2017 rolled around and prior to it’s arrival, our church listed on its Facebook page the new Adult Sunday School topics/classes coming in the new year. My husband and I had attended Sunday School classes at our church, when we first arrived in Rolla in 2011, but had slacked off from attending such classes over the past two years. We still are regular attendees at the church services, but we had allowed going to Sunday School classes to fall by the wayside. So when I saw that one of the classes being offered was a study of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I told my husband about it and we both went to the class this morning.
Specifically, the book we are using in class, Discussing Mere Christianity, by Devin Brown and Eric Metaxes, has a dvd that accompanies it. Today’s dvd gave fascinating background about London of 1941 which is when C.S. Lewis, an English professor at Oxford, received a request to broadcast on the BBC radio and give 15 minute discourses on christianity, once a week. Lewis’s discourses on christianity were so popular with the listening audience in England, especially during a dark time historically with World War II raging, London being mercilessly bombed, that these broadcasts were typed up and became Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity. I had not known that information at all prior to today’s class.
C.S. Lewis was born in 1898, in Ireland. His parents were avid readers, and he and his younger brother Warren were taken regularly to a Protestant church. Lewis and his brother didn’t enjoy the church services and found them very dull; the rote of the weekly services intended to show how different this church was in comparison to Roman Catholic masses. In 1908, Lewis’s mother died, which understandably upset her sons’ world as well as their father’s. Within a month of their mother’s death, both boys were packed off to a boarding school. After attending a couple more boarding schools, Lewis decided God didn’t exist and became an atheist. When he was eventually hired to teach at Oxford University, he befriended J.R.R. Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, and T. D. Weldon, all professing christians. Through many discussions with Lewis, and debates, Lewis’s atheism gave way to theism(the belief that there is a god) to a conversion that happened in two parts: one from an all night walk and talk with Tolkien and Dyson, and then a trip to a zoo with his brother, who interestingly was also about to abandon his grasp of atheism for christianity. In between these two events, Lewis decided to actually read the 4 gospels found in the New Testament and was struck with how they sounded more like actual reports than made up stories.
The appeal of Lewis’s radio broadcasts for the BBC was that he didn’t want to embroil the listeners in doctrinal issues that existed then and still do, among the various christian churches. He wanted to appeal to the listeners with logic and plain speaking in order for them to realize that christianity is real, that God is real. He sent his notes for the broadcasts to area ministers and priests for their opinions to make sure what he was going to say would meet all of their approvals at getting to the heart of christianity.
As I stated, my husband and I have only begun this study of looking at Lewis’s book, but we found the topic interesting and very relevant for today’s christians to read and ponder as they grow in their faith.
If one wants to read more about C.S. Lewis and his writings, which The Chronicles of Narnia being his most famous body of work, go to this link. With this first post for 2017, I do wish all of my readers a blessed 2017.