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  • Title: Kevin Vanhoozer - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: /.. Kevin Vanhoozer.. Subscribe to.. Audio Podcast.. Video Podcast.. Text Only Feed.. Life in God’s Cosmic Theater: An Interview with Kevin Vanhoozer.. Authors on the Line.. August 20, 2013.. Authors On The Line.. and.. Read.. Audio:.. Listen.. Download.. In Bright Shadow: C.. S.. Lewis on the  ...   The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.. Lewis.. September 28, 2013.. Conference Message.. Conference:.. 2013 National Conference.. Panel Discussion.. ,.. Douglas Wilson.. Phillip Ryken.. , and.. Randy Alcorn.. National Conference Rebroadcast.. Colin Duriez.. Joe Rigney.. Lyle Dorsett.. N.. D.. Wilson.. Resource Categories..

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  • Title: Randy Alcorn - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Money and the Disciple.. Desiring God 2004 Conference for Pastors.. Money, Ministry, and the Magnificence of Christ.. February 2, 2004.. 2004 Conference for Pastors.. Money and the Pastor.. February 3, 2004.. Money and the Church.. Questions and Answers.. February 4, 2004.. Dwight Perry.. George Verwer.. Today's Decisions Determine Who You'll Be Tomorrow.. Desiring God 2007 National Conference..  ...   2007 National Conference.. Video:.. Difficult Truths & Deep Love: Pondering Sovereignty, Suffering, and the Promise of Heaven.. Desiring God 2010 National Conference.. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.. October 1, 2010.. 2010 National Conference.. Watch.. C.. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering..

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  • Title: What God Made Is Good — And Must Be Sanctified: C.S. Lewis and St. Paul on the Use of Creation Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: What God Made Is Good — And Must Be Sanctified: C.. Lewis and St.. Paul on the Use of Creation.. September 29, 2013.. Topic:.. Life of Worship.. Sermon Audio.. Sermon Video.. Sermon Text.. Watch:.. Full Length.. Listen:.. Download.. Audio: Full Length.. You're listening to.. Last night we heard from Randy Alcorn that we will eat and drink in the new earth.. He quoted C.. Lewis that this is not unspiritual but designed by God.. Here’s the longer quote:.. There is no good trying to more spiritual than God.. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.. That is why he uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us.. We may think this rather rude and unspiritual.. God does not: he invented eating.. He likes matter.. He invented it.. (.. Mere Christianity.. ).. That’s true.. And my point in this message is that we don’t have to wait for the new earth — we dare not wait for the new earth — to begin eating and drinking to the glory of God.. I invite you to turn to 1 Timothy 4:1–5.. Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy (sanctified) by the word of God and prayer.. Verses 1–3a describe the apostasy of people who are buying into demonic teachings about the evils of sex and food.. Then in the middle of verse 3, Paul begins his response to these teachings, and gives his positive alternative for the right use of creation — in particular, the right use of food, and by implication sex in marriage, and all other pleasures that come from this material world.. So let’s look briefly at the demonic teachings of verses 1–3a, and then focus most of our time on Paul’s positive alternative, with C.. Lewis giving insights along the way.. The Magnitude of This Issue.. But first make sure you feel the magnitude of what we are dealing with here.. The issue is: How are we to experience the material creation (which, of course, includes our bodies, and everything we encounter with our five senses) in such a way that God is worshiped, honored, loved, supremely treasured in our experience of material creation?.. You can feel the magnitude of this issue in two ways.. First, as far as your daily experience goes, there is no more pervasive issue than this.. And second, as far as God’s original purpose in creating the world goes, this issue is essential to that purpose.. Unlike many issues, this issue meets you every minute of your day — at least your waking day.. In your waking hours, you are always seeing or hearing or smelling or tasting or touching some part of creation that is giving you some pleasure or pain, or something in between.. And therefore, the question of how this becomes part your continual worship of God is pervasive.. And when God contemplated the creation of conscious human souls in addition to angels, he faced the question of whether these souls should be embodied, and whether they should live in a material universe, and how those bodies and that material world would accomplish his purposes to glorify himself in creation — because the Bible is unmistakably clear that the communication and exaltation of the glory of God is why God created the universe (Isaiah 43:7, Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 1:6)?.. So I hope you feel some measure of the magnitude of the issue we are dealing with here in these verses in 1 Timothy.. The devil certainly feels the magnitude of what we are dealing with here, and he is behind the apostasy in the churches, especially in the last days, Paul says.. Christians are leaving the faith, Paul says in verse 1 (“some will depart from the faith”).. But they probably don’t know they are leaving the faith.. They think they are the truly faithful.. We’ll see this in a moment.. The Roots of the Apostasy.. So let’s look at the roots of this apostasy and see where it’s coming from.. The first source Paul mentions is “deceitful spirits.. ” Verse 1: “Some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to (or giving heed to, believing in ).. deceitful spirits.. ” So the devil and his demons are at work in the church to bring about this deception.. The apostle John calls Satan, in Revelation 12:9, “the deceiver of the whole world.. ” And when John tackled the heresy of denying the physical incarnation of the Son of God, he said in 2 John 1:7, “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.. ” So all along the way, leading to the last day, the deceiver is at work in the church.. Demonic Teachings.. The second source of this apostasy is that these deceitful spirits produce teachings.. They don’t just work subconsciously in the mind or in the heart.. They produce teachings in the church.. Verse 1 at the end: “devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and.. teachings of demons.. ” So there are teachings circulating in the churches to the effect that true godliness, or superior godliness, involves renouncing marriage and certain foods (verse 3).. Evidently the teaching of demons was that physical appetite for sex and physical appetite for food as defective.. They are inferior to a kind of asceticism that sees in the physical world not God’s ideal for us, but something second-class, something for the weak, who don’t have the wherewithal to renounce sex and foods.. This was not just a deceitful spirit, but an actual teaching in the church that came, Paul said, from hell.. It was demonic.. Coming Through Real People.. The third source of this apostasy was real people.. Not just a spirit, and not just teachings, but people who were filled with this spirit and who advocated these teachings.. Verse 1b–2: People were giving heed to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons “through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.. ”.. The word “insincerity” is “hypocrisy” (Greek.. hypocrisei.. In other words, these are professing Christians who presented themselves as teaching a higher godliness, but they were, Paul says, “false speakers” (“liars”).. They may or may not have known they were speaking falsely.. All we know is that they were teaching the teachings of demons and not the teachings of God.. They were hypocrites.. They presented themselves as one thing, when in fact they were another thing, whether they knew it or not.. Their consciences had been cauterized.. Which may mean they were too callous to know they were speaking falsehood, or so callous they didn’t care.. Satan’s Deadly Subtlety.. It seems to me, the most pressing question here is: Why would Satan seek to spread this kind of asceticism among the churches? At first glance, it seems odd to us.. Isn’t Satan’s specialty, when it comes to sex to entice people to want more, not less? Isn’t pornography the issue today, not celibacy?.. Isn’t his specialty, when it comes to food, to entice people toward the destructive forces of gluttony and obesity, not toward moderation and abstinence? Doesn’t Ephesians 2:1–3 describe our spiritual deadness in sin as “following the prince of the power of the air.. carrying out the desires of the body.. and by nature children of wrath”?.. Oh the subtlety of our great adversary! Of course, he wants you to do pornography and fornication and adultery and gluttony.. But do you think he only has one strategy for using food and sex to bring about rebellion against the true God?.. Whispers of the Fall.. Compare his strategy in 1 Timothy 4 with his strategy in Genesis 3.. His very first question to humankind was about food.. It went like this: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).. What had God said about eating from the trees of Eden? Genesis 2:16–17: “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of.. every.. tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.. ””.. So what was God saying? He was saying: “I have given you life, and I have given you a world full of pleasures — pleasures of taste and sight and sound and smell and feel and nourishment.. Only one tree is forbidden to you.. And the point of that prohibition is to preserve the pleasures of the world.. If you eat of that one, you will be saying to me: ‘Your will is less authoritative than mine, your wisdom less wise than mine, your goodness less generous than mine, and your Fatherhood less caring than mine.. ’ So don’t eat from that tree.. Keep on submitting to my will, and affirming my wisdom, and being thankful for my generosity, and trusting joyfully in my fatherly care.. There are 10,000 trees with every imaginable fruit for pleasure and nourishment within a two-hour walk of where we stand.. They are all good — very good — and they are all yours.. Go, eat, enjoy, be thankful.. And what does Satan make of that? He made of it a tightfisted God.. He took the prohibition of one suicidal tree and treated it as a prohibition of all: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of.. any.. tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).. Now, we could linger long here to see how this seed of distrust in God’s generosity took root in Eve.. But that’s not the point here.. The point here is Satan’s strategy and how it compares to 1 Timothy 4.. His strategy was to portray God as stingy, withholding something good of his creation from Adam and Eve.. And in Genesis 3, Satan wanted Eve to believe that God is a withholder of good, and he wanted her to rebel.. And that’s what happened.. The Deceiver Uses Gluttony and Asceticism.. Now, in 1 Timothy 4, Satan again wants us to see God has a withholder.. For those who want to know him best, and rise to the level of the really spiritual, they should realize God prefers if they not experience sexual pleasures in marriage, and he prefers that they not experience the pleasurable sensations of certain foods.. The demonic teaching is the same: God was a withholder in the garden, and he is still a withholder.. The difference is: In the garden, Satan wanted us to reject the  ...   [in this way] it [everything God has made, “nothing is to be rejected,” verse 4] is made holy (sanctified) by the word of God and prayer.. The clearest and most important thing to see here is that the.. good.. creation must become the.. sanctified.. creation.. It’s not enough for creation to be.. from God’s side; it must be.. from our side.. It won’t do to say that because creation is good, eating is good.. Eating may be fraud.. Prostitution.. In order for eating not to be fraudulent, the food must be sanctified.. Not just good by creation, but sanctified by the word of God and prayer.. How Eating Becomes Holy.. What does it mean for food to be “sanctified,” or “made holy”? Last year I stood here in this conference and argued that.. God’s.. holiness is his infinite worth owing to his transcendent, self-existent uniqueness.. And.. our.. holiness is feeling and thinking and acting in accord with the infinite worth of God.. And a.. thing.. becomes holy by being set apart for God as a means of expressing his infinite worth.. So, for example, Jesus said, “Which is greater, the gold or the temple that.. has made the gold holy.. ?” (Matthew 23:17).. Here the use of gold.. in the temple.. “sanctifies” the gold (same word “sanctifies” as in 1 Timothy 4:5).. The gold is not itself changed, but it is given a God-exalting function by the way it is made part of God’s temple.. It is set apart for God as a means of expressing his infinite worth.. So sanctifying food, or making food holy, means setting it apart as a means of expressing the infinite worth of God.. This is how eating becomes worship.. This is how all things become pure.. “To the pure, all things are pure” (Titus 1:15).. Because the pure are the holy and the holy sanctify all things by the word of God and prayer.. By God’s Speaking and Ours.. How do the word of God and prayer sanctify food? How do they set it apart as an expression of the infinite worth of God? The most obvious observation is that the.. word of God.. is God’s speaking to us, and.. prayer.. is our speaking to God.. So the general answer is that food is set apart as an expression of God’s worth when we listen to what God has to say about food (and believe him, as verse 3 says), and when we speak back to him our affirmations of his truth with gratefulness and with believing pleas that he help us taste his worth in this way.. “Nothing to Give but Himself”.. Now, to make the answer more specific, we could go so many different directions at this point.. Because God has told us so many things in his word about how food relates to him.. 7.. But I am going to focus on just one thing suggested by C.. Lewis in a provocative section in.. Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer.. Here’s the excerpt:.. Creation seems to be delegation through and through.. He will do nothing simply of Himself which can be done by creatures.. I suppose this is because He is a giver.. And He has nothing to give but Himself.. And to give Himself is to do His deeds – in a sense, and on varying levels to be Himself — through the things He has made.. In Pantheism God is all.. But the whole point of creation surely is that He was not content to be all.. He intends to be “all.. in all.. 8.. I am sure I do not understand all Lewis means by this.. But it seems to me that he is onto something that has profound implications for the way food is sanctified in our use of it.. He says, “He has nothing to give but Himself.. ” Now that strikes me as true before creation.. Before creation, when God contemplated creating beings who would experience maximum joy with him forever, he had no treasure chest outside himself to look into and ponder which of these would make his creatures happy.. He was the treasure.. He alone existed.. He alone was of infinite value.. So when he created the material universe for us to live in — food, sex, colors, sounds, tastes, textures — he was doing it to give us himself for our enjoyment.. He was not saying: I am not enough for you; so I will supplement the gift of myself with the gift of physical things, since the gift of myself would be less satisfying than the gift of me plus physical things.. That’s not why he made the world.. There’s another possibility.. And that’s what Lewis is getting at.. Why God Made the World.. As God contemplates creating the world, Lewis says, “He has nothing to give but Himself.. And to give Himself is to do His deeds — in a sense, and on varying levels to be Himself — through the things He has made.. ” In other words, God creates the physical world for man to live in, so that in and through the vast diversities of goodness in creation, God could communicate his own vast diversities of goodness to us.. Which means that the physical universe is thus not an added treasure alongside God.. Rather, the universe is the kind of garden or orchard where human beings can best taste and see the manifold goodness of God himself.. I’m suggesting, along with Lewis, that of all the possible ways that God could have revealed the fullness and diversity of the supreme value of his being, he concluded that a physical world would be the best.. The material creation was not God’s way of saying to humankind: “I am not enough for you.. ” It was his way of saying: “Here is the best garden where more of what I am can be revealed to finite creatures.. The juiciness of a peach and the sweetness of honey are a communication of myself.. In Jesus’s Name.. Remember Lewis’s words: “He has nothing to give but Himself.. And to give Himself is.. to.. be.. Himself — through the things He has made.. ” This is risky because it could be taken to mean pantheism — that the enjoyment of the peach and the honey is the enjoyment of God, because the peach and the honey are God.. He could be taken that way.. But he tells us explicitly in the context.. not.. to take him that way.. What Lewis wants to say is that to enjoy the juiciness of a peach and to enjoy the sweetness of honey is to enjoy God, not because the peach.. is.. God, or the honey.. God, but because that kind of sweetness and pleasantness is indeed in God and from God, and this is the best way God can communicate his sweetness to us.. If Lewis is on the right track here, what then does 1 Timothy 4:5 mean when it says food “is made holy, or sanctified, by the word of God and prayer”? It means the word of God teaches us to taste food as a communication of his diverse goodness and his supreme worth.. And when we taste food as a communication of God’s goodness and worth in the eating of this food, we offer up our prayers of thanks, and ask him to give us the fullest possible feast of his supreme worth.. And we pray this in Jesus’s name, knowing that every lasting blessing was bought by his blood.. Taste and See.. Circling back to the beginning, it may be more obvious now why demons would promote teachings that communicate the defectiveness or inferiority of food and sex by forbidding them from the truly godly.. This is, in the end, a demonic attack on the holiness of God — on the supreme worth and excellence of God.. And Paul’s response to it is: Rejecting food is not the path of holiness.. Sanctifying food is the path of holiness.. God made it.. It’s good.. But that goodness does not make eating worship.. The word of God and prayer make food holy, and make eating worship.. And they do it by showing us how to taste the sweetness of God in the sweetness of honey, and give him thanks.. May God take all the messages of this conference, and all the wisdom of C.. Lewis, and all the wonders of this world, and all the truth of his word, and grant you to taste and see that the Lord is good.. And with the help of C.. Lewis may you communicate it with a joy and skill as never before to a world full of unsatisfied longing.. 1.. Lewis,.. Miracles: A Preliminary Study.. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947), p.. 65.. “This attitude [a kind of asceticism that has a healthy respect for the very thing being rejected] will, I think be found to depend logically on the doctrines of Creation and the Fall.. Some hazy adumbrations of a doctrine of the Fall can be found in Paganism; but it is quite astonishing how rarely outside Christianity we find — I am not sure that we ever find — a real doctrine of Creation.. ” C.. Lewis, “Some Thoughts,” in Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), p.. 733.. 3.. Lewis, “Some Thoughts,” 734.. 4.. Walter Hooper, editor,.. The Collected Letters of C.. S.. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950-1963, Vol.. III.. (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007), 247.. 5.. , 65.. 6.. (London: Geoffrey Bles, Ltd.. , 1960), 109.. For example, he has told us that he created it; that it is good (1 Timothy 4:4); that it not only is meant to sustain life but to give pleasure (1 Timothy 6:17); that food like all other creation exists for the glory of God (Psalm 19:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 1:16); and that we are sinners and do not deserve any of this goodness (Romans 1:18; 3:9), so that for believers food is an absolutely free foretaste of glory bought with the blood of Christ (Romans 8:32).. Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer.. (San Diego: Harcourt, 1963), 71.. 2013 Desiring God Foundation.. Used by Permission.. Permissions:.. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee.. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page.. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy:.. By John Piper.. Website:.. desiringGod.. org.. Related Resources.. I Will Sing of Thy Might and Mercy.. (Sermons).. The Curse of Priestly Failure.. Diversity in God-Centered Worship.. The Place of Preaching in Worship.. Worship: the Feast of Christian Hedonism.. PDF.. Related Topics:.. The Glory of God.. Sanctification Growth.. Devotional Life.. Pride Humility.. Hymns.. See list of.. Edit Resource.. By Date.. By Topic.. By Author.. By Conference.. By Language..

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  • Title: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering.. The Bible.. How Can I Keep on Hoping? The Scriptures!.. How the Spirit Helps Us Understand.. If My Words Abide In You.. Learning to Pray in the Spirit and the Word, Part 1.. Learning to Pray in the Spirit and the Word, Part 2.. Prayer.. Fasting.. Knowing God s Will.. Tough Texts..

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  • Title: Panel Discussion Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Panel Discussion..

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  • Title: Phillip Ryken - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Inerrancy and the Patron Saint of Evangelicalism: C.. Lewis on Holy Scripture..

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  • Title: In Bright Shadow: C.S. Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship..

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  • Title: Undragoned: C.S. Lewis on the Gift of Salvation Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Undragoned: C.. Lewis on the Gift of Salvation..

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  • Title: Inerrancy and the Patron Saint of Evangelicalism: C.S. Lewis on Holy Scripture Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Lewis on Holy Scripture.. Christian Biography.. Brothers, Read Christian Biography.. (Articles).. David Brainerd.. (Books).. A Quick Look at the Best of ‘Screwtape’.. (Conference Messages).. Longing in Lewis’s Life and Writing.. Was Lewis a Revolutionary or Dinosaur?.. Philosophy of History.. Jonathan Edwards.. Old Testament Biblical Figures..

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  • Title: C.S. Lewis, Romantic Rationalist: How His Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
    Descriptive info: Lewis, Romantic Rationalist: How His Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry.. September 27, 2013.. For those of you who may wonder why we would devote an entire conference to a mere mortal like C.. Lewis, let’s begin with an accolade from Peter Kreeft — from a chapter titled, “The Romantic Rationalist: Lewis the Man.. Once upon a dreary era, when the world of.. specialization had nearly made obsolete all universal geniuses, romantic poets, Platonic idealists, rhetorical craftsmen, and even orthodox Christians, there appeared a man (almost as if from another world, one of the worlds of his own fiction: was he a man or something more like elf or Angel?) who was all of these things as amateur, as well as probably the world's foremost authority in his professional province, Medieval and Renaissance English literature.. Before his death in 1963 he found time to produce some first-quality works of literary history, literary criticism, theology, philosophy, autobiography, biblical studies, historical philology, fantasy, science fiction, letters, poems, sermons, formal and informal essays, a historical novel, a spiritual diary, religious allegory, short stories, and children's novels.. Clive Staples Lewis was not a man: he was a world.. Those are the kinds of accolades you read again and again.. Which means there probably have been something extraordinary about the man.. Indeed, we believe there was.. And in this fiftieth year since his death, it seemed to many of us that a conference like this would be a small expression of our thankfulness to God for him, and our admiration of him, and our desire that his gifts to the world be preserved and spread.. Childhood and Schooling.. The various speakers at this conference will draw out facts of Lewis’s life that are relevant to their concern, but let me give you a four-minute summary of his life, so that some of the hard facts are before us.. Lewis loved hard facts.. The kind you want under your house when the rains come down and the floods come up.. Lewis was born in 1898 in Belfast, Ireland.. His mother died when he was nine years old, and his father never remarried.. Between the death of his mother in August, 1908, and the fall of 1914, Lewis attended four different boarding schools.. Then for two-and-a-half years, he studied with William Kirkpatrick, whom he called the Great Knock.. And there his emerging atheism was confirmed, and his reasoning powers were refined in an extraordinary way.. Lewis said, “If ever a man came near to being a purely logical entity that man was Kirk.. He described himself later as a seventeen-year-old rationalist.. Becoming the Voice.. But just as his rationalism was at its peak, he stumbled onto George Macdonald’s phantasy novel.. Phantastes.. “That night,” he said, “my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized.. Something had broken in — a “new quality,” a “bright shadow,” he called it.. The romantic impulse of his childhood was again awake.. Only now it seemed real, and holy (though he would not have called it that yet).. At eighteen, he took his place at Oxford University, but before he could begin his studies, he entered the army, and in February, 1918, was wounded in France and returned to England to recover.. He resumed his studies in Oxford, in January, 1919, and over the next six years took three First Class Honors in classics, humanities, and English literature.. He became a teaching fellow in October, 1925, at the age of 26.. Six years later, in 1931, he professed faith in Jesus Christ and was settled in the conviction that Christianity is true.. Within ten years, he had become the “voice of faith” for the nation of England during the Second World War, and his broadcast talks in 1941–1942 “achieved classic status.. Lewis in Full Flower.. He was now in the full flower of his creative and apologetic productivity.. In his prime, he was probably the world’s leading authority on Medieval English Literature, and, according to one of his adversaries, “the best read man of his generation.. But he was vastly more.. Books of many kinds were rolling out:.. Pilgrim’s Regress, The Allegory of Love, The Screwtape Letters, Perelandra.. Then in 1950 began.. The Chronicles of Narnia.. All these titles were of different genres and showed the amazing versatility of Lewis as a writer and thinker and imaginative visionary.. He appeared on the cover of.. Time Magazine.. in 1947.. Then, after thirty years at Oxford, he took a professorship in Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge in 1955.. The next year, at the age of 57, he married Joy Davidman.. And just short of their fourth anniversary, she died of cancer, and three and a half years later — two weeks short of his 65th birthday, on November 22, 1963 — Lewis followed her in death.. A Life of Pointing.. Lewis is more popular as an author today than at any time during his life.. The Chronicles of Narnia alone have gone on to sell over 100 million copies in 40 languages.. One the reasons for this appeal, I am going to argue, is that Lewis is a romantic rationalist to an exceptionally high and healthy degree, and there is a romantic and rationalistic deep, and often distorted, desire in every human.. My thesis is that his romanticism and his rationalism were the paths on which he came to Christ, and they are the paths on which he lived his life and did his work.. They shaped him into a teacher and writer with extraordinary gifts for logic and likening.. And with these gifts, he spent his life pointing people beyond through the world, the world, to the meaning of the world, Jesus Christ.. So we will look first at his romanticism, and then at his rationality, and how both paths led him to Christ, and made him one of the 20th century’s greatest likeners and evangelists.. The Romantic.. In August, 1932, Lewis sat down and wrote his first novel in fourteen days, less than a year after professing faith in Christ.. The Pilgrims Regress.. is a 200-page allegory of his own pilgrimage to faith in Christ.. The subtitle goes like this: “An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism.. ” So he is defending being a Romantic, a Rationalist, and a Christian.. Romanticism Means Joy.. But ten years later, when the third edition of the book appeared, he added a ten-page preface to apologize for obscurity and to explain what he means by being a romantic.. He said, “The cause for obscurity was the (unintentionally) ‘private’ meaning I then gave to the word ‘Romanticism.. ’”.. 9.. The word, as he used it, he said, described “the experience which is central in this book.. What I meant by “Romanticism”.. and what I would still be taken to mean on the title page of this book — was.. a particular recurrent experience which dominated my childhood and adolescence in which I hastily called “Romantic” because inanimate nature and marvelous literature were among the things that evoked it.. 10.. When we examine his description of the experience he refers to, it turns out to be identical with what ten years later in his autobiography he calls Joy.. 11.. The experience [of romanticism] is one of intense longing.. It is distinguished from other longings by two things.. In the first place, though the sense of want is acute and even painful, yet the mere wanting is felt to be somehow a delight.. This hunger is better than any other fullness; this poverty better than all other wealth.. 12.. There is a peculiar mystery about the.. object.. of this Desire.. Inexperienced people (and inattention leaves some inexperienced all their lives) suppose, when they feel it, that they know what they are desiring.. [Some past event, some perilous ocean, some erotic suggestion, some beautiful meadow, some distant planet, some great achievement, some quest or great knowledge, etc.. ].. But every one of these impressions is wrong.. The sole merit I claim for this book is that it is written by one who has proved them all to be wrong.. There is no room for vanity in the claim: I know them to be wrong not by intelligence but by experience.. For I have myself been deluded by every one of these false answers in turn, and have contemplated each of them earnestly enough to discover the cheat.. 13.. If a man diligently followed this desire, pursuing the false objects until their falsity appeared and then resolutely abandoning them, he must come out at last into the clear knowledge that the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given — nay, cannot even be imagined as given — in our present mode of subjective and spatio-temporal existence.. 14.. The Dialectic of Desire.. Lewis called this experience a kind of lived ontological proof of God — or at least proof of something beyond the created world.. “The dialectic of Desire,” he said, “faithfully followed, would.. force you not to propound, but to live through, a sort of ontological proof.. 15.. Later, when he wrote.. , he would state it most famously: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.. 16.. The Piercing Longing.. So the essence of his romanticism is Lewis’s experience of the world that repeatedly awakened in him a sense that there is always more than this created world — something other, something beyond the natural world.. At first, he thought the stabbing desire or the longing was what he really wanted.. But after his conversion, he wrote, “I now know that the experience, considered as a state of my own mind, had never had the kind of importance I once gave it.. It was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer.. 17.. And this other and outer — this more — was wonderful even before he knew that what he was longing for was God.. And now that he was a Christian, the piercing longing did not go away just because he knew who it was: “I believe,” he said, “.. that the old stab, the old bittersweet, has come to me as often and as sharply since my conversion as at any time of my life.. 18.. The Central Story of His Life.. Alan Jacobs says, “Nothing was closer to the core of his being than this experience.. 19.. Clyde Kilby says, “In one way or other it hovers over nearly every one of his books.. 20.. And Lewis himself says, “In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.. 21.. And when you read his repeated descriptions of this experience of romanticism or Joy in.. Surprised by Joy.. Pilgrim’s Regress.. The Problem of Pain.. The Weight of Glory.. , you realize Lewis doesn’t see this as a quirk of his personality but as a trait of humanness.. All of us are romantics in this sense.. Devin Brown says, Lewis’s “use of the inclusive.. you.. in these passages.. makes it clear that Lewis believes this is a longing we have all felt.. You might say this is the central story of everyone’s life.. 22.. Our Hidden Desire for Heaven.. For example, in.. , Lewis makes the case that even people who think they have never desired heaven don’t see things clearly.. There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.. tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.. But if.. there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself—you would know it.. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, “here at last is the thing I was made for.. 23.. So Lewis saw in his own experience of romanticism a universally human experience.. We are all romantics.. All of us experience from time to time — some more than others, and some more intensely than others — a longing this world cannot satisfy, a deep sense that there must be more.. The Rationalist.. We turn now  ...   you of something you can’t quite place.. I’ve never met Orcs or Ents or Elves — but the feel of it, the sense of a huge past, of lowering danger, of heroic tasks achieved by the most apparently unheroic people, of distance, vastness, strangeness, homeliness (all blended together) is so exactly what living feels like to me.. 35.. Revealing Reality.. In the preface to the Pilgrim’s Regress, he comments, “All good allegory exists not to hide but to reveal; to make the inner world more palpable by giving it an (imagined) concrete embodiment.. 36.. And in his poem “Impenitence,” he defends imaginary talking animals by saying they are,.. Masks for Man, cartoons, parodies by Nature.. Formed to reveal us.. In other words, heroic myth, and penetrating allegory, and great romance, and talking animals are “masks.. formed to reveal.. ” Again the paradox of likening — depicting.. some aspect of reality as what it is not in order to reveal more deeply what it is.. Likening in Apologetics.. But lest I give the wrong impression that Lewis was a likener only in his poetry and fiction, I need to stress that he was a likener everywhere — in everything he wrote.. Myths and allegory and romances and fairy tales are extended metaphors.. But thinking and writing metaphorically and imaginatively and analogically were present everywhere Lewis’s life and work.. Lewis was a poet and craftsman and image-maker in everything he wrote.. Alistair McGrath observed that what captivated the reader of Lewis’s sermons and essays and apologetic works, not just his novels, was.. his ability to write prose tinged with a poetic vision, it’s carefully crafted phrases lingering in the memory because they have captivated the imagination.. > The qualities we associate with good poetry — such as an appreciation of the sound of words, rich and suggestive analogies and images, vivid description, and lyrical sense — are found in Lewis’s prose.. 37.. I think this is exactly right, and it makes him not only refreshing and illuminating to read on almost any topic, but also a great model for how to think and write and talk about everything.. Walter Hooper puts it like this:.. A sampling of all Lewis’s works will reveal the same man in his poetry as in his clear and sparkling prose.. His wonderful imagination is the guiding thread.. It is continuously at work.. And this is why, I think, his admirers find it so pleasant to be instructed by him in subjects they have hitherto cared so little for.. Everything he touched had his kind of magic about it.. 38.. It is indeed pleasant to be instructed by a master likener.. Images and analogies and creative illustrations and metaphors and surprising turns of phrase are pleasant.. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).. Solomon even uses an image to celebrate the pleasure of images.. But my point here has not been the.. pleasure.. of likening, but its power of.. illumination.. It’s power to reveal truth.. The Key to Deepest Meaning.. Lewis’s romanticism and his rationalism — his inconsolable longing and his validity-demanding logic — pointed outside the world to what it is not for the key to understanding what the world is.. And he found that, if the key to the deepest meaning of this world lies outside this world — in its maker and redeemer, Jesus Christ — then the world itself will probably be illumined most deeply not simply by describing the world merely as what it is, but by.. the world to what it’s not.. Lewis’s unrelenting commitment to.. — to the use of images and analogies and metaphor and surprising juxtapositions, even in his most logical demonstrations of truth — was owing not mainly to the greater pleasure it can give, but to the deeper truth it can reveal.. Lewis loved the truth.. He loved objective reality.. He believed that the truth of this world and the truth of God could be known.. He believed that the use of reason was essential in knowing and defending truth.. But he also believed that there are depths of truth and dimensions of reality that.. will reveal more deeply than reason.. Seeing Wonder in This World.. Unless we see that this world is not ultimate reality, but is only like it, we will not see and savor this world for the wonder that it is.. Lewis is at his metaphorical best as he explains this with his image-laden prose in this paragraph from.. The Englishness of English is audible only to those who know some other language as well.. In the same way and for the same reason, only Supernaturalists really see Nature.. You must go a little way from her, and then turn round, and look back.. Then at last the true landscape will become visible.. You must have tasted, however briefly, the pure water from beyond the world before you can be distinctly conscious of the hot, salty tang of Nature’s current.. To treat her as God, or as Everything, is to lose the whole pith and pleasure of her [Note: pith.. and.. pleasure].. Come out, look back, and then you will see.. this astonishing cataract of bears, babies, and bananas: this immoderate deluge of atoms, orchids, oranges, cancers, canaries, fleas, gases, tornadoes, and toads.. How could you have ever thought this was ultimate reality? How could you ever have thought that it was merely a stage-set for the moral drama of men and women? She is herself.. Offer her neither worship nor contempt.. Meet her and know her.. The theologians tell us that she, like ourselves, is to be redeemed.. The “vanity” to which she was subjected was her disease, not her essence.. She will be cured, but cured in character: not tamed (Heaven forbid) nor sterilized.. We shall still be able to recognize our old enemy, friend, play-fellow and foster-mother, so perfected as to be not less, but more, herself.. And that will be a merry meeting.. 39.. “Only supernaturalists really see nature.. ” The only people who can know the terrifying wonder (the “pith and pleasure”) of the world are those who know that the world is not the most wonderful and terrifying reality.. The world is a likening.. The path of romanticism taught Lewis that the world is a likening — the final satisfaction of our longing is not in this world.. The path of rationality taught Lewis that the world is a likening.. The final validation of our thinking is not in this world.. And since this world is a likening — not the goal of our longing or the ground of our logic — therefore it is revealed for what it most profoundly is by likening.. The Evangelist.. What was Lewis doing in all his works — in all his likening, and in all his likening-soaked reasoning? He was pointing.. He was unveiling.. He was depicting the glory of God in the face of Jesus.. He was leading people to Christ.. The two paths he knew best were the paths of romanticism and rationalism — longing and logic.. So these are the paths he on which he guided people to Christ.. One of the things that makes him admirable to me, in spite of all our doctrinal differences (and they are significant and troubling) is his crystal clear, unashamed belief that people are lost without Christ and that every Christian should try to win them, including world-class scholars medieval and renaissance literature.. And so unlike many tentative, hidden, vague, approval-craving intellectual Christians, Lewis says outright, “The salvation of a single soul is more important that the production or preservation of all the epics an tragedies in the world.. 40.. And again: “The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.. 41.. Helping Us See Glory.. This is what he was doing in all his likening and all his reasoning.. And when Norman Pittenger criticized him in 1958 for being simplistic in his portrayal of Christian faith, Lewis responded in a way that shows us what he was doing in all his work:.. When I began, Christianity came before the great mass of my unbelieving fellow-countrymen either in the highly emotional form offered by revivalists or in the unintelligible language of highly cultured clergymen.. Most men were reached by neither.. My task was therefore simply that of a translator — one turning Christian doctrine, or what he believed to be such, into the vernacular, into language that unscholarly people would attend to and could understand.. Dr Pittenger would be a more helpful critic if he advised a cure as well as asserting many diseases.. How does he himself do such work? What methods, and with what success, does he employ when he is trying to convert the great mass of storekeepers, lawyers, realtors, morticians, policemen and artisans who surround him in his own city?.. 42.. Lewis came to Christ on the converging paths of romanticism and rationalism.. And as a Christian, because of what he learned on these paths, he became a master thinker and master likener.. This is who he was and this is what he knew.. And so this is how he did his evangelism.. He bent every romantic effort and every rational effort to help people see what he had seen — the glory of Jesus Christ, the goal of all his longings, and the solid ground of all his thoughts.. Lewis: romantic, rationalist, likener, evangelist.. A work of God’s grace, and a gift to us.. One of our reasons for being here is to say thank you to God.. Peter Kreeft,.. Lewis: A Critical Essay.. (Grand Rapids: William B.. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. , 1969), 4.. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, World, 1955), 135.. , 181.. , 179,.. Alister McGrath,.. Lewis: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet.. (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. , 2013), 210.. Ibid.. 166.. http://ncronline.. org/news/art-media/cs-lewis-couldnt-touch-anything-without-illuminating-it (accessed 9-12-13).. He wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves on October 1, 1931, “I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ — in Christianity.. ”.. Lewis, Vol.. 1, Family Letters 1905–1931.. , ed.. Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 974.. Eerdmans Publishing Companty, 1958), 5.. In.. , 17–18, Lewis said that this Joy is the experience “of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure.. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that any one who has experienced it will want it again.. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief.. But then it is the kind we want.. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world.. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1960), 106.. , 238.. Alan Jacobs,.. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.. (New York: HarperOne, 2006), 42.. Clyde S.. Kilby,.. The Christian World of C.. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964), 187.. , 17.. Devin Brown,.. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.. (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2013), 5.. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1962), 145-146.. Lewis, “.. De Futilitate.. ” in.. Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces.. (London: HarperCollins, 2000), 674.. , 1958), 10.. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” in.. (London: HarperCollins, 2000), 21.. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947), 56.. “Is Theology Poetry?”, 21.. , 20.. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy.. 1950-1963.. , Vol.. III (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007), 1523.. Emphasis added.. 1950-1963, Vol.. (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007), 516-517.. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts and War, 1931-1949, Vol.. II.. (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007), 445.. Lewis, “On Stories,” in.. , 501.. , 371.. , 971-972.. , 13.. Alistair McGrath,.. , 108.. Walter Hooper,.. , vi.. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947), 67-68.. Lewis, “Christianity and Literature,” in:.. Christian Reflections.. , 10.. Lewis, “Christianity and Culture” in:.. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), 14.. Lewis, “Rejoinder to Dr Pittinger,”.. God in the Dock.. , 1970), 183..

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  • Title: Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles Desiring God 2013 National Conference The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis - Desiring God
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