In True Spirituality Schaeffer considers so many precious gems of wisdom that to do it justice I would have to do a report on the book, not give a summary. To begin with, his understanding of the gospel and its application to life are liberating because he (rightly) does not have too much of a realized eschatology. This prevents a triumphalism from creeping in that’s so pervasive in many Evangelical circles today. This is especially true in the areas of justification, sanctification and final glorification.
Rightly understanding the biblical teaching of the above as we rest in the power of the Holy Spirit and look to the Trinity for direction, wisdom, and instruction, there’s the opportunity for our brokenness to be healed, substantially that is.
The chapter on Freedom in the Thought Life there’s a massive thought that, “true spirituality in the Christian life rests…in the realm of my thought life” (pg.310). While I’m finite, my limitations don’t prevent me from creating something in the external world what my internal thoughts influence (e.g., a sculptor, painting, etc.). Yet, even though I’m a Christian, my thoughts can be a death producing machine if I yield myself to Satan instead of Christ. Wow!
Made in the image of God, our choices determine whether or not life or death will overflow into the lives of other human beings. Capable for committing acts of kindness or cruelty, able to create beauty or produce horror. In this section Schaeffer concludes with three thoughts:
First, the reality of communion with God, and loving God, must take place in the inward self. Our thought life is the proving ground.
Second, the real battle for men is in the world of ideas, rather than in that which is outward. “Where a man will spend eternity depends on his reading or hearing the ideas, the propositional truth, the facts of the gospel in the external world, and these being carried through the medium of His body into the inner world of his thoughts…either his believing God on the basis of the content of the gospel or his calling God a liar” (pgs.312-313).
Third, the Christian life…always begins in our thought-world. The spiritual battle, the loss or the victory, is always in the thought life. When our thought life as believers is set Godward, substantial healing can be experienced in our psychological, personal problems, interpersonal relationships can be healed and even healing in the church can be a reality.
He concludes this book with an appendix The Dust of Life where at the end of the day we believers are called to live our lives in this present evil age in light of the future coming kingdom of God. We are to model now what is still future. We are to be a redemptive tool in God’s hands displaying His personal care for the souls of men and the earth in which they were designed to live.
This book is must reading for anyone in leadership or anyone desiring to go into leadership in the church. In fact, this should be read by all who desire to glean from the godly wisdom this broken man offers. We’ll be the better for it if we consider and act.