Sunday, July 22, 2007
MERE CHRISTIANITY by C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity is taken from a series of radio lectures Lewis gave in the 1940s, and was originally published in three volumes. Here, Lewis lays out the basics of Christian doctrine, focusing on those things we can agree on rather than on issues that run toward the controversial. This is not a scholarly work; it was written by a layperson for laypeople, and is based more in logic and rhetoric than anything else.
Lewis is able to pick and choose between what is fundamentally important and what is not foundational to true Christianity. He addresses human nature, the nature of God, common sense, faith and reason, and morality, and on the whole uses great illustrations to do so. Lewis also sticks to his guns on the more unpopular tenets of Christianity.
The book is highly readable; Lewis has a humorous, engaging style, and while the chapters flow together in sequence, they are relatively self-contained.
There are gaps in Lewis's logic here and there, and at times he is slightly off the doctrinal mark (on love for enemies, for example), but on the whole he provides new and refreshing ways to look at Christianity. Anyone who is a Christian or who is seriously considering Christianity can benefit from it.