Francis Schaeffer's Affirmation of the Summer Bible School Program
Among the materials in the Abraham Lance Lathem Papers, there is this portion of a letter written by the Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer, and dated 13 January 1942:
Dear Friend in Christ:
For a long time I have been keenly interested in the ALL-BIBLE "SUMMER BIBLE SCHOOL". Before I had a regular charge that interest was academic--the plan sounded splendid both as a means of Christian instruction and as a Church builder. When we were called to the Covenant Bible Presbyterian Church of Grove City, a Church of 18 active members meeting in the American Legion Hall, we put the plan to the test and found it more powerful than we had even guessed. We arrived in Grove City in June and in July with little other means of contact than door bell pushing, we had our first Summer Bible School. That first year with only 4 children in our Sabbath School, we had 135 children enrolled. The following three years we had Schools all of which had over 170 in them. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the greatest factors which God used in the Building of the Grove City Church to a congregation of 105 members with its own beautiful little building was the All-Bible "Summer Bible School".
Educationally the school meets many needs. A great many of us long for an educational system that will bring our children to the Lord instead of taking them away. Modern unbelief has gained much of its control through the early planting of many of its men in educational centers. However, the setting up of Christian Schools is difficult and not many of us can achieve it. Never-the-less, in the pedagogically correct and Spirit empowered Summer Bible School course, we have a solution which each of us can effect.
As I have said, I have been impressed with the All-Bible Summer Bible School for a long time, but since I have been called to Chester as Associate Pastor and have gone over the remarkable record of the School in its world-wide scope, I am continually more certain that God has raised up nothing in our age that has surpassed this All-Bible Summer Bible School as a means of evangelization, as a bulwark against unbelief through the careful teaching of the Word of God, and as a builder of Church congregations that mean to stand "all out" for Fundamental, Supernatural Christianity.
The School was founded 30 years ago by Dr. Lathem, and uses No Handcraft; it is the Word of God and the Word of God only. There are records at hand of 100,000 conversions through it, and only God knows how many more have been reached for Christ that are not recorded. Before the Nationalistic blow against Fundamental Christianity in Japan there were 586 Schools in Korea alone. It is my firm conviction that the All-Bible Summer Bible School fills an increasingly important. . ."
[The letter ends there. Perhaps we will one day find the rest of that letter among some other collection.]
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