The God Who Is There was first published in 1968. Thirty years and 400,000 copies later, its still going strong. When Francis Schaeffer wrote The God Who Is There, his analysis of society shocked the evangelical community with its clarity and understanding. Today, his words seem prophetic, as postmodernism, and its inherent relativism, have taken hold of society with a relentless grip.
The God Who Is There is a full, deep, penetrating look at society and its relation to the church (and vice versa), but it can be summarized in five basic passions, according to author and editor James Sire, in the foreword. One, a passion for the God who is there, the God who directly engages with his people. Two, a passion for truth. Schaeffer felt that the conflict seen in society stemmed from differing concepts of truth, and he calls us to return to the truth of Scripture. Three, a compassion for people. As Schaeffer states in the book, 'As I push the man off his false balance, he must be able to feel that I care for him. Otherwise I will only end up destroying him...' Four, a passion for culture. Without a deep, full understanding of what the world is thinking about and chasing after, the church cannot speak the truth of the Gospel effectively to it. Five, a passion for relevant and honest communication. Schaeffer brilliantly focuses on how many in our society use words to mask the real meanings and to hide reality. He calls us to unmask the meanings, and to face reality squarely.
Thirty years ago, Schaeffer spoke out against rational humanism and relativism because they dehumanize people and because they lead to despair. And now, in a culture that prides itself on individualism and relativism, we see the continuing death of human dignity and personality that Schaeffer spoke about. The God Who Is There is at least as relevant now as when it was first published, if not more relevant. The issues first highlighted in 1968 have become much more central in our culture in the 21st century. So join with Schaeffer in calling people back to a relationship with the God who is there.