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C.S. Lewis on Absolutes

The most important issue for the culture and the church in the 21st century is the issue of truth. There has been a widespread abandoning of the idea of universal or absolute truth from numerous segments of the culture. Secular relativists, New Age, neo-pagan, and postmodern thinkers all assault by argument or accusation those who claim any certainty about truth. The number of people in the United States who believe in the existence of God, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ is staggering. Yet, they do not believe in the same way they used to believe. Although more than ninety percent believe in God, the great majority of people refuse to believe in absolutes. Within the church there is an erosion of truth as well, with about half of those who describe themselves as born again believing there are no absolutes. Among people under thirty (in the church or out), even the mention of truth or absolutes often produces a negative reaction. It’s not so much that they refuse to believe that what they hold to is “true,” but they can only, with great difficulty, call another religious or ethical opinion “false.”

C.S. Lewis can help us to speak to our own age. He confronted relativism in his own day. In fact, he felt that it was the issue that needed to be addressed prior to preaching the gospel. He says in his Letters to Calabria:

For my part, I believe that we ought to work not only at spreading the gospel (that certainly) but also at a certain preparation for the gospel. It is necessary to recall many to the Law of Nature before we talk about God. Christ promises forgiveness of sins, but what is that to those who since they do not know the Law of Nature do not know that they have sinned? Who will take the medicine unless he is in the grip of disease? Moral relativity is the enemy we have to overcome before we tackle atheism. . . . .

Click here to read full article (PDF). 

Arthur W. Lindsley

Arthur W. Lindsley is the Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Works, & Economics. He has served at the C.S. Lewis Institute since 1987 both as President until 1998 and currently as Senior Fellows for Apologetics. Formerly, he was director of Educational Ministries at the Ligonier Valley Study Center, and Staff Specialist with the Coalition for Christian Outreach. He is the author of C.S. Lewis's Case for Christ, True Truth, Love: The Ultimate Apologetic, and co-author with R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner of Classical Apologetics, and has written numerous articles on theology, apologetics, C.S. Lewis, and the lives and works of many other authors and teachers. Art earned his M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.  

COPYRIGHT: This publication 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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