Writes Francis Schaeffer [Works, 4:258–259]:
I am convinced that one of the great weaknesses in evangelical preaching in the last years is that we have lost sight of the biblical fact that man is wonderful. We have seen the unbiblical humanism which surrounds us, and to resist this in our emphasis on man’s lostness we have tended to reduce man to a zero.
Man is indeed lost, but that does not mean he is nothing. We must resist the humanism, but to make man a zero is not the right way to resist it. You can emphasize that man is totally lost and still have the biblical answer that man is really great. In fact, only the biblical position produces a real and proper “humanism.” Naturalistic humanism leads to a diminishing of man and eventually to a zeroing of man. But the Christian position is that man is made in the image of God and even though he is now a sinner, he can do those things that are tremendous—he can influence history for this life and the life to come, for himself and for others. …
In short, therefore, man is not a cog in a machine; he is not a piece of theater; he really can influence history. From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great.
3 thoughts on “Lost, But Great”
Thanks for this quote. Quite a paradox isn’t it to be dead in sin yet made in the image of God. I have been listening to an audiobook version of True Spirituality by Schaeffer – very worthwhile!
Really powerful! Something we all really need to remind ourselves of. It’s so easy to recognize the total depravity of man, but we can’t forget the inherent worth of man in spite of our sin.
Next thing we know, you’ll be telling Christians that they have “an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15) just like Ezekiel promised (36:26).
Keep up the good work!