How “Christian” was C.S. Lewis… and Why is He an Evangelical Hero?

by Mike Duran · 90 comments

His books have influenced more Christians than possibly any other author; his stories are classics, beloved by children and adults alike. There are foundations to his legacy, a movie about him, bumper stickers that quote him and his caricature can be found on t-shirts and coffee mugs. C.S. Lewis is the lewis_portrait.jpgposter boy for “Christian thinkers,” inspiration for vast numbers of Christian authors, an icon in the already crowded pantheon of religious heroes.

But does he deserve the acclaim? Not only do some question the uncritical embrace of Lewis by American evangelicals, they question his Christian faith.

Christianity Today columnist Bob Smietana, in an article entitled, C.S. Lewis Superstar, sums up the essence of the “Lewis resistance” :

Clive Staples Lewis was anything but a classic evangelical, socially or theologically. He smoked cigarettes and a pipe, and he regularly visited pubs to drink beer with friends. Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn’t subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration. How did someone with such a checkered pedigree come to be a theological Elvis Presley, adored by evangelicals?

Somehow, Lewis’ “checkered pedigree” has become of little concern to the average evangelical admirer. Nevertheless, some have described his Christianity as a “myth” and John Robbins goes so far as to ask, Did C.S. Lewis Go to Heaven? In his essay, Robbins concludes, “So we ask again: Did C. S. Lewis go to Heaven? And our answer must be: Not if he believed what he wrote in his books and letters.”

For instance:

  • He believed in purgatory. In Letters to Malcolm, he wrote “I believe in Purgatory. The right view returns magnificently in Newman’s Dream. There if I remember rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer with its darkness to affront that light. Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they?” (pp. 110-111)
  • He believed in evolution.
  • He was unusually tolerant of mythology and paganism. On a visit to Greece with his wife in 1960, Lewis made the following unusual statement: “I had some ado to prevent Joy (and myself) from lapsing into paganism in Attica! AT DAPHNI IT WAS HARD NOT TO PRAY TO APOLLO THE HEALER. BUT SOMEHOW ONE DIDN’T FEEL IT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY WRONG–WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN ADDRESSING CHRIST SUB SPECIE APOLLONIUS” (C.S. Lewis to Chad Walsh, May 23, 1960, cited from George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, 1994, p. 378).
  • He believed in prayers for the dead. In Letters to Malcolm, he wrote, “Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter men. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden” (p. 109).
  • He believed in a type of “soft universalism.” “[H]ere are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position” (Mere Christianity pp 176-177).

Perhaps these are why renowned Welsh preacher D. Martin Lloyd-Jones warned that C.S. Lewis had a 1101470908_400.jpgdefective view of salvation and was an opponent of the substitutionary and penal view of the atonement (Christianity Today, Dec. 20, 1963). And in a letter to the editor of Christianity Today, Feb. 28, 1964, Dr. W. Wesley Shrader, First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, warned that “C.S. Lewis … would never embrace the (literal-infallible) view of the Bible” (F.B.F. News Bulletin, Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, March 4, 1984).

Andrew Greeley in an article entitled, Narnia: Not Just for Evangelicals writes,

C.S. Lewis was not a Christian in the sense of the word that “evangelicals” insist upon. He was an Anglican who sometimes skirted, in his writings at any rate, dangerously close to the thin ice of Catholicism. Indeed, many in my generation of Catholics simply assumed he was one of us. But even as an Anglican he would certainly fall out of the realm of the “saved” when the Rapture blasts all of us who do not believe in word-for-word inerrancy into oblivion.

Despite all this, C.S. Lewis is still considered one of the greatest Christian theologians, thinkers and authors of all time. But why? Of course, disbelieving in the innerancy of Scripture is far more serious than smoking tobacco and swilling suds. But nowadays a Christian author / thinker who smoked cigarettes, drank beer, believed in evolution, felt compelled to pray to Apollo, and rejected biblical innerancy would have about as much chance of becoming an evangelical hero as Paris Hilton does of becoming relevant.

So, given the facts, how “Christian” was C.S. Lewis. . . and why is he an evangelical hero?

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 2, 2007 at 1:53 PM

Wow, I get to decide how Christian Lewis was? Well, seeing as how I’m going to need plenty of grace to grease my hiney through that narrow gate, I’m going with “enough.”

As to why he’s a hero, to evangelical writers at least, I’m going with “who else we got?” Chesterton and O’Connor, too Catholic. Tolkien unknown (to me at least) outside his mythworks, and then also too Catholic. Sayers too Anglican (Lewis’ “heresies” at least make him less CoE). That said, they’re all my heroes, because again, who else we got?

Thanks for the post, Mike. Got the blood pumpin’ today.

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Heather Goodman August 2, 2007 at 3:28 PM

I have also found it amusing as to Lewis’ status among evangelicals who don’t really know what he believes but love the first part of his Mere Christianity.
As to deciding Lewis’ fate, I’m glad it’s not up to me. I will say that I don’t believe a belief in evolution nor a denial of the doctrine of inerrancy a case against Christianity. (I know you listed more points.) I’m not sure I could subscribe to inerrancy as most people say it (although I would subscribe to infallibility).
Lewis, especially in his book, The Discarded Image, influenced my thinking. While I don’t agree with everything Clive says, I don’t think it’s enough to put myself in the Judge’s shoes. I’m especially wary of taking these quotes and making a call without seeing the context. After all, I too have said that I believe in myth.

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Rachelle August 2, 2007 at 5:01 PM

C.S. Lewis has long been my hero BECAUSE of all these things you wrote, not in spite of them. I love the way he thought, he questioned, and he reasoned. I love his honesty. And the fact that he smoked and drank. Lewis was as real as they come. And I can’t wait to shake his hand in heaven.

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Rebecca LuElla Miller August 3, 2007 at 12:18 AM

Mike, good post to make a person think.

I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say C. S. Lewis was a great theologian. I don’t think that’s what he’s known as at all! He wrote a number of thoughtful non-fiction works, certainly, but was he laying out a systematic framework of belief? He discussed suffering, he explained how he came to faith. And Mere Christianity? Is that a theological treatise?

Be that as it may, you asked how he came to be an evangelical hero. I’d have to say, by becoming a Christian. By writing about things that Christians wonder about–heaven, temptation, suffering, salvation.

As to the areas where he “got it wrong,” I can only say, I’m thankful God doesn’t require us to take a theology test before He opens up Heaven to His children. If that were it, I don’t think any of us would get in because I doubt if any of us have it all figured out.

As far as I know, C. S. Lewis is in Heaven because, just like other Christians, grace saved him, not works of his own.

Becky

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Ricky Parker August 16, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Amen… Becky I believe people take bits of what cs lewis said and run with it dragging it through the dirt. They don’t stop to understand who he was.

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Rebecca LuElla Miller August 3, 2007 at 12:31 AM

Chris, I hadn’t read your comment when I posted the one above.

Evangelicals have plenty of heros, including writers, but perhaps not any that are close to contemporary. To name a few–John Donne, George Herbert, John Bunyan, John Milton.

Becky

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Mike Duran August 3, 2007 at 1:15 PM

Okay, so I’m playing provocateur. But when I started reading Lewis some 20 years back, no one mentioned his “questionable” beliefs. It was only after personal study did I uncover dissenting voices. . . and it made me wonder. I’d come from a pretty strict theological upbringing, so Lewis’ inclusion seemed contradictory to what I’d learned about “doctrinal purity.” Was somebody missing something?

Becky’s right about Lewis NOT being a theologian. Nevertheless, the degree to which he’s quoted and recommended makes me wonder whether or not he actually has acquired “theological clout”. After all, the very title of one of his most popular works — Mere Christianity – suggests something definitive, as if he’s distilling the doctrinal core down to its essence. So, while Lewis would object to being a theologian, the proliferation and popularity of his writing has shaped people’s theologies.

Like Heather, I love Lewis’ take on paganism and myth. Few other views have shaped me and broadened my worldview like this one. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t think it jived with Scripture. Nevertheless, it is a paradigm that’s often misunderstood and opposed.

As to Lewis’ popularity among Evangelicals, and evangelical authors, I’m wondering two things: 1.) Does this signal a dearth, a deficiency, in our knowledge of the Bible? In other words, do Evangelicals embrace Lewis because they simply do not understand the importance of Scriptural innerancy, penal substitution and Purgatory? Could it be our uncritical acceptance of Lewis reveals our own drift from sound doctrine? 2.) Regarding writers: I wonder that evangelical authors place more premium upon good craft and good stories than they do on good theology. Perhaps this is how it should be. After all, we’re not preaching, we’re telling tales. Of course, this doesn’t mean we can enact heresy in our stories, but that doctrine is secondary to drama in the world of fiction. Could Lewis’ influence among Christian authors signal an indifference — or, at least, disregard — toward the fundamentals of the faith? At the least, Lewis’ beliefs stretch our understanding of what mere Christianity really is.

Hey, Chris, Heather, Rachelle and Becky, thanks for your comments! Grace to you!

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Ricky Parker August 16, 2013 at 7:09 PM

I like CS lewis because he has some very valid points. But I do not read his works as a basis for my beliefs. I believe there is no purer book than the Holy Bible and on its truths do I put my trust and faith in Christ…. Amen…..

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dayle August 3, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Mike,

I don’t think besides the minority of evangelical intellectuals that most evangelicals know what non-fiction C.S. Lewis actually wrote. They are Told that he was a great defender of the Faith-the most brilliant Christian apologist of the last 200 years by pastors or leaders that they trust so they go with it.

I also think there is a British cultural component here. ( Yeah, I know he’s Irish ) There seems to be an understanding in the American mind that a drink and a smoke in the United Kingdom is culturally acceptable so it’s not the scarlet letter that it is here. Besides, no one who writes that well can be that bad. Maybe most can’t even understand what he’s written so they pretend – it becomes accolade by default.

Besides, time has a way of softening perceptions.

He did enough to earn his position and I think the lack of criticism by Evangelicals is a good sign. Although, it is hard to believe that he prescribed to purgatory.

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ChestertonianRambler August 3, 2007 at 4:08 PM

I’m going to have to land firmly on the side of “it’s the places where Lewis differs from Evangelicals where I most love him.”

Frankly speaking, if Lewis hadn’t said things that I never heard clearly in my evangelical Church, I don’t know that I’d be a Christian today. There’s this sense of doubt, of thought, and of struggle that often gets left behind in the excessive optimism and know-it-all-ness of Evangelicals. And personally, I drink (never to drunkenness) and smoke (on very rare occassions), and will attribute both partially to Lewis. If Jesus was falsely accused of drunkenness, I don’t mind if a few people get the wrong impression while seeing me in a bar.

And regarding his view of the scriptures: he once wrote that the OT depictions of God are “allegorical,” because they picture a God who has mood swings and changes his mind. Then he pointed out that all theology of God is “allegorical,” and in any case preference should be given to the “allegory” that God himself revealed to us, rather than the “allegory” that men built to understand God.

I could go further to defend Lewis, but I don’t want to hijack this forums. Was he perfect theologically? No. Do I understand evangelicals love for him? No. Do I think said love is entirely healthy for evangelicals, esp. if they are to actually read what he said? Absolutely.

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ChestertonianRambler August 3, 2007 at 4:34 PM

“But nowadays a Christian author / thinker who smoked cigarettes, drank beer, believed in evolution, felt compelled to pray to Apollo, and rejected biblical innerancy would have about as much chance of becoming an evangelical hero as Paris Hilton does of becoming relevant.”

I respectfully disagree. Check out a bio of Rich Mullins. The guy cussed, chain-smoked, often alligned himself with the political left, and had begun the official process of converting to the Roman Catholic Church when he died. He also wrote the best songs of praise to God and thought about the difficulties of Christian life. He lived his whole life as a humble ministry, at the end writing music to support his missionary efforts to Native Americans. I bring him up to point out that, even in American Evangelical circles, often times people respond to genuine Christians who God has gifted with the ability to inspire others to seek God.

Interestingly, though Rich had a very keen sense of his own guilt before God, he (like Lewis) never considered his smoking to be a sin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Mullins

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janet August 3, 2007 at 11:52 PM

This post made me squirm! I love C.S. Lewis and I hope to see him when I get to Heaven (I’m certain I’ll be there in spite of my occasional beer-swilling). I’m not big on speculating about other’s salvation. However, this was interesting. Makes me want to pick up the rest of his books I haven’t gotten to and read:) Thanks, Mike.

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janet August 4, 2007 at 12:21 AM

Just wanted to add that I always enjoy Dayle’s comments (Hi, Dayle.)

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dayle August 4, 2007 at 2:37 AM

Thank you so much, Janet. It’s feels good to be appreciated.

However, it might interest you to know that our esteemed host, Mike Duran, has, through a campaign of intimidation and harassment, tried to keep me from commenting on his blog. I can’t go into detail but it involves three federal agencies, the Japanese mafia, and a couple of tough girl scouts that live in my apartment building.

I’m just kidding, I love Mike.

But then again, why is that unmarked van always parked outside my window. And . . . wait, what is that nailed to my front door . . . Oh no–it’s a thin mint.

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janet August 4, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Ha! You’re too funny. I’ll pray for your safety. Thanks for taking the risk and commenting despite the threats; you’re a brave man. Take heart; I’ve met Mike in person and he didn’t scare me.

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Mike Duran August 4, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Thanks for your comments, ChestertonianRambler (CR). I’m sure G.K. would be proud. I’m not sure I need to “defend Lewis,” but the degree to which many feel compelled to, is intriguing.

You said: “I’m going to have to land firmly on the side of ‘it’s the places where Lewis differs from Evangelicals where I most love him.'” Not sure I concur. Does this mean you don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture or penal substitution, that you pray to the dead, believe in purgatory, evolution and baptismal regeneration? If so, you have issues with Scripture, not just Evangelicals.

Regarding drinking and smoking — name me half a dozen other prominent Evangelical authors / artists who openly drink and/or smoke, and I’ll give credence to your take. While Rich Mullins may have imbibed, his vices were hardly condoned by the mainstream Church. I often sarcastically refer to drinking and smoking as the “morality yardstick” for many conservative Christians. It’s foolish, I agree. Heck, CBA publishers still do not allow cussing, drinking or smoking in their books. Which, once again, makes the acceptance of Lewis all the more anomalous.

I have no problem believing that people with widely divergent views may be saved. Heck, we may even discover some Buddhists and Yankee fans in heaven. So, in my mind, Lewis’ liberal views do not shock me or disqualify him from heaven. Nevertheless, I do not feel compel to defend his divergent positions.

Thanks so much for your comments, CR. I’ll be checking out your site! Blessings!

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Bob Bell April 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Buddhists perhaps, but Yankee fans … that’s a bit much don’t you think.

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Chris August 5, 2007 at 5:14 AM

Mike:

Color me confused. Where in the linked “He believed in evolution” speech/essay (just got around to reading it) does Lewis indicate he believes, i.e., adheres to a pro-evolution creed? My read of it says he rejects it as nonsense. He discusses evolution, yes, but to say that makes him an evolutionist is like saying that since I believe in Communism and Cannibalism (I believe they do factually exist) that I’m a man-eating commie.

Likewise, I find Lewis’ statement that the human heart cries out for Purgatory akin Simon Peter telling Christ not to wash his (Peter’s) feet. Grace can be a terrible thing to bear, which is not to say it’s a bad thing. I do not think it likely that Lewis would suggest that the human heart trumps God’s sovereignty or that Christ’s sacrifice was flawed. I don’t recall Edmund having to go through Purgatory after the Stone Table incident.

As far as Lewis feeling drawn to pray to Apollo goes, yes, the temptation was there. But even with the rationalization about the proto-Christ, Lewis did not kneel in front of the pagan altar. To suggest that Lewis is guilty of something because he admitted he was tempted by it is to set the bar dangerously low, and does nothing to encourage spiritual transparency.

Personally, I have problems with reading the Bible as word-for-word literal truth. I agree that the Bible is Truth throughout, but some parts of it are metaphorically, not literally, true. Is God literally a mother hen gathering her chicks? Literally, both female and poultry? Course not. But does the imagery ring True? Yes. Seems that matches up with the allegorical interpretations that are referenced in the comments above.

I’m sure there are points where I’d disagree with Lewis’ beliefs, but these don’t seem to be them. Nor would I suggest that my beliefs be the yardstick we measure by.

In all things, Peace, Mike.

–Chris

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Mike Duran August 5, 2007 at 4:00 PM

Thanks for your comments, Chris. Here’s some better links to Lewis’ views on evolution. Though THIS ONE is unabashedly critical, it has a section entitled ON CREATION with quotes from Lewis like this: From The Problem of Pain, pp.133,77 “… for we have good reason to believe that animals existed long before men. … For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself … [Eventually,] God caused a new kind of consciousness to descend upon this organism” and this “If … you mean simply that man is physically descended from animals, I have no objection” (The Problem of Pain, p.72).

Or you could look at THIS SERIES OF LETTERS. From the intro: “C.S. Lewis infrequently addressed the subject of creation and evolution, and on such occasions he usually endorsed some version of theistic evolution.” From ANSWERS IN CREATION: “. . .C. S. Lewis, is an old earth creationist, who believed in evolution.”

To clarify, I do not think a belief in evolution condemns someone to hell. However, the disbelief in hell might.

You said: “Personally, I have problems with reading the Bible as word-for-word literal truth.” Although I understand what you mean and you explain your thoughts well, to me, this is a potentially dangerous position. (I’ve been thinking about blogging about this very topic.) Of course, some biblical stories ARE metaphorical. Careful, logical, objective readings of the text usually determine what falls in the category of “literal truth.” The danger is when we become arbiters of what’s true and not true in Scripture. As such, I can effectively mythologize anything in the Bible and get myself off the proverbial hook.

Hey, great discussion! Thanks so much for participating, Chris. And I’m looking forward to reading your Cthulu tale in the Diner!

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ChestertonianRambler August 7, 2007 at 12:40 AM

Mike:

Very good points. Strangely enough, I do have issues with Scriptures, but they’re none of the ones I’ve said–on Evolution, I’m an agnostic, having seen convincing arguments that it doesn’t necessarily contradict God’s authorship of Gen. 1 and 2 in order to communicate clearly, poetically, and theologically his absolute control of creation, etc., etc.

I pray for the dead, but only retroactively, which is what I think Lewis was talking about. Praying that the dead reach heaven for me is akin to praying that my mother safely drove home–I know the issue is decided, but not knowing the outcome I ask God (who is outside time) anyway.

But all this is besides the point. The central reason why I defend Lewis is that he provided a voice that I hadn’t heard before, a voice that matched faith in God with hard rationalism and a keen awareness of the struggles of faith. No one else told me, during high school for instance, that “he who has doubted little has believed little” (meaning that the easiest way to not doubt is to artificially shrink your conception of God.) In a sense I defend Lewis as a Christian because I feel that in him I have a very imperfect and flawed guide to the Truth and to God. Sure, I could poke holes in his doctrine if you ask me to–but that’s not the point. When people say, not that he was wrong in details, but that he has no idea what he’s talking about (i.e. is not a Christian, or is a highly deluded one), I find the argument a very critical one for me. If I’ve been finding encouragement in doubting Christians-who-aren’t-Christians, I need to reexamine the importance of human reason and ask myself if maybe all my attempts to draw near to God and let him change me are fundamentally flawed.

Not that I was particularly angry about your particular post. On the contrary I enjoyed it. Just so you can know why I (and my ilk) see Lewis as someone worth “defending.”

About the literal-ness of Scriptures, we could have a long and fruitful debate. The central point that made me a bit more liberal was the point that the Scriptures were written in an historical culture as well as language. Applying the allegorical phrase willy-nilly is of course the best way to declare oneself an infallible Pope, or perhaps even one’s own God. But to hold off on applying a specifically Modern view of language used to express truth might also be to push things a little too far.

In any case, as a Christian author, head of family, and potential English professor the idea of Evolution isn’t necessarily going to hit my fields of interest all that hard. Nor is the idea that Job’s speech was literally what he said, rather than a dramatic and accurate retelling of the true story of Job.

Finally, and unrelated to all the above, I seem to be having the hardest time subscribing to your sites RSS feed via FireFox. Each time I click, rather than giving me the option to add you to my toolbar folder, it brings up a page of HTML-coded gibberish. Know how I can get around this?

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Mike Duran August 7, 2007 at 3:08 AM

CR, try the RSS link in the sidebar, under the sitemeter. Other than that, I’ll have to tinker with it. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Adriana August 18, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Do you not know that it is not our job to judge people? And if you are, you need to judge righteously. What you’re doing here is the classic ol’ plankeye bit.

No one ever said Lewis was perfect, and I’m sure he never said he was perfect, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a christian. We all need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and with grace!

Or have you forgotten about grace? And mercy?

Smoking, drinking, and believing in evolution aren’t things that will lead you to hell! Jesus drank, just in case you’ve forgotten.

You deal with your own salvation and always encourage and love others the way Christ would.

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Becca August 28, 2007 at 11:57 PM

I’m going to have to land firmly on the side of “it’s the places where Lewis differs from Evangelicals where I most love him.”

Quite.

Contemporary evangelicalism is only one of many small sects, (and I would say heresies), that have sprung up in the long history of Christian theology. It’s an offspring of the Anabaptist cult really, and in the US has accrued both cult-like and wildly commercial and political corruptions. I for one find it in its most extreme examples revolting and vicious, and am eternally grateful to persons like Lewis who have the humility, compassion, intelligence, grace, scholarship, wit, and profound love of God that makes it possible to draw close to mysteries with real wonder and joy. Did he make it into heaven? I don’t want to comment upon the sort of character who would have the prideful audacity to even pose such a question. (I have read every word he ever wrote, much of it frequently, and I secretly call him Jack and hope more than anything that heaven is made in such a way that I, despite the flaws already apparent to anyone who just read the splenetic above, might be met there the door that I never would have found were it not for him.)

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Deborah September 28, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Mike, I am in total agreement with you. The call of Jesus is clear, one is not to engage in things that are forbidden. Out of the heart the abundance of the mouth speaks, and from the writings of C.S Lewis I think we can safely say that he had fairly major disagreements with the Bible. The Bible for a Christian is the absolute standard of truth (as naive as some may think this is) and therefore any deviation from this standard would mark him out as not being a ‘Biblically based believer’.

My problem is that the occult is forbidden for followers of Christ, and so I would not want to include that in my reading. I have read Lewis’ books pre my being ‘born again’, they acutally led me into the occult.

The problem with Christians at at large is ‘they don’t wish to look wierd’, they are already substatianlly different from the masses, so in an effort to keep some kind of relevance they cling to various ‘heros’ and urban myths about famouse people repenting on thier death beds and such. Instead of just becoming the ‘peculier’ people that Jesus says they will become they want to retain ‘cool’. So you end up with various, and obvioulsly non-evangelical people becoming holy cows. They look for the slightest notion of Jesus coming from even the most un-holy person and point to it.

They do not understand the call to ‘be seperate’.

So you are perfectly correct in your premise.

*lowers head to avoid swipes.

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deborah September 28, 2010 at 8:34 AM

sorry for excessive typos, bad arm.

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Kevin Lucia September 29, 2010 at 6:41 AM

I don’t have much to add to this – but it’s pretty funny you bring this up. I remember in my thankfully brief – and largely forgettable – stint in Bible College, in a Lit Class folks talking about Lewis and Narnia with the same respectful, awe-struck tone you’re mentioning.

I brought up the one scene in “The Last Battle” – when one of the bad guys encounters Aslan, expects to get eaten, but Aslan says: “Any prayers you offered up to Tash (the bad guy god) you offered to me, also.” I’ve never had a problem with that SCENE, just had the same problem with folks who look to Narnia as the only Christian fantasy worth reading – because that definitely smacks of Universalism. Again, didn’t bother me, I saw it merely as a plot device, part of the story.

My classmates totally brushed it off. Didn’t even want to hear it. Even questioned if I remembered that scene correctly at all. By the time i unearthed my old copies at home the semester had ended…

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Chris Curzon August 28, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Wow! You read universalism into the Last Battle?? The very judgement dividing the redeemed from the condemned plays out in Chapter 14. And you also did not read why the prayers offered to Tash (the bad guy god) were received by Aslan, which might be understood if you had quoted the whole explanation. Indeed, we Christians should be very careful of how glib we can become, for Jesus Himself said “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt 7:21

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Deborah September 30, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Bible college, the best place to avoid if you want to learn about God.

C.S Lewis was a closet Catholic, as his great friend Tolkien was a major influence in him becoming ‘christian’. As we all know, the major way for the Catholic church to grow was to assimilate all pagan religions and ‘re-brand’ them e.g Saturanlia (christmas) and others, easter, etc. All roads do lead to Rome for some, whatever the flavour.

I don’t have a problem with Catholics, my family history played out that way, God however has a problem with the doctrine.

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Sirius Knott December 14, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Mike,

I am well aware of some of the erroneous views of C. S. Lewis, but I’d like to address his smoking first. It may not have occurred to the 21st Century Christian that Christian mores regarding smoking have not always been against the prcatice. Point in fact, Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, was known to smoke WHILE preaching! Can you imagine the outrage today at a preacher lighting up in the pulpit?

I am aware that Lewis accepted evolution, just as I am aware Spurgeon accepted the possibility of the old earth timescale [but rejected evolution]. In regards to some of the other views you’ve mentioned, I think a quote by St Paul and another by Martin Luther sum up my attitude:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15

…which points to our personal responsibility to rightly divide the Word rather than simply take someone else’s word for it. Paul commended the Bereans for taking the time to see if the Scriptures really said what he claimed they did.

“The days of creation were ordinary days in length. We must understand that these days were actual days (veros dies), contrary to the opinion of the Holy Fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinions of the Fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sake.” – Martin Luther

-Rev Tony Breeden
aka Sirius Knott

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