Sunday, November 13, 2011

You sure you're Arminian?

A couple weeks ago, my dear friend gave me this series of lecture DVDs on C. S. Lewis.  They are by Louis Markos from Houston Baptist University.  Twelve lectures on 6 discs that are all a good, fair representation of Lewis.  Even in the book synoptics, it's like you don't even have to read the books, you can listen to Markos's take.

The first lecture is a mini-biography and introduction to Lewis.  Lewis fascinates me.  He is by far, my favorite Christian author.  I always jokingly call the Narnia books my second Bible.  He has brilliant apologetics and allegories, and I can't wait to meet him someday.  On the flip side, there is no one I disagree with more.  The more I learn about him, the more I realize I like his Narnia books better than I like him.  He was certainly not a Calvinist.  He was not always clear on belief in Sola Scriptura.  He also believed in Purgatory.  In fact, I can even see how his writings would influence Rob Bell though he was certainly not a universalist.  But he was still and amazing man, a prolific author, and again, I can't wait to meet him someday.  In fact, I've even seen his works on

Thankfully, Markos provided at transcript of his lectures, so I'll look at some of the points he makes and comment on them.

In the midst of a post-Christian age, Lewis dared to advocate a genial return return to orthodox Christian doctrine.
 I don't know if I would say that, but he was certainly no Karl Barth.  Barth did not believe that the Bible was the Word of God, at least not first-hand, and it led to a disastrous chain of events that led to Bultmann, Tillich, and again Rob Bell.  The Neo-Orthodox guys reacted to modernism and went so post-modern that even good ideas became bad ideas, just like it's reincarnation in the Emergent "Church."  Lewis was no Emergent.  He believed the essential doctrines of Christianity with a child-like faith coupled with brilliant reasoning.

2. He also rebelled against the Enlightenment, Darwinism, and Freudianism, which were all really cool in his day.  In fact, they still are stronger than ever in Obama's America.  The world throws out Christian faith, belief in the Biblical creation, and links everything to sex or sexual desire, and Lewis was almost prophetic in where this would all lead, do a sterile new world order that would make Christmas a crime but promote dark, monotonous, empty perversions like homosexuality.  This world will mock you for believing in 6 literal days of creation and dinosaurs who lived till the Middle ages, but will then promote atheist mythology that reduces humans to mere animals with no purpose and no hope beyond this world, leading to genocide and abortion.

4 & 6. Lewis was a true ecumenist.  He stuck to core doctrines like the Trinity, the virgin birth, the miracles, and a literal heaven and hell.  But he never argued about Baptism, Communion, purgatory, end times, and soteriology.  Markos calls the later, peripheral issues.  I beg to differ.  It makes a huge difference whether you believe in purgatory or whether you believe that Christ paid the full price for your sin for all time.  It makes a difference whether Christ died to make heaven possible or whether his death actually accomplished what he meant to do and saved specific people. Will there be people in hell even though Christ already paid their atonement?  No there won't be.  Although, I would agree that the former list is non-negotiable for being a Christian.  The latter is list is for healthy Christianity that will brings certainty and identity in God.

C. Lewis really did make it cool for adults to read fantasy.  Before that, it was childish to read about legends and magic.  Without Lewis, Comic Cons would not be possible. 

This is all I will comment on for now, but there's fodder for even better arguments, especially ones that reveal that Lewis is not as Arminian as he would say he is.  He will normally start with arguments that are clearly unbiblical but then conclude with stuff that is very Reformed and legit theology.  You will see more of that in "the Problem of Pain."

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