Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"A Mixture of Fool and Knave": CS Lewis on Theological Liberalism

The ever quotable CS Lewis:

Liberal Christianity can only supply an ineffectual echo to the massive chorus of agreed and admitted unbelief. Don’t be deceived by the fact that this echo so often “hits the headlines.” That is because attacks on Christian doctrine which would pass unnoticed if they were launched (as they are daily launched) by anyone else, become News when the attacker is a clergyman; just as a very commonplace protest against make-up would be News if it came from a film star.

By the way, did you ever meet, or hear of, anyone who was converted from scepticism to a “liberal” or “demythologised” Christianity? I think that when unbelievers come in at all, they come in a good deal further.

Not, of course, that either group is to be judged by its success, as if the question were one of tactics.  The liberals are honest men and preach their version of Christianity, as we preach ours, because they believe it to be true. A man who first tried to guess "what the public wants," and then preached that as Christianity because the public wants it, would be a pretty mixture of fool and knave.


In my book Logizomai, I discussed how progressive Christianity's accommodation actually leads to irrelevancy.

In search for cultural relevancy, many churches have fundamentally abandoned the gospel. In hopes of getting the culture to like them for the purpose of "reaching" them with the "gospel," many Christians have watered down the truth. Debates over contextualization, as a result, have taken preeminence over fidelity to sound doctrine. Issues like music, dress codes (or lack there-of), language in the pulpit, youth ministry budgets for ski trips and pizza parties, shorter sermons, and chairs instead of pews have taken a front seat in church debate. In an attempt to be faithful to evangelism, many have stripped the gospel of its offense and replaced it with a message of self-help and self-fulfillment.

As a result, liberal churches and denominations are dead. Relevancy kills and thus oddly enough makes churches irrelevant.

In an attempt to accommodate, mainstream Christianity alienates. Throughout the history of Christianity, many have tried to model their understanding of the gospel and the local church after trends in the culture. Each and every attempt has failed. Ecumenical liberalism empties chairs and turns a thriving church into an anemic congregation. (17)

The gospel is transcendent because it is the story of an immutable God. Thus grace never goes out of style.


For more on Lewis:
Theology As a Map: Lewis, Practical Theology, and the Trinity
"Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis: A Review
The Most Unpopular of Christian Virtues: Lewis on Chasity - Part 1
The Most Unpopular of Christian Virtues: Lewis on Chasity - Part 2
The Most Unpopular of Christian Virtues: Lewis on Chasity - Part 3 
"Willing Slaves of the Welfare State": CS Lewis on Freedom, Science, and Society - Part 1
"Willing Slaves of the Welfare State": CS Lewis on Freedom, Science, and Society - Part 2
He is Not a Tame Lion: Aslan, Jesus, and the Limits of Postmodern Inclusivism  
To Be Undragoned: Aslan, Christ, and the Gift of Regeneration 
Lewis on Practical Theology  
Lewis on the Why of Democracy
From Uncle Screwtape:  Christianity and Politics      
Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Dead
"The Magician's Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism" Full Documentary
Beyond Narnia:  A Great Documentary 
"Surprised by Joy" by Lewis
"Jack:  A Life of CS Lewis"  
"The Great Divorce" by Lewis
"Finding God in the Land of Narnia"   


For more on the Transcendents of the Gospel
A Must Read: Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved . . . From Itself?
Accommodationism Breeds Irrelevancy: Why Liberalism Fails and the Transcendent Gospel Triumphs
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