Speculations on Pride

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C. S. Lewis was right. Pride is the ultimate sin because it is structured differently from all other sin. Pride is the sin of Satan and makes those who suffer from it most like Satan because it alone rejects the tiny, dirty spark of goodness within all other sin.

Whether wrath, gluttony, envy, lust, or idolatry, nearly every sin we commit is rooted either in a desire to seize some God-ordained good in the wrong degree, or at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, or else a desire to fulfill God’s justice in our own time and on our own terms. In almost every sin, the sinner pays grudging tribute to God, the source of all good and justice.

Read more here –
http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/tp-home/blog-archives/recent-point-posts/entry/4/27180

Read an excerpt from C S Lewis’s Mere Christianity – The Great Sin, here – http://www.timesandseasons.org/The_Great_Sin_condensed.pdf

Lecture – Mere Christianity (8 – 1/2 hour study sessions) Essential reading series

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Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity 1st US edition wiki

1943 England, when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, C.S. Lewis was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. More than half a century after the original lectures, they continue to retain their poignancy. First heard as informal radio broadcasts, the lectures were then published as three books and subsequently combined as Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis proves that „at the center of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice,” rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations. This twentieth-century masterpiece provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. (www.cslewis.com)

Taken from the C.S. Lewis Institute’s study program, ‘Mere Christianity Study’ by Dr. Chris Mitchell, Director, Wade Center, Wheaton College.

Note: There are 8 sessions in this playlist, each video will play afar the completion of prior video. To navigate between videos press the left or right arrow on the bottom of player.

VIDEOS by C.S. Lewis Institute

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C.S. Lewis – (Essential Reading) God as God (1) God’s omnipotence

Excerpt from The Theology of C.S. Lewis  (Pleasures Forevermore by John Randolph Willis, Chapter 2):

C.S. Lewis never intends in his writing to make startling or original contributions to Christian thought; his aim throughout is to present „mere Christianity” from the standpoint of the layman. We can begin to examine Lewis’ writings by seeing how he views the one God, the „I Am” of Exodus 3:14. For Lewis, God is definitely not the amorphous spirit of pantheism. He strongly emphasizes the fact that God is concrete and individual. „He is ‘absolute being’– or rather the Absolute Being– in the sense that He alone exists in His own right. But there are things which God is not. In that sense He has a determinate character. Thus He is righteous, not a-moral; creative, not inert. The Hebrew writings here observe an admirable balance. Once God says simply I AM, proclaiming the mystery of self existence. But times without number He says, ‘I am the Lord’– I, the ultimate Fact, have this determinate character and not that. And men are exhorted to „know the Lord,” to discover and experience this particular character.”

To stand before God is to be confronted by the incomprehensible. „He is unspeakable, not by being indefinite but by being too definite for the unavoidable vagueness of language… Gramatically the things we say of Him are ‘metaphorical’ : but in a deeper sense it is our physical and psychic energies that are mere ‘metaphors’ of the real Life which is God.”

Yet in the devotional and moral life, we constantly bump up against something concrete, and the growing emptiness of our idea of God is gradually filled with something definite.

What definite qualities does Lewis attribute to God?

First, he declares that God is omnipotent. But we must realize in what this omnipotence consists. It does not mean that God can do things which are intrinsically impossible. To ask if God could make a stone too heavy for Him to lift is ti ask a meaningless question. Of course it is possible for God to perform miracles, but He can never perform nonsense.

What God does perform always is the work of a consummate artist…  The majesty of God is only dimly reflected in his creation of the universe, created freely out of absolutely nothing. Using the triune formula od Father, Redeemer, and indwelling Comforter, Lewis shows that the universe is small indeed compared with Ultimate Reality; so how much smaller earth is when compared to the universe, and man when compared to the earth.

Important attributes of God are His justice and mercy, which are one in him but different from our perspective. Lewis indicates that such attributes can be predicted from the human standpoint because they have a foundation in reality. He likewise treats of God’s wrath and God’s pardon in this way. Of course applied to God these are metaphors; but we must be aware what Scripture tells us, and certainly God’s anger can be a consuming fire.  Yet the reverse side of the coin is his mercy, which is tender, loving and forgiving to the blotting out of sins. What God is in actuality is simply beyond human imagination. God is his mercy and much more; God is his justice and much more than „eye hath seen or ear heard” (1 Cor. 2:9).

In Reflections of the Psalms, Lewis writes, „There were in the 18th century terrible theologians who held that ‘God did not command certain things because they are right, but certain things are right because God commanded them.’  To make the position perfectly clear, one of them even said that God has, as it happens, commanded us to love Him and one another, He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and one another, and hatred would then have been right.” Lewis rejects this voluntaristic approach to God. God can be no other than what he is: absolute goodness, justice, mercy and love. And he is all of these supereminently, as we have just said.

Being all-sufficient in himself, God still loves into existence the superfluous, since he is almost overflowing with goodness. This is not to be understood in the Neo-Platonic sense, for God is under no compulsion to create anything. He creates and conserves in existence so that he can love all created being.

to be continued…. coming up tomorrow God’s love and ‘Do I have a right to be happy?

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The BBC is the reason C S Lewis wrote „Mere Christianity”

You can listen to the surviving B.B.C. tapes here – C.S.Lewis BBC surviving audio tapes from the 1940′s, or read his Rationality of the Christian worldview here, and read some related articles at the bottom of this post.

I came across this information from Walter Hooper of Oxford, who was C S Lewis’s private secretary and contributed these bits to the preface of C.S. Lewis’s „Pleasures Forevermore” (Loyola University Press, 1983):

Although his readers don’t appear to notice any „change of voice” in his books, some– such as the Narnian Chronicles– were written simply because he enjoyed it. A few were written at the request of others, and Mere Christianity is one of them.

In fact, it didn’t originate in his mind as a book at all. What happened was that the British Broadcasting Corporation asked him to give a series of four fifteen-minute talks over the radio. The impact of those talks was so great that the B.B.C. asked for another series, and another, until the end– del, there was Mere Christianity. 

However, from the beginning there was a lot of talk going on behind the scenes. It was mainly about how, in such short radio talks, Lewis could– as was the intention of the BBC– reach the „Great British Public.” A „public” made up– as it is in the United States– of Christians of all the denominations and most Christians who are not Christians at all. Because of this, Lewis knew that his only chance of helping anyone was to confine his broadcast to those elements which all Christians believe.

Most people had never heard anything like it and they were entranced. „Entranced” because, odd as it may seem, there had hitherto been few broadcasts and few books about those elements in Christianity which unite us, but a great many about those things which (however true and important) divide us.

The „cathedral” intention behind Mere Christianity is very clearly defined in Lewis’s preface to that book. He said:

„Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbors was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times. I had more than one reason for thinking this. In the first place, the questions which divide Christians from one another often involve points of high Theology or even of ecclesiastical history which ought never to be treated except by real experts. I should have been out of my depths in such waters: more in need of help myself than able to help others. And secondly, I think we must admit that the discussion of these disputed points has no tendency at all to bring an outsider into the Christian fold. So long as we write and talk about them we are much more likely to deter him from any Christian communion than to draw him into our own. Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is His only Son.

Related articles

C.S.Lewis BBC surviving audio tapes from the 1940’s

Uploaded by on Dec 31, 2011

In this rare audio from his BBC broadcasts of the 1940s, C.S. Lewis explains God’s relationship to time and space, discusses the Christian consistency with reality of an ideal that mankind is striving for, but can never find on its own.

God and Time – CS Lewis BBC Broadcast

The New Man in Christ – CS Lewis BBC Broadcast

Uploaded by on Dec 31, 2011

In this rare BBC broadcast from the 1940s, C.S. Lewis discusses what the new man was intended be like, arguing that the new kind of man has already appeared in Jesus Christ. He argues that this doesn’t happen through evolution of religion because it is not something coming out of blind progression, but something coming down from God in light and power. In his lucid unfolding of Christian theology, Lewis explains that becoming this new man requires losing ourselves and taking on the nature of Christ, drawing incredible parallels to the impact of salt in bringing out the full taste in other things.

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Chuck Colson – How God turned around Nixon’s hatchet man

President Nixon meets with China's Communist P...

Nixon with China's Mao Tse Tung

This video is from Veritas Forum at www.veritas.org of Cambridge, Massachusetts (though they have offices across the country). Veritas Forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. This is a great resource to help University Students and parents, and very worthy of our support.
If you are not familiar with Chuck Colson’s story you can read a short bio here. Today Chuck Colson, besides writing several books, in 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Program, which, together with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, with ministry taking place in 113 countries around the globe.

Chuck Colson started adulthood as a lieutenant in the marines, fighting in the Korean War. Afterwards he went to law school at night while working as administrative assistant (one of the youngest at that time) to a U.S.Senator. In 1968 he left his law practice to serve in the Richard Nixon White House Administration (again as the youngest assistant ever) as Special Counsel(he was 38 years old). Colson ran the next presidential campaign for Nixon and Nixon won by the largest landslide vote victory to date, in 1972. At that point he decided that he wanted to return to his law practice, due to the exhaustion he experienced and he started to feel empty.

Chuck Colson grew up in as he calls it „Unitarian” New Egland. Yes he did go to Sunday school as a kid and learned all the lessons, and yes he was dragged to church, as he describes it, a few times, yet in his adulthood he did not even believe in the existence of God, let alonehis son Jesus Christ or the fact that man can have any kind of relationship with Him.

Mere Christianity

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One day he walked into another White House aide’s office and Colson asked him why he seemed different, at which the aide replied that he had given his life to Christ and then asked to read him a chapter „VICE” from C S Lewis’s Christianity. Then he prayed with Colson. Colson walked out to his car, but could not drive away because he couldn’t see; he was crying so hard. He knew nothing of evangelicalism or of any sinner’s prayer-he just talked to God and that night he knew there was a God. The days to follow, the lawyer in him sat down with the Mere Christianity book and made 2 columns -pro and con, about different things he would investigate. At the end he could state that the reality of Jesus Christ’s life and work is more real than his own reality.

But, just then the Watergate scandal blows up and for the next year, Colson’s „conversion” is front page fodder for the Nation’s newspapers.

Here is Chuck Colson at Columbia University in 2008 talking to students and doing a Question & Answer session afterwards:

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C.S Lewis – Mere Christianity Audiobook and a biographer’s lecture

Here is a sample clip of the audio book.

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1st collector for C.S Lewis – Mere Christianity (Part 1)
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One of C.S Lewis’ most influential pieces of work, Mere Christianity has become a corner stone of modern Christian apologetics. Originally broadcast on the radio as a lecture during World War Two, C.S Lewis would eventually turn the transcripts from the radio broadcast into three individual pamphlets, these in turn would be later compiled to create the iconic book that is ‘Mere Christianity’.

A former Atheist himself, Lewis once exclaimed „Had God designed the world, it would not be A world so frail and faulty as we see.”

Mere Christianity deals with the basic beliefs upheld by all Christians, and on purpose, Lewis avoids singling out any one denomination, instead focusing on fundamental teachings of the Christian faith.

This audio adaption is read aloud by Jeffrey Howard.

For full audiobook (in mp3 format) click here:

http://www.philvaz.com/CSLewisMereChristianityCOMPLETE.mp3

You can also view a C-Span author discussion here from Jan. 2006:

The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis

Cambridge Forum (video – 1 hour 7 minutes)

Professor Jacobs talked about his biography The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, published by HarperSanFrancisco. He outlined Oxford scholar and religious writer Lewis’s life, describing his writing of the children’s series The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as many books for adults on religious topics. He talked about the writer’s life and his influence on scholars around the world. After his presentation he answered audience members’ questions.

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