Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: No Little People by Francis Schaeffer

“No Little People” is one of the first Kindle freebies I got. I’ve had it for a while; almost two years. I finally got around to reading it.
Many of the people who have influenced me were in turn influenced by Francis Schaeffer in a previous generation. Unfortunately, Christianity seems to externally manifest in the silly little displays (often verbal) of piety from it’s members and adherents. This drives many others to frustration and often away from the church. It keeps people out.
Francis Schaeffer seemed able to cut through all that get to the heart of the matter. He ministered to the generation of the 60’s and 70’s. Many in that generation credit Schaeffer with bringing them back to what really mattered about the faith. Schaeffer himself was almost driven away from Christianity when he realized how much meanness and infighting happened within his own denomination. What he witnessed in the actions of others contradicted the way the Bible says to act and to serve. As he says in his book “True Spirituality”, he went back to his agnosticism and looked at the claims of the Bible through as much of an original lens as possible, unpolluted by his experiences as an ordained minister within a once-great denomination. “True Spirituality” details that journey of his. I’ll review that book separately.
The Premise of “No Little People” is “With God, there are no little people!” A statement from the Introduction (written by Udo W. Middelmann) says:
While all religious and secular standards judge a person by his or her accomplishments toward the end of life, the God of the Bible gives value to the person from the beginning. Man not only becomes someone but is a person from conception on, forever. It matters who you are, not what you have produced, earned, or been noticed for.
Schaeffer, Francis A. (2003). No Little People (p. 8). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.
Thankfully, Amazon finally implemented a copy function in Kindle for PC.
This book is a collection of 16 sermons Francis Schaeffer delivered. The back cover of the book indicates they can be used for family devotions.
As Schaeffer was a minister, and this book is a collection of sermons, you can imagine they tend to go on for a while. This is a trend I notice with pastors and writing: they keep going with example after example long after the point was made. With Schaeffer I don’t mind so much. He seems to have something to say to fill the space, but at times I felt like I got the point and the chapter just won’t end.
The first chapter begins with Moses’ staff. That’s right. Moses’ staff. God used a piece of wood carried by a shepherd for years if not decades in the wilderness. This staff eventually budded in a test of who the true leader was. That’s impressive considering this staff could have been more than 60 years old by that point.
The book goes on exploring the lives and roles of other Bible participants, such as Joseph, David, Elijah and Elisha, and Daniel and his three friends. Then in Chapter 11, it becomes a review of the Christmas story, then (at least in my opinion) degenerates into the typical Christian book review of “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. Schaeffer doesn’t treat this material like some pastors and Christian writers I’ve been exposed to, where after providing some meat, he suddenly assumes he’s writing for somebody who has never heard the Gospel and for some reason picked up and read most of a Christian book, so why not go back to Pre-school Sunday School and review the basics? But still, I would have preferred less “I already know this stuff” and more “Let’s look at what we know in a new light”. I assume the latter is what Schaeffer was going for.
I think this book could be a valuable read for many Christians.

No Little People
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