With the recent release of the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian” and the previous success of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) is a popular name on the lips of moviegoers. But few people know that in addition to his beloved Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis wrote many books for adults, both fiction and non-fiction, about Christianity.
C.S. Lewis was a writer from an early age, creating stories and writing them down. Although he was raised in a Christian home, the difficulties of life after his mother died caused “Jack,” as he was called, to lose his faith. Lewis served in the First World War and completed his degree at Oxford University. In his book, Surprised by Joy, Lewis recounts one day that would change his life. "When we [Warnie and Jack] set out [by motorcycle to the Whipsnade Zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."
Lewis’ first Christian work was The Screwtape Letters, which appeared in installments in The Guardian magazine. He then spoke on the radio about the topics of “Right and Wrong,” and “What a Christian believes.” Lewis went on to write Miracles, The Problem of Pain, Abolition of Man, and Mere Christianity; as well as the fictional The Great Divorce, the Narnia series, The Space Trilogy, and the allegorical Till We Have Faces.
Lewis had the unique credentials to be both a voice for the scholar and for the everyman. He was the chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University and had published many works on the subject, including the volume on 16th Century English Literature for the Oxford History of English Literature series. Because of this, he had the respect of the learned. On the other hand, Lewis wrote openly, honestly, and humbly, which immediately made him accessible to his readers. His writing is raw, especially when dealing with issues such as the death of his wife, which he does in the book A Grief Observed.
The additional appeal of Lewis is that he never claimed to be an expert on the subject of God and Christianity. Lewis is just like his readers – he often cautions that he is only sharing what he has found to be true. He always reminds his readers that he is not an authority on the subject, but that he hopes in some way that his findings will be helpful along their journey of faith.
Lewis’ writings have touched several generations. His humble desire to share the answers he had discovered about Christianity will continue to inform and guide Christians for years to come. Lewis concluded, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen—not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
Guest Column by Lindsey Stefan