Mere Christianity - Joel Heck`s Lewis Site

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Mere Christianity
Uncommon Truth in
Common Language
Joel D. Heck
Lewis’s Top Three

The Screwtape
Letters

The Chronicles of
Narnia

Mere Christianity
The Wade Center
The Term
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“Mere Christianity”
– 17th-century Christian writer, Richard Baxter
(1615-1691)
– “the essential Christian message as espoused
historically by Catholics and Protestants alike”
– “the theological core on which different
Christian traditions can agree”
– “the common doctrines of Christianity”
– “the basic form and beliefs of Christianity that
all traditions and denominations accept”
Influence
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1993 Christianity Today poll
Fiftieth anniversary in 2002
11,000,000+ sold
Translated into at least 6 languages
John Stott, Basic Christianity
“Books that Made Me Catholic,” Deal W. Hudson
Indelible Ink, Scott Larsen, general editor
Chuck Colson and Thomas Monaghan
Characteristics
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Apologetics (i.e. defense)
A reflection of Lewis’s personality (rational,
ordered, and imaginative)
Autobiographical, i.e. a reflection of Lewis’s life
Second most well known voice in England during
World War Two
Battlefield language (more later)
Radio
Not Covered
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (the
Sacraments)
 The Virgin Mary
 Pope as the vicar of Christ or not
 Military service vs. pacifism
 The Bible as understood by certain
traditions

Not Covered
 Eschatology
 Remarriage
after divorce or not
 Genesis and science on origins
 Those who never heard of Christ—
lost or capable of salvation
Not Covered
 Baptism
in the Holy Spirit and
spiritual gifts
 Seven Ecumenical Councils as
authoritative or not
 Spiritual authority of the local
congregation or higher ecclesiastical
jurisdictions
 Worship and music
Words from the Battlefield
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More than one per page (247)
Battle, invasion/invade, force (20x), Allies,
march, Gestapo, army, blow to bits, soldier
(16x), war (80x), ration (21x),
battle/battlefield, enemy (22x), fight (16x),
struggle, German/Germany, Nazi, infantry,
sabotage, rebel/rebellion (9x), surrender
(8x), arms (7x), conquest, conquer, Jews,
smuggle, and military
Written during World War Two by a veteran
of World War One
Series One

Dr. James W. Welch

The Problem of Pain
Lewis detested the radio
 Five talks
 August 6 through September 6, 1941
 “Right and Wrong: A Clue to the Meaning
of the Universe” (pre-evangelism)

Mr. W. R. Childe
“If I tell Mr. Lewis that’s ‘feeling the
presence of God in flowers and music’ is
Eternal Life, . . . .”
 Lewis challenged his accuser.
 Mr. Childe neglected to specify his favorite
charity.

Series Two
Five talks
 January 11 through February 15, 1942
 “What Christians Believe”

Four Clergymen
 One
Church of England theologian
 One Roman Catholic
 One Presbyterian
 One Methodist
 No Lutherans!
Four Clergymen
Probably Austin Farrer, Chaplain, Trinity
College, Oxford
 Dom Bede Griffiths, Roman Catholic friend
and adult convert to Christianity
 Definitely Rev. Joseph Dowell, RAF Padre,
Methodist
 Rev. Eric Fenn, Presbyterian, BBC
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Series Three
Eight Talks
 September 20 through November 8, 1942
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Series Four
“Stone” = 14 pounds; “ell” = a mile
 Seven Talks
 February 22 through April 4, 1944
 “… any reliable firm of assassins, noseslitters, garrotters and poisoners …”
 Eric Fenn: “They love, or hate.”
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Publication Schedule
 Broadcast
Talks, the first and second
series of broadcasts, 1942 (US: The
Case for Christianity)
 Christian Behavior, the third series,
1943
 Beyond
1944
 Mere
Personality, the fourth series,
Christianity, 1952
Reviews
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“We have never read arguments better
marshaled and handled so that they can be
remembered, or any book more useful to the
Christian…who finds himself called upon to
argue briefly from first premises, to say why
morality is not herd-instinct, why there is a
special and unique character attached to the
sense of obligation, why the conviction that
there is a law of right and wrong and a
transcendent morality is only intelligible if
there is a God.” (The Tablet, July 18, 1942)
Reviews
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“No writer of popular apologetics today is
more effective than Mr. C. S. Lewis.” (The
Times Literary Supplement, Sept. 19,
1942)
Reviews
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“The author shows himself a master in the
rare art of conveying profound truths in
simple and compelling language.” (G. D.
Smith in The Clergy Review , December
1942)
 Uncommon
Language!
Truth in Common
The BBC in “Shadowlands”
“Christian Marriage” on October 11, 1942
during the third series of BBC talks
 A video segment
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The End
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