Friday, November 22, 2013

Rethinking C.S. Lewis

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." 1 John 4:1-3

  There are few names that I can think of that are quite as well known as C.S. Lewis. Mention it in any circle of friends and nobody is confused as to who you're talking about. He is thought to be one of the greatest Christian theologians. This week - being the 50th anniversary of his death - has brought about many glowing articles of his greatness, including a stone to honor his memory in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. (Which slightly baffles me, seeing as how he was not a poet...) The impact that his writings have had are far-reaching, and then include the ones that were made into movies and it just stretches even further. This is the reason that I am so concerned. I ask that just for a few minutes you would set aside your current opinion of him and hear me out. Prayerfully, I can shed some light on some of the true beliefs of the man that has achieved such high praise and acquired innumerable devout followers from the body of Christ.
    I do not know of any better way to demonstrate Lewis' errant beliefs than by his own words. It is not difficult to see how far they stray from the teaching of the Word of God, though he was gifted in mixing the errant teachings in a lovely package that sounds profoundly truthful. The following are all direct quotes: 
If by saying that man rose from brutality you mean simply that man is physically descended from animals, I have no objections…. For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumbs could be applied to each of its fingers, and jaws and teeth and the throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated. The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man…. We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state.     -Problem of Pain, 1940
 In reference to the Fall he says,
 I have the deepest respect even for Pagan myths, still more for myths in Holy Scripture…. What exactly happened when Man fell, we do not know; but if it is legitimate to guess, I offer the following picture – a ‘myth’ in the Socratic sense, a not unlikely tale.   -Problem of Pain, 1940

"On the other hand, we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even social justice. ..."  -Screwtape Letters, 1942

The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality behind all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge... into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar.  -The Abolition of Man, 1944

 My present view… would be that just as, on the factual side, a long preparation culminates in God’s becoming incarnate as Man, so, on the documentary side, the truth first appears in mythical form and then by a long process of condensing or focusing finally becomes incarnate as History. This involves the belief that Myth in general is… at its best, a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination. The Hebrews, like other peoples, had mythology: but as they were the chosen people so their mythology was the chosen mythology – the mythology chosen by God to be the vehicle of the earliest sacred truths, the first step in that process which ends in the New Testament where truth has become completely historical. Whether we can ever say with certainty where, in this process of crystallization, any particular Old Testament story falls, is another matter. I take it that the memoirs of David’s court come at one end of the scale and are scarcely less historical than St. Mark or Acts; and that the Book of Jonah is at the opposite end.   -Miracles, 1947

There 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,  1952
 “Though all salvation is through Jesus, we need not conclude that He cannot save those who have not explicitly accepted Him in this life.” In the Last Battle, the final volume in the Narnia series, Aslan (the Christ figure) accepts the service of a follower of the god Tash: “Son, thou art welcome,” Aslan says to this individual. Emeth (the Tash-server) protests, “I am no son of Thine but a servant of Tash.” But Aslan insists, “All the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.” -The Last Battle, 1956

   Out of the plethora of literary works that Lewis penned, I realize that this seems like a paltry few quotes. However, the profound theological errancy of these beliefs are smattered throughout his writings if one knows to be watching for them. Much of what he wrote sounds logical and true. However, when it is mixed with bits of heresy the latter corrupts the entire message and is by necessity untrue. This is by far the most effective deception; as I've said in previous posts, the most effective deception is 99% truth and 1% lie. It greatly concerns me to see the way that Lewis has been idolized by many Christians to the point that his words are held in such high regard as to seemingly be almost second to Scripture. I think we must hold everything he says under the microscope of the Word of God - the only source of absolute Truth. As always, I hope you all take a little time to do some research of your own and commit it to prayer. :) 

"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8-9


P.S.  My husband thinks I need to do at least one more post on Lewis, since there is so much more that I just do not have time to blog in one day. So be on the look out for "Part Two"... eventually lol :)