Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… One of my daughters spent the summer working in Parksville, BC, on an organic farm. My city-girl working as a farmer – and loving it... never saw that one coming.
I had a chance to visit her and during one conversation she told me she had found a copy of C. S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. What I enjoyed was her body language, which indicated she had found a treasure in some used book store. She was loving this book.
A new generation introduced to a Christian classic. Few Christian books have influenced more people in the 20th century. Lewis sought to explain and defend those doctrines common to all Christians no matter their church affiliation. He called them the “highest common factor”, or “mere Christianity”. The book is logical yet emotional, assaulting the mind while massaging the heart. It provides an explanation for most of life’s questions and resolution for many of life’s problems.
Lewis was raised an Anglican in North Ireland. He was wounded as an artillery officer in the First World War. He became an atheist and logician at Oxford University, but in the 1920s he discovered that reason was leading him back, step by reluctant step, to the Christian faith. He was not excited about becoming a Christian, but was, as he said, “dragged kicking and screaming” into the Kingdom of God.
He wrote at the time of rich apologetic writing by other British notables. Before him was G. K. Chesterton who became a Catholic. Contemporaries such as poet T. S. Elliot, detective story writer Dorothy Sayers, and fantasy novelist Charles Williams were all espousing Christian beliefs and values in apologetic ways in their literary works. I’ve read them all, and people are still reading them. Interesting that not one of them was a theologian.
C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity continues to influence. It was reading Lewis’ work (Great Divorce) in prison that pointed Charles Colson to the Christian faith, and he became a very articulate apologist for evangelical Christianity. Reading Mere Christianity was monumental for Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club. It influenced him to sell everything… the helicopter, mansion on Lake Huron, yacht, Frank Lloyd Wright collectables, and vintage vehicles. He sold Domino’s Pizza in the 1990s for an estimated $1 billion and has given hundreds of millions of dollars to charities.
It’s amazing the influence one book can have. The power of the word. The impact an idea or vision can make. I’m looking forward to chatting with my daughter after she finishes Mere Christianity. Her enthusiasm stirs my heart. I’m certain she will teach me something important.
Have a blessed week,