CS Lewis, 20th Century Centurion
Clive Staples Lewis is truly a 20th Century Centurion and the most popular and influential Christian apologist of our times. Today, in the 21st Century, his legacy continues and millions of people are influenced toward orthodox Christianity through his works and those of his companions, JRR Tolkien and Dorothy Sayers.
CS "Jack" Lewis attended University College, Oxford and there joined the Officer Training Corps. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. After four weeks of training he was sent to the front under fire in France at the age of 18. Shortly thereafter he came down sick with trench fever and was hospitalized for a short time and then sent up to the front again. This time however he was wounded and again evacuated from the front after he received three shrapnel wounds (the round killed a man next to him.) While convalescing the war ended. Lewis returned to Oxford and completed his studies eventually becoming a Professor and Fellow at Magdalen College in Oxford.
His "conversion to Christianity occurred over a period of several years – from 1926, the year Dymer was published, when he began to believe in a nebulous power outside of himself, to 1931, when he became a believer in Christ". The writings of GK Chesterton had a great influence on him, as did his conversations with Tolkien and Hugo Dyson. It was during a late evening conversation with these men on September 19, 1931 that planted the seed. Three days later, while Lewis was riding in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle, he accepted Christ
His first Christian publication was Pilgrims Regress in 1932. He continued to write Christian works throughout his life. In 1941, with England at war with Germany, C.S. Lewis was engaged by the BBC to give four broadcasts concerning the "Law of Nature", "Objective Right and Wrong" specifically addressed to the British military. His popularity was remarkable, and he was soon thereafter engaged again to broadcast talks on "What Christians Believe." His style of lecture and succinct lectures appealed to all Christians regardless of denomination. His last three broadcasts were entitled "Beyond Personality: The Christian View of God." During this period, he started the Oxford Socratic Club where atheist, agnostics, and Christians would gather to discuss the hard questions of faith. Here, he refined his method of counter-attack to become the Century’s foremost Christian apologist.
There are many resources concerning Lewis available on the internet, one of the best that I’ve found is Into the Wardrobe, another is 20th Century Christian Knight; I heartily recommend it and the books Mere Christianity, the Abolition of Man, and God in the Dock to all (available on the website).
Sayer, George; Jack, CS Lewis and His Times; 1988, Harper & Row, San Francisco
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