Mere Christianity Must Go by S. M. Hutchens

Mortal Remains

Mere Christianity Must Go

by S. M. Hutchens

The concept of "Mere Christianity" as put forward by C. S. Lewis seems to have a dual aspect in the world. In the one more amenable to conservative Protestantism but actually unarticulated by Lewis, it may be and has been read as standing for the historic faith of the Church, so that for those who cannot confess with confidence that their particular communion is the one, holy, apostolic Church of the Creed, satis est: mere Christianity, wherever they find it, "is enough," and pressing toward complete unity in doctrine among all the churches, while a pleasant notion, is not an acute concern. Mere Christianity is something to be celebrated and a place where one can rest.

This, however, was not Lewis's view. He likened it to a common hallway in a house of many rooms, a house which we can tentatively say stands for the Church, entrance into which means submission to the single set of rules of faith and behavior that govern all rooms. One may take the rooms, generally speaking, to be "denominations," although Lewis, I think for subtle reasons that are beyond this discussion, does not explicitly identify them as such. He, like many of the biblical writers, is a master of felicitous ambiguity.

He is clear, however, that he does not believe one may rightly be satisfied staying in the hallway under the terms of mere Christianity:

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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