OK, I will start off this section of reviews with a classic tome from C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. This has slowly become my favorite of his many great works.
In my younger days I preferred The Great Divorce and his Science-Fiction trilogy Out of the Silent Planet. I loved those even before I understood Christianity or even that Lewis was a Christian. When I became a Christ-follower I read them again with renewed interest.
As a side note, the Sci-Fi trilogy has so much influence from Greek Mythology that as a young Christian I stumbled over all the references to gods and goddesses. I wondered if it bordered on idolatry and stopped reading it for a time. Later I realized that (among other impressive titles) Lewis was Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University and his love of literature made him so familiar with these fantastic characters from mythology that he used them as familiar friends; as containing faint echos of truth to point to the real, ultimate Truth. But if you want real straight talk about Truth and not just allegory, there is no better place to go in Lewis-land than Mere Christianity. Here is a link to the 1953 first U.S. published edition for $950. If you like this review feel free to buy me one 🙂
Satomi and I read through Mere Christianity together, some chapters with the whole family, when our children were younger. It was at least the third time I had read through this book, but each time it spoke to me in profound ways. After the experience of reading this together I am confident that the best way to read this book is out loud (the same way he originally did, over the radio on the BBC in England during World War II) and then discuss the contents with someone. Lewis grew up debating great ideas and philosophies which he gleaned from books and he is a master at presenting things in a way that makes you think.
Providentially, at about the same time we started this book, Satomi and I visited our first Alpha Course. I realized that the contents of the video message at the Alpha Course contained a great deal of influence from C.S. Lewis, especially the chapter we were currently reading. I found out later that the creater of the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumbel, became a Christian while studying at Cambridge. No doubt he was heavily influenced by Lewis (who was a seminal professor at Cambridge and Oxford) as a young Christian and the fruits of this have really been amazing. The Alpha Course is growing into a worldwide evangelism and discipleship movement.
So why should you read this book? It will provide a good foundation for understanding those basic Christian beliefs which all denominations agree on. It will help you articulate your belief in a Creator and in Jesus, the Redeemer, in a modern world which wants to dismiss any belief in God as “backwards” and even “illogical.” C.S. Lewis is a master of the English language and the thoughts he skillfully conveys through the words of this book are still relevant today. The cinematic adaptation of his Narnia series is currently making millions of dollars at the box office and it is a delight to read any of his works. But the book where he applies these great skills in expounding his most profound insights is Mere Christianity.
You don’t have to pay US$950 to read this book. There are paperback editions on Amazon for under $5. In fact, if you don’t mind reading from a monitor, you can find the full text online in several places. I hope you give it a read!