It is generally believed that the Enlightenment, capped by the French Revolution, more or less snuffed out any remaining strength in the Huguenot community. It is further believed that the French evangelical church has never quite recovered from those onslaughts. But the rumors of the death of the church in France are exaggerated!
Although indeed battered, a remarkable awakening spread throughout much of the French-speaking church in the 19th century. Stemming from centers such as Geneva, Paris and Montauban, it grew into a robust movement. At the heart of it was the defense of the Scripture. One extraordinary Bible apologist was Louis Gaussen (1790-1863). His masterpiece, titled Theopneustie (“God-breathed,” from 2 Timothy 3:16), became a best-seller. As he explains early in the book, “by this term we recognize the mysterious power which the Holy Spirit effected upon the authors of the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, enabling them to compose what the church has received from their hands.”
From this premise Gaussen goes on to defend the veracity of the Bible at every point. He explores various places where there are apparent contradictions, and offers resolutions which are “simple” and “evident.” He does the same as he reconciles the Bible with recent discoveries from science. He affirms that a proper understanding of the biblical text, plus a humble yet critical reception of what science may be saying, should put to rest most of the supposed contradictions between the Bible and science.
Gaussen was not alone. Nor are solid, evangelical scholars in France today, who have continued in his spirit. A good number of them are laboring at the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence. They covet your prayers and your support. A defense of the Bible is still crucial for the church in France today. Many thanks.
Very Truly Yours,
William Edgar, President