable foundation for me. I continue to reread these works and I have recently read two new books about Dr. Schaeffer with great interest. Surely, Christianity is true, rational, and pertinent to all of life. We must take it to the world! Moreover, we must depend on Christ and seek God through prayer at all times, come what may.

I want to thank you for being such a loyal, energetic, and creative woman of God. Thank you for being such a support to your husband and children, and for communicating the gospel to so many people over many decades. As Os Guinness has said, you were “the secret of L’Abri.” Without you, it would not have been possible. Although I was never able to visit L’Abri (I wish had), the stories from there live within me and inspire me.

A friend of mine helped take care of you recently and told me of your ongoing love of prayer and concern for Christians around the world. That spurred me to write you in order to give you my thanks. Of course, I ultimately thank our Heavenly Father for your wonderful and memorable life. During these difficult days of your earthly sojourn (Ecclesiastes 12), I will hold you up in prayer.

Sincerely in Christ,

Douglas Groothuis

Professor of Philosophy

Denver Seminary


Unknown said...

Their son wrote an interesting book that is worth reading called "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back" by Frank Schaeffer.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


This book is horrible, mean, and largely untrue. I reviewed at The Pearcey Report a year ago. Please read that.

Martin Gamble said...

Francis Schaeffer's books helped me a lot when I was seeking God. When I was going through a period of depression a few years ago I was greatly encouraged by "True Spirituality". I think that that is his best book, and a classic treatise on sanctification.
Edith and he had an amazing gift of hospitality. I can't imagine what it would be like to have students, many of whom were hooked on drugs, come to my place and challenge me day after day, year after year. Only the grace of the Holy Spirit could help me!

David Muir said...

Douglas I have personally thanked Francis Schaeffer for the foundation through Christ he helped to establish in my life and for my life.Likewise Edith through her books and lectures too extended that insight for me into so many areas.I knew Os from 1964 circa from the time when he was a student at L'abri in Switzerland and we met in Scotland at a mutual friends (Rosanne Semple)in Scotland.It is a letter I would have liked to write myself as thousands possibly would too.Thank you for sharing it with us all.
I would be grateful for your thoughts on an apologetic for the 21st century and your further thoughts on Patience with God Frank's latest book.You can find me and my apprentice blogs on Facebook under David Muir.In Christ David Muir
Ps your book reviews are excellent and extremely helpful.

Val said...

Frank is now calling for the destruction of "fundamentalist Christianity" at the Huffington Post. I hope Edith has no idea what her evil son is doing. I tremble for him. He was given so much truth and is now warring against God openly.

Dani said...

Has Mrs. Schaeffer publicly responded to Frank Schaeffer's claims in his book?

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Not to my knowledge. She is now too old to do so.

Dan Baker said...

I stayed there for two weeks. They refused to take my money. They took time for each and every person. Francis would work in the vegetable garden, while Edith made lunch.
Lectures, concerts, and eating together created a family atmosphere. Cow bells would wake me up to another day filled with new questions that came from people confused about life and searching for something.
Everyone could feel the love that came from these two.

StephenSheely said...

Mr. Groothuis,

Your letter was absolutely caring, loving and, without a doubt, on the mark.

I know I have 'stumbled' a few years late...but it's a very precious letter indeed.

In Christ,

Stephen Sheely