I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Latent Christianity

Photo: summonedbyfells
What we need is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects – with their Christianity latent. – C.S. Lewis

Years ago, when a writer shared this quote from C.S. Lewis with an email list I belonged to, I printed it, cut it out and placed it under my see-through plastic desktop protector. It's still there and I read it often. It's an odd quote to hang on to for a writer who spends so much of his time writing for the Christian market, like I do. But the quote resonates with me, so much so, that it's the driving philosophy behind this blog.

The quote from Lewis comes from an essay he wrote called "Christian Apologetics." I did a little research recently and discovered the essay appeared in a number of published works over the years. One such place is in a compilation book of his essays called "God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics." I recently downloaded a copy of it to my Kindle. In context, the quote about latent Christianity comes as Lewis is discussing science.
I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted.
He goes on to say this:
It is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him [modern man]. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian.
I don't know when Lewis wrote these words, but he died in 1963, so it's safe to assume his message is at least 50 years old and it seems to me his words are even more relevant today than when he wrote them. By definition, if Lewis' words were to be taken seriously, Christians would be writing about every topic under the sun and their faith would be inherent, not necessarily explicit, in everything they write.

Why do such a thing?

Because the gospel is comprehensive. It applies to all areas of life. Until a skeptic can see that, Christianity is just a religion without much use, except to mark births, marriages and funerals. But when Christians present and live out a comprehensive gospel – one that not only speaks to the culture where it is, but also loves people where they are, then Christianity no longer looks like a religion. Instead it looks like purpose, and depth and redemption.

Of course, the irony of Lewis' words is, he wrote them in an essay to Christians. But I don't think he was saying Christians shouldn't write to encourage, build up or challenge each other in the faith. Instead I think he was saying we should also write for the culture at large. That's what I try to do here. So, whether you are Christian, a believer in some other faith, a skeptic or someone who is trying to figure out what you believe, I hope you find something here at Little Nuances that speaks to you.


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