What did C.S. Lewis really believe?

cslewis Every time I turn around I discover some respected Christian preacher, teacher, pastor, scholar, etc. is affirming some doctrinal error or flat out heresy (and/or rubbing elbows with known heretics). And now I’ve come across this shocking examination of C.S. Lewis’ creed on Christian Research Network.

It asks the question whether or not C.S. Lewis is in Heaven. After reading this article which reviews some of Lewis’ beliefs (and teachings), I not only realized that it is a legitimate question to ask, but one whose answer is not as simple as you might think.

21 thoughts on “What did C.S. Lewis really believe?

  1. The Pilgrim,

    I have to say that I fear that C. S. Lewis is not the Christian icon that many have held him to be. I allowed my younger children to read The Chronicle of Narnia based on the recommendation of good Christian friends. But later I was concerned about several parts in the series. Specifically this quote:

    “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour)[represents Christ] will know that I have served Tash [represents Satan] all my days and not him [the Lion/Christ]. … But the Glorious One bent down his golden head … and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.

    ” … I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. ..
    But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou shouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.”

    Also the Greek and Roman god’s that are mentioned throughout the fictional Narnia series such as Bacchus and Silenus. I won’t explain them here but that is not something I would want my children reading about the history of those names.

    I actually have a post I’ve worked on for months about C. S. Lewis. I just haven’t found time to finish it. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one questioning C. S. Lewis.

    Berean Wife

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  2. Yes, it was a good article, but look into his autobiography, and the shock will triples! He was an admitted occultist. The consummate wolf in sheep’s clothing. Wish I has kept the link, but didn’t. If I could find it, it must not be too difficult to locate. Never did like the guy, now there is good reason not to.

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  3. A man is not saved by his doctrine just as he is not saved by his works. A man is saved by Christ alone. Our fleeting beliefs which god grants us are nothing without faith which god also gives us. Though he may not be a theological stud, I believe that he portrayed a life of service and love of Christ, good fruits which come from true faith.

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  4. BPenn,

    Unfortunately you contradict yourself. You begin: “man is not saved by his doctrine just as he is not saved by his works.”

    But then you imply Lewis was saved because in your mind “he portrayed a life of service and love of Christ, good fruits which come from true faith.”

    The same could be also have been said for many in the teaching magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church during the time of Luther.

    And yet they ended up condemning the Gospel of Jesus Christ at their Council of Trent. A man’s doctrine, as well as his works, will be in line with Sola Scriptura because he is saved.

    One is saved through God’s grace alone; regenerated and given faith to repent and believe in Christ, and then he does the works God created for him beforehand to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

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  5. After reading this, I sent it out to a large men’s email list with the following note:

    So many proclaiming Christians consider C.S. Lewis a stalwart defender of the Christian faith. I have several of his books and have found some of his work to be edifying. But what are we accepting without, perhaps, realizing what we are taking in? Turn to this 7 page review of Lewis’ own words on issues at the center of biblical Christianity and make up your mind –
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/205a-DidCS.LewisGotoHeaven.pdf He sure sounds more like a Roman than a Christian to me.

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  6. As a fellow Northern Irishman alongside Lewis the patriot in me feels like beating you all with a big stick for raising this post about Lewis,……………………………………………………..
    …………………………………………………………………………….

    but then again you are quite true in what you say! 🙂 Lewis was a literary genius however some of his thelogical beliefs were, shall we say, unorthodox. Lewis was a close friend of J.R.R Tolkien “the Lord of the Rings Guy” who of course was a Roman Catholic. The only thing i can say is that Tolkien was “disappointed” with Lewis for his unwillingness to join the church of Rome. Thus, I think it would be a step too far to claim that he was a “Roman”. Lewis, who was from the same side of Belfast as me and my family, grew up in a Protestant area, but indeed without a doubt his beliefs were in many ways influenced by J.R.R Tolkien, whilst it is doubtful he went “all the way” to Roman Catholicism due to the community in which he spent his youth.

    That being said, I’m not going to waste any sleep over wondering if he is in heaven or not. I’d rather spend my time reading the new book by Michael Horton “Christless Christianity” which just arrived at my door as I was writing this post!!! Should be a good one.

    R.P

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  7. This is exactly right.
    At my University I haven taken a number of classes which focused directly on Lewis. I have nearly everything the guy wrote.
    He is deeply heretical. I am suprised he has so many fans.

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  8. I too had some concerns but just ignored them because of the “influence” of other leaders, preachers, and pastors who through various means (including their sermons) endorse this man.

    I have been kind of disturbed by the use and imagery of magic and other occult practices in his Narnia series.

    I also found even more disturbing his depiction of Hell in his book “The Great Divorce.” It certainly did not match up to the Biblical depiction of Hell.

    This article only served to confirm my suspicions and as far as I’m concerned, I’m done with CS Lewis from here on out.

    – The Pilgrim

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  9. Was Lewis a Roman Catholic or was he Church of England/Anglcan/Episcopalian. I read The Great Divorce last summer and it left me scratching my head in a couple of places.

    That being said, The Screwtape Letters caused me to think – – my favorite quote being:

    Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft under foot, without turnings, without milestones, without signposts. ~Screwtape writing to Wormwood ”

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  10. I have read CS Lewis, and we ought to respect what the man was trying to do. He was trying to explain what faith in the invisible means to people who are accustomed to not seeing or welcoming the supernatural in terms of a personal supernatural power. Of course, there will not be an exact matching up of his stories with the Bible. He simply did not intend for that to happen. (Peter is not Peter in the Bible, and so forth.) For some, this means heresy! But then, what he is trying to do is reach people who have shut themselves off, and are prejudiced not only against the church and the Bible, but anything above and beyond. Lewis was not making a pure allegory and a match up with the Bible. (Tash is not Satan, but perhaps a god worshipped “in ignorance,” as St. Paul mentions.) Once you understand that, there is no “heresy.” By use of a different world in stories, Lewis’s way was an attempt to describe through fiction what it feels like to live a life of faith involving a Christ-like figure. Furthermore, I think it is wrong to try to deduce a man’s personal faith, or his standing with God, or his ultimate eternal fate, from the fairy stories he writes. This is the judging that Jesus warned against. (If you ever find yourself on the receiving end, you will know immediately how that is wrong.) Lewis intended to provoke thought and enquiry, and he does so! In this respect, many atheists have appeared at various church doors for deeper answers about the real world. (For a true understanding of his ideas, consult his theological works. Understand what the man said directlly.) Furthermore, Lewis wrote that arguments of this sort — who is or isn’t in the correct denomination to be saved in — is a bad introduction to Christianity for unbelievers to witness (online[!]). Such squabbles cast a bad light on Christians, and confirm in their minds the pettiness and prejudicially brutish thinking of most fundamentalists they may have encountered.

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  11. Joseph,

    Despite what you may personally like about the writings of C.S. Lewis, nevertheless he also believed and stated:

    “all Holy Scripture is in some sense – though not all parts of it in the same sense – the word of God.”

    ““If every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights, then all true and edifying writings, whether in Scripture or not, must in some sense be inspired.”

    As referring to some of the Psalms as: “fatal confusion,” “devilish,” “diabolical,” “contemptible,” “petty and vulgar.”

    “It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God.”

    “Humanity is already ‘saved’ in principle. We individuals have to appropriate that salvation. But the really tough work – the bit we could not have done for ourselves – has been done for us. We have not got to try to climb up into spiritual life by our own efforts; it has already come down into the human race. If we will only lay ourselves open to the one Man in whom it is fully present, and who, in spite of being God, is also a real man, he will do it in us and for us. Remember what I said about ‘good infection.’ One of our own race has this new life: if we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.”

    “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.”

    All these statements are contrary to God’s written Word (some even an outright attack against God’s Word), thus contrary to true Christianity. From such men as C.S. Lewis we are commanded by God to turn away from (Rom.16:7).

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  12. The whole tenor of the argument is what I object to. Lewis is not here to defend himself, but he is accused of being a heretic: something he was not ever accused of in his lifetime. The word heretic is often misused and misunderstood. Few people are heretics. A heretic is not merely a Christian who holds a view contrary to what another Christian believes or understands about the Bible. If that were true we would all likely be heretics to one another, especially in time as we become more educated and have more opinions about what we are learning. Remember that Lewis sought to make Christianity intelligible to an educated audience who were astute about science, literary criticism, history, etc. I do not find the quotations selected by DavidW as alarming or disturbing to my personal faith in Christ. But, with respect to others, the most potentially alarming quotation, if taken purely out of the context of a Lewis’s whole book on the Psalms — about certain verses of the Psalms being “devilish,” — is best understood against the backdrop of a Christian who is asked to reconcile the Christian message with the apparently contradictory messages in the Bible to annialate the enemy, which in the Bible, sometimes included killing infants. You cannot fault a Christian for wondering about this. Lewis is not the first to examine this apparent difficulty in Scripture and theology. But the best way to evaluate Lewis’s writings is to read his writings in their entirety. Lewis did not consider himself a theologian, but a literary critic, but he made various observations in Biblical literature for theologians and experts to ponder further. Regarding many issues, if a satisfactory answer came to his attention from better authorities, Lewis often conformed his thinking to the explanations given. If Lewis were here, you might instruct him better than he had been, but he was certainly not a heretic. He did not act like a heretic. He did not divide the body of Christ, rather he sought to offer explanations to unbelievers about the essential faith of Christians. In fact, Lewis is regarded as one of the 20th Century’s most influential Christian writer and thinker. Because of him, many people have taken the road as he did, from a nominal childhood belief — then atheism — but finally to a more thoughtful belief in a God who makes sense, and finally, to Christ.

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  13. Joseph,

    The issue is never whether one holds to a view contrary to another’s view. The issue is whether or not one is proclaiming something contrary to the teaching of Scripture. And if they are, it is every Christian’s responsibility to reject that person and hold fast to the truth of God’s word, even to contend for God’s truth. The documented quotes from Lewis given in the linked article (some of which I provided above) are clearly contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures.

    You said:
    “he sought to offer explanations to unbelievers about the essential faith of Christians.”

    Considering his statements above, he was clearly not faithful to the Scriptures in his alleged attempts to do that. One essential of the Christian faith is that the Holy Bible is the written word of God:

    “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” 1Thess.2:13 (See also 2Tim.3:16; Jn.17:17)

    Without the Holy Bible, our Faith, our very lives, have nothing to stand upon. We would merely be at the mercy of our own feelings, or of man’s opinions and proclamations. Nor do we have the luxury, or the authority, to pick and choose which words or passages are God’s words, and which aren’t. Or which have more authority than others (as Lewis does in one of his statements). The Bible is either entirely the word of God, or it isn’t. As such, it is without error (not speaking of a translation, but of the Hebrew and Greek). Since Jesus said we would be judged by it (Jn.12:48), obviously it is the ultimate authority, not just of what we are to believe, but whether or not we will spend eternity with the Triune Creator God, or in the Lake of Fire.

    Thus Lewis’ statement is heresy: “It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God.”.

    Another example:

    “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.”

    Belong to Christ without even knowing Christ? Without repentance? Without His blood covering their sins? Without even following Him? Without keeping His commands? No such thing, my friend. Not according to the Scriptures.

    It is critical for the Christian to be obedient to the Scriptures. To test all teachings by the standard of God’s word alone, not by other men’s opinions, nor by feelings, nor by good intentions, nor by our own reasonings. To hold fast to God’s truth, and to reject those who deny God’s truth.

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  14. I pray he is in Heaven, just as I pray for all mankind to be there, as well. None of us will ever know until the day we arrive there, as well. From Narnia, I took away a fun, imaginative story…with wonderful references to Christ…Aslan truly portrays the love and strength of Jesus. 🙂

    I have also found this quote by Lewis to be just fantastic and a great use against all muslims and those who say Jesus was just a “good teacher” or “prophet”: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41.

    I am just a simple woman…trying to grow in my faith daily. It is my hope Lewis in in Heaven and I think, just as we should with each fallible man, we need to always compare anything he says to God’s Word. Instead of focusing on where the dead is, let’s focus on trying to get the rest of the living to Heaven! 🙂

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  15. To answer DavidW – I do not believe that Lewis did not regard the Bible as God’s Word. He appears to be saying – although I would have to read the context closely — that not all Scriptures ought to be read in the same manner. In other words, some Scripture is understood as literal, some figurative. (For example, some Christians regard “This is my body…This is my blood” as figurative language, others equally sincere Christians, believe that these words are figurative. Similarly, some Christians regard the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day” literally and keep the Sabbath, (which is Saturday, the last day of the week, when God rested.) Other Christians believe that God, as all-powerful, does not actually need rest, and these Christians believe that God acted in ways he did not fully disclose in history. Perhaps God meant for us to understand certain principles behind the stories, which may or may not be historical in the modern sense. For example, the parable of the man beaten on the road to Jericho may have been a story, rather than an actual event. But the moral of the parable still comes through. Thus, a Christian may understand that the story is a rabbinic teaching method, common to the way teachers would teach in those days. And those who stood around may have understood this more clearly than we do. (But understand here that I am not speaking for Lewis here, just myself, and more than likely, other Christians, even those sitting next to you in the pew.) The Book of Revelation also is interpreted differently by different Christians. And then of course, there are several well-known disparities between the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). [For example: Did Jesus mount two animals, or just one, when coming into Jerusalem?] The issue here I wish to highlight is not that certain explanations exist to reconcile these seeming disparities, but that a Christian would not cease to be a Christian if at one point in time he chose to try to reconcile these discrepancies with explanations offered by biblical scholars or teachers, once he become aware of such conflicting accounts. And in regard to Lewis’s love of Scripture, let us observe that the man went to chapel on most days, preached from the same pulpit as John Wesley, (at least on one known occasion), and wrote the preface to the Phillips translation of the Bible. Do you think Mr. Phillips would have permitted this to happen, if he believed that CS Lewis were not a “real” Christian?
    I am not a CS Lewis scholar, so I cannot answer for the man better than a professor of his literature. But Lewis read the New Testament in Greek. I think the man loved the Bible. The Bible itself calls Jesus the Word of God. He is not the Word only, but God in the flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is not Greek. And when the end comes, in Heaven, He will have more words to say, deeper than in any human language. Not being a Lewis scholar, Lewis’s answer may be something different. But this is my answer, and I assure you, I am a Christian.
    In terms of whether a person can be Christ’s without the Bible, let me tell you that the earliest Christians have very little or no Bible. Most believers were illiterate. Many of our ideas about the Bible and the specific books regarded as truly authoritative developed over time. But we know that some people, who simply believed the message, were Christ’s, nevertheless. Moses was one person who belonged to Christ. He spoke prophetically of Christ. Similarly, pagan philosophers said, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” A Christian may believe that pagans before Christ, outside of the lands described in the Bible especially, were damned. This is a speculation. But no one should believe that a believing Christian of today is disqualified from heaven for coming to the conclusion that God may have saved ancient men of the past who would have believed in Christ, had they known about Him. If a Christian may lose his salvation this way, how many other ways are there?
    I believe that Christians are free to disagree with other Christians. (In fact, they often do, if not privately.) But it is one thing to disagree with a Christian with wrong ideas, – we all have them to one degree or another – and it quite another thing to regard another believer as a “heretic” – doesn’t this sound ridiculous to our ears!? — and someone to be shunned (as if he slept with his mother, or had engaged in some other serious sin!) Let me say lastly that every Christian group believes that it has the handle on the correct interpretation of Scripture. Protestants, as well as Catholics put men to death for their supposed heresies. It seems to be that the Bible, the Word of God, will always need a reader, which is the same as an interpreter. For example, did Abel’s blood actually scream from the ground, or was this a figure of speech? Do the trees of the fields clap their hands, or is this an expression? Is the eye the light of the body, as Jesus, as Jesus said, or was he merely using an expression his hearers would understand? Should we reject the whole Bible, and our faith in Jesus, because my eye is not a lantern into my body, as the ancients taught? I say no. Let us read the Bible with understanding. CS Lewis was a man who took it on the chin for being a Christian for years. He debated with atheists, and he asked Christians of various denominations to critique his writings. CS Lewis held his ground at a secular university very admirably. Lewis is quoted in the Oxford magazine Cherwell as stating: “Christianity is now ‘on the map’ among students…the days of simple ‘unfaith’ are dead as those of ‘simple faith.’ Lewis was saying that if a Christian wishes to evangelize a thinking world, he had better have answers for thinking enquirers. But let me state that if our faith is too simplistic, it will fall apart at the first real difficulty. But I fear that the person who retreats into a fundamentalist world is burying his head in the sand, and will convert no one to Christ – at least no one who has a secular university education or modern understanding of the universe. Let us compare ourselves with Lewis. He led very many to Christ. And how are we doing? I say, trying to separate the wheat the tares is counter-productive to the goal of evangelization. We should engage the world. As the Bible says “Answer not a fool (an unbeliever) according to his folly. Answer a fool according to his folly.” Using Scripture, we are doing the first part, and then using our intellect, as Lewis did, we are performing the second part.

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  16. I read the “shocking examination” article. I suppose I ought to have read it first before responding. The article states that Lewis was merely a “nominal” Christian (i.e. in name only), and/or that he was a “historical” Christian. In regard to the notion that he was a nominal Christian, this is of course completely false. It makes about as much sense as saying, the pope is “nominally” a Catholic. There are, of course, small splinter groups of Catholics who did not agree with the First Vatican Council, or the Second, who insist that their group are the “true Catholics,” but what light does it shed, or what sense does it make. to deny the pope the name of “Catholic.” People who say that the pope is not Catholic are only speaking to themselves! Lewis wrote that we must be careful not to use words imprecisely. We should use words in their historical, agreed sense. A Christian, historically speaking, is a believer in Jesus as Christ. While it may be pointed out that a devil may believe factually that Jesus is the Christ, we understand implicitly that when we are speaking of a Christian, we are speaking of human being who has the capacity, unlike a condemned demon, to follow Jesus Christ. All Christians do not follow Christ with the same devotion and with the same understanding on all theological points. We know this from experience. But isn’t the desire to deny a person his right to be called a “Christian” a desire to strip his right to be heard? The net result of alerting others that anyone is “not a Christian” is to cause that person so negatively labelled to not be heard. Not calling another person a Christian is an attempt to short-circuit the thought process in others. A Muslim man may say “that a certain man, who prays 5 times a day toward Mecca, is not a true Muslim because he believes that alcohol, for medicinal purposes, may be ingested.” Isn’t it more sensible to say, “Here are two Muslims who disagree,” than to say, “One man is a Muslim and one oviously is not.” So a red flag should be raised whenever one Christian wishes to deny another Christian the title of “Christian.” The first step to respecting a man, and removing bias, is to respect him for what he calls himself. If a man says he is a Buddist, then he is a Buddist. We may understand that Buddists, like Muslims, like Christians, have different sects, different understandings, different attitutudes toward their scriptures. Similarly, to strip Lewis of the right to be called a Christian is disrespectful to the man, personally, and a wrong description. It is a wrong use of the language. It is better to say, I disagree with Mr. Lewis, rather than “Not only is he not a Christian, he is in hell!” (How can anyone know all this?) Also, what are we to make a the charge that Lewis is a “historical” Christian? How odd is this? Lewis, in his book, Mere Christianity, mentioned that we ought to use the word “Christian” in its correct historical sense, not in the modern sense of merely a word of praise for a nice person. For example, this is incorrect usage: “Mr Jones loves people; he is a fine Christian!” A Christian, he points out, is a believer in Jesus Christ in the historical sense, as historically understood as the Son of God, etc. How odd, that Lewis, the man who says we ought to use the word Christian in its precise, historical, agreed-upon sense, in now accused of being only a “historical” Christian only! So much of this discussion about whether Lewis was a Christian turns on the idea that a man cannot be a Christian if he believes that the Bible contains problematic elements. Of course the Bible contains several accounts that any sensible reader might conclude are disparities:
    MT 21:19-20 The fig tree withers immediately after being cursed by Jesus. The disciples notice and are amazed.
    MK 11:13-14, 20-21 The disciples first notice that the tree has withered the day following.
    Am I a heretic for pointing this out? Am I not a Christian for pointing this out? I think it is accurate to say the Lewis, like many others, are not wedded to 16th century notions of what it means to be a Christian.

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  17. Joseph,

    Can we back up to some basics?

    1) Since Jesus is the Truth (Jn.14:6), and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (Jn.16:13), and since God’s word is truth (Jn.17:17), therefore God’s written Word (the Holy Bible, already verified by Scripture in my last comment), as truth, is completely and absolutely true and without error in all matters of Christian doctrine.

    2) Being the inerrant Word of God, it alone stands superior to any and all the writings of lesser creatures (i.e: angels, or mankind). As such, what God’s Word proclaims must take superiority over what man feels or thinks is truth.

    3) The Word of Truth (Jn.17:17) is declared to man by the Spirit of Truth to true followers of Christ only, not to the rest of the world (Jn. 14:16-17; Jn.16:13-15). Therefore, the unregenerate, non-born again, non-follower of Christ, no matter how intelligent, cannot understand or know God’s Truth. Indeed, the unregenerate man is hostile to the things of God (Rom.8:7-9)

    3) A true Christian, according to God’s Word, is a born again, regenerated human being who has repented of all unrighteousness, follows Jesus Who is the Truth, and has the Spirit of Truth residing in him. His life flows from Christ (the Vine), to which he is a mere grafted-in branch. Evidence of his genuine condition of being in unity with Jesus the Truth, and drawing his very life from Jesus the Vine, is that he bears fruit consistent with the Vine (Jn.15:1-8; Luke 6:44). Jesus said we would be known, not by what we claim, but by our fruit (Matt.7:16-17). Fruit (beliefs or practices) which is not consistent with, or which is contrary to, that which is described as being of God in God’s Word, is bad fruit. Thus if one’s fruit is evidently bad fruit, that person is not truly of God, despite their claims. One cannot be truly connected to the Vine if he is practicing or teaching that which is contrary to God’s truth.

    4) God does not allow mixture of truth and error. Nor does He allow mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness, nor holy with unholy, nor a believer with an unbeliever (2 Cor.6:14-17).

    5) God commands His followers in His Word to have nothing to do with those who bring doctrine/teachings which are contrary to the sound doctrine of His Word (Matt. 7:15; Rom.16:17). God commands His followers to test everything (against the truth of His Word) (1 Thess.5:21). In obedience therefore the true Christian tests all teachings against the truth of God’s Word. Those teachings, and teachers, which are contrary to God’s Word of Truth are to be rejected.

    Despite what we would like to believe, despite who we may admire on some issues, despite what one may claim, the Christian must nevertheless yield in full obedience to God’s commands in His Word. It is unfaithful to Christ and His Word to accept, promote, justify, condone, defend, make excuse for, or approve of anyone, whether they claim to be Christian or not, IF they teach and/or practice that which is contrary to God’s Word. It does not matter if they ALSO teach that which is good or right. Jesus made it crystal clear in passage such as Matt. 7:21-23 and elsewhere that good works, even calling Him “Lord” mean nothing to Him if one is ALSO doing that which is contrary to His Word.

    FYI, some other unbiblical statements Lewis has made:

    Regarding Purgatory: “A process by which the work of redemption continues, and first perhaps begins to be noticeable after death.” (Letters of C.S. Lewis, pp. 246-247)

    “”There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names–Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper. … I am not saying anything about which of these things is the most essential.” (Mere Christianity, p.61)

    ” “… for we have good reason to believe that animals existed long before men. … For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself … [Eventually,] God caused a new kind of consciousness to descend upon this organism” (The Problem of Pain, pp.133,77).

    “… Man, the highest of the animals” (Mere Christianity, p.139);

    “… but he (man) remains still a primate and an animal” (Reflections on the Psalms, pp.115,129)

    “If … you mean simply that man is physically descended from animals, I have no objection” (The Problem of Pain, p.72)

    “I have therefore no difficulty accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical.” (Reflections on the Psalms, p.110).

    “I disbelieve that doctrine (Total Depravity of man) because: (1) If we were totally depraved we could not know ourselves to be depraved; (2) Experience shows that there is much goodness in human nature” (The Problem of Pain, p.66).

    “…a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it” (Mere Christianity, p.49).

    “I have the deepest respect for Pagan myths, still more for myths in the Holy Scriptures” (The Problem of Pain, p.71).

    For those who still like the cute, cuddly Aslan figure, thinking he is Lewis’ representation of Christ, read what Lewis wrote of those who serve “Tash” (Satan) all their lives rather than Aslan (Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle):

    “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him … But the Glorious One bent down his golden head … and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.”

    Just a few years prior to his death, Lewis wrote:
    “”We’re all Timbs and parts of one Whole. Hence, of each other, Men, and gods, flow in and out and mingle” (Till We Have Faces, pp. 300-301).

    As one begins to add up all these statements (and there are certainly more not mentioned here), and as one compares these things with the truths of God’s Word, as well as the fruit which ought to be born by the true Christian, one must yield to the very stark reality that Lewis does not measure up to true Christianity, but is found wanting. Therefore, in obedience to Scripture, the true Christian is to have nothing to do with him.

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  18. My answers (Joseph’s) are in brackets below JW’s original comments, (which do not appear in brackets).

    Can we back up to some basics?

    [Yes, David. First, I wish to compliment you on your thoroughness.]

    1) Since Jesus is the Truth (Jn.14:6), and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (Jn.16:13), and since God’s word is truth (Jn.17:17), therefore God’s written Word (the Holy Bible, already verified by Scripture in my last comment), as truth, is completely and absolutely true and without error in all matters of Christian doctrine.

    [Yes, of course, David. This is the reason, for example, that the Church of Christ will not use musical instruments in worship services. They do not see it in the New Testament. Also, this is the reason that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians use real wine in their Communion, observing what Christ did. Some churches insist on foot-washing and snake handling. (I do not mock this; they are sincere in this understanding.) Churches will differ in their interpretations of Scripture.]

    2) Being the inerrant Word of God, it alone stands superior to any and all the writings of lesser creatures (i.e: angels, or mankind). As such, what God’s Word proclaims must take superiority over what man feels or thinks is truth.

    [Yes, but the Bible has left many questions that people have to ponder. There are many questions that the Bible does not answer directly, such as, “Where did Cain get his wife?” or, “Did Jesus give his sermon on “the plain” or in “the mount”? (Matt 5 vs. Luke 6). In such cases, a Christian is free to try to make sense of things by surmising that the stories were compiled in a certain manner, or that certain details are inconsequential or incidental. What does it matter if Jesus spoke right here or just over there? But these problems seem to be hints from God that we are not to approach Scripture with our modern journalistic standards of accuracy.]

    3) The Word of Truth (Jn.17:17) is declared to man by the Spirit of Truth to true followers of Christ only, not to the rest of the world (Jn. 14:16-17; Jn.16:13-15). Therefore, the unregenerate, non-born again, non-follower of Christ, no matter how intelligent, cannot understand or know God’s Truth. Indeed, the unregenerate man is hostile to the things of God (Rom.8:7-9)

    [Yes, these principles are true. But C.S. Lewis was not hostile to the things of God, and that is the point of my defense of him as a Christian. Lewis even believed in miracles. He wrote a book called Miracles, and he also prayed for the healing of his wife, and she came away from death’s door! But like Lazarus, she eventually had to die, but Lewis was a believer in every meaningful sense.]

    3) A true Christian, according to God’s Word, is a born again, regenerated human being who has repented of all unrighteousness, follows Jesus Who is the Truth, and has the Spirit of Truth residing in him. His life flows from Christ (the Vine), to which he is a mere grafted-in branch. Evidence of his genuine condition of being in unity with Jesus the Truth, and drawing his very life from Jesus the Vine, is that he bears fruit consistent with the Vine (Jn.15:1-8; Luke 6:44). Jesus said we would be known, not by what we claim, but by our fruit (Matt.7:16-17). Fruit (beliefs or practices) which is not consistent with, or which is contrary to, that which is described as being of God in God’s Word, is bad fruit. Thus if one’s fruit is evidently bad fruit, that person is not truly of God, despite their claims. One cannot be truly connected to the Vine if he is practicing or teaching that which is contrary to God’s truth.

    [Who decides what practices and beliefs are contrary to being in the Word of God? The pope? Martin Luther? Billy Graham? Me? You? Lewis was accused of writing Christian books with popular appeal just to get rich. He was not one to stoop to answer these types of accusations, but later, after his death, many people testified as to how CS Lewis gave the bulk of his royalties while he lived to the needy. This was good fruit, and we ought not to pass over the good fruit that is truly there.]

    4) God does not allow mixture of truth and error. Nor does He allow mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness, nor holy with unholy, nor a believer with an unbeliever (2 Cor.6:14-17).

    [But God does want us to mix with unbelievers for the purpose of persuading them. This is what CS Lewis sought to do. He was the head of the Socratic Club and butted heads with unbelievers constantly. He wrote over a million words in defense of Christianity. Of course he got some things wrong, but I do not believe he was dogmatic about everything, not divisive. He was ill-informed on some things, but very well-informed about most things. But I believe he was the type of person who corrected mistakes, when they were brought to his attention. For example, he wrote every person who wrote him a letter. That was quite a feat in itself.]

    5) God commands His followers in His Word to have nothing to do with those who bring doctrine/teachings which are contrary to the sound doctrine of His Word (Matt. 7:15; Rom.16:17). God commands His followers to test everything (against the truth of His Word) (1 Thess.5:21). In obedience therefore the true Christian tests all teachings against the truth of God’s Word. Those teachings, and teachers, which are contrary to God’s Word of Truth are to be rejected.

    [Yes. But to my knowledge, CS Lewis did not draw people away into his Church, or a new cult, but he brought people to a basic understanding of Christianity – to the “hallway” of the Christian faith, as he described it, from which the many denominations of Christianity are “rooms” coming off of that hallway. It is wonderful that you would instruct new believers into the best belief, but it would be wrong-headed to insist that people in other rooms are not Christians, or that the man who brought many unbelievers into that hallway is to be rejected.]

    Despite what we would like to believe, despite who we may admire on some issues, despite what one may claim, the Christian must nevertheless yield in full obedience to God’s commands in His Word. It is unfaithful to Christ and His Word to accept, promote, justify, condone, defend, make excuse for, or approve of anyone, whether they claim to be Christian or not, IF they teach and/or practice that which is contrary to God’s Word. It does not matter if they ALSO teach that which is good or right. Jesus made it crystal clear in passage such as Matt. 7:21-23 and elsewhere that good works, even calling Him “Lord” mean nothing to Him if one is ALSO doing that which is contrary to His Word.

    [Once again, who decides what is against God’s Word? You may decide that you cannot promote CS Lewis – and for reasons that appear very correct to you – but it is another matter to pontificate and to somehow proclaim that a man does not even deserve the title of Christian. I think I understand what you mean by it; but it is unfair. Would you like it if a person of another opinion on any controversial subject, such as free will vs. predestination called you a heretic? It is better to say that you disagree with him and that his ideas are wrong.]

    FYI, some other unbiblical statements Lewis has made:
    Regarding Purgatory: “A process by which the work of redemption continues, and first perhaps begins to be noticeable after death.” (Letters of C.S. Lewis, pp. 246-247)

    [This is an ancient belief. The Biblical passage “He will not get out until the last penny is paid” has been used to support it. That is not my view, but it is the view of the Catholic Church. They also use a verse in a book – I think it was 2 Macabees — which was rejected by the Protestant Church. By the way, Martin Luther did not like the Book of James, which he called “An epistle of straw.” Was the man who may have coined the term “Only Scripture,” “Sola Scriptura,” a heretic too? Was he not a Christian for having this suspicion about the Bible?]

    “”There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names–Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper. … I am not saying anything about which of these things is the most essential.” (Mere Christianity, p.61)

    [Talk to any Southern Baptist or Church of Christ minister about the importance of baptism. As for belief, this often increases from the mustard seed it may have begun as, and our prayer must always be, “Lord, help my unbelief.” As for Holy Communion, this is the ritual Christ commanded that we follow. We do not quite understand it, but we can say with the apostles, “Lord, you have the words of life,” and “we are not leaving you because you said that we must drink your blood.” I am not quite sure that the apostles understood Communion in their lifetime, they seemed not understand things, even after Jesus’ resurrection, so why must we fully understand it to obey it? And why can we not tolerate other Christians who have understandings different from our own? The Spirit gives his understanding severally as He wills. Who is to say who He has revealed certain words of knowledge to?]

    ” “… for we have good reason to believe that animals existed long before men. … For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself … [Eventually,] God caused a new kind of consciousness to descend upon this organism” (The Problem of Pain, pp.133,77).

    [David, Mr. Dakes wrote about a pre-Adamic race, and the possibility has been debated from early on. But this is the belief of some Christians who can cite Bible passages in its support. But about the straightforward idea of evolution, many are convinced of it by scientific evidence. I am not convinced, however, but I do not dispute the fact that science was correct when it said that the earth was not the center of the universe. The notion seemed like a heresy at first. Now we know that the earth orbits the sun and not the other way around. So sunrise and sunset in the Bible, we now understand, are purely descriptive of the Sun’s apparent motion. Similarly, the creation account, in light of science, may one day prove to be more of a description of God’s loving attentiveness to his creation, not a literal account of how everything may have transpired. Remember that the Bible was also written for the benefit of ancient, unscientific, often illiterate people, so man might not have been created in one literal 24-hour day. I do not claim to know the answer, but I do see how a Christian can attempt to understand his Bible in light of scientific truths presented by authorities as ironclad facts. If starlight takes thousands of years to arrive here, from its source, a Christian is no less a Christian, no less a believer in Christ, for his attempts to reconcile this fact.]

    “… Man, the highest of the animals” (Mere Christianity, p.139);

    [CS Lewis was not an animal, to my reckoning, so it matters not, to me, what his relation was to his supposed ancestors, but what matters was his relation to God. A man might regard himself as a mere worm and be just as close to God, if not closer, than a man who holds a more exalted view. I think the important thing is that we know that man is lower than the angels, but loved of God, nevertheless.]

    “… but he (man) remains still a primate and an animal” (Reflections on the Psalms, pp.115,129)

    [But elsewhere, in Mere Christianity, Lewis states that when people are said to act like “brutes,” they in fact exhibit behavior that the brutes (the animals) do not exhibit. I do not know what he may have been referring to here. Perhaps he believed in the doctrine of the total depravity of man without fully realizing it as such – and thus belonged to Christ in a way congruent with a Calvinist’s understanding.]

    “If … you mean simply that man is physically descended from animals, I have no objection” (The Problem of Pain, p.72)

    [Lewis appears to defer to scientists of evolution, as do many Christians. Who wishes to argue unscientifically? Lewis appears to be able to argue from the supposition that evolution may prove to be true, but that God intervened in history, at the right time, in a creative manner, nevertheless.]

    “I have therefore no difficulty accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical.” (Reflections on the Psalms, p.110).

    [Specifically the epic of Gilgamesh involving a flood – Here Lewis is not coming up with something new. Here Lewis is deferring to authorities he have read both accounts, and Lewis attempts to make sense of the Bible in light of scholarship.]

    “I disbelieve that doctrine (Total Depravity of man) because: (1) If we were totally depraved we could not know ourselves to be depraved; (2) Experience shows that there is much goodness in human nature” (The Problem of Pain, p.66).

    [Many Christians quote the Bible in defense of total depravity as well as other views. St. Paul said for a good man a man would even dare to die. – Rom. 5:7 …My point is that you can hold to the view that people are not totally depraved and still be a Christian.]

    “…a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it” (Mere Christianity, p.49).

    [A person may stop operating in the gifts. His life may be fruitless. Sin can do this.]

    “I have the deepest respect for Pagan myths, still more for myths in the Holy Scriptures” (The Problem of Pain, p.71).

    [Lewis called Christianity a “true myth.” He loved myths and felt that they pre-figured the Bible. Many myths refer to a dying god. In the Bible, Lewis believed that all of this idea, understood dimly, was revealed.]

    For those who still like the cute, cuddly Aslan figure, thinking he is Lewis’ representation of Christ, read what Lewis wrote of those who serve “Tash” (Satan) all their lives rather than Aslan (Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle):

    [The Last Battle refers to another world. Interpretations abound as to Tash, but we ought not to suppose that Lewis was a supporter of devil-worship.]

    “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him … But the Glorious One bent down his golden head … and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.”

    [This is a complicated supposition. We cannot know how God will judge a Muslim who worships Allah as the True God, The Almighty, The Merciful. We may hope for God’s mercy, or at least we cannot be faulted for holding out hope for someone who might never had heard of Jesus Christ — that he may be saved based on the light given him. Many Christians have a doctrinal view, but still hold out hope, and this is not sinful.]

    Just a few years prior to his death, Lewis wrote:
    “”We’re all Timbs and parts of one Whole. Hence, of each other, Men, and gods, flow in and out and mingle” (Till We Have Faces, pp. 300-301).

    [Too much is being made of a re-work of pagan mythology. The re-telling of the story is of Psyche and Cupid. I am reading this book now, and it is a chore. I would suspect anyone of trying to interpret the book as somehow revealing Lewis’s views on Christianity as some type of baptized pantheism is cherry-picking.]

    As one begins to add up all these statements (and there are certainly more not mentioned here), and as one compares these things with the truths of God’s Word, as well as the fruit which ought to be born by the true Christian, one must yield to the very stark reality that Lewis does not measure up to true Christianity, but is found wanting. Therefore, in obedience to Scripture, the true Christian is to have nothing to do with him.

    [Contrary to what you say, many Christians respect Lewis for his trying to address the popular culture of his day. He evidently is not a fundamentalist literalist. I think Lewis would not appeal to any fundamentalist literalist. He could not have been right about everything, but I do not think he claimed to know everything. So he should be given some slack. The man did not claim infallibility. But for many Christians, he is a Christian resource and a starting point for discussion.]

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  19. Joseph,

    You’ve used this thread to expound on your own beliefs, which in many areas are vastly different from my understanding of the Scriptures. At any rate, I stand by what I have said, and see no need to re-explain what I’ve already stated. I have neither the desire nor the time to rebut your rebuttals of what I said. Nor to address the many divergent beliefs you’ve expressed. Nor to go round and round endlessly with you. I see any further attempts to try to reason with you as futile and a waste of time.

    C.S. Lewis will stand in judgment before God, as will you, I, and everyone else. What He has specifically said is that we will be judged by His Word (Jn. 12:48). Not by what scholars say or think His word means, nor by our own philosophies, but by what He Himself has so stated in His word. The wise man will heed that and stand faithful to God’s word.

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  20. Many say that Clive Staples Lewis was a believer. Do believers really think that practicing witchcraft is pleasing to Jesus? Aslan said to Lucy that it did! Did Jesus say that one can deliberately follow Satan and have it received by Jesus as if it had been done for Him? No He did not! In fact Jesus said that He didn’t come to do away with the law but to fulfill it, and He made it clear what the two greatest commandments were. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your might and Love your neighbor as you do yourself.
    But Satan teaches the opposite. Anything is all right. Do whatever you want. So if someone wants to lie about his neighbor that is fine by the Devil. Or if someone wants to kill someone to get their stuff Satan is happy for that! Jesus, however, even went so far as to say if anyone teaches to break the least of His commandments, that person will be called the least in the kingdom of God. Revelation, the real end book, teaches that sorcerers will be cast into the lake of fire! Revelation 22:14 &15
    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and enter through the gates of the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

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  21. It is amazing to me the ministries that will expose error in certain individuals, but when it is pointed out that C. S. Lewis taught the exact same error they will defend him. I have had numerous email exchanges with respected discernment ministries that didn’t have the discernment to realize that Lewis taught damnable heresies. I would like to share one such example: during the Lord’s awesome work in my life, delivering me from the mainstream of false teaching the engulfs the church today, I was reading John MacArthur’s book Hard to Believe. It was written to expose false teaching. It was helpful, however, after he warned against false teachers who claim that an individual could be saved apart from repentence and conscious faith in Christ, he went on to quote C. S. Lewis. I wrote him a polite letter expressing my concern about him quoting Lewis who taught the error he was exposing, and received a nonreply. If you were to inquire into the stance of the Berean Call, Pyromaniacs, and Moriel ministries, you would find that they all do the same. These are the ministries that I have had lengthy email exchanges with, and they refuse to expose Lewis. Again, they will call others to account for their error, but not C. S. Lewis. It is disconcerting and harmful to the body of Christ to have these supposed legitimate ministries standing up for the truth and exposing error, but refusing to hold each person accountable to the same standard, they are practicing partiality, something Scripture clearly condemns.

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