Thursday, February 20, 2014

Confessing our sinfuness is not enough

C.S. Lewis died in 1963. Not long before he gave an interview to Decision magazine, the magazine of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. From that interview as re-published at Mere C.S. Lewis:
Sherwood Wirt: A light touch has been characteristic of your writings, even when you are dealing with heavy theological themes. Would you say there is a key to the cultivation of such an attitude?

C.S. Lewis: I believe this is a matter of temperament. However, I was helped in achieving this attitude by my studies of the literary men of the Middle Ages. and by the writings of G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton, for example, was not afraid to combine serious Christian themes with buffoonery. In the same way. the miracle plays of the Middle Ages would deal with a sacred subject such as the nativity of Christ, yet would combine it with a farce….

Wirt: What Christian writers have helped you?

Lewis: The contemporary book that has helped me the most is Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man. ....

Wirt: I believe it was Chesterton who was asked why he became a member of the church, and he replied, ‘To get rid of my sins.’ [At this point I was surprised by the suddenness of Professor Lewis’ reply.]

Lewis: it is not enough to want to get rid of one’s sins. We also need to believe in the One who saves us from our sins. Not only do we need to recognize that we are sinners; we need to believe in a Saviour who takes away sin. Matthew Arnold once wrote, ‘Nor does the being hungry prove that we have bread.’ Because we are sinners, it does not follow that we are saved. [more]