The Final Apologetic

At the recent Southern Baptist Building Bridges Conference I sat and listened to Tom Ascol deliver one of the closing sermons. He mentioned Schaeffer’s “Final Apologetic” in reference to those of us of different theological perspectives should love and treat each other. He is part of this topic by Schaeffer to reflect on.

The Final Apologetic

But there is something even more sober. And to understand it we must look at John 17:21, a verse out of the midst of Christ’s high priestly prayer. Jesus prays, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” In this, his high priestly prayer, Jesus is praying for the oneness of the church, the oneness that should be found specifically among true Christians. Jesus is not praying for a humanistic, romantic oneness among men in general. Verse 9 makes this clear: “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” Jesus here makes a very careful distinction between those who have cast themselves upon him in faith and those who still stand in rebellion. Hence, in the 21st verse, when he prays for oneness, the “they” he is referring to are the true Christians.

Notice, however, that verse 21 says, “That they all may be one . . .” The emphasis, interestingly enough, is exactly the same as in John 13 – not on a part of true Christians, but on all Christians – not that those in certain parties in the church should be one, but that all born-again Christians should be one.

Now comes the sobering part. Jesus goes on in this 21st verse to say something that always causes me to cringe. If as Christians we do not cringe, it seems to me we are not very sensitive or very honest, because Jesus here gives us the final apologetic. What is the final apologetic? “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” This is the final apologetic. (The Mark of the Christian by Francis A. Schaeffer)

Until the Lord takes us home will we have to always turn to Him in prayer to rightly love one another.

Mark

The above article was posted on December 1, 2007 by Mark Lamprecht.
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