C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
- C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, the younger of two sons; he was named Clive Staples Lewis. He claimed to have been converted to Christianity in 1931 and was, as he put it: "A very ordinary layman of The Church of England." (Lewis was a member of the apostate Church of England, an institution whose history is based largely on theological compromise with Rome.) He had no theological training. He was the author of 40-plus books which included poems, novels, children's books, science fiction, theology, literary criticisms, educational philosophy, and an autobiography.
From 1954 until his death, he was professor of medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University. Today, C.S. Lewis is known as a distinguished literary scholar and Christian apologist. Mere Christianity (a book upon which the beliefs of many professing Christians are based) is considered one of the most profound and logically irrefutable writings on Christian apologetics. Nevertheless, even this book is fraught with theological error. (For example, the concept of "mere Christianity" means agreeing on a small common denominator of Christian truth, while tolerating great areas of disagreement.)
- In 1993, Christianity Today explained why C.S. Lewis is so popular among Evangelicals. Among the reasons given for his popularity was the following "Lewis's … concentration on the main doctrines of the church coincided with evangelicals' concern to avoid ecclesiastical separatism" (Christianity Today, 10/25/93). CT admits that C.S. Lewis is popular to Evangelicals today because, like them, he despised Biblical separation. As an indication of Lewis's continued popularity, annual book sales remain over two million ( half of which comes from The Chronicles Of Narnia series, an occult fantasy series written for children -- see the end of this report for an analysis of Lewis's morbid fascination with occult fantasy). In an article commemorating the 100th anniversary of Lewis's birth, J.I. Packer called him "our patron saint." Christianity Today said Lewis "has come to be the Aquinas, the Augustine, and the Aesop of contemporary Evangelicalism" ("Still Surprised by Lewis," Christianity Today, 9/7/98). Wheaton College sponsored a lecture series on C.S. Lewis, and Eerdmans published "The Pilgrim’s Guide" to C.S. Lewis. In April 1998, Mormon professor Robert Millet spoke at Wheaton College on the topic of C.S. Lewis. In a recent issue of Christianity Today, Millet, dean of Brigham Young University, is quoted as saying that C.S. Lewis "is so well received by Latter-day Saints [Mormons] because of his broad and inclusive vision of Christianity" (John W. Kennedy, "Southern Baptists Take Up the Mormon Challenge," Christianity Today, 6/15/98, p. 30).
- By the time of his death, Lewis had moved from Idealism (no idea of a personal God) to Pantheism (an impersonal God in everything) and then to Theism (the existence of God). In Letters to Malcolm (p. 107), Lewis indicates that shortly before his death he was turning toward the Catholic Church. Lewis termed himself "very Catholic" -- his prayers for the dead, belief in purgatory, and rejection of the literal resurrection of the body are serious deviations from Biblical Christianity (C.S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 234); he even went to a priest for regular confession (p. 198), and received the sacrament of extreme unction on 7/16/63 (p. 301). His contention that some pagans may "belong to Christ without knowing it" is a destructive heresy (Mere Christianity, pp. 176-177), as was his statement that "Christ fulfils both Paganism and Judaism ..." (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 129). Lewis believed that we're to become "gods," an apparent affirmation of theistic evolution. He also believed the Book of Job is "unhistorical" (Reflections on the Psalms, pp. 110), and that the Bible contained "error" (pp. 110, 112) and is not divinely inspired (The Inklings, p. 175). Lewis used profanities, told bawdy stories, and frequently got drunk with his students (5/19/90, World magazine). Christians need to read more critically The Abolition of Man, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, The Great Divorce, and God in the Dock. For example, Lewis never believed in a literal hell, but instead believed hell is a state of mind one chooses to possess and become -- he wrote, "... every shutting-up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind is, in the end, Hell" (The Great Divorce, p. 65).
If it is true to say that 'you are what you eat,' then it is also true to say that 'a Christian is what he hears and reads,' since this is how he gets his spiritual food. Thus if Christians are brought up on a diet of C.S. Lewis, it should not surprise us to find they are seeking 'to continue the legacy of C.S. Lewis.' The apostle Paul said, 'A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump' (Gal. 5:9). Thus, if evangelicals read and applaud such books as Mere Christianity, it should come as no surprise if we find them ‘working towards a common mission’ with the enemies of the gospel. The young Christian should be very careful what he reads, and those in positions of authority (pastors, teachers, parents) should be very careful what they recommend others to read (Dr. Tony Baxter, "The Enigma of C.S. Lewis," CRN Journal, Winter 1998, Christian Research Network, Colchester, United Kingdom, p. 30).