Tag Archives: apologetic

Book Review: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

MereChristianityPrecursory Thoughts

It’s been my intention for quite a while to spend time with the writings of C.S. Lewis.  Four or five years ago I read nearly half of Mere Christianity, but at the time I was also reading several other books and attending seminary.  The mixture of busy-ness made it easy to put this book down half way through.

Lately I’ve read several other authors who, quoting Lewis, have increased my desire to pick up Mere Christianity once again and give it a go.  John Piper, whom I respect tremendously, often quotes Lewis; he does so especially in his seminal book, Desiring God.  Likewise Tim Keller,whom I also respect, refers to Lewis as a huge influence and quotes from him liberally in The Reason for God.  Lastly, Brian McLaren, whom I do not respect (his theology, not the man), also uses Lewis as a source of inspiration in some of his writings.  The problem with this of course is that two men whom I greatly admire and agree with, site Lewis as a large influence.  Contrariwise McLaren, whom I do not respect, sites Lewis as a reference too.  In fact I would say that many of the most-loathsome beliefs that McLaren espouses seem to be founded in the thought of C.S. Lewis.

Watching a recent talk by John Piper about Lewis has helped clear the air for me in many respects.  In the talk, which I encourage you to watch, Piper discusses some of the problems with Lewis, but he also discusses the rewards that C.S. Lewis has wrought within his own life.

Review

Mere Christianity was originally delivered as a series of Radio Broadcasts in the 1940’s, only later in 1952, was it developed into a book.  As a result, it’s a very approachable read with subjects divided into nice, bite-sized chapters.  The book is organized into four separate books each with its own chapters.  The books are as follows:  Book 1 – Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe, Book 2 – What Christians Believe, Book 3 – Christian Behaviour, Book 4 – Beyond Personality:  Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Mere Christianity is essentially part apologetic for Christianity and part explanation of Christianity, and I have to applaud Lewis for doing a good job in his defending and explaining.

Personally, I enjoyed the apologetic in the beginning of the book and the thoughts on the Trinity at the end of the book most thoroughly.  The book is a bit slow in the middle.  Spiritually speaking, Mere Christianity gave me some interesting ways of thinking about Christianity.  In fact Lewis’ greatest contribution may be that he allows readers to see problematic portions of Christianity in a new light through his vivid descriptions.

This book wasn’t life changing for me, but it was definitely a worthwhile read.  If nothing else, I see portions of Christianity more clearly than I used to, and I have a bunch of Lewis quotes that will make me sound smart if I use them.  The problematic parts of Lewis’ philosophy make this a hard book for me to whole-heartedly recommend (see Piper’s talk).  Many will be blessed by its content and some may be led astray.  As always we must place the Bible’s revelation of itself ahead of man’s interpretations. Our personal interpretations are subject to the scrutiny of Bible.  I’m going to continue to read more of Lewis and see how my opinion develops after delving further.

Piper’s talk – http://theresurgence.com/why-cs-lewis-influenced-john-piper

Book Review: Atheism Remix by Al Mohler

atheismremixI picked up a used copy of Atheism Remix for $5 at McKay’s Used Books, CD’s, Movies, and More in Nashville.  If you’ve never been to McKay’s, you’re missing out.  There is an incredible amount of good media at McKay’s, and inventory changes often.  Anyway, I’d been eyeing Atheism Remix for a while now in Lifeway, so when I saw I cheap used copy, I jumped on it.

This is a brief (108 pages), but effective book about the “New Atheism” movement.  New Atheism is different from older forms of atheism in its boldness, its specific animosity towards Christians and the God of the Bible (rather than just the conception of God in general), and in its cultural reach.  According to Mohler, New Atheism is “not just a reassertion of atheism, it is a movement that represents a far greater public challenge to Christianity than that posed by the atheistic movements of previous times” (12).  New Atheism is advocated most prominently by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.  In just four chapters, Mohler spells out a description of New Atheism, its adherents, and how it is being challenged both effectively and ineffectively.

This book is culturally relevant and should be read widely.  The books of Dawkins and others are too popular for Christians to be completely unaware of the bombs being lobbed at Christianity by the adherents of New Atheism.  You should read this book.  If the effects of New Atheism don’t seem to be effecting you, they will effect your kids and the people you’re surrounded by.  I think believers everywhere should read Atheism Remix, especially because its brevity makes it so approachable.

If I have any qualms about this book, it is that Mohler offers little in the way of “What now?”  I don’t want to misrepresent Mohler as a deconstructionist, but I did personally long for a little more construction at the end of the book.  I suspect that he would argue that this was not his purpose in writing, which is perfectly acceptable, it just left me wanting a little more.  None-the-less, I learned a ton in the brief pages of this book and will encourage many to read it for themselves.