C.S. Lewis – Christianity and Culture


Bodleian Library – Oxford University

Lewis had sent Dr. Vidler this reply to Brother George Every’s article regarding “The Necessity of Scrutiny” published in Theology (March 1939). This letter is from C.S. Lewis Collected Letters – Jan 25th 1940 – and is in the Bodleian Libray, Oxford University

C S Lewis believed that culture may be an ally of the gospel.  He wrote: “My general case may be stated in Ricardian terms ‑ that culture is a storehouse of the best (sub Christian) values.  The values are in themselves of the soul, not the spirit. But God created the soul. Its values may be expected, therefore, to contain some reflection or antepast of the spiritual values. They will save no man. They resemble the regenerate life only as affection resembles charity, or honour resembles virtue or the moon the sun.  But though ‘like is not the same’, it is better than unlike.  Imitation may pass into initiation.  For some it is a good beginning.  For others it is not; culture is not everyone’s road into Jerusalem and for some it is a road out.

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