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Martyn Lloyd-Jones on C.S. Lewis

A commenter on the blog brought an interesting quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones to my attention (one that I had never heard). In his first sermon in his famous series called Revival, the doctor said this:

Do you remember the vogue of CS Lewis? You don’t hear much about him now, but why all the excitement? Ah, here is a philosopher. And it indicates our pathetic faith and belief in these methods, which are nothing but apologetics. As exactly in the beginning of the 18th century they were pinning their faith to Bishop Butler and his great Analogy of Religion…

The doctor is nothing if not irenic! (or not). Interestingly, that comment about C.S. Lewis was edited out of the sermon when it came to be published in book form. I checked again tonight. It’s simply not there. But you can find it at the 39 minute mark of the original recording HERE. This sermon was preached, it appears, in 1959, just four years before Lewis’ death. ‘You don’t hear much about him now…’ would certainly not apply in 2015.

Here is another anecdote about MLJ and Lewis I’ve come across. In The Fight of Faith, the second volume of Iain Murray’s biography of Lloyd-Jones, he records a letter written by the Doctor in 1941 to his wife, which says,

There is nothing special on Thursday but meetings in different colleges. On Friday I am due to have breakfast with William Riddle’s son – a second edition of his father. Then I will go with him to a lecture given by C.S. Lewis (author of The Problem of Pain) an I am to have lunch with Lewis…

In the footnote, Murray writes,

Lewis is said to have valued ML-J’s appreciation and encouragement when the early edition of his Pilgrim’s Regress was not selling well. Vincent Lloyd-Jones [MLJ’s brother] and Lewis knew each other well, being contemporaries at Oxford. ML-J met the author again and they had a long conversation when they both found themselves on the same boat to Ireland in 1953. On that later occasion, to the question, ‘When are you going to write another book?, Lewis replied, ‘When I understand the meaning of prayer’ (p. 52).

Another interesting tidbit was a line from MLJ in Christianity Today in 1963, shortly after the death of Lewis:

C. S. Lewis had a defective view of salvation and was an opponent of the substitutionary and penal view of the atonement.

The purpose of the post is simply to document these statements, so I will end here without further comment.

Update 8/22/17: I found another one:

This comes from a sermon Lloyd-Jones gave right after the death of C.S. Lewis. From Lloyd-Jones’ sermon on Romans 10:9-10 (audio can be found HERE, at around the 15:00 mark). ML-J compares Lewis’ teaching to a dry sort of intellectualism that doesn’t involve the heart, specifically comparing it to Sandemanianism. He summarized that teaching in this way: “if you accepted the teaching [i.e. Christianity or the doctrines of the gospel] with your mind, and were prepared to say so…that was sufficient, even though you felt nothing at all…If you accepted the teaching and were prepared to say so, that saved you, in the absence of any feelings whatsoever.”

There are certain tendencies in this direction even in our own day and generation. I had already purposed to say this before I read in the press last weekend, or heard on the wireless, of the passing of Professor C.S. Lewis. I regret to say this, but that was more or less his teaching also. He believed that you could reason yourself into the Christian faith. The first book he ever published was a book called The Pilgrim’s Regress. And the whole point of that book is to say that by clear thinking, you can think yourself from a rationalist or atheistical position into the Christian position. And he actually, at one time, founded in Oxford what he called the Socratic Club, which used to meet on Monday nights, in which he used to try to show people how to reason themselves into Christianity. ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.’ You cannot do it merely by a process of intellectual reasoning.


    • Thomas Smith says:

      I know a person who has gone deep into CS Lewis. Its sad to say he has become fundamentalist about CS Lewis beliefs to the point where he is impatient with anyone who does not like CS Lewis . In fact, he is so CS Lewis that he has abandoned the scripture for CS Lewis.

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