PDA

View Full Version : Need Advice: C.S. Lewis talking about Christian marriage



bhoup
May 4th 2009, 06:21 AM
I am currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and I'm not sure I agree with him on some things regarding marriage. I do agree with him that we all agree that divorce is a separation like tearing a body apart (different from some agreeing that divorce is allowed and some disagreeing).

However, when he says that he does not agree that Christians should try to make divorce difficult for everyone, I tend to disagree with that. His reasoning is that he would not want Mohammedans to try to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. I see his point, but shouldn't we because we believe that Christianity is correct and the Mohammedans are wrong? (or even go so far as saying that Christianity represents God, and we are all His creatures, so we should all obey His word)? He goes on to say that there should be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules for all citizens and then another governed by the Church for married Christians. He then says, "So much for the Christian doctrine about the permanence of marriage." <-- I can't believe he said that!!!!!! What am I missing here? :hmm: (pg. 112 in his book)

*******************

Another thing I don't understand is when he talks about the man as the head of a Christian marriage. He answers two questions: 1) Why should there be a head at all?; 2) Why should it be the man?

1) His response to this is that if marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy if a conflict comes up between the husband and wife.

2) His response to his is that two-fold: A) Usually woman do not want to be the head. B) because a man is usually more just to the outsiders of his family, such as neighbors, etc. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head.

While I tend to agree with his points, my problem is with the fact that he, as a Christian, does not use the authority of the Bible (specific Scripture references regarding these issues) at all in his answers. Why not?

Prufrock
May 4th 2009, 06:27 AM
While I tend to agree with his points, my problem is with the fact that he, as a Christian, does not use the authority of the Bible (specific Scripture references regarding these issues) at all in his answers. Why not?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but C. S. Lewis had a very low view of scripture. It comes through loud in clear in his books Reflections on the Psalms and Letters to Malcom: Chiefly on Prayer. And those are not the only places. Lewis approached the Christian faith, and the Christian life, from the standpoint of "common sense," which is good, but he was remarkably silent on the authority of the Bible, and I doubt very much that he truly believed in its Divine provenance.

bhoup
May 4th 2009, 06:32 AM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but C. S. Lewis had a very low view of scripture. It comes through loud in clear in his books Reflections on the Psalms and Letters to Malcom: Chiefly on Prayer. And those are not the only places. Lewis approached the Christian faith, and the Christian life, from the standpoint of "common sense," which is good, but he was remarkably silent on the authority of the Bible, and I doubt very much that he truly believed in its Divine provenance.

Thanks, that actually helps because I was wondering about that. I just won't understand what's so great about his books then? I've heard so many times people talk so highly of him but I don't see him that way (although I do agree with a lot he says in this book).

apothanein kerdos
May 4th 2009, 06:41 AM
C.S. Lewis - excellent apologist and philosopher. Horrible theologian.

Izdaari
May 4th 2009, 07:45 AM
I am currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and I'm not sure I agree with him on some things regarding marriage. I do agree with him that we all agree that divorce is a separation like tearing a body apart (different from some agreeing that divorce is allowed and some disagreeing).

However, when he says that he does not agree that Christians should try to make divorce difficult for everyone, I tend to disagree with that. His reasoning is that he would not want Mohammedans to try to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. I see his point, but shouldn't we because we believe that Christianity is correct and the Mohammedans are wrong? (or even go so far as saying that Christianity represents God, and we are all His creatures, so we should all obey His word)? He goes on to say that there should be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules for all citizens and then another governed by the Church for married Christians.
I agree with Lewis on those two points. For Americans at least, we live in a limited constitutional republic, one that isn't theocratic or theonomic in nature, but pluralistic. The rules of society ought not to be specifically Christian, but such that all citizens, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, pagan or atheist, can live with them. The rules of our churches are a different matter. And that I don't see as a question of theology so much as a question of political philosophy. Mine happens to classical liberal or libertarian.

Prufrock
May 4th 2009, 12:35 PM
Thanks, that actually helps because I was wondering about that. I just won't understand what's so great about his books then? I've heard so many times people talk so highly of him but I don't see him that way (although I do agree with a lot he says in this book).
Lewis states the case for Christianity in a way that makes the unchurched (I hate that word) person say, "Hmmm, I never thought about it that way before!" He simply comes at the unsaved man from some remarkable, fresh perspectives. He did this most notably in his book Mere Christianity, which was actually a series of transcribed radio talks he gave on the BBC during World War II. I have given this book to many unbelieving friends, and, although it does not contain the Gospel at any point, it gets unbelievers to thinking in a way that makes real evangelism much easier. (It is the book that captured Chuck Colson's attention, for example: then, once he was saved, Colson moved on to Schaeffer, Sproul, and, occasionally, Jesus Christ.) It's a great book.

His other "masterpiece" is The Screwtape Letters, a series of letters from a "senior devil" to a "junior tempter" on how to capture a particular man's soul. It is worth reading because it says so much about human nature, and temptation, and the nature of the church; but, once again, it does not contain the Gospel: there's not a word in it (or in Mere Christianity) about the Gospel Paul preached in 1 Cor. 15.

In fact, although I've read every book Lewis ever wrote, except for his pre-conversion literary criticism, I have never seen him present the Gospel, or the plan of salvation, or even emphasize the scriptural mandate to be born again. He talks a lot about "conversion," but in his case, this seems to be a matter of the head, not the heart. When he was interviewed in "Decision," the Billy Graham magazine, he was asked if he believed that people needed to make "a decision for Christ." Lewis' exact answer: "I would not put it exactly that way." (The interview is included in the Lewis anthology God in the Dock.) In Surprised by Joy, his autobiography, he describes being "dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom," and describes himself as "the most reluctant convert in England" - - - after his conversion. This does not sound to me like the radiant testimony of a sinner who has been saved by Jesus Christ.

Let's be very blunt at this point. Christians appreciate Lewis because he was a genuine intellectual, a great scholar of classical literature, and Christians get tired of being browbeaten by pagans who call them "ignorant" or "uneducated." They point to Lewis as a sort of trophy, saying, "See? We're not all a bunch of hayseeds!" I understand why they do this, but Lewis was not a proponent of historical, Biblical Christianity. In many areas, his theology was closer to Rome than anything else: he believed in purgatory, prayers for the dead, and a number of other sub-Christian heresies.

I'm not "against" Lewis, and I continue to recommend Mere Christianity to people: it's a fine book, and it makes the reader think. But that's all it does: it does not give them the information they need in order to be saved. Lewis is probably the most overrated writer in modern Christianity.


:sad:

-SEEKING-
May 4th 2009, 01:46 PM
Hmm. I'm reading Mere Christianity now. I haven't gotten to that part of the book yet but up to now I've found his book very interesting.

daughter
May 4th 2009, 02:16 PM
Hey, I'd been about to start a thread on Lewis, and problems with his "theology", and see I've been beaten to the punch!

I'd agree with apothanien kerdos on Lewis - probably got it in a nutshell.
"excellent apologist and philosopher. Horrible theologian."

This isn't a very popular view though, so maybe we should look at how he came to this place of confusion. The way I see it, his formidable intellect actually got in the way of his being able to receive the gospel as a little child. I'm not casting aspersions on his salvation, or anything of the sort, but it would be interesting to examine the traps he fell into, in order that we can avoid them.

The most serious, foundational error that he fell into was mentioned by the OP... he didn't rely on Scripture to make his points. As Prufrock says, he had a low view of Scripture, and tended to try and find a "logical" way to make his points that would appeal to folks who didn't read the Bible. Like many of his generation, he was a victim of higher criticism.

Anyway, the first time I noticed that he was "off" in his theology was when I was re-reading one of his children's books, the last battle. Of course I'd read it a dozen times as a little girl, but the theology of it wasn't important to me at the time.

This time reading it as a Christian, it struck me that Lewis must have believed that people can be saved in false religious systems (as opposed to "out" of false religious systems.) You remember the young Calorman, who never knew Aslan, and worshipped "Tash"? According to Lewis, the whole time he was praying to "Tash", he was really praying to Aslan, but didn't know it.

As "Tash" is presented in the Narnian tales, he is a hybrid between a carrion bird and a man, who eats humans. So quite how someone could be worshipping "Tash", and yet unwittingly serving Aslan escapes me. Lewis does use a very interesting device to satirise the false notion that "all gods are one god"... "Tashlan" is Narnia's version of the end time religion.

Yet somehow he misses the fact that his young Calorman hero could no more be faithful to Aslan if serving Tash than if he were serving this "Tashlan" creature.

In other words, Lewis in this instance falls prey to the error he sought to expose.

What do you guys think?

Br. Barnabas
May 4th 2009, 05:13 PM
I think the problem that many people have when reading Lewis is that they don't really understand what the Anglicans believe and how the Church works. Many Protestants like to hear that he is Protestant and so they get one idea in their mind but Lewis was an Anglican and a high church Anglican at that. Which means that he was almost Roman Catholic. The misunderstanding seems to come with what Anglicans believe vs what many other Protestants believe. For us Anglicans there is not really much or any emphasize on being born again, we believe that we need to be born again, but not in the same sense that some Protestants have. The focus is more on the corporate worship and relationship rather than on a personal relationship with Jesus; even though we do have personal relationships with Jesus. The church is more than just meeting together to sing and worship and hear a sermon, it is coming together as one body with those right beside us and with Christians all over the world and those who have gone on to glory to worship and communion with Jesus in the breaking of his body and blood.

So I think the misunderstand of Lewis really just comes from not understanding his and the Anglican church's theology. I see the Gospel in a lot of what Lewis writes but it does not always come out in a retelling of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Also Lewis is not an ordained priest and it is not his place to try and convert people or preach to them. He has a fine line to walk, he wants to give credit to Christianity but he also has to remember his own place in the church. That is why in Letters to Malcom he made up Malcom so that he could talk about prayer even though he could not make it a real book about prayer. He made it a book of letters so that he could write them from a personal aspect without telling people how they should pray or how prayer works because he knew he did not really know and had not been trained in that field.

daughter
May 4th 2009, 05:29 PM
Lewis is not an ordained priest and it is not his place to try and convert people or preach to them.
According to Scripture we're all priests, and we are to make disciples of all the nations. So in that sense, it's all of our jobs to share the gospel.

Nobody ever converts anyone, other than the Holy Spirit. But Lewis did try to fulfill the great commission. One doesn't need to be a priest to do that.

Br. Barnabas
May 4th 2009, 05:52 PM
According to Scripture we're all priests, and we are to make disciples of all the nations. So in that sense, it's all of our jobs to share the gospel.

Nobody ever converts anyone, other than the Holy Spirit. But Lewis did try to fulfill the great commission. One doesn't need to be a priest to do that.

Just because we are a priesthood of all believers does not mean that we are all ordained priests. I am not a pastor I cannot go into a church somewhere and get up and deliever a sermon. I have not be ordained or asked to do that.

I agree that we should all share the Gospel when we can but I do not believe that it was Lewis' goal to share it in his writings. If it had been he would have had Aslan say that the children had to go off and learn about Jesus, instead of telling them to go find Aslan in our world.

Let me reword my statement then it was not his job or goal to bring people to a place where they could hear the HS speaking to them.

In the church we all have roles not everyone's is to be a preacher or overseer or priest. I think Lewis knew this and agreed that he was not be one so he left the role that they perform up to them and stuck with his role of teacher. At least when it came to his writings. In his personal life I am sure he did many things that he would not have done in his writings. Sharing the Gospel of the Passion and Resurrection was most likely one of them.

Prufrock
May 4th 2009, 05:56 PM
I think the problem that many people have when reading Lewis is that they don't really understand what the Anglicans believe and how the Church works. Many Protestants like to hear that he is Protestant and so they get one idea in their mind but Lewis was an Anglican and a high church Anglican at that. Which means that he was almost Roman Catholic. The misunderstanding seems to come with what Anglicans believe vs what many other Protestants believe. For us Anglicans there is not really much or any emphasize on being born again, we believe that we need to be born again, but not in the same sense that some Protestants have. The focus is more on the corporate worship and relationship rather than on a personal relationship with Jesus; even though we do have personal relationships with Jesus.
Please excuse me, I say this charitably and with respect: talking of a "personal relationship with Jesus" means very little, unless that relationship is described or defined in some way. The Enemy has had a very "personal relationship" with Jesus ever since he was created. So have the unclean spirits. Pontius Pilate and Herod had "personal relationships with Jesus." It's simply not an adequate description of what being a Christian really is.


I see the Gospel in a lot of what Lewis writes but it does not always come out in a retelling of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.Excuse me again: that is the Gospel! If you leave that out, you're missing the whole thing:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Cor. 15:1-7).

Athanasius
May 4th 2009, 05:58 PM
I think Luther would describe Lewis as having used reason far too much in the magisterial, rather than ministerial, sense of the word.

apothanein kerdos
May 4th 2009, 05:58 PM
I think Luther would describe Lewis as having used reason far too much in the magisterial, rather than ministerial, sense of the word.


Someone's been reading William Lane Craig I believe. ;)

Athanasius
May 4th 2009, 05:59 PM
Someone's been reading William Lane Craig I believe. ;)

:lol:Someone went and bought a few of his books ;)

Izdaari
May 4th 2009, 06:42 PM
Please excuse me, I say this charitably and with respect: talking of a "personal relationship with Jesus" means very little, unless that relationship is described or defined in some way. The Enemy has had a very "personal relationship" with Jesus ever since he was created. So have the unclean spirits. Pontius Pilate and Herod had "personal relationships with Jesus." It's simply not an adequate description of what being a Christian really is.
C.S. Lewis might have written that paragraph! It's just the sort of thing he would have said, and you said it in something very like his style. :pp

Alaska
May 4th 2009, 08:33 PM
The rules of society ought not to be specifically Christian, but such that all citizens, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, pagan or atheist, can live with them.

God's rules concerning marriage are valid for all, since he made them male and female and instituted marriage at the beginning in the first place. His word does not discriminate. It applies to all. But some cannot live with them and go about to make their own rules, such as we see in most so-called Christian churches.

Luke 16:18
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
Mark 10:
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Lewis was not much different that mainstream "Christianity" today with regard to replacing scripture with reason, on this topic and others. Their mantra is as if to say, "God forbid that we should be bound to what Jesus says on this point: God forbid that the above two verses mean what they plainly say."

Izdaari
May 4th 2009, 09:10 PM
God's rules concerning marriage are valid for all, since he made them male and female and instituted marriage at the beginning in the first place. His word does not discriminate. It applies to all. But some cannot live with them and go about to make their own rules, such as we see in most so-called Christian churches.

Luke 16:18
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
Mark 10:
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Lewis was not much different that mainstream "Christianity" today with regard to replacing scripture with reason, on this topic and others. Their mantra is as if to say, "God forbid that we should be bound to what Jesus says on this point: God forbid that the above two verses mean what they plainly say."

You're missing my point entirely. It has nothing to do with theology, and everything to do with political philosophy.

Yes, God's rules are valid for all mankind... but not all mankind is ready to live by them. Should we compel them to do so by man-made law? I don't think so.

If you want heathens to behave like Christians, make Christians of them. That takes evangelism, not laws.

-SEEKING-
May 5th 2009, 02:25 AM
If you want heathens to behave like Christians, make Christians of them. That takes evangelism, not laws.


Wow! Well said.

scottinnj
May 5th 2009, 02:32 AM
If I remember correctly, in the book, C.S. Lewis starts this section by saying he was not married (and he wound up being a life-long bachelor, am I correct?) and to take what he was about to say with a grain of salt. My interest in Lewis is mainly his account of turning to God after being a committed atheist.

Prufrock
May 5th 2009, 02:43 AM
God's rules concerning marriage are valid for all, since he made them male and female and instituted marriage at the beginning in the first place. His word does not discriminate. It applies to all. But some cannot live with them and go about to make their own rules, such as we see in most so-called Christian churches.

You're missing my point entirely. It has nothing to do with theology, and everything to do with political philosophy.

Yes, God's rules are valid for all mankind... but not all mankind is ready to live by them. Should we compel them to do so by man-made law? I don't think so.

If you want heathens to behave like Christians, make Christians of them. That takes evangelism, not laws.

Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man, but I'm getting confused. Is someone suggesting that the civil law should reflect God's standards, as revealed in the Bible, regarding marriage and divorce?

If so, it already does. There isn't a state in the so-called union that doesn't recognize adultery and desertion as legitimate grounds for divorce. Where did the lawmakers get that? From C.S. Lewis? I trow not! It came from the Bible, like so much of our common law.

Of course, today's courts also grant divorces for no reason at all, under the rubric of "incompatibility" or such like. Is someone saying that they shouldn't? Specifically, is someone saying that Jesus' teachings on the grounds for divorce should be reflected in the civil law?

A bit of clarification, please.

Izdaari
May 5th 2009, 02:44 AM
If I remember correctly, in the book, C.S. Lewis starts this section by saying he was not married (and he wound up being a life-long bachelor, am I correct?) and to take what he was about to say with a grain of salt. My interest in Lewis is mainly his account of turning to God after being a committed atheist.Not quite a life-long bachelor. He married Joy Davidman Gresham in 1956. She was already terminally ill with bone cancer when they married, and she died in 1960. The story is in Lewis' book, A Grief Observed. Lewis died in 1963, on the same day JFK and Aldous Huxley also died.

The story of Lewis' conversion to and from atheism is mainly in Surprised by Joy.

Alaska
May 5th 2009, 07:42 AM
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man, but I'm getting confused. Is someone suggesting that the civil law should reflect God's standards, as revealed in the Bible, regarding marriage and divorce?

If so, it already does. There isn't a state in the so-called union that doesn't recognize adultery and desertion as legitimate grounds for divorce. Where did the lawmakers get that? From C.S. Lewis? I trow not! It came from the Bible, like so much of our common law.

Of course, today's courts also grant divorces for no reason at all, under the rubric of "incompatibility" or such like. Is someone saying that they shouldn't? Specifically, is someone saying that Jesus' teachings on the grounds for divorce should be reflected in the civil law?

A bit of clarification, please.

The OT law that provided for divorce was not unlike the civil laws of societies today. Law does not necessarily equate to truth. Law is often a practical way to deal with an inevitable evil. The lesser of two evils is often the best that can be arrived at.
So, it is true that the Christian doctrine prohibiting divorce for any thing whatsoever is not appropriate for an unregenerated civil society that has not the Holy Spirit. By inappropriate, I mean in the sense that they cannot be expected to submit. And it is with regard to this, that civil authority of worldly nations is acknowledged as being used by God, (Rom. 13 etc.) even though a greater kingdom containing laws that often contradict these worldly kingdoms has been established by Jesus.

And that is why divorce, contradicted by the NT, was suffered under the OT: for the hardness of their hearts.
This was a temporarily imposed law for the people of God, to establish some order to what they in their unregenerated state of hardness of heart would inevitably do.

The NT recognizes separation as an unfortunate event that may occur. However to go further and divorce is a sin and then to go even further and remarry is adultery. Only death terminates the lawful married couple. Not adultery or desertion or anything else is capable of changing their status as husband and wife before God.



Originally Posted by Alaska http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=2063791#post2063791)
God's rules concerning marriage are valid for all, since he made them male and female and instituted marriage at the beginning in the first place. His word does not discriminate. It applies to all. But some cannot live with them and go about to make their own rules, such as we see in most so-called Christian churches.


Yet since all excuses for hardness of heart have now been removed by virtue of Jesus' death resurrection and the subsequent rebirth/regeneration of the Holy Spirit made available to all, all mankind will stand in judgment before this higher standard clearly established by the NT. So the availability and choice to live under the law of the land that is not the truth, is as short lived as a shadow, after which, coming face to face with The Truth himself cannot be escaped.

Luke 16:
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
1 Cor. 7:
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Prufrock
May 5th 2009, 07:05 PM
The OT law that provided for divorce was not unlike the civil laws of societies today. Law does not necessarily equate to truth. Law is often a practical way to deal with an inevitable evil. The lesser of two evils is often the best that can be arrived at.
So, it is true that the Christian doctrine prohibiting divorce for any thing whatsoever is not appropriate for an unregenerated civil society that has not the Holy Spirit. By inappropriate, I mean in the sense that they cannot be expected to submit. And it is with regard to this, that civil authority of worldly nations is acknowledged as being used by God, (Rom. 13 etc.) even though a greater kingdom containing laws that often contradict these worldly kingdoms has been established by Jesus.
Thank you very much for the clarification. I disagree with your conclusions about the New Testament teaching on divorce, but I agree with the above. Sorry I didn't get it the first time!

Alaska
May 5th 2009, 11:53 PM
Hi Prufrock,
I understand the reasons etc of those holding the belief that Jesus allowed divorce for adultery. I have just opened a new thread in Chat: Matthew 19:9_Questions that must be answered.
My impression of you is that you are intelligent and reasonable. If you choose to not respond in this new thread, perhaps you know someone who could defend the 'divorce for adultery' position against the telling questions posed to that position in thius thread.

Prufrock
May 6th 2009, 01:38 AM
Hi Prufrock,
I understand the reasons etc of those holding the belief that Jesus allowed divorce for adultery. I have just opened a new thread in Chat: Matthew 19:9_Questions that must be answered.
My impression of you is that you are intelligent and reasonable. If you choose to not respond in this new thread, perhaps you know someone who could defend the 'divorce for adultery' position against the telling questions posed to that position in thius thread.
You sound intelligent and reasonable as well, and I appreciate your invitation. However, as I acknowledged in another thread, I am a divorced man. For this reason, anything I might say on the subject could be interpreted (not by you) as being self-serving. But I imagine you'll find someone who can effectively articulate the position I would take.

Personally, I believe that not only adultery, but also desertion, are scriptural grounds for divorce. I say this simply so that my position will be on record - - - for what it's worth!

Best wishes for an enlightening discussion, which I will follow with interest. I trust you will understand my reason for not participating.


:wave:

TheAnswer99
May 6th 2009, 02:15 AM
If you want heathens to behave like Christians, make Christians of them. That takes evangelism, not laws.


YES YES YES and a little more YES.

One cannot legislate morality. If you forbid non-Christians from divorcing their spouses, it is not going to cause them to remain faithful and lead happy marriages

apothanein kerdos
May 6th 2009, 10:11 PM
YES YES YES and a little more YES.

One cannot legislate morality. If you forbid non-Christians from divorcing their spouses, it is not going to cause them to remain faithful and lead happy marriages


One cannot legislate morality? What do you call "laws" then? Those are moral codes legislated. ;)

Regardless, Lewis is correct that we shouldn't take the Christian rules for marriage and apply them to non-Christians. There's simply no Biblical calling for that.

bhoup
May 12th 2009, 09:25 AM
Well, I am now in chapters 5 & 6 in the last section of this book.

In chapter 5 Lewis talks about Christ coming on earth, still as God, but also now as man, in order to draw us to Himself and make us "little Christs." When he progresses in to chapter 6, he is basically asked this question:

"Why, if God wanted sons instead of 'toy soldier' did He not beget many sons at the outset instead of first making toy soldiers and then bringing them to life by such a difficult and painful process?"

To paraphrase, Lewis says this:

It is difficult to think of the Father begetting many sons from all eternity. In order to be many they would have to somehow be different from one another. (Two pennies have the same shape, but they are difference by containing different atoms). But if there were several sons they would all be related to one another and to the Father in the same way. How would they be different from one another?

But my question is this: But why can't they be different from each other? I am a part of the body of Christ, even though I am different from the person who sits next to me in church.

-------------------

Also, his second point in this book is basically this:

The idea that the whole human race is one thing--one huge organism, like a tree--must not be confused with the idea that individual differences do not matter. Things which are parts of a single organism may be very different from one another; things which are not parts of a single organism, may be very alike. | Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body--different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children or neighbors into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. A) You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. B) On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else's troubles because they are "no business of yours," remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you.

Can anyone tell me what this has to do with anything??? I understand it, but how does it tie in to this chapter or help prove anything?

Izdaari
May 12th 2009, 02:42 PM
One cannot legislate morality? What do you call "laws" then? Those are moral codes legislated. ;)

Regardless, Lewis is correct that we shouldn't take the Christian rules for marriage and apply them to non-Christians. There's simply no Biblical calling for that.
Perhaps a better way to put it: Although we do perforce legislate some morality, we ought not to legislate solely for that reason. Yes, robbery and murder are clearly immoral, but that's not the primary reason we outlaw them. We outlaw them because they harm people's persons and property, thus violating their rights, and interfering with an orderly and peaceful society. I am not easily persuaded that anything that doesn't have a demonstrable victim should be outlawed.

Prufrock
May 12th 2009, 07:13 PM
Perhaps a better way to put it: Although we do perforce legislate some morality, we ought not to legislate solely for that reason. Yes, robbery and murder are clearly immoral, but that's not the primary reason we outlaw them. We outlaw them because they harm people's persons and property, thus violating their rights, and interfering with an orderly and peaceful society. I am not easily persuaded that anything that doesn't have a demonstrable victim should be outlawed.


I don't want to get off on a political tangent, but it sounds like you tend toward a libertarian position, as many intelligent Christians do. However, as appealing as that position is, I cannot embrace it.

"No demonstrable victim" begs the question, "what is a victim?" In Nevada, where I used to live, prostitution is legal, in certain areas. That would seem to be a "victimless" situation; and, from a civil perspective, I suppose it is. But no Christian believes that a professional prostitute is doing herself anything but harm. I believe that the prostitutes of Nevada, no matter how legal and healthy they are, are indeed victims.

Pornography (the legal kind) is another such case: but maybe it's the same, because I think porn actors and actresses are prostitutes by definition. Would I outlaw pornography? To be honest, I don't know. I know that it can't be eradicated. William F. Buckley Jr. used to make the case that pornography should be illegal, but that the laws shouldn't be enforced: that porn should be sold "under the counter," like booze during Prohibition. (Of course, that was before the Internet.) His point was that society should not sanction it by legalizing it. But then, he said the same thing about marijuana: decriminalize it, but don't legalize it. I don't agree with that; Buckley was not writing from a Christian perspective.

Of course, if I had plenipotentiary power, I'd bring back prohibition, because booze has plenty of "demonstrable victims." But I wouldn't do that in order to enforce a Biblical standard; I'd do it for the social good.

I don't know that we really legislate morality in the United States any more. I do know that, in many states, fornication and adultery are criminal offenses: misdemeanors, but still criminal. In North Carolina, for example, which is one of the supposedly "progressive" Southern states, these things are still illegal in 2009. But I think that the legislature only keeps them on the books to enable the prosecution of other crimes. For example: if an unmarried couple are living together, and the police suspect that they have a meth lab in their home, they can raid the place on the pretext of enforcing the fornication statute. I don't think they do this very often, but it explains why the laws haven't been repealed.

This is a complicated matter. I'm gonna go take a nap.

Izdaari
May 13th 2009, 12:06 AM
I don't want to get off on a political tangent, but it sounds like you tend toward a libertarian position, as many intelligent Christians do. However, as appealing as that position is, I cannot embrace it.
I do more than tend toward a libertarian position. I've called myself a classical liberal or libertarian ever since I was 17 or 18. That was over 30 years ago, longer even than I've been a Christian. I would change my political views if I found them to conflict with my faith... but I never have. Instead, they seem to complement each other. :pp


"No demonstrable victim" begs the question, "what is a victim?" In Nevada, where I used to live, prostitution is legal, in certain areas. That would seem to be a "victimless" situation; and, from a civil perspective, I suppose it is. But no Christian believes that a professional prostitute is doing herself anything but harm. I believe that the prostitutes of Nevada, no matter how legal and healthy they are, are indeed victims.Do people have the right to make wrong choices that don't harm others? As Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey points out, people often harm themselves by taking on too much debt. That's unwise, but should it be illegal?


Pornography (the legal kind) is another such case: but maybe it's the same, because I think porn actors and actresses are prostitutes by definition. Would I outlaw pornography? To be honest, I don't know. I know that it can't be eradicated. William F. Buckley Jr. used to make the case that pornography should be illegal, but that the laws shouldn't be enforced: that porn should be sold "under the counter," like booze during Prohibition. (Of course, that was before the Internet.) His point was that society should not sanction it by legalizing it. But then, he said the same thing about marijuana: decriminalize it, but don't legalize it. I don't agree with that; Buckley was not writing from a Christian perspective.I always enjoyed Buckley's work. Even when I didn't agree, he was a pleasure to read, and he improved my vocabulary. I wouldn't say he didn't write from a Christian perspective, since he was a pretty devout Catholic and that certainly did influence his politics. He didn't make a big deal of it but he wasn't shy about it either. IIRC, in his later years Buckley changed his position on marijuana, and came to support full legalization.


Of course, if I had plenipotentiary power, I'd bring back prohibition, because booze has plenty of "demonstrable victims." But I wouldn't do that in order to enforce a Biblical standard; I'd do it for the social good.I would not, even on that basis. Prohibition caused much social harm, far greater IMO than the good it did. People didn't stop drinking, but resorted to homebrew, bathtub gin, smuggled liquor and speakeasies. Gangsters ran wild on the windfall profits from it all.


I don't know that we really legislate morality in the United States any more. I do know that, in many states, fornication and adultery are criminal offenses: misdemeanors, but still criminal. In North Carolina, for example, which is one of the supposedly "progressive" Southern states, these things are still illegal in 2009. But I think that the legislature only keeps them on the books to enable the prosecution of other crimes. For example: if an unmarried couple are living together, and the police suspect that they have a meth lab in their home, they can raid the place on the pretext of enforcing the fornication statute. I don't think they do this very often, but it explains why the laws haven't been repealed.Do you think that's a good way for government to operate? I don't. Keeping laws on the books so they can be used as pretexts doesn't square with the ideal of "a government of laws, not of men."

Prufrock
May 13th 2009, 01:15 AM
Do people have the right to make wrong choices that don't harm others? As Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey points out, people often harm themselves by taking on too much debt. That's unwise, but should it be illegal?
I have no idea what a "Christian financial guru" is, nor am I eager to find out, but I don't think you mean to equate poor financial planning with prostitution. If my wife messes up our finances, our family will suffer in certain ways. If she decides to make a practice of peddling her body on the streetcorner, the stakes, and the eternal consequences, are a little bit higher. With all due respect, I think you've made a false analogy; but to answer your question, no, of course financial stupidity shouldn't be illegal, even if it is the thing that has brought us to the verge of a worldwide depression.

I always enjoyed Buckley's work. Even when I didn't agree, he was a pleasure to read, and he improved my vocabulary. I wouldn't say he didn't write from a Christian perspective, since he was a pretty devout Catholic and that certainly did influence his politics. He didn't make a big deal of it but he wasn't shy about it either. IIRC, in his later years Buckley changed his position on marijuana, and came to support full legalization.
Yes, Buckley was very aggressively pro-legalization in his later years. But his positions on most issues were determined by what he called "right reason," not specifically Christian values. He made this clear in his writing. Having corresponded with him concerning spiritual matters, and having read his "spiritual autobiography," Nearer, My God, I have absolutely no reason to think that he was a born again Christian. He was certainly a wonderful man, however.

Do you think that's a good way for government to operate? I don't. Keeping laws on the books so they can be used as pretexts doesn't square with the ideal of "a government of laws, not of men."
No, I don't think it's a good way for the government to operate. But then, I think that the administration of "justice" in the United States is an outrage and a scandal, and I believe that the Constitution has been a dead letter for 150 years.

I fear that we have hijacked this thread....

Izdaari
May 13th 2009, 03:47 AM
Do people have the right to make wrong choices that don't harm others? As Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey points out, people often harm themselves by taking on too much debt. That's unwise, but should it be illegal?
I have no idea what a "Christian financial guru" is, nor am I eager to find out, but I don't think you mean to equate poor financial planning with prostitution. If my wife messes up our finances, our family will suffer in certain ways. If she decides to make a practice of peddling her body on the streetcorner, the stakes, and the eternal consequences, are a little bit higher. With all due respect, I think you've made a false analogy; but to answer your question, no, of course financial stupidity shouldn't be illegal, even if it is the thing that has brought us to the verge of a worldwide depression.I meant only that Ramsey is a popular financial planner who happens to be a Christian. My impression is that his advice is generally sound and sensible, though not flawless. My church is currently running a class based on one of his books. I didn't sign up - I'm perfectly capable of reading his books for myself.

I'll try to think of a better analogy. But I stand by the principle that people have a moral right to make immoral choices, so long as those choices don't violate the rights of others. That's the same reason God doesn't compel us to believe in Him.

Izdaari
May 13th 2009, 03:52 AM
I always enjoyed Buckley's work. Even when I didn't agree, he was a pleasure to read, and he improved my vocabulary. I wouldn't say he didn't write from a Christian perspective, since he was a pretty devout Catholic and that certainly did influence his politics. He didn't make a big deal of it but he wasn't shy about it either. IIRC, in his later years Buckley changed his position on marijuana, and came to support full legalization.
Yes, Buckley was very aggressively pro-legalization in his later years. But his positions on most issues were determined by what he called "right reason," not specifically Christian values. He made this clear in his writing. Having corresponded with him concerning spiritual matters, and having read his "spiritual autobiography," Nearer, My God, I have absolutely no reason to think that he was a born again Christian. He was certainly a wonderful man, however.I envy your having had to chance to correspond with him. I'd overlooked that book, I'll check it out.


I fear that we have hijacked this thread....
Revived it, more like. It had already petered out I think. :cool:

Prufrock
May 13th 2009, 04:25 AM
I'll try to think of a better analogy. But I stand by the principle that people have a moral right to make immoral choices, so long as those choices don't violate the rights of others. That's the same reason God doesn't compel us to believe in Him.

I believe in free will, and I know that God doesn't compel us to believe in Him. But we're getting very close to a discussion of natural law, and natural rights, which becomes tedious for me.

I think that Buckley and C.S. Lewis would agree that every moral choice affects others. It's the "no man is an island" thing; scripturally, For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself (Ro. 14:7). If I give even tacit approval to prostitution or pornography or gambling, even though they're considered "victimless crimes" (which is nonsense), I am contributing to the general, overall coarsening of society.

The pagans say, "If you don't want gay marriage or abortion, just don't be involved with those things! But don't tell me I shouldn't be involved!"

Well, I don't tell them that; I'm a witness for Jesus Christ, not a crusader against social ills. But let's not pretend that these things don't affect other people. The legalization of abortion or the state lottery or porn on TV violates my children's right to grow up in a clean society. If Obama appoints a homosexual to the Supreme Court (as he is being pressured to do), then that appointment will contribute to the coarsening of society - - - even if the appointee is a conservative.

If I thought that pornography or prostitution or gambling could really be eradicated by legislation, I'd be for it. But I know that human nature is not so easily restrained. However, my realistic outlook doesn't mean that I should take the libertarian position, either. Someone, I forget who, said: "I believe every man should have the freedom to go to Hell in his own way."

That may be appealing as a political philosophy, but it's poor Christianity. On the other hand, the Puritan position, of trying to legislate Biblical standards, is also a trap.

These are not easy issues. But, as I get older, they become less important to me. What becomes increasingly important is seeing men and women and children won to Jesus Christ. Christians need to realize that we're living in Enemy Territory, and that will not be changed until the Lord returns. It's our job to snatch as many people as possible away from the Enemy's clutches. May God forgive me if I neglect that in order to "make America a Christian nation!"

Ahhh, don't get me started on this stuff.....


:B

crawfish
May 13th 2009, 01:32 PM
I know quite a few people who have been positively affected by Lewis' work. I know some who came to Christ who opened up from reading Mere Christianity and his other works.

I get upset when I hear people disparaging someone like Lewis because he doesn't present Christianity the way they want. Does scripture not claim there are many parts to the body? Do we not all have unique talents? Lewis had a talent for common sense and philosophy and used it to further God's kingdom on earth. Thank God for that. If he didn't present a complete picture of salvation, well, that is why there are others in God's kingdom who have different talents and approaches. Lewis gets them in the door and others bring them to Christ. It's the way things should work.

Teke
May 13th 2009, 01:53 PM
Well, I am now in chapters 5 & 6 in the last section of this book.

In chapter 5 Lewis talks about Christ coming on earth, still as God, but also now as man, in order to draw us to Himself and make us "little Christs." When he progresses in to chapter 6, he is basically asked this question:

"Why, if God wanted sons instead of 'toy soldier' did He not beget many sons at the outset instead of first making toy soldiers and then bringing them to life by such a difficult and painful process?"

Keep in mind that your only reading some of Lewis in the book your reading. He further addresses these subjects in other works of his. ie. The Problem of Pain


To paraphrase, Lewis says this:

It is difficult to think of the Father begetting many sons from all eternity. In order to be many they would have to somehow be different from one another. (Two pennies have the same shape, but they are difference by containing different atoms). But if there were several sons they would all be related to one another and to the Father in the same way. How would they be different from one another?

But my question is this: But why can't they be different from each other? I am a part of the body of Christ, even though I am different from the person who sits next to me in church.

-------------------

Also, his second point in this book is basically this:

The idea that the whole human race is one thing--one huge organism, like a tree--must not be confused with the idea that individual differences do not matter. Things which are parts of a single organism may be very different from one another; things which are not parts of a single organism, may be very alike. | Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body--different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children or neighbors into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. A) You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. B) On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else's troubles because they are "no business of yours," remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you.

Can anyone tell me what this has to do with anything??? I understand it, but how does it tie in to this chapter or help prove anything?

As other posters have pointed out, Lewis is not giving answers, as in a concrete theological sense. He is doing what most lay peopele do, which is musing about Christianity in their faith.

Note your last question has to do with the previous one. And you say you understand, but it doesn't help prove anything. Isn't that just the way it goes with one in their faith. I believe this is what Lewis wanted to express in his writings. The richness of Christianity.

Lewis did an introduction in St Athanasius on the Incarnation (De Incarnatione). In that introduction he explains the importance of considering the whole, emphasizing to read not only new books, but also old ones.
Here are, IMHO, notable quotes from that introduction which express CS Lewis;


"THERE is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about "isms" and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that first-hand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second-hand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire."


"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook-even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. "

"I myself was first led into reading the Christian classics, almost accidentally, as a result of my English studies. Some, such as Hooker, Herbert, Traherne, Taylor and Bunyan, I read because they are themselves great English writers; others, such as Boethius, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and, Dante, because they were "influences." George Macdonald I had found for myself at the age of sixteen and never wavered in my allegiance, though I tried for a long time to ignore his Christianity. They are, you will note, a mixed bag, representative of many Churches, climates and ages. And that brings me to yet another reason for reading them. The divisions of Christendom are undeniable and are by some of these writers most fiercely expressed. But if any man is tempted to think-as one might be tempted who read only contemporaries-that "Christianity" is a word of so many meanings that it means nothing at all, he can learn beyond all doubt, by stepping out of his own century, that this is not so. Measured against the ages "mere Christianity" turns out to be no insipid interdenominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible. I know it, indeed, to my cost. "

"We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom. But those who have always lived within the Christian fold may be too easily dispirited by them. They are bad, but such people do not know what it looks like from without. Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity. I know, for I saw it; and well our enemies know it. That unity any of us can find by going out of his own age. It is not enough, but it is more than you had thought till then. Once you are well soaked in it, if you then venture to speak, you will have an amusing experience. You will be thought a Papist when you are actually reproducing Bunyan, a Pantheist when you are quoting Aquinas, and so forth. For you have now got on to the great level viaduct which crosses the ages and which looks so high from the valleys, so low from the mountains, so narrow compared with the swamps, and so broad compared with the sheep-tracks."

http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/athanasius/incarnation/incarnation.p.htm

Sandusky
May 18th 2009, 03:05 AM
I know quite a few people who have been positively affected by Lewis' work. I know some who came to Christ who opened up from reading Mere Christianity and his other works.

I get upset when I hear people disparaging someone like Lewis because he doesn't present Christianity the way they want. Does scripture not claim there are many parts to the body? Do we not all have unique talents? Lewis had a talent for common sense and philosophy and used it to further God's kingdom on earth. Thank God for that. If he didn't present a complete picture of salvation, well, that is why there are others in God's kingdom who have different talents and approaches. Lewis gets them in the door and others bring them to Christ. It's the way things should work.

Best post yet so far here. Thanks, and I agree. ;)

Izdaari
May 18th 2009, 03:22 AM
I know quite a few people who have been positively affected by Lewis' work. I know some who came to Christ who opened up from reading Mere Christianity and his other works.

I get upset when I hear people disparaging someone like Lewis because he doesn't present Christianity the way they want. Does scripture not claim there are many parts to the body? Do we not all have unique talents? Lewis had a talent for common sense and philosophy and used it to further God's kingdom on earth. Thank God for that. If he didn't present a complete picture of salvation, well, that is why there are others in God's kingdom who have different talents and approaches. Lewis gets them in the door and others bring them to Christ. It's the way things should work.
And I'll give this a big "Amen!" too. :thumbsup:

Lewis deserves most of the credit (the human credit, that is) for getting me in the door. I'd been calling myself an agnostic, but really I suppose I was more of a Zen/Tao/Vedanta deist/pantheist. That was as far as my own spiritual quest had been able to take me, after rejecting numerous other alternatives. It was Lewis who convinced me that an intelligent person with a skeptical turn of mind could and should take the claims of Christianity seriously. Yes, there are better apologists out there... but if it hadn't been for Lewis, it isn't likely I would've taken the subject seriously enough to look for them.

bhoup
May 18th 2009, 07:07 AM
The OT law that provided for divorce was not unlike the civil laws of societies today. Law does not necessarily equate to truth. Law is often a practical way to deal with an inevitable evil. The lesser of two evils is often the best that can be arrived at.

So, it is true that the Christian doctrine prohibiting divorce for any thing whatsoever is not appropriate for an unregenerated civil society that has not the Holy Spirit. By inappropriate, I mean in the sense that they cannot be expected to submit. And it is with regard to this, that civil authority of worldly nations is acknowledged as being used by God, (Rom. 13 etc.) even though a greater kingdom containing laws that often contradict these worldly kingdoms has been established by Jesus.

And that is why divorce, contradicted by the NT, was suffered under the OT: for the hardness of their hearts.
This was a temporarily imposed law for the people of God, to establish some order to what they in their unregenerated state of hardness of heart would inevitably do.

The NT recognizes separation as an unfortunate event that may occur. However to go further and divorce is a sin and then to go even further and remarry is adultery. Only death terminates the lawful married couple. Not adultery or desertion or anything else is capable of changing their status as husband and wife before God.


The bolded part is what I've always had trouble understanding. Does this mean, "...in order that they might no longer sin?" Is that why Moses allowed divorce?

Your Advert here


Hosted by Webnet77