C. S. Lewis, Reluctant Churchman by Wayne Martindale

C. S. Lewis, Reluctant Churchman

by Wayne Martindale

The Church has long felt comfortable with C. S. Lewis. He is quoted regularly from the pulpit and in Christian books and periodicals, not to mention the massive popularity of his own works. But Lewis was not always comfortable with the Church. He was repelled by much that he saw, both in the Church as the local congregation of worshipers and the Church as the universal body of all believers. First, the local congregation.

Lewis had no natural fondness for church-going. He found the sermons often dull, and he disliked hymns and organ music, which he described as “one long roar.”1 In his spiritual autobiography Surprised by Joy—speaking of his 1929 conversion to a belief in God (two years before his full conversion to Christianity)—Lewis refers to himself as “the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”2 Though reluctant, his reason commanded assent.

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Wayne Martindale is a professor of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

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more on C. S. Lewis from the online archives

18.3—April 2005

Lions of Succession

on Being a Free Narnian & the Joy of Subordination by Donald T. Williams

22.5—June 2009

A Law for All Seasons

C. S. Lewis on Civilization & the Natural Order by Timothy L. Hall

31.2—March/April 2018

Watchful Dragons

Neil Gaiman’s Brush with Narnia Lingers by Russell D. Moore


more from the online archives

33.1—January/February 2020

Forbidden Lies

Speaking Truth About the Sexes Is Not Optional by Anthony Esolen

21.1—January/February 2008

One Flesh of Purest Gold

John Chrysostom’s Discovery of the Blessings & Mysteries of Marriage by Mike Aquilina

33.2—March/April 2020

The Fairy Tale Wars

Lewis, Chesterton, et al. Against the Frauds, Experts & Revisionists by Vigen Guroian

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