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 . . .