Monday, January 23, 2006

What do Anglicans believe? Part 5

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Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis. When Time featured his portrait in 1947, the secular world sat up and took notice of this Oxford scholar's soaring popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. The cover story, entitled "Don vs. Devil," listed Lewis among a growing group of "heretics"--intellectuals who believe in God--along with T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dorothy Sayers, and Graham Greene.

Lewis taught as a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, for nearly thirty years, from 1925 to 1954, and later was the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge. He continues to be known best as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia and for his work as a lay apologist in the Church of England. This quote from Mere Christianity captures his no-nonsense approach to the faith:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: ‘I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. . . . You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

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