C. S. Lewis: Defender of the Faith

Overview

C. S. Lewis was a man of many talents: a literary critic, a Medieval and Renaissance scholar, a stimulating lecturer, a prolific writer, a perceptive critic of Western civilization, and the author of highly acclaimed children's books. But he is perhaps best known as the "unorthodox defender of orthodoxy," the most popular and influential Christian apologist of his time. His literary skill, his brilliant and wide-ranging mind, and his multi-layered imagination made him a master of communication and gave him ...

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2008 pp. 223. New book. Previously published by Westminster Press, 1967.

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Overview

C. S. Lewis was a man of many talents: a literary critic, a Medieval and Renaissance scholar, a stimulating lecturer, a prolific writer, a perceptive critic of Western civilization, and the author of highly acclaimed children's books. But he is perhaps best known as the "unorthodox defender of orthodoxy," the most popular and influential Christian apologist of his time. His literary skill, his brilliant and wide-ranging mind, and his multi-layered imagination made him a master of communication and gave him insight into what should be communicated. This study of his work inquires what it is about his faith, his view of the world, and his apologetic methods that strikes such a responsive chord in the hearts of unchurched people; and it shows how he made the old ideas of traditional Christianity "glimmer and glow with simplicity and attractiveness."Lewis took up his apologetic pen because he felt that most theologians are talking jargon. "Any fool can write learned language," he said. "The vernacular is the real test. If you can't turn your faith into it, then either you don't understand it or you don't believe it." His books are unusual because he believed that "reason is the organ of truth; imagination is the organ of meaning." In the infernal correspondence of Screwtape, the haunting myths of his trilogy of space fiction, and the allegories of the Narnia books, he tries to bring the reader suddenly face to face with transcendental values and existential questions. Richard Cunningham evaluates the different kinds of literature Lewis uses as apologetic instruments, studies the devices and techniques of debate he employs to communicate his faith to unbelievers, and deduces some pertinent principles to help others define and understand the Christian faith.

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Meet the Author

Richard B. Cunningham retired in 1999 as Professor of Christian Philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to that he was Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California, and at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Röschlikon, Switzerland. After his 1999 retirement, he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary. He now resides in Estes Park, Colorado.

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Table of Contents


Preface     11
The Apologist     13
The Nature and Purpose of Apologetics     18
C. S. Lewis: The Man and the Author     21
The Apologetic Scene     33
The World as It Ought to Be     33
Our Radical New Era     36
The Areas of Change     36
Chronological Snobbery     38
Twentieth-Century Naturalism     41
The Abolition of Man     42
The Major Abolitionist: Modern Science     45
Natural Science     46
Psychology     50
Philosophy     53
The Present Stage of Abolition: Mass Conformity     55
Education     55
Government, Economics, and News Media     57
Society     59
The Post-Christian Era     62
An Appraisal of Lewis' World View     65
The Foundation of Apologetics     67
Epistemology: The Problem of Knowledge     67
The Origin and History of Language     70
Imagination: The Organ of Meaning     73
Mythology: Grasping the Nonconceptual     74
Metaphor: Supplying the Tools of Reason     75
Reason: The Organ of Truth     77
Faith and Knowledge     80
Hermeneutics: The Science of Biblical Interpretation     84
General Principles     84
Transposition     84
Revelation     87
Inspiration     88
Biblical Criticism     91
Biblical Mythology and Metaphorical Language     94
Theology: The Formulation of Faith     102
The Doctrine of God     103
Time and Eternity     106
The Doctrine of the Trinity     107
The Person and Work of Christ     109
Man and Sin     111
Salvation     114
The Church and the Sacraments     116
The Christian Life     118
Eschatology     124
Devils and Angels     124
Hell     125
Heaven     127
Purgatory     128
The Resurrection of the Body     129
The Second Coming     130
Communication: The Mastery of a Difficult Art     131
The Apologetic Method     141
The Literary Forms of Apologetic     143
Mythologies     143
Children's Stories     151
Allegory     156
Satire      159
Fantasy     162
Didactic Writings     164
Sermons and Essays     175
Autobiography     178
Devices and Techniques of Debate     179
The Attack     180
Not Strictly Logical     180
Nonlogical Factors in Unbelief     183
The Apologist and His Opponent     187
The Arena of Logic     188
The Defense     191
The Use of Reason     192
The Use of Imagination     194
The Gospel     196
An Evaluation     200
Notes     207
Bibliography     219
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