C.S. Lewis on Reading “old books”

In a letter to a pastor, John Wesley, cautions him about his lack of reading: (link)

What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. [Your preaching] is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this …

In the introduction to Athanasius’ On the Incarnation (amazon, online), C.S. Lewis talks about the importance of what we are reading (introduction). Particularly, he warns us against reading that is comprised of an “exclusive contemporary diet”, instead encouraging us to read books from the past (emphasis added).

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. … this mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology.


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C.S. Lewis on Humility

I have been reading (actually listening on my commute) C.S. Lewis’ classic the Screwtape Letters. These letters are insightful and challenging looks at how to live out the Christian life.


They are written from the perspective of how demons might seek to tempt and pull us away from our relationship with God (known as the Enemy).

In letter #14 we find the master tempter Screwtape instructing his nephew, Wormwood, on how to deal with a problem. The person (aka the patient) that has been assigned to Wormwood, whom he is responsible for tempting and discouraging, is growing in his Christian walk.

Your patient has become humble

The first line of attack that Screwtape encourages his nephew to consider is to get his patient to focus on his humility. In this way they might attempt to draw out the vice pride as the man would suddenly start to think: I am being humble. Continue reading

What does Free Will do?

calvin-and-hobbes-on-predestinationI have posted a lot on Free Will since I find it both an interesting topic of study as well as one of the most misunderstood areas of theology. The way I see it, a libertarian definition of free will is necessary to rationally and Biblically solve such theological problems as God’s relationship to evil, ethics and personal responsibility, and reconciling how a sovereign God could want none to perish and desire all to be saved when not all people receive eternal life.

Liberty necessitated, or over-ruled, is really no liberty at all. It is a contradiction in terms … downright nonsense. – John Wesley

In Disputation #11, Arminius attributed “complete freedom of action” to God alone, and listed the following characteristic of free will as it applied to man. Continue reading