The Romantic Rationalist (Paperback)John Piper & David Mathis
“We are far too easily pleased.”
C. S. Lewis stands as one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century. His commitment to the life of the mind and the life of the heart is evident in classics like the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity—books that illustrate the unbreakable connection between rigorous thought and deep affection.
With contributions from Randy Alcorn, John Piper, Philip Ryken, Kevin Vanhoozer, David Mathis, and Douglas Wilson, this volume explores the man, his work, and his legacy—reveling in the truth at the heart of Lewis’s spiritual genius: God alone is the answer to our deepest longings and the source of our unending joy.
“A book that displays the impressive breadth of Lewis’s appeal across denominational boundaries and that helpfully highlights the continuing importance of his example as a Christian who could think both rationally and imaginatively. Altogether an interesting, lively, and thought-provoking read.” - Michael Ward, Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford; author, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis
“For many of us, the writings of C. S. Lewis have been a helpful guide to the nooks and crannies of the Christian life. As noted by a number of the authors of this extremely helpful collection of essays, the rich coloring of all of Lewis’s work has been a tonic in the gray drabness of contemporary life. Although none of the authors would endorse every element of Lewis’s thinking, each is well aware that to neglect Lewis is to miss out on one of God’s surprising gifts in the twentieth century. A great introduction to and reflection on a remarkable Christian!” - Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Paints a well-rounded, sharply observed portrait that balances criticism with a deep love and appreciation for the works and witness of Lewis. The writers have all absorbed Lewis into their bones, and they invite us to do the same.” - Louis Markos, Professor of English, Scholar in Residence, and Robert H. Ray Chair of Humanities, Houston Baptist University; author, Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis
“A warm-hearted, engaging and thoroughly thought-out appreciation of evangelicalism’s enormous debt to C. S. Lewis that also looks squarely at differences, real and imagined. With well-chosen and varied contributors, it presents a deep understanding and wide reading of Lewis and also reaches toward the secret of Lewis’s profound and health-giving influence on Christianity throughout the world.” - Colin Duriez, author, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, A-Z of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
“In order to explore the world that is Lewis, we need faithful guides, explorers who have charted his terrain, both the familiar and the back roads where few have dared to tread. The authors have not just looked at Lewis, as though he were some theological or literary curiosity. Instead, they’ve looked along Lewis, laboring to see with the freshness of his vision, and then draw us further up and further in so that we too come to see the real world, and God, and Christ, with new eyes.” - Joe Rigney, Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview, Bethlehem College and Seminary; author, The Things of Earth and Live Like a Narnian
“Lewis fans of all persuasions will enjoy this collection of essays. More than just a celebration of Lewis, the authors celebrate what Lewis celebrated and point to the one he pointed to. The authors don’t always agree with Lewis (itself a good and healthy thing), but they always understand and appreciate him and help us to do so as well. Most of all, in these essays they share Lewis’s ultimate goal—that of kindling and nurturing a desire for God.” - Devin Brown, author, A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis
Table of Contents
Introduction: Half a Century since C. S. Lewis (David Mathis)
- C. S. Lewis, Romantic Rationalist: How His Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry (John Piper)
- Inerrancy and the Patron Saint of Evangelicalism: C. S. Lewis on Holy Scripture (Philip Ryken)
- Undragoned: C. S. Lewis on the Gift of Salvation (Douglas Wilson)
- In Bright Shadow: C. S. Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship (Kevin Vanhoozer)
- C. S. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering (Randy Alcorn)
- What God Made Is Good—and Must Be Sanctified: C. S. Lewis and St. Paul on the Use of Creation (John Piper)
Appendix 1: C. S. Lewis and the Doctrine of Hell (Randy Alcorn)
Appendix 2: A Conversation with the Contributors
About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
David Mathis serves as executive editor at desiringGod.org, pastor at Cities Church, and adjunct professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary. He and his wife, Megan, have three children.
ByJohn Piper & David Mathis
Size215 x 140 mm
Number of Pages189 pp
PublisherGood News Publishers / Crossway Books
IN BRIGHT SHADOW
C.S. Lewis on the Imagination for
Theology and Discipleship
There are worse insults than being called a “sleeper.” Yes, sloth is
one of the seven deadly sins, but when I saw sloth portrayed on
stage in a performance of Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus,
it was hard to see what was so deadly about it. The other sins—
pride, greed, lust—looked ugly, but sloth, a young girl, came onto
the stage, stretched, yawned, and lay down. The audience relaxed
with her. What harm is there in a catnap? None at all. Why, then, has
the church classified sloth as a deadly sin? We don’t hold someone
blameworthy for being anemic or for not taking his five-hour energy
drink every five hours. To be sure, drowsiness is culpable in certain
situations: none of us wants our pilots falling asleep at the controls.
Yet sloth is not mere sleepiness or laziness but rather what Dorothy
Sayers rightly identifies as the spiritual condition of despair: “It is
the sin that believes in nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds
purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there
is nothing for which it will die.”
If the besetting sin of modernity is pride (an inordinate confidence in
know-it-all reason), then that of postmodernity is sloth, a despairing
indifference to truth. Someone who believes in nothing and lives for
nothing might as well be asleep. Sloth is the ultimate sin of omission:
sloth sits still, unmoved by anything real. Sleeping through a movie
may not be deadly, but sitting on your hands while the cinema is
burning around you certainly is. We must guard against sloth, the
temptation to be lulled to sleep when there is something urgent to be
done. Is there a cure for this spiritual narcolepsy? There is. Says G. K.
Chesterton of Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval theologian, that
when he was troubled by doubt, he chose to believe in more reality,
not less. Aquinas has a kindred spirit in C.S. Lewis.
Lewis experienced a powerful awakening and afterwards did ev-
erything he could to stay awake, by which I mean spiritually alert
to the opportunities, and dangers, that attend the Christian life. For
Lewis, waking is a way of describing one’s conversion, a coming to
new life. The Christian life is all about wakefulness. Theology de-
scribes what we see when we are awake, in faith to the reality of God,
and discipleship is the project of becoming fully awake to this reality
and staying awake.