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How a Liberal Feminist was introduced to Jesus by a Conservative Pastor

Join us to hear one of the most inspiring and amazing transformation stories you’ll ever hear as Rosaria Butterfield and Ken Smith share through this interview how the Gospel of Jesus Christ made them friends. Rosaria was a young liberal, feminist professor and Ken was an older evangelical Presbyterian pastor, yet through acts of hospitality, honesty, transparency, and loving kindness, Ken and his wife were able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and over time, Rosaria responded.

This presentation has been developed into a special edition of Broadcast Talks.

Additional Resources

The Generous Heart and Life of C.S. Lewis, by Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D.

Joel Woodruff explores C.S. Lewis's life of generosity, including his gift of hospitality and sharing his time, talent, and material wealth.

The Ministry of Discipling Friendships: How God Uses Christ-Centered Friendships to Sustain Us in Trials and Help Redeem Our Suffering, by Brenda Solomon, with Kristie Jackson

According to Brenda Solomon, godly friendships are vital in the life of every believer.  As the wife of a senior pastor and mother of a daughter with special needs, she observes:  I’ve witnessed the spiritual danger of isolation. But I have also seen the power of being carried, encouraged, challenged, and transformed through the ministry of friendship.

War, Friendship, and Imagination – How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918, by Joseph Loconte, Ph.D.

Joe Loconte reveals to us some of the ways C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien found faith in some of the most unlikely settings – the battlefields of World War I. While many people lost faith in God because of the carnage they experienced during those dark days, Lewis and Tolkien were transformed for eternal beauty. And their friendship after those days encourages all of us in profound ways.

Engaging Conversation in an Age of Distraction, by Randy Newman, Ph.D.

If we hope to engage in conversation about weighty topics, we need to have some level of competence in listening, asking good questions, and pursuing rich conversation.

Speaking to Skeptics, by Ben Hein

About once a month Ben Hein, an assistant pastor, spends an evening with a local community of religious skeptics, freethinkers and atheists. In this article, Hein shares three of the more important lessons he has learned from attending this group over the past two years, with the hope that it will equip you and your church to grow in their engagement with non-Christians in your local communities.

Fully to Enjoy: An Invitation to Our Abundant Table, by Julianne Paunescu

Julianne Paunescu, a C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow, talks about the enduring friendships made in the Fellows Program and how her group came to put together the cookbook Fully to Enjoy: An Invitation to Our Abundant Table.

Les Misérables: A Story of God's Hospitality, Grace, and Redemption, by Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D.

There are three biblical themes in this beloved story: the disarming power of hospitality given in the name of Jesus, God’s offer of grace to the undeserving, and the Spirit’s redemptive power as demonstrated through the transformed lives of those who choose to follow Christ.

Having a Conversation about the Conversation: A Strategy for Pre-Evangelism in an Antagonistic Age, by Randy Newman, Ph.D.

Randy Newman proposes the notion that we may need some pre-evangelistic conversations before we have evangelistic presentations. In a time when many people start from a hostile attitude toward Christians, God, and the gospel, we may need to pave the way for defused discussions with a “conversation about the conversation.”

Be Present at My Table: An Invitational Challenge: An Excerpt from Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence

This article, an excerpt from Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality, shows us what hospitality really means.

Conquering Fear & Finding True Friendship

True friendship comes out of mutual respect and admiration for others, rather than attitudes of exclusivity or superiority.

The Gift of Friendship Love

C.S. Lewis speaks about friendship from his own experience. He came to faith through the witness of friends and valued that Friendship Love throughout his life, making time to eat with and talk regularly with his friends.

Serving Jesus and Others in Troubling Times

While Lewis’s letter was written more than 65 years ago, his words offer timely advice about how to serve Jesus and others today.

Comparing Notes – The Importance of Mutual Encouragement

Don’t discount the knowledge and experience that God has given you to share with fellow believers. If, like Lewis, in humility you are willing to “compare notes” with other inexpert believers, you may be joyfully surprised at the results.

The Risk of Love

As we look at the relationships in our own lives we might ask the following questions. Am I holding back my love toward God and others out of the fear of being wounded in the fray? If so, am I willing to begin to trust God with my life and open up the gateways to my heart so that I can both give and receive love as God intended me to do?

Rosaria Butterfield

Rosaria Butterfield is a speaker and author of several books including, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey Into the Christian Faith, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity, Union with Christ and The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World. Rosaria earned her PhD from Ohio State University and was a tenured professor of English at a large university before she came to believe the claims of Jesus Christ. Rosaria is zealous for hospitality, loves her family, cherishes dogs, and enjoys coffee.


Ken Smith

Ken Smith, Pastor, in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and was ordained in what was the Central-Pittsburgh Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1952. He served in the Navy during World War II and is a graduate of Geneva College. He and his late wife, Floy, spent time in pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Syracuse, NY. He has served on the boards of Wilkinsburg Christian School, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS), and Geneva College where he chaired the Board of Trustees for seven years. He has lectured at RPTS and been a faculty member of the Ottawa Theological Hall since its start. He is the author of several books including Learning to be a Family.


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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