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Study Guide

1: Personal Study 

When C.S. Lewis gave his lectures which became the book The Abolition  of Man, he was not trying to present a biblical argument against moral  relativism. Instead, he sought to point to the logical inconsistencies and  dangers of a worldview that doesn’t hold to the idea of absolute truth. He  did this in part by highlighting the natural law or moral law which is visible  in all civilizations and written on the consciences of all human beings as  an argument for his thesis. In other words, he focused on what theologians  would call “natural revelation” to make his point to the academics he was  encountering who might have been agnostic, atheist, humanist or theist in  their worldviews.  

While this study guide seeks to glean all we can from Lewis’s arguments, we  have added a layer of argument against moral relativism that comes out of  “special revelation” or the Scriptures so that Christians and non-Christians  alike can see at least some of the biblical reasons why moral relativism is  bankrupt. For this reason, the C.S. Lewis Institute study guide intentionally  begins each study with a short Bible study of God’s Word, as revealed in the  Scriptures. For it is our belief that this is the most important way to address  any serious question we may have, especially difficult ones. For this reason,  it is important to read the biblical passage, meditate on it, and allow it to be  your guide as you dive into the study. 

The Bible study is followed by readings from Lewis’s book, The Abolition  of Man. Because the book deals with difficult topics, it is advised to read  through each chapter slowly and take notes. 

This is followed by engaging video lectures by Dr. Bryan Hollon, a  professor and Dean President of Trinity School for Ministry. Having expertise  in theology, philosophy, and the writings of C.S. Lewis, his insights into the  issues addressed in this philosophical work of Lewis will help bring many  of the lofty ideas down to earth.

Questions are provided to help you process the videos and readings and as  discussed below, to aid in group discussion so that you can better learn from  one another and reflect upon these issues. You may want to write down your  own answers to the questions before you meet together with others to help  frame your thoughts. 

Finally, in an effort to help you process the material and make this more than  just an academic exercise, a Make It Personal action step will be suggested  so that you can incorporate some of what you’ve reflected upon into your  everyday life. 

Our hope at the C.S. Lewis Institute is that not only will you develop some  good approaches to dealing with the prevalent cultural ideas of our day,  such as moral relativism, but that you will gain a deeper appreciation for  the absolute truths or moral laws that God has revealed through both natural  revelation and the Scriptures. 

2: Discussing The Abolition of Man in a Small Group 

Having gained a detailed understanding of The Abolition of Man through your personal reading and use of the study guide, you can go even deeper  by studying in community. We encourage you to go through this study guide  with a small group. 

When your group meets to discuss the book, you can use the study questions you’ve previously worked through to facilitate discussion. You might also  share what the Lord has taught you personally through the study and ways that you are praying, living, and sharing your faith differently because of the  study. 

At the beginning of each study, we encourage you to remember John 8:31b– 32: 

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my  disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will  set you free.” (NIV) 

At the end of each session, take time to pray for one another as you go out  into the world to love and serve the Lord.

One approach for organizing your small group study would be to divide it  into five weekly sessions:  

  1. Introductory Meeting: Hand out books and study guides or arrange for  participants to obtain these items in advance of the introductory meeting.  
    • Introduce yourselves to one another. 
    • Read aloud the Introduction to The Abolition of Man from the  Study Guide.  
    • Watch the first Video with Dr. Bryan Hollon: “Introduction to  The Abolition of Man” 
    • Have a short discussion on the video introduction. 
    • Pray for one another and agree to do your homework prior to  the next meeting by completing the assignments for Chapter 1,  “Men Without Chests.” 
  2. Meeting 2: Discussion of Chapter 1, “Men Without Chests.” You may  use the questions from the Bible study, readings, video, and “Make It  Personal” section to guide your meeting.  
  3. Meeting 3: Discussion of Chapter 2, “The Way.” You may use the questions  from the Bible study, readings, video, and “Make It Personal” section to  guide your meeting. 
  4. Meeting 4: Discussion of Chapter 3, “The Abolition of Man.” You may  use the questions from the Bible study, readings, video, and “Make It  Personal” section to guide your meeting. 
  5. Meeting 5: Discussion of Conclusion, “Illustrations of the Tao and Hope  for the Future.” You may use the questions from the Bible study, readings,  video, and “Make It Personal” section to guide your meeting.

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Bryan C. Hollon

Bryan C. Hollon, Ph.D., is Dean President of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Previously he served as the City Director of the C.S. Lewis Institute of Northeast Ohio and as a Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Christian Faith & Culture at Malone University. Dr. Hollon was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in 2015. In 2017, he planted and pastored St. John’s Anglican Church in Canton, Ohio until 2021. As a scholar, Dr. Hollon specializes in ressourcement theology, which is best exemplified in the work of Henri de Lubac. He is also a proponent of the great consensual tradition that C.S. Lewis referred to as “Mere Christianity.”


Joseph A. Kohm

Joseph A. Kohm, C.S. Lewis Institute Vice President for Development and City Director for Virginia Beach. Joe is an attorney and formerly worked as a Certified Major League Baseball Player Agent. He earned his Master’s in Management Science from the State University of New York at Oswego and both his J.D. and M.Div. from Regent University. Joe is the author of The Unknown Garden of Another’s Heart: The Surprising Friendship between C.S. Lewis and Arthur Greeves (Wipf and Stock, 2022.)


Joel Woodruff

Joel Woodruff, President, C.S. Lewis Institute, has worked in higher education, “tent-making,” nonprofit administration, and pastoral ministries in Alaska, Israel, Hungary, France, and Northern Virginia. He served as Dean of Students, Chaplain, and Professor of Bible & Theology at European Bible Institute, where he helped train Europeans both for professional ministry and to be Christian leaders in the marketplace. Prior to joining the Institute, he was on the leadership team of Oakwood Services International, a nonprofit educational and humanitarian organization. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, earned his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. As a Parish-Pulpit Fellow, he studied Biblical Backgrounds & Archaeology in Israel for a year.


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