Sunday, September 11, 2011

C.S. Lewis on Books by Christians

"We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy's line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects--with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian."

- C.S. Lewis
God in the Dock, p. 93. [HT:TM]


Stuart Brogden said...

This comment by Lewis shows why everything he wrote is suspect. He seems to thinks spiritually dead people can be brought to life by a Christian worldview that is mostly disguised in "Christian" books. This is poppycock. The biblical gospel of the biblical Jesus is the only remedy for those who are dead in their sin. Man's imagination and skill cannot take the place of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. He will effectively call those whom the Father has elected, so no man will be able to boast - no matter how well he may write on "Christian geology".

Brian said...


It seems to me that Lewis is certainly not abandoning the Gospel.

Instead, he is suggesting that Christians permeate the literary landscape with the Christian worldview so that it is 1) inescapable; and that 2) it would prepare the soil of men's hearts for the Gospel.

I think a careful reading of Lewis's quote shows that abandoning the Gospel -- or replacing it with Christian fiction or non-fiction -- is NOT what he is suggesting.

COMDER said...

I love CS Lewis. Quotes like these are great.

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