Mere Christianity

Description:

Book Club Selection for April 2020- Mere Christianity


by C.S. Lewis

Summary:
One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many de-nominations, Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.

Review
“As we witness Lewis develop we find that these volumes are working as a kind of unconscious autobiography.” (Books & Culture)

“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.” (Christianity Today)

“It is not surprising that Lewis’s time-proven views are still flourishing while most other mid-20th-century works are nearly neglected.” (Wall Street Journal)

From the Back Cover
One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many de-nominations, Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.

About the Author:

C.S. Lewis


Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

CG Book Club Review:

Mere Christianity- Review

This book was written in 1952 and is a theological book by C.S. Lewis. It was adapted by a series of radio talks he gave during WWII to reassure the UK and to bring people to God. The transcripts of these discussions has been used as the basis of several separate books and then was pulled together to be the book "Mere Christianity." According to history, Lewis' voice became nearly as recognizable as that of Winston Churchill during World War II, when the talks were given. The book has since become among the most popular evangelical works in existence. In 2006, Mere Christianity was placed third in Christianity Today's list of the most influential books amongst evangelicals since 1945.

How would you summarize this book? It is a overview of Christianity. It is a straight forward explanation of the roots of the Christian faith. The book starts out not mentioning religion, but sets up the parameters of the discussion and makes it clear that C.S. Lewis will get to the topic of religion. It struck me that the title is central to the teachings of the book. The book is intended to be a detailed invitation and introduction into Christian Religion to get you into the hallway. From the hallway there are many doors of leading to different versions of Christianity. C.S. Lewis made it a point to say that the different version of Christian Religion were more alike than they were apart and that he was not advocating one over the other.

This book would be a great backdrop for a series of lessons for new Christians.

The first section of the book is centered around making the case for Christianity and what Christians believe. In Lewis's example, when you hear a cry for help, you may experience two desires. One is the desire to help (the herd instinct), the other is a desire to run (the instinct for self-preservation). The odd thing is, human beings also experience a third element in dilemmas like this. We experience an urging to follow the first desire in spite of the presence of the second desire. The thing that judges between the two instincts cannot actually BE the instinct. It is something outside of this. Lewis thinks this “outside” experience leads to an indication that there is a being behind this Moral law.

The next section involves the ethics of Christian belief. This part is probably mostly exposition. I appreciated the section on pride and humility. In spite of what we say, there seems to be more emphasis on outside acts or deeds rather than on the heart. The great sin is pride. His caution that pride can often be used to beat down simpler vices is something I want to take more to heart. As Lewis says, “many a man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill-temper by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity-that is, by Pride.” We must never call in pride to cure our vices.

Then the book progresses into how to grow as a Christian and become closer to God.

A wonderful introduction into the bedrock of Christianity. Lewis endeavors to provide the reader with a basic understanding of what Christians believe and how they strive to live their lives. Lewis, who for many years resisted Christianity himself, also discusses and dissects the concepts that he struggled with before he became a Christian.

Highly recommend.

★★★★½
Ken W. Good
https://www.CGBookClub.com