The Lewis Legacy-Issue 71, Winter 1997
The Depiction Once Seen
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
January 1, 1997
At Lewis's funeral service in 1963 his friend Austin Farrer paid this tribute to him: "It was this feeling intellect, this intellectual imagination, which made the strength of his religious writings ... His real power was not proof, it was depiction. There lived in his writings a Christian universe which could be both thought and felt, in which he was at home and in which he made his reader at home. Moral issues were presented with sharp lucidity, and related to divine will; and once so seen, could never again be seen otherwise."
In Unlocking the Power of God's Word (Intervarsity Press, 1991) Margaret Parker begins her preface with the following: "God won my heart through the power of words--the words of the British writer C. S. Lewis. When I came back to the church in my late twenties desperately searching for peace and meaning a new friend loaned me The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Soon I was devouring every book by Lewis I could get my hands on. The lively, incisive writing in his nonfictional works challenged my mind, but it was the imaginative worlds Lewis created in his fantasies that captured my heart.
"...But since Lewis and my newfound Christian friends insisted the Bible was true, I began to grapple with Scripture, taking classes and reading commentaries to help me grasp its meaning." She viewed the Bible as a textbook or instruction manual, and read it for historical facts, theological concepts and practical guidelines for living.
In spite of her efforts, she was often bored or confused. "I returned again and again to Lewis's fantasies. Somehow when I met Christ as the great lion in the Narnia stories or took a bus trip to heaven in The Great Divorce, I found inspiration and spiritual nourishment I couldn't seem to find in Scriptures.
"Gradually God showed me a way out of my dilemma. He showed me I could read much of his Word as I had been reading Lewis's fantasies -- the Bible was packed with marvelous stories and stirring poetic language. But why did it take a literature lover like me so long to tune into the literary power of Scripture?..."