Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Francis Schaeffer: Purity of Self and Church

“Purity, however, goes even deeper than a lack of internal coveting. Purity is about the positive reverse of coveting; it is about love, loving God with my whole being and loving my neighbor as myself. The same is true with purity of the church. Purity of the church is not simply about discipling those who teach false doctrine, or who are morally disobedient, or separating oneself from them when discipling is no longer possible. The end of the purity of the visible church must not be purity itself, but rather love for the Lord and a desire to please Him.” (Jerram Barrs in the introduction to “True Spirituality” by Francis Schaeffer, xx)

Purity is often times seen as something that is external, and often only thought of in terms of sex. In "True Spirituality" Francis Schaeffer offers a different view of purity that deals with the internal rather than the external. Schaeffer offers that all purity that is internal will manifest itself in external acts, but can never be done the other way around. In other words one cannot be pure outside and then inside, that is not purity and often times will lead to pride. Internal purity for Schaeffer starts and stops with love for God then neighbor, to 2 great commandments Jesus gives the Church. Christianity here in America today needs these wise words more than ever. Churches today are often filled with moralist deism that works to purify the external with little regard for the internal. Part of the reason for this trend is that the internal is something that only God can do, and thus takes away any of our boasting in our morality. Once we are saved, though, this is not a passive pursuit of purity. We are to seek God above all else and give thanks to Him for everything. By having our devotion aimed at God this will then overflow to a love for neighbor that is pure and true. Our love for neighbor will no longer be conditional upon what "we can get out of it", but rather one that seeks his/her good.

Jerram Barrs, professor at Covenant Seminary, wrote out the introduction to "True Spirituality" and is worth the price of the whole book.

Click here to purchase this Schaeffer classic.

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