C.S. Lewis the Truth-Seeker: How God Formed a Great Christian Apologist - page 5

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From the Winter 2013 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

C.S. Lewis the Truth-Seeker:
How God Formed a Great Christian Apologist

by Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D.
Vice President of Discipleship and Outreach, C.S. Lewis Institute

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   Lewis’s imagination had been intrigued by the story of the Gospels; his intellect had conceded that the idea of God made the most sense out of reality, and now he had finally submitted the innermost concentric circle, his will, to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. His long quest to discover truth had finally found the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Jesus of Nazareth.
  With full abandon and commitment to Jesus, Lewis now sought to submit all aspects of his life to God and live to the full as a disciple of Christ. During the next thirty years or so, he would publish nearly a book a year, using the genres of fantasy, fiction, apologetics, letters, and other writings to share the good news of the gospel with the world around him. He would become the second best known voice on the BBC during World War II after Winston Churchill, giving people a reason to believe in and live out the truths of faith in Jesus. Today his books continue to sell millions of copies every year.
  Why is this? I would argue that God redeemed the many years of searching by Lewis. God turned the dead ends, the twists and turns of Lewis’s search for truth into a wealth of experience and wisdom by which Lewis could effectively point out the weaknesses of all other worldviews and shine the light on the truth of Jesus. For God is in the business of taking the wrong turns, sins, tragedies, hardships, and mistakes of our past and turning them into a blessing for ourselves and others.
   Lewis went on to emulate the example of Paul in Athens. Luke writes about Paul,

The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
He discussed it with the Jews and other likeminded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: “What an airhead!” But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: “That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.” (Acts 17:16–18 THE MESSAGE)

   Lewis was called names akin to “airhead,” as some in the Oxford intellectual community couldn’t fathom how such a bright intellectual could fall for Christianity. He was denied promotions and suffered personal insult for his beliefs. However, Lewis’s conviction, formed after years of intellectual, imaginative, and willful searching had found the truth. There was no turning back. He has helped countless people get a new slant on the gods and discover the one true God. God redeemed Lewis’s past search for truth by using this bright Oxford professor to show modern generations that God is not only reasonable; He can also fulfill the deepest longings within the human heart.

1. C.S. Lewis, “Preface to the Third Edition,” The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933, 1943; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958), 8.
2. Ibid., 5.
3. C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (1955; repr., London: Fontana Books, 1959), 111.
4. C.S. Lewis, Miracles (1947; repr., San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 149.
5. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, 1944), 37.
6. Alister McGrath, Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet: C.S. Lewis: A Life (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2013), 133.
7. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 183.
8. C.S. Lewis, “Letter to Arthur Greeves, 1 October 1931,” in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, vol. 1, ed. Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 974.

Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D. Vice President of Discipleship & Outreach has worked in education, “tent-making,” nonprofit administration, and pastoral ministry in Alaska, Israel, Hungary, France, and Virginia. He served as a Dean and professor at European Bible Institute, and worked for Oakwood Services International before coming to CSLI. He has a B.A from Wheaton College, M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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