Mere Christianity By C.S. Lewis

Introduction

            C.S. Lewis has been known for his excellent literary works which have contributed greatly to the presentation of the Christian faith to the world at large. One of the best among his works is the book entitled simply, Mere Christianity. It may sound as a simplification of the otherwise complex philosophy which is Christianity because of its title, but it isn’t. As it is almost suggestive of its title, the Christian faith when presented clearly as it is, it becomes power packed. Apostle Paul has said, “The gospel is the power of God to salvation” (Rom.1:16). Although the gospel itself is enough for the conversion and salvation of sinners, apologetics can prepare a skeptic for the acceptance of gospel truths. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is indeed a strong and convincing apologetic material. It is divided in four sections: BOOK 1, BOOK 2, BOOK 3, and BOOK 4. In so dividing his book, Lewis strategically planned how to progress in his arguments. And by the way, in each section, the author is presenting a compelling case for Christianity. In all of the four sections, every argument was clearly and powerfully communicated. What follows are some of the issues regarding Christianity which were convincingly presented in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

 Compelling Issues Dealt With In The Book

            Lewis carefully developed his objectives – to finally guide and lead the reader to inevitable conclusions. In the first chapter, attention is given to the existence of the “Law.” As Lewis has pointed out, there seems to be an unspoken agreement between people with regards to right and wrong. What makes it all the more enlightening is the fact that generally, people seem to be knowledgeable of this Law. If not, why is it that when someone has violated his/her neighbor in a certain way, the one who was violated would quickly appeal to a standard which without a question in the mind of the one who was infringed upon must be the same standard of right and wrong which the violator must have known all along (p. 15-16 Lewis). This is a strong case for Christianity’s Golden Rule. Indeed, God has written His law in the hearts of men (Rom.2:15), and the proof of this is this Rule of good behavior which humanity in general seem to understand.

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In chapter two, the argument flows from and builds on what preceded it. Humanity is divided between two groups: those in the majority who believe that there is a God or gods, and those in the minority who do not believe that there is a god at all – these are atheists. In spite of these divisions, Lewis maintains that generally, people of any nation believe in God. All along, this is where Lewis’ mind proceeds from his arguments; and this is a good approach in apologetics, to seek a common ground (p. 39-40 Lewis). If, however, one questions the goodness of God by pointing to the “evil” in this world that God has created, again, it will throw that person back to the same big question: “Where did that person get the idea of evil and good?” What is the reference point? One can only call a thing evil if he/she has any idea of good, and vice versa. The third compelling argument which C.S. Lewis has laid down in the book was the thing which he referred to as the “real shock.” What he meant was Jesus’ claim of Divinity – that He was in fact God. Jesus Christ who was born a Jew, by His actions, and more particularly, by His words, has claimed to be God. Given the fact that He was of Jewish descent, He could not be claiming a status of a god whose mode of being was like that of Indian Pantheists who believe that everything in creation is part of God, and therefore, god. Fully understanding the claims of Jesus in the context of racial, cultural, traditional, and religious background could enable one to perceive what a shock Jesus was to His contemporaries. Lewis emphasized specifically, Jesus’ dispensing of forgiveness to certain people of His time. Truly, one could only forgive those who have offended him personally, and not those whose offences were committed to others. Well, in the case of Jesus, He forgave people of their sins. It’s like He’s saying that all offences and sins are all violations against Him. Unless Jesus was God, He could not have done that.

Citations:

Lewis, C.S. 1952. Mere Christianity, HarperCollins Publishers 75-85 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8JB

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