Rereading a classic: Mere Christianity

On Thursday mornings, several men from our church meet at 6:30 am for what we call a theological discussion group. We have read a variety of theological texts that have included The Gagging of God by D.A. Carson, Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper, and Knowing God by J.I. Packer. This time I decided that we would read and discuss Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.

I was struck once again by how insightful Lewis was in being able to portray the utter lost condition of man, but in a manner that would be considered logical to an unbeliever. In speaking of repentance he writes,

It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have in training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent; only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it (57).

He then addresses the issue raised by some that if Jesus is perfect, then  his sufferings would be no big deal since it is so easy for him as God to accomplish such a mission. Lewis responds as only Lewis can, with a vivid, poignant illustration. He writes,

If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps), ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank?’ That advantage—call it ‘unfair’ if you like—is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself? (59).

This book is a very good tool in evangelism for those who raise objections to the truth claims of Jesus Christ. I also find it to be an encouraging book for believers as well.

Categories: Christ, Christian living, Evangelism, Salvation

3 replies

  1. The day after I read this blog last week, my unbelieving friend at work told me that he started reading this book (actually listening to it). Coinsidence? I doubt it… Ever since then he has been deep in thought pondering what he is hearing. I have not read this book but am trying to give him encouragement on the comments that he is making based on observing how God is tickling his heart…wooing him. Please pray for him.

  2. He started a bible study “from the beginning” – Genesis and wants to “pick my brain” on “this 6000 yr thing” and on dinosaurs. My speciality. 🙂

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