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Why 'Mere Christianity' Should Have Bombed (Knowing why it didn't helps us strengthen our witness)
Christianity Today ^ | 12/27/2012 | John G. Stackhouse Jr

Posted on 12/30/2012 6:15:29 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Sixty years ago, London publisher Geoffrey Bles first released a revision of three sets of radio talks by an Oxford literature don. The book was called Mere Christianity, and there was nothing "mere" about it. A somewhat disjointed set of C. S. Lewis's views on a wide range of theological, philosophical, and ethical matters, the book became the most important and effective defense of the Christian faith in its century.

As Mere Christianity (henceforth "MC") goes into its seventh decade of publishing success, rivaled still by no other apologetic, it's worth taking a look at its unlikely success.

Why It Shouldn't Have Worked

The first reason why MC should not have worked is rather basic: It doesn't deliver what its title promises. It does not do even what John Stott's classic Basic Christianity does—namely, outline at least the basics of evangelicalism's understanding of the gospel. Given the title's own promise and Lewis's express intent of offering "mere Christianity," we get something substantially less than that, as I think Puritan pastor Richard Baxter, from whom the phrase comes, would affirm.

Furthermore, MC offers not only less than "MC," but also more: Lewis's own opinions about domestic relationships, marriage, and gender; and his particular take on the vexed question of God and time (which, in my view, has powerfully perpetuated Christian Platonism and its "timeless God" among many people who have never read Plato). The danger here is the danger that resides also in C. I. Scofield's dispensationalist notes to his famous Reference Bible. (I recognize that this is perhaps the first time anyone has claimed that Lewis and Scofield are peas in a pod, but they are both remarkable publishing successes.)

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: cslewis; merechristianity

1 posted on 12/30/2012 6:15:40 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I certainly benefitted from reading Lewis. Being a native Texan and coming from an evangelical background that was every bit as hostile to the Catholic Church as you imagine, I’m one of those unlikely influenced.

The man had a way of bolstering my faith. I never felt undermined. He had a grand view of God, which you find in many older Christian writers. Hopelessly out of fashion but forever fresh to anyone with ears to hear.

“Those who live for Heaven will get Earth ‘thrown in’; those who live for Earth will get neither”—CS Lewis

2 posted on 12/30/2012 6:36:19 AM PST by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: avenir

Amen, brother

3 posted on 12/30/2012 6:40:23 AM PST by Dick Vomer (democrats are like flies, whatever they don't eat they sh#t on.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Very good to reread and also good to listen to on audiobook. My recently departed brother and I read it every year. I think it’s time I put it back in my queue.

4 posted on 12/30/2012 7:01:53 AM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: SeekAndFind
On of Greatest Literary Works of the 20th Century IMHO
5 posted on 12/30/2012 7:05:20 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: SeekAndFind

bleeeech....Lewis wrote of his journey from non-believer to believer. He called it Mere Christianity because for him that is what it was. It never purports to be a theological set of rules or instructions for others. What an idiot writer. If you miss the beginning premise then it is easy to make up whatever analysis you want.

6 posted on 12/30/2012 7:36:29 AM PST by Nifster
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To: Nifster

hummm......idiot writer? I’d say your small inconsequential paragraph is projecting.

Lewis was genius.

7 posted on 12/30/2012 8:59:29 AM PST by Boxsford (God Is.)
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To: Nifster

Nifster should have actually read the book.

Mere Christianity is not a book about C.S. Lewis’s conversion, although he covers that in the first section.

Nor did Lewis come up with the term ‘mere Christianity’, which has profound implications for all seekers of truth.

8 posted on 12/30/2012 9:19:42 AM PST by JT Hatter (Who is Barack Obama? And What is He Really Up To?)
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To: Boxsford; Nifster

Nifster is criticising the writer of the article, not Lewis. The article seems to think that Mere Christianity should be not so mere, and should set out more theology.

9 posted on 12/30/2012 10:56:52 AM PST by BlackVeil
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To: JT Hatter

I have read the book, frequently. Understanding the first part of the book gives one perspective as to the arguments that Lewis makes in the second half.

Lewis NEVER purports to be a theologian. He tells us his opinion and understanding.

10 posted on 12/30/2012 12:42:03 PM PST by Nifster
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To: BlackVeil

You are exactly correct

11 posted on 12/30/2012 12:47:24 PM PST by Nifster
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