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Published in 1969 by: InterVarsity Press - (Library of Congress)
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Published in 2002 by: Crossway Books & Bibles - (Library of Congress)
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As a work, Death In The City was intended to give a scriptural exposition to reinforce the need for bringing historic Christianity forward as the answer for 20th Century man's dilemma. Some printings contain the following remarks in the preface: "But these answers must be firmly related to exposition of Scripture and it is this which the present volume seeks to do. In addition we must demonstrate that the Personal-Infinite God exists, an aspect covered by my wife in her book L'Abri" Note, that here Schaeffer means to indicate that the "reality" of these answers must be lived out, and L'Abri is one example of how this can be done, as documented by Edith. He continues: "All these elements must be kept together as a unity. To separate them would grieve the Holy Spirit and sever the link with modern man. May God grant us reformation, revival and constructive revolution [note: Schaeffer advocated Civil Disobedience not violence] in the orthodox, evangelical church."
Schaeffer focuses his attention on Jeremiah, the "weeping prophet," as an example of our attitude toward the world and highlights the teachings of Paul in Romans as a framework for understanding the Biblical perspective on the state of mankind. His constant them through the book is that we are to be preaching God's judgment and truth, but lamenting and showing compassion also.
Schaeffer describes in his preface to the book that Death In The City is "based upon a series of lectures given at Wheaton College, Illinois, 30 September-4 October 1968." This series was called Speaking the Historic Christian Position Into the 20th Century when it was transcribed by Wheaton and sent to him. The Wheaton lectures would form the basis of Schaeffer's first three works and elements of his later thought can be found in seed form in them as well.
Francis Schaeffer Studies has an extensive collection of quotes for each of Francis and Edith's various works. When available, this section contains quotes that help give you a sense of the book content.
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"I cannot believe with my mind that all of this was produced by chance." Charles Darwin ~ "If he could not trust his mind on such a crucial point, how could he trust it to formulate the evolutionary hypothesis itself?" ~ Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Death In The City
Keywords: meaninglessness, humanity
"...no man, regardless of his theoretical system, is content to look at himself as a finally meaningless machine which can and will be discarded totally forever." ~ Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Death In The City
Keywords: discouragement, spirituality
"It is possible to be faithful to God, and yet to be overwhelmed with discouragement as we face the world. In fact, if we are never overwhelmed, I wonder if we are fighting the battle with compassion and reality, or whether we are jousting with paper swords against paper windmills." ~ Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Death In The City
Francis Schaeffer Studies has done extensive studies on the works of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. When available, in this section you will find class materials and resources to enhance your exploration!
Few Christians had greater impact during the last half of the twentieth century than Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer. A man with penetrating insight into post-Christian, post-modern life, Schaeffer also cared deeply about people and their search for truth, meaning, and beauty. If there is one central theme throughout Schaeffer's work, it is that "true truth" is revealed in the Bible by "the God who is there," and that what we do with this truth has decisive consequences in every area of life.
Death in the City was Schaeffer's third book and is foundational to his thinking. Written against the backdrop of the sixties countercultural upheaval, it reads today with the same ring of truth regarding personal, moral, spiritual, and intellectual concerns. Especially in light of 9/11, Schaeffer seems disturbingly prophetic. The death that Schaeffer writes about is more than just physical death--it is the moral and spiritual death that subtly suffocates truth and meaning and beauty out of the city and the wider culture.
What is the answer that Schaeffer offers in response? It is commitment to God's Word as truth--a costly practice in the midst of the intellectual, moral, and philosophical battles of our day. It is compassion for a world that is lost and dying without the Gospel. It is yielding our lives to God and allowing Him to bring forth His fruit through us.
Few have demonstrated this commitment to truth and "persistence of compassion" so consistently as Schaeffer did. And because of this, few who begin reading these pages will come to the end without having their life profoundly changed.