Was C.S. Lewis an Evangelical?

Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.
-Vaclav Havel

“Welcome to Mario E. Wad Center of Wheaton College, the Harvard of Evangelical Christian College,” says the host, Dr. T, a theology professor with a hip trimmed grey goatee wearing a discolored hip Levis, accenting both “Harvard” and “Evangelical;” hard to judge what he emphasizes more.

“We’re here to talk about C.S. Lewis, an Evangelical Christian,” this time, he emphasizes the all important E-word, “Lewis didn’t know he was an Evangelical, but, that is how we should all live our Christian lives, not self-righteous, but subconsciously-righteous.”

Claps. A young man in the back growls, “Yeah!”

“For his series Chronicles of Narnia is the gospel in children’s story. When Hollywood produced The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, they were doing evangelism for us. The Lion of Narnia is the Lion of Judah.”

Dr. T pauses. When that last line about the lion came to him, he was greatly pleased, and thought it should have the chance to please his audience too. They don’t applaud and he takes it as the silence that usually follows profundity.

“Well, there’s been a little controversy brewing about C.S. Lewis’ faith, whether he was quote unquote  a true Evangelical,” the host laughs and the audience follows right on cue. “Some say his Narnia stories, even with the great Christ figure Aslan roaming through every story whether he is in the scene or not, is too pagan, with witches and talking animals as if animals could reason like human beings implying animals share in the Imago Dei.”

There is a boo and someone shouts, “We ain’t monkeys!” and the crowd erupts chanting. “Creation! Creation! Creation!” Dr. T loves the football game like testosterone in the room but he pretends to want to calm them with the wave of his hand. “So I have invited a C.S. Lewis expert to debate Lewis’ evangelicalism with capital E. Please welcome Dr….”

Dr. T can’t finish his introduction because he is open mouthed in shock for onto the stage enters not a Lewis expert but Lewis himself, oval face, a bald pate, kindly avuncular except for the piercing gaze of his intelligent eyes. Lewis sinks into the sofa and sips the cup of water waiting for him, a stage made to look like a living room which is how all TV talk shows do it nowadays.

“You are…” Dr. T stammers.

“Clive Staples Lewis,” Lewis rescues Dr. T from his momentary loss of coolness, “and since you are talking about my faith I decided to talk for myself since I don’t trust anyone with my faith, especially experts, because they can never change their minds once they make a statement since if they do, they can no longer be considered an expert. Quite a catch 22 isn’t it? An expert can never correct his mistake, his authority is based on unrepentance.”

This insight is lost on Dr. T for he is self-absorbed, that is, he has recovered his cool persona….

(you can continue reading at Cultural Weekly)

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