Archive for November 22nd, 2013

He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion. (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

This commemoration is not recognized by any church body as far as I know.  I think C.S.Lewis should be commemorated on the day of his death which was overshadowed by the death of President Kennedy.  As far as this mortal can tell, I think Lewis and what he did and what he wrote will be long remembered. Why should C. S. Lewis be commemorated? Primarily what he did is he wrote and what he wrote was a defense, an apology for the Christian faith. He did so in both amateur theological writing (which was not amateurish by any means!) and in his fiction bringing his dear readers into other worlds, as in The Chronicles of Narnia

  The Greek word apologia is literally a defense, as in the Book of Concord, Philip Melanchthon wrote The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, a defense of it.  C. S. Lewis’ writings, especially Mere Christianity, were  a defense against the cultured despisers of the faith which are virulent in our day.  Even so as Lewis encouraged in his introduction to a new translation of St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation that people read the old books first, then the new ones because the old books have stood the test of time.  

Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet.

The danger of the contemporary diet, especially in theology, C. S. Lewis knew all too well.

Any theory which bases itself on a supposed “historical Jesus” to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses—a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher’s list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorian. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation. (from his essay, “Why I am not a Pacifist”)

Any Christian worth his salt and saltiness must stand up to the age in which he lives, especially in these days. So much of the New Testament is about the Church’s response to persecution, not to crush the persecutor but that the persecutor be saved:  see Saul of Tarsus.  And as in salt, the truth, the Word, will sting in the mouths and hearts of the cultured despisers.  So it must…and in our hearts as well when we fall away.  The Lord’s Word is life, eternal life.  In his introduction to Athanasius’ book, Lewis pointed out that the Church Father’s defense of the faith, specifically the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, put Athanasius at odds with the world, to the point it was said of him, Athanasius contra mundum, Athanasius against  the world.   He took a stand.  So did Clives Staple Lewis.  He was aware of it himself:

All contemporary write. share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it.

Maybe he wrote “seem most opposed to it” because those who are faithful and true, taking a stand, are the only ones who are really for people in the world, as the Lord is who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. 

Below is C. S. Lewis’ literary timeline, listing most of his writings which will also serve as a brief biography.   C. S. Lewis’ vocation was professor, a teacher, and in his writings he still teaches the Faith delivered to the saints once and for all: see Jude 1:3

Almighty and everlasting God, You would have all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. By Your almighty power and unsearchable wisdom break and hinder all the counsels of those who hate Your Word and who, by corrupt teaching, would destroy it. Enlighten them with the knowledge of Your glory that they may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and, in peace and righteousness, serve You, the only true God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Addendum:  a Literary Biography

  • 1898 Born On 29 November in Belfast, Ireland.
  • 1905 The family moves to “Little Lea” on the outskirts of Belfast.
  • 1908 His mother, Florence Lewis, dies of cancer On 23 August. In September he is sent to school at Wynyard in Watford, Hertfordshire, England.
  • 1910 He attends Campbell College in Ireland.
  • 1911 Returns to England and attends school at Cherbourg House, Malvern, beginning in January.
  • 1913 Enters Malvern College, a university preparatory school, in September.
  • 1914 Moves to Surrey and is tutored by W. T. Kirkpatrick (“The Great Knock”).
  • 1916 Reads George MacDonald’s Phantastes. This book, he wrote, “baptized” his imagination. MacDonald, he later claimed, was quoted in every book he subsequently published.
  • 1917 Begins his studies at University College, Oxford, in April; commissioned a second lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry in September; goes to the front in November.
  • 1918 Wounded in action in April.
  • 1919 Returns to University College; publishes Spirits in Bondage under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton.
  • 1920 Takes a First in Honour Moderations (midway examinations).
  • 1922 Takes a First in Greats (classics and philosophy), and awarded the B. A.
  • 1923 Takes a First in English Language and Literature in the HonourSchool.
  • 1924 Assumes duties as tutor at UniversityCollege.
  • 1925 Elected Fellow in English Language and Literature at MagdalenCollege, Oxford.
  • 1926 Publishes Dymer under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton.
  • 1929 His father, Albert J. Lewis, dies in Belfast; becomes a theist but not a Christian.
  • 1931 Confesses belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and becomes a regular communicant in the Church of England.
  • 1933 Publishes The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism under his own name, dropping the Clive Hamilton pseudonym forever.
  • 1936 Publishes The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition.
  • 1938 Publishes Out of the Silent Planet.
  • 1939 Publishes The Personal Heresy A Controversy, with E. M. W. Tillyard; publishes Rehabilitations and Other Essays.
  • 1940 Publishes The Problem of Pain; begins lectures on Christianity to members of the Royal Air Force.
  • 1941 Begins a series of over twenty talks on the British Broadcasting Corporation radio.
  • 1942 Publishes Broadcast Talks, a small book based on his 1941 and 1942 BBC radio lectures; publishes The Screwtape Letters and A Preface to “Paradise Lost
  • 1943 Publishes Perelandra, The Abolition of Man, and the BBC radio lectures entitled Christian Behaviour
  • 1944 Publishes Beyond Personality from his BBC talks.
  • 1945 Publishes The Great Divorce and That Hideous Strength.
  • 1946 Edits George MacDonald: An Anthology
  • 1947 Publishes Miracles: A Preliminary Study; edits with others Essays Presented to Charles Williams.
  • 1948 Publishes Arthurian Torso.
  • 1949 Publishes Transposition and Other Addresses.
  • 1950 Receives his first letter from Joy Davidman; publishes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • 1951 Publishes Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
  • 1952 Meets Joy Davidman; publishes Mere Christianity, which includes Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour and Beyond Personality, all in revised form; publishes The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
  • 1953 Publishes The Silver Chair
  • 1954 Publishes The Horse and His Boy and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama.
  • 1955 Assumes the position of Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge. His inaugural address is “De Descriptione Temporumî; publishes Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life and The Magician’s Nephew.
  • 1956 Marries Joy Davidman in a civil ceremony in April; publishes The Last Battle and Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
  • 1957 Marries Joy Davidman in an Anglican ceremony in March.
  • 1958 Publishes Reflections on the Psalms.
  • 1960 Publishes The Four Loves, Studies in Words, and The World’s Last Night and Other Essays. His wife, Joy, dies on 13 July.
  • 1961 Publishes Grief Observed and An Experiment in Criticism.
  • 1962 Publishes They Asked for a Paper.
  • 1963 Dies on 22 November, the same day Aldous Huxley and John F. Kennedy died.
  • 1964 Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer which he 

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