Following through with the lead article by Danny Mitchell and especially the “Almost Christian” review, this is a moment to call attention to this book (two booklets) by the late Francis Schaeffer. Actually as the title suggests, this little volume contains two of Schaeffer’s earlier works, first printed separately Crossway wisely combined them into a single volume.
I will mention the second, Two Contents, Two Realities first. This is a little book (booklet) that church leaders and Christians in general should read often or at least periodically. Schaeffer, in his challenging style, reminds us what Christianity and the church’s mission is all about. In his prophetic like insights, what Schaeffer wrote indicated that he knew what was going on in the world and how Christians should not only understand but to be prepared to respond.
In Two Contents and Two Realities he begins with an ongoing challenge. “There are four things which I think are absolutely necessary if we as Chrsitian are going to meet the need of our age and the overwhelming pressure we are increasingly facing.” His words continue to speak clear challenges to us. What does he mean?
The two necessary contents are sound doctrine and honest answers to honest questions. “Christianity is truth and we must hold that truth,” he says. He continues to say that we must understand that truth, not blindly believing, but to have a solid foundation. Of course he goes on to say that is the role of the church, and especially Christian education’s assignment to disciple people with the truth of sound doctrine. That has never been truer than this present time.
The second content necessary for today is to be able to give honest answers to honest questions. Two things undergird this content: 1. people do have genuine questions that Christians should be able to answer and 2. people often need help in knowing what and how to ask real substantive questions. The Apostle Peter teaches us to be able to give a reason to anyone who asks us, why we believe what we believe (1 Peter 3:15). Of course knowing what we believe and embrace from God’s truth are the keys to following through with this content. Both content areas are necessary if we are to take the truth seriously.
The two realities which grow from the two contents are true spirituality and human relationships. We must embrace a spiritual reality if we properly understand the two contents. This is important because some people believe that being intellectually self conscious and spiritual are antithetical. Not so says Schaeffer!
As the two contents impact our own spiritual live, so must they impact our human relationships. Schaeffer was fond of saying that Christianity not only produces true truth, but also beauty as well, especially in relationships, both with Christians and non-Christians-spouses, parents, co workers, fellow believers-every relationship. The church not only teaches the truth but it shows the alternative to the world around us.
Crossway Books did a good thing by combining this profound booklet with 25 Basic Bible Studies. In these studies, Schaeffer gives us the Scriptural foundation for the truths of what one might call systematic theology. Of course Schaeffer believes that Christianity is a religion of truth systematically embraced. Each part builds on and combines with the other doctrines to build the Christian faith.
The Bible studies are the best way to teach the two contents and underscore the two realities. The studies are appropriate for any age group from young people to adults. The studies begin at the beginning; study one, for example is, “The God of the Bible is personal.” This basic truth is followed by a number of biblical references to that point. Another example is, “This is the one who is our mediator. There is no other.” That statement is followed by topics and scriptures on Christ the Mediator.