Friday, August 08, 2008

Letters to Malcolm

I have been reading CS Lewis's last book "Letters to Malcolm - chiefly about prayer". Although CS Lewis is widely regarded as an orthodox Christian, I find that some of his beliefs differ quite strongly from mine. For example he believed in purgatory - though his idea of purgatory was quite different from how it was seen by the ancients. He thought that most Christians would go to heaven saved but poorly sanctified. Something more was needed for them to enjoy heaven and therefore he envisaged purgatory as a growth phase (as opposed to a purging process). He also has definitely Anglican views about Holy Communion and seems to be unsound about the Lord's return.

If he is so much in error why read him? In the first place because he is so readable. He writes so clearly, modestly and in such a winsome way. Second, because he never claims to be a theologian. Don't take advice from me on theology, he says. He gives us ways of understanding Scripture which work for him, but hastens to advise us to discard them if they don't work for us. The last thing he wants to do is unsettle Christians in their strongly held beliefs. Third, because he recognizes that no-one ever got to heaven by passing a theology exam. Fourth, because he advises us to read and understand what the Bible plainly says rather than extricating verses to wrap our systematic theology around. Finally, because there is so much common sense in his writings

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been going to church more regularly in the past months. Our little church is fading somewhat because many of the young folks are attending those 'mega-churches' which are light on theology and heavy on personal fulfillment. The idea is, if you give them what they want, you can fill the pews.

Our pastor is a blessing because he goes over the familiar Bible stories, and makes them interesting and gives history and context to them.

I will be honest and tell you I've never read C.S. Lewis, though I've seen 'Shadowlands' and part of the original 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' I think it was called.

There may be as many (or more) interpretations of Christianity as there are differences of opinions as to how to treat CLL.