Book Review: “No Little People” by Francis Schaeffer (1974)

Finally having the opportunity to crack into Volume 3 of The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, I took the author’s advice and did not read this offering all in one sitting. Because No Little People is a collection of sixteen sermons that Schaeffer had once shared either at his L’Abri study center or at other meetings across the globe, it’s less a concise treatise on a given topic and more a broad stroke of the man’s theology as expounded from Scripture itself. His texts and topics vary immensely, but at their core, each declares the supremacy and vitality of God’s Word over and above any philosophies of men. In this sense, it is an obvious extension of everything else that Schaeffer ever wrote.

I find it strange to attempt to “review” someone else’s sermons, so I’ll instead simply relate some of the more memorable quotes or discussions, at least in the realm of art and creativity (about which the man is a well-learned authority).

Regarding dystopias and utopias, he describes the former as “making standards completely hedonistic and relativistic. The world has dressed these up in its own vocabulary and called it situational ethics. Every situation is judged subjectively with no absolute to which to appeal. Young people have sensed this and have brought forth an idealism which is tied to the rejection of the hypocrisy of the previous generation’s morals. But the dilemma, of course, is that the utopias they brought forth have no standards either. So instead of finding what they hope for, they are led into fresh sorrows.” (55)
In another section, he writes: “Anarchy soon dehumanizes men…On the other hand, knowing that all men are sinners frees us from the cruelty of utopianism. Utopianism is cruel, for it expects of men and women what they are not and will not be until Christ comes. Such utopianism, forgetting what the Bible says about human sinfulness, is hard-hearted; it is as monstrous a things as one can imagine.” (28-29)

Regarding escapism: “A Christian is not supposed to need an escape—alcohol, drugs, constant noise and entertainment or whatever. Not that we do not sometimes take the easy route. We do, for none of us is perfect. But that is not the standard we are pressing toward. Both in theory and in practice Christians can dare to face the realities of life unclouded. We no not need these things to fill the crannies of our lives. In fact, we should want to face reality: the glory of the world God has created and the wonder of being human—yes, and even the awful reality of the Fall and the tragedy of marred men and women, even our own flawed character. We are not to be people of escape. The Christian is to be the realist. To face reality as born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit is the Christian’ calling.” (61-62)

And regarding evangelism, he writes these helpful lines:
• “Christians must not let the world defile them. If the world sees us conforming to its standards and its relativism, it will not listen to what we say. It will have no reason to.” (63)
• “Many who become Christians have difficulty with their unbelieving families. They can be comforted by realizing that Jesus Himself experienced the pain of such a situation. Those children born to Mary and Joseph did not believe on Him until after His resurrection; His own brothers gibed at Him harshly.” (150)
• “I believe with all my heart that in order to speak to this generation, we must act like a Bible-believing people. We can emphasize a message faithful to the Bible and the purity of the visible church, but if we do not practice this truth, we cannot expect anyone to listen to us.” (181)

To develop a biblical worldview that can counteract the culture around us, a person must read the Word of God regularly and with passion. To supplement that reading and to strengthen that worldview, he must also feast on the writings of great Christians thinkers like Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, John Piper, and John MacArthur. I’m so happy to have such works accessible to me always, as it has grown me into a far wiser, far more discerning reader and individual. I’d encourage your to find your own Schaeffer (or whomever) and do the same.

Unbeliever, eternity’s too important to piggyback on the philosophies of the world, as if your ultimate destination doesn’t matter. Believer, the life Jesus that has given you is not to be wasted on the wood and hay of this world. Think for yourself! Grow in discernment! Recognize the flaws of human thinking and embrace the True Truths of Jesus Christ and the complete Word of God!

©2015 E.T.

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