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Friday, March 28, 2014

C.S. Lewis was a "thoroughly converted person"

C.S. Lewis on Authentic Discipleship

by Christopher W. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, C.S. Lewis Institute
Director, Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Walter Hooper has on several occasions stated that C.S. Lewis was the most thoroughly converted person he had ever met. If I were to put what Hooper was saying into biblical language, it would go something like this: “From the time Lewis came to faith in Jesus Christ to the day he died, he desired, worked, and struggled, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, to bring all of his life captive to Christ.” An evangelical would simply have said that Lewis was a model disciple of Christ. I agree with both assertions. I also believe Lewis understood the nature and purpose of Christian discipleship better than most and communicated as clearly as anyone in the English speaking world.1

Because my primary aim is to demonstrate the enormous significance of what Lewis has to teach us about Christian discipleship, it is important that I make clear at the outset that Lewis did in fact struggle all his life to embody what he knew to be true of a disciple of Christ. Two examples will suffice. The first comes from a letter Lewis wrote on June 21, 1950, to his friend and former student, George Sayer. Lewis was fifty-one years old. Much of his most important and celebrated work defending and explicating the faith had been published. He was, one might say, mature and well established in his faith. But on this day he penned the following: “My Dear George, I shall be completely alone at the Kilns… from Aug 11 to Aug 19th and am like to fall into a whoreson melancholy. Can you come and spend all or any of this time with me?”2 Now this is a rather amazing and illuminating statement. Surprising in that a somewhat reserved Lewis should unburden himself in this way to a friend and illuminating inasmuch as it demonstrates that even at this period in his life, he was still wrestling with personal demons, still struggling to keep his way pure. It is also illuminating in that it demonstrates the depth of his commitment to following Christ.

Read it all here.

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