CS Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York, NY: MacMillian Publishing Company, April 16th, 1986. 175 pp.
This is my second reading of Mere Christianity. I first read it when I was a teenager and I was prompted to read it again since I was curious to see what I would think of Lewis’ famous work now that I’m a bit older. After all these years I still think the book’s presentation of the moral argument for God is a classic and one of the tope presentation out there. Of course I would add the caveat that I would utilize the moral argument as a form of the transcendental argument for God’s existence but nevertheless I think Presuppositionalists can profit from reading this book.
What is Good:
There were many instances in the book that I found CS Lewis to be tremendously insightful. His command of the English language is beautiful in a way that one expect from a Cambridge literary professor (which he was). I am jealous of his keen ability of making observation and illustrations. Lewis talked about how only those who resist sin can truly know the power of sin versus those who always give in to temptation; he illustrates this point by raising the question of who knows more the power of the enemy, one who surrenders or one who fight against them. I also thought his illustration about faith and reason was very helpful in showing how they are not necessarily against each other. He talks about how someone can intellectually know a medical fact but when one is undergoing a medical procedure sometimes it takes continued faith in the facts despite one’s hesitation and fear and in such an instance it is a virtue.
What is Bad:
CS Lewis aims to defend a “mere Christianity” and not a particular denomination or specific Christian creed but I don’t know if he succeeded in arriving at a minimalistic “mere Christianity.” He wants to defend and discuss a Christianity which all Christians have in common but there’s instances where that’s not possible. For example, he talks about the means of accessing God’s grace through faith, baptism and Lord’s supper but this “mere Christianity” is not that of Evangelicals who would say we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone apart from works.
Lewis does have a universalistic streak when it comes to salvation. This is probably due to the influence of George MacDonald, a writer and Christian minister who was instrumental in Lewis’ conversion. One find in the book that Lewis mentioned at least twice that some who are not professing Christians might be closer to God than they realize or professes.