C.S. Lewis not really theology proper

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Why I dont find Lewis, the man with the smoking pipie, that Biblical?

For one, approaching serious theological issue with a very worldly sense, general battle between good and evil as well as the whole fictional approach to the Biblical text the show deep roots in liberal theology. Then comes the use of non-Biblical language to present Biblical issues and doctrine, thus robbing the Bible from its rightful way of expression and assigning it language, characters and dynamics that were never meant to be Biblical.

Christianity Today cited English pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones — who was a friend of Lewis’ — as an evangelical with “reservations” about Lewis.

CT writer J.D. Douglas paraphrases Lloyd-Jones, saying Lewis’ view of salvation was “defective in two key respects: (1) Lewis taught and believed that one could reason oneself into Christianity; and (2) Lewis was an opponent of the substitutionary and penal theory of the Atonement.”

Another “two significant problems” with Mere Christianity. These problems he lists are the doctrine of the atonement and inclusivism Lewis fails to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in a biblical way. No matter how much we may like Lewis, this is simply a profound misunderstanding of the Spirit’s mission. The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring glory to Christ by taking what is his — his teaching, the truth about his death and resurrection — and making it known. The Spirit does not work indiscriminately without the revelation of Christ in view.

There is almost no passage of Scripture on which I would turn to Lewis for exegetical illumination. … His value is not in his biblical exegesis. Lewis is not the kind of writer who provides substance for a pastor’s sermons. I find problematic:

  1. Lewis was not an inerrantist;
  2. Lewis he viewed the Protestant Reformation as avoidable;
  3. Lewis he remained in the Church of England, despite his largely Protestant beliefs;
  4. Lewis he allowed for “at least some people to be saved through imperfect representations of Christ in other religions”;
  5. Lewis he gave little attention to the doctrine of atonement.

19 Comments

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    All pointers in one separate topic Dan Irving

  • Dan Irving
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Dan Irving

    I haven’t looked at this yet. Was Luther’s theology tight? (Far from.) Was Wesley’s tight? (Far from! He rejected Pentecost.) Was the Holiness movement tight in its doctrine. Rather, the movement was on spectrum that entertained a variety strange notions. Was the Pentecostal movement tight doctrine? It did well in terms of the Pentecostal teaching, but failed disastrously in a lot of other areas of doctrine. So then, I don’t think we’re likely to find a figure that embodies pristine doctrine, (although we commonly attribute it as possessed in ourselves.)

  • Dan Irving
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Dan Irving

    Another point, Troy, is that CS Lewis was not teacher of doctrine. He was a Christian philosopher whose mind explored and reflected upon the meaning of things unseen.

    • Reply January 22, 2023

      William Huget

      Yes, mix of brilliant, good, bad, ugly, fallible and foible like the rest of us?!

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    True None is 100% true but we have recognized Luther, Wesley and others. With the not so serious theology however like Lewis we let is slide while some preachers follow it blindly. Thats all they know about theology infact. They can tell you everything about Narnia and cant quote a single Psalm – not even 117. Nevermind reading volumes and volumes of Christian fiction and never have read through the whole Bible even one time

  • Dan Irving
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Dan Irving

    Test all things. Hold fast to the good. Chew the meat and spit out the bones. ?

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Well you know if them youngins preach on Star Wars on Sunday morning they will preach on Narnia too

  • Dan Irving
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Dan Irving

    What would you have the youngins reading after school?

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Young preachers should read the Bible through at least one time Pope

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Daniel J Hesse

    Much of the early doctrine came from the Fundamentals by G. Campbell Morgan from 1910-1915. We need to realize our movement reacted against the Social Gospel and much of liberal theology.

  • Varnel Watson
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Our movement reacted against the Social Gospel? Most Social Gospel demagogy is currently carried by Charismatics. Did you mean liberal or liberation theology? Daniel J Hesse

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Daniel J Hesse

    One in the same.

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Daniel J Hesse

    In our circles we have a contingent of SG people.

  • Melvin Shomo
    Reply February 19, 2018

    Melvin Shomo

    I was at a church one time that used his writings in the Sunday school class. I personally found CS Lewis kind of bland and not very interesting.

  • Reply January 22, 2023

    Anonymous

    I;ve been saying this for years SPOT on Duane L Burgess
    So…this is C S Lewis?
    “Christianity Today noted that he was “a man whose theology had decidedly unevangelical elements” (Ibid.). Lewis was turning to the Catholic Church before his death. He believed in prayers for the dead and purgatory and confessed his sins regularly to a priest. He received the Catholic sacrament of last rites on July 16, 1963 (C.S. Lewis: A Biography, pp. 198, 301). Lewis also rejected the doctrine of bodily resurrection (Biblical Discernment Ministries Letter, Sept.-Oct. 1996) and believed there is salvation in pagan religions. Lewis denied the total depravity of man and the substitutionary atonement of Christ. He believed in theistic evolution and rejected the Bible as the infallible Word of God. He denied the biblical doctrine of an eternal fiery hell, claiming, instead, that hell is a state of mind: “And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind–is, in the end, Hell” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 65). D. Martin Lloyd-Jones warned that C.S. Lewis had a defective view of salvation and was an opponent of the substitutionary and penal view of the atonement (Christianity Today, Dec. 20, 1963). 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” and “would accept no theory of the ‘total depravity of man.'””

    • Reply January 22, 2023

      Anonymous

      Troy Day we Pentecostals, as Lewis did, also reject the Calvinistic view of total depravity. What Calvinists call total depravity is actually total inability to respond to the gospel unless you are first regenerated (born again). In that system, only the elect are effectually drawn to salvation. The rest are reprobate, unable to repent and believe the gospel.

      Pentecostals believe that every man has free will to repent, believe the gospel and receive God’s gracious gift of salvation. Atonement is not limited, whosoever will may come.

    • Reply January 22, 2023

      Anonymous

      Michael Chauncey I dont think Kyle Williams rejects the Calvinistic view of total depravity. What Calvinists call total depravity is actually total inability to respond to the gospel unless you are first regenerated (born again). In that system, only the elect are effectually drawn to salvation. The rest are reprobate, unable to repent and believe the gospel. in Jyper calvinism they were created JUST to be sent to hell

    • Reply January 22, 2023

      Anonymous

      Troy Day no one was created to be sent to hell

  • Reply January 22, 2023

    Anonymous

    I hope that he might have thought when using the smoking pipe may control his body against lust. God only knows. However, we should appreciate if he delivers good theology, but not think about where it comes from. I am having doubts that the group “Friends of JESSE DUPLANTIS” is always supporting C.S. Lewis through Facebook.

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