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Apr 01 | The Rev. Al Lawrence

Houston Theological Library Features Alister McGrath

The Lanier Theological Library in Houston hosted a special lecture by Alister McGrath entitled, “C.S. Lewis, and the Post Modern Generation: His message 50 years later.” The large audience of guests came together in the main sanctuary of Champions Baptist Church in Houston.


McGrath has a distinguished career as a former member of the Oxford University faculty of theology and lecturer in Christian doctrine at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.  He is a prolific author with backgrounds in both molecular biology and theology and is currently professor of theology at King’s College, London. He has recently published a book titled, C. S. Lewis, A Life. It will surely be the definitive biography.  McGrath gathered together all existing works and letters of Lewis.  In some instances he was able to provide new interpretations of the evidence examined in the past.  The circumstances surrounding Lewis’ conversion to faith in Christ in 1930, for example, have now been carefully researched and some new insights have emerged from the study.


Like Lewis, McGrath was once an atheist. He came to faith when he discovered that only Christianity was able to give solid answers to the deeper questions of meaning and purpose in life.  I can identify with that. During my college years a friend recommended Lewis’ classic Mere Christianity at a time when I was wrestling with some doubts about God.   Step by step Lewis helped me to see the “big picture” of life from a Christian worldview, and I found what I had been missing all along. Lewis was right when he wrote:  “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun is risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”


Lewis meant that without Christ we are dwelling in what he called the “shadowlands” where we cannot see things as they really are.  He used what might be called the argument from desire:  “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.”   Lewis explores this inner yearning as a longing for God.  No substitute would ever be able to satisfy.           


McGrath pointed out how Lewis made use of both stories and the imagination to appeal to his readers. His main ambition was to translate the gospel message into simple terms that everyone can understand. This was his aim in the popular “Narnia” series of children’s stories, which he felt were very effective tools for sharing the gospel message.


In a question and answer session McGrath was asked, “What is the state of Christianity in England today?”  He replied, “It is in the intensive care unit!”  Nonetheless, he says he has genuine hope for the future. Another person asked, “How did you come to faith?”  He replied, “It was when atheism could not give me satisfying answers to the deeper issues of life.”   He added that old answers are still the best answers to the new questions of our day.


Upcoming lectures include Dr. D.A. Carson, Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, on “Christian Reflections on Suffering and Evil” on April 27, and “Is Socialism or Capitalism more Conducive to Christian virtue?” by Justice Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 6.  These lectures are free and open to the public. 


The Lanier Theological Library is a resource for all students and scholars of the Bible that includes a comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, historical documents and artifacts with topics ranging from Church History and Biblical Studies to Egyptology and Linguistics. For information about the library and upcoming events go to