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The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. This essay will look at Lewis as a practical role model for winsome Christian apologists.
What made him a good one? He understood the evangelistic situation we face in the modern world, in which sin and true moral guilt are missing concepts and the biblical worldview a foreign country to most people, yet he was not tempted to alter the gospel to make it more palatable to the evolving audience.
He understood how to communicate abstruse ideas and linear arguments in a way that normal human beings can follow. He understood that good arguments are a necessary but not a sufficient condition of an effective apologia. He knew how to make his arguments meaningful by calling imagination to the aid of reason and by putting them in the context of a life of loving service.
This combination of features made him the greatest apologist of the twentieth century. I have been one of them.
A fresh look at his approach could be useful to both evangelists and apologists in the twenty-first century.
Lewis did not talk a lot about evangelism. He just did it. He often did it indirectly, but it got done. There is no direct appeal for conversion in the broadcast talks that became Mere Christianity, but there is an exposition of the Christian faith designed to elucidate its attractiveness as an answer to the problems of fallen man as well as to underscore its truth.
And conversion was often the result, as famously with Charles Colson. Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis—in itself very bad news—before it can win a hearing for the cure. There is no hint of the idea that we have to adjust the message to make it more palatable to this new, tougher audience.
Rather, we must gird up our loins and do the work required to gain a hearing for this unwelcome diagnosis and the joyous cure that can make sense only when the sick accept that diagnosis. The liberal approach to this dilemma is to try to accommodate the gospel to the modern now, postmodern worldview, to make it more palatable to the audience that exists.
But this approach begs the question. If the gospel is not true, then it is not good news for anyone; and if it is true, then the modern worldview must at points be false.
Lewis never seems to have been tempted by the liberal cop-out. He was prepared to accept the challenge that, in order to present the good news today, we must convince people that not only their behavior and their beliefs but also their thinking have been mistaken at crucial points.
Apologetics is how we do this job. His broad and deep learning, which kept him in touch with the best products of both the human mind and heart; his rigorous training in logic and debate by W. Kirkpatrick; and the fact that his own conversion was facilitated by reasoned arguments from Chesterton and Tolkien7: What can he tell us about apologetics as a form of practical theology?
The Need for Apologetics Apologetics is a biblical mandate: It is a courtroom term for the kind of reasoned case a lawyer makes in defense of his client. Lewis was in tune with a number of the reasons why that mandate exists.
One is the very nature of the faith to which the gospel calls us. Many modern people, Christians included, treat faith as a strange mystical way of knowing that is unconnected to reason or evidence.
It is a zero-sum game in which the more reason and evidence you have, the less of a role is left for faith to play. The New Testament, however, knows nothing of such ideas.
You could conceivably have that trust for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons. It is better to have good reasons. Lewis accepted this biblical perspective fully, as shown by his teachings on the nature of truth,8 his practice of apologetics, and is direct statement: When reason appears to be opposed to faith, on the other hand, this opposition is illusory, because if the gospel is true, then true reason must support it.
We practice apologetics in our evangelism then because of the nature of the gospel as truth and the nature of human beings as whole people who have minds as well as hearts that need to be reached.
The nature both of the gospel and of human beings makes apologetics a necessary part of theology for every generation. The times in which we live can make the need even more pressing. Lewis lived in such times, and the needs he saw have not diminished to the present.
A skeptical age will have its effects even on people raised in Christian homes. Lewis describes those effects graphically. In such an age, apologetics is essential equipment for believers wanting to preserve and strengthen their own faith as well as to proclaim it to others.Mere Christianity is full of memorable and powerful revelations that elucidate the foundations of Christian theology, our relationship to God, and the meaning of life.
Only C.S. Lewis could summarize such broad concepts so eloquently without coming across as overly-religious or preachy. One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide.
The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times."/5.
The material eventually published as Mere Christianity, one of C.S. Lewis' most popular works, began as a series of talks given on BBC Radio. The title is taken from the writings of Richard Baxter (), an author who sought to articulate the fundamentals of the Christian .
There is no direct appeal for conversion in the broadcast talks that became Mere Christianity, but there is an exposition of the Christian faith designed to elucidate its attractiveness as an answer to the problems of fallen man as well as to underscore its truth. And conversion was often the . "Mere Christianity" began life as a series of lectures given by Lewis in , and the best-selling book that followed had a profound effect on Collins.
"Even in . Christian Behaviour enhanced Lewis’ intentions for the Mere Christianity, and helped to remain consistent with emphasizing the importance of a belief in Jesus Christ.
Finally, Beyond Personality was the third publication expressed in Mere Christianity.