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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.


Author Information

  • Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) was an evangelical missionary. After studying at Hampden-Sydney College, Westminister Theological Seminary (where he studied under Cornelius Van Til), and Faith Theological Seminary, Schaeffer pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

    In 1948, Schaeffer moved to Switzerland and founded L’Abri, a community where people discuss philosophy and religion. Thousands of people have passed through L’Abri, and it has expanded into several other countries. Schaeffer held a presuppositional approach to apologetics which many believe heavily influenced the Christian Right movement in the United States.

  • Lane T. Dennis is president and publisher of Crossway Books and Good News Tracts. Dennis earned an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, and a PhD in religion from Northwestern University. Before joining Good News Publishers in 1974, he served as a pastor in campus ministry at the University of Michigan (Sault Ste. Marie) and as the managing director of Verlag Grosse Freude in Switzerland. He is the author and/or editor of three books, including the Gold Medallion-award-winning book Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer, and he is the former chairman of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Dennis serves as the chairman of the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible Translation Oversight Committee and as the executive editor of the ESV Study Bible.