Like many other Christians, I had heard of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the atheist-turned-Christian author of such well-known books as the Chronicles of Narnia series, Mere Christianity, and Screwtape Letters. However, it was not until I attended a recent public lecture on ‘C. S. Lewis and the Christian Life’, organised by the Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST), that I realised the wide range of genres through which this gifted writer sought to “steal past those watchful dragons” in communicating the Christian faith.
To Lewis, the fullness of Christian revelation required the fullness of genres to develop – poetry, autobiographical writings, science fiction, theological fantasy, children’s fantasy, novels, apologetics, literary criticism, essays, and letters, spanning some 74 books.
Prof Bruce Hindmarsh, James Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, presented the lecture, which was the first of four lectures in this course by BGST held over 15-20 June 2015. He was passionate about his appreciation for Lewis’ writings, noting that as a result of his personal study of them, he had “caught a glimpse of the vision glorious”, learned to think critically about his faith as “faith and reason are not opposed, but faith seeks to understand”, and “learned to desire heaven”.
Prof Hindmarsh also drew out milestones of Lewis’ life and how his experiences came to bear on his writings, which made me keen to pick up other books by Lewis that I had not previously been aware of, such as Pilgrim’s Regress (a re-casting of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress) and
A Grief Observed (on the passing of his wife, written under a pseudonym, which someone recommended to him to read without realising he had written it).
If you, like me, are interested in exploring C. S. Lewis’ work, you can visit http://cslewis.drzeus.net/
Grace Toh is Assistant Editor of Methodist Message and has been a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church for most of her life.