Thursday, 25 February 2010

C S Lewis on Law and Gospel


"Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing…to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness."
Mere Christianity p.38

When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor…. Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in…dismay.”
Mere Christianity, p39

Many more instances of Lewis' understanding of Law and Gospel from across his range of works could be cited. A useful study of Lewis' use of Law and Gospel is Law and Gospel in the Works of C S Lewis by Angus Menuge (click on the post title to view).

Lewis was a lay theologian, rather than a professional one, which perhaps explains why he has connected with so many lay people. He was also, of course, an Anglican, and there is, as far as I am aware, little or no evidence that Lewis ever studied Luther or Lutheran theology, and yet his work is permeated with the use of the Law and Gospel in ways that Lutherans instantly recognise as being in accord with their own understanding of how these two Words of God function soteriologically. I suggest, modestly, that Lewis learned the distinctions between Law and Gospel simply through reading the scriptures, in particular the Gospels, followed by St Paul. Menuge deals with the evidence for Lewis' understanding of Law and Gospel extant in his writings, without delving too much into how Lewis conceived his understanding; the latter would make an interesting topic for research if one had access to Lewis' archives.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that Lewis is frequently pictured smoking a pipe, and surrounded by a cloud of smoke.

In other words he was a drug addict.

Sucking on a pipe or cigarette is akin to sucking ones thumb. There was once an anti-smoking advertising campaign which used this imagery.

What happens when you smoke?
You such in a constant stream of toxic poisons which slowly and persistently undermine the health of the body--and in many cases cause premature death.

People smoke to assuage and underlying sense of chronic anxiety--fear and trembling

Do you think that anyone who was truly alive in, and thus sustained by, the Holy Spirit or the all pervading Radiant Energy of Real God would consistently poison his body day after day.

Or even suffer from chronic anxiety!

And yet this self-destructive drug addict is deemed to be an eminent "authority" on religion and Spirituality.

By the way, he never ever learnt to truly love a woman either. He was essentially a misogynist.

Only men and women of inherent pleasure are capable of knowing and Living the Truth.

And hence of being good company to all beings that enter into their sphere of relationships.

acroamaticus said...

Well, according to Tolkien, C.S.Lewis was quite good company, go figure!