I cannot emphasize this enough: [C.S. Lewis] approaches Christianity from the mindset of it being the true philosophy, with a hugely philosophical and literary background, and does not have the Biblical training or knowledge of a pastor or a trained theologian. That means he gets some things wrong. And not just little things. BIG things.
As a result, calling him a theologian is a misnomer. Yeah yeah we’re all theologians yadda, but to refer to Lewis as though he is a trained and experienced theologian is a mistake. Lewis did not add anything new to the theological discussions going on – in fact he ignores many of the great theologians of his day. Instead, Lewis is a translator of the faith. He makes it possible for laypeople to join in the conversation. But, because he has this conversation in a vacuum of theologians and is instead primarily affected by philosophy, it is a flawed discussion.
Additionally, turning to him for apologetic material is a mistake. His arguments, while seemingly sound if you already start from the premise of belief, fall apart if you take a sharper eye to them. Again, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way Lewis’ works should be understood. He was writing to give laypeople in the church the tools to understand their faith, not necessarily to create a solid, indestructible apologetic. Sure, he participated in debates with atheists, but that does not make his works apologetic in their very nature.
Dianna Anderson, “CS Lewis and American Protestants” (part one in a three-part series)
I was a fan of Lewis back in high school and college, especially of the Narnia Chronicles, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, Till We Have Faces, and Mere Christianity (those are essentially the Lewis “classics,” no?). Yet the longer I lived with his metaphors and stories, the more troubling they became, for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
I haven’t read Shadowlands (and someone else’s commentary on it is what inspired Dianna’s first post) but I’m excited to see what kind of critiques Dianna lines up in the next couple days.