Where I Depart From C.S. Lewis


From Mere Christianity

There are three things that spread the Christ life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names—Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper.

If you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.

This excerpt presents two exceptions to my agreement with C.S. Lewis’ writings: First, I’ve never seen definite Scriptural evidence that baptism and the Eucharist have mystical power to bestow grace. They are Christ’s commands, and must be obeyed, whether or not we get anything from them. God’s grace depends only on our faith, but his blessings come from our obedience. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB)

Second, one doesn’t accept Christianity to become a Christian (Christ follower). By faith, one must accept and commit to the person and work of Christ. Christianity is nothing more than the religion practiced by those who claim to follow Christ’s teachings, and in view of all the atrocities historically committed in Christ’s name, “Christian,” as a label, isn’t all that distinguishing.

Salvation has always been God’s reward for the righteous, but only righteousness by his definition, which is impossible to achieve by personal or religious works. Though I’ve cited it before, Isaiah 64:6 seals the works deal: We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

The last couple of lines in the above excerpt, however, express a profound and essential truth for Christ-followers. For emphasis, here it is again: We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. AMEN!

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