One reason for Lewis’ huge popularity among modern-day “Evangelicals” was stated by Christianity Today magazine on October 25, 1993: “Lewis’ concentration on the main doctrines of the church coincided with evangelicals’ concern to avoid ecclesiastical separatism”. This speaks volumes about the state of “Evangelicalism” today! Today’s “Evangelicals”, like Lewis himself, have no interest in biblical separation, which is why they enjoy his books so much.
Lewis had no interest in judging the soundness or otherwise of certain denominational traditions. One of his most famous books is entitled Mere Christianity. In the preface to this book, he wrote: “The reader should be warned that I offer no help to anyone who is hesitating between two ‘Christian’ denominations. You will not learn from me whether you ought to become an Anglican, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, or a Roman Catholic…. Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only service I could do for my unbelieving neighbours was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.”
This quotation reveals much about C. S. Lewis! An Evangelical? Not in the least. He was thoroughly ecumenical. A true Christian would warn people about the false doctrines of Romanism, Anglicanism, and even most of what goes by the name of Methodism and Presbyterianism these days. But Lewis cheerfully goes on record as having “no help” to offer people in these matters. No help? Nothing to say to them? No warning to issue? He was utterly unconcerned if a reader of his books decided to join the Roman Catholic institution or one of that Great Whore’s “daughter” institutions? Then in truth this man knew nothing of true Bible Christianity!
His stated aim, in his book Mere Christianity, was to present “an agreed, or common, or central or ‘mere’ Christianity.” In other words, those doctrines which are common to all who call themselves “Christians”, including Papists, Anglicans, ecumenists, liberals, etc. He was so concerned to achieve this aim, that he submitted parts of his book to four ecclesiastics for criticism: an Anglican, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic. In this book, he likened his version of “Christianity” to a hall, with various rooms leading off from it. He said that when one enters a house one does not stay in the hall but goes into a room, and likewise, when one becomes a Christian one should join a particular denomination. It is not that important which “tradition” one joins. And he added, “When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors.” To him, they were all essentially the same, and all “Christian”: Romanist, Anglican, Methodist, whatever. And he believed that one is free to choose whichever “tradition” one likes the most. Sound doctrine, and godly practice – these were of no consideration to Lewis.
He was so adept at reducing “Christianity” to a very, very low common denominator, a “mere Christianity” as he himself called it, that his writings, in addition to being acceptable to Roman Catholics, “Evangelicals”, liberals, ecumenists, etc., are even acceptable to the Mormons! In April 1998, Mormon professor Robert Millet, dean of Brigham Young University, spoke at Wheaton College on the topic of C. S. Lewis and said that Lewis “is so well received by Latter-Day Saints [i.e. Mormon cultists] because of his broad and inclusive vision of Christianity”.
Let us examine some of the unscriptural doctrines of C. S. Lewis.
He did not believe in the biblical doctrine of penal substitution, and thus promoted a false doctrine of the atonement. He denied the doctrine of man’s total depravity. He believed in the Roman Catholic heresies of baptismal regeneration and of salvation by works. He believed in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass. He did not believe in the biblical doctrine of repentance. He did not believe that the Holy Scriptures were inerrant, and thus rejected the doctrine of the divine inspiration of the Bible. He believed in the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory. He believed in the Roman Catholic doctrine of praying for the dead. He believed in theistic evolution. He denied the doctrine of hell. And he thought that the salvation of unbelievers was possible. Lewis himself also requested the “last rites” of the Roman Catholic institution on his deathbed.
On Christ’s Substitutionary Atonement:
Consider the following quotation from Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity, pgs.53-8, where Lewis states that the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement is a “theory” that he found somewhat immoral and silly! “What did He [Christ] come to do? Well, to teach of course; but as soon as you look into the New Testament or any other Christian writing you will find they are constantly talking about something different – about His death and His coming to life again. It is obvious that Christians think the chief point of the story lies there. They think the main thing He came to earth to do was to suffer and be killed. Christ volunteered to be punished instead and so God let us off. Now I admit that even this theory does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to be; but that is not the point I want to make. What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor any other is Christianity…. Theories about Christ’s death are not Christianity.”
I state categorically that what Lewis wrote here was heresy. He brands the substitutionary death of Christ as a somewhat immoral and silly theory! Here is another quotation from the same pages of the same book, which only reinforces Lewis’ heresy even further: “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed…. Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory”.
How different from the words of Paul the apostle, who not only shows that this is absolute truth, not a mere theory, but also that it is at the very heart of the Gospel that saves: “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” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). C. S. Lewis, in rejecting this, rejected biblical Christianity. He rejected the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ. He showed himself to be a heretic, and unregenerate.