Book Review: Mere Christianity

First off, let me say that this is a tremendous book. It attempts to do something very amazing, and in many respects it succeeds. I recommend that all Christians read this book, and I assume that many of you already have. With that said, I do have a large reservation that troubles me.

Many thinkers today call our society “post-Christian”. Essentially it means that the world has decided to pass on the so-called Christian values that the world is run on. Thus, Christian leaders are forced to try new ways to get people in the world to invest/convert/be interested in Christianity. This causes a lot of new “marketing” and creation of lots of new ways to think about the world. The problem there, is that none of these have anything to do with Jesus

I find this to be the case with Mere Christianity. Many of the analogies and descriptions fall into this pattern. They are creative and very influential, and they drive home Lewis’ points. However, the problem is that all of these come from the mind of a contemporary Christian seeking to explain what he believes – not what the Bible tells us. Surely the Bible does not describe the relationship between “the Son” and “the Father” as Lewis does. It is nice that all Christians agree on the Trinity, but it doesn’t make it any truer. We cannot create a worldview to espouse to the world without starting before Christianity, that is, with Jesus. And to start there, we have to understand him in our context. What is being done is entirely different. A set of facts are assumed and an analogy is created to explain them. The analogy finds no root in the original assumed truth, only to prove the assumed truth – therefore the description is useless as far as truth is considered. Sure it communicates extremely well, but it doesn’t help us get at truth.

With that said, many of the analogies and observations about Natural Revelation through the creation in the early part of the book are fantastic, and certainly an area that is not investigated on by many thinkers. I think that might be the single biggest contribution of the book. He provides us with an investigated, and thought out presentation to ready a person to hear the Gospel (from our point of view). Unfortunately he never uses the word Gospel, though he does cover atonement from a Trinitarian perspective, which, arguably, is not the Gospel.

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One response to this post.

  1. Starting with Jesus is key for Christianity, and you are bringing up a good point here about that. I heard of a meeting recently where the participants spent hours talking about how things were in the past and how they should take elements from their excited past to make the future better. This seemed like a good idea but the problem was that the past they were talking about, although exciting and characterized by high attendance, was full of errors.

    Why not look to Jesus to determine what we do today. Granted there are things we face which Jesus and his apostles did not specifically address – but we must use their teachings and translate them to the situation we are facing, using wisdom, rather than jump to modern, post-modern, or post-Christian solutions and ideas.

    Reply

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