Thursday, November 4, 2010

The invasion of enemy-occupied territory

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers.Canadian army's invasion of enemy-occupied Afghanistan It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living ma part of the universe occupied by the rebel.
    Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening--in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil-—hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is ‘Yes, I do. I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person. ‘Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 45-46.


  1. Ken, This might be a little long. I apologize ahead of time! The first time I heard of C.S. Lewis when I was about 22. I was at a summer College camp. I've been a Christian since I was about 3 1/2 years old (all my life). But I'd always felt a little bit guilty because I never FELT the horror of the crucifixion. I had head knowledge that it was awful, and I believed it (and all that it stood for) with my whole heart. But it hadn't reached my emotions. One night, at that college camp, the speaker told us the story of Aslan - and he told us how Aslan had been taunted, shamed, humiliated - how his majestic mane had been shorn. When he was done, I was in tears. I FELT the tremendous depth of what Jesus' death had been like. I ran out, got a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia, and read them all in a week. They changed my life. I then devoured everything by Lewis that I could get my hands on (I still do!!).

    So, it is a joy to discover your site - I will eagerly follow it!

    Are you familiar with this site?

    It's a good one, too -

    I am SO excited about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader coming out!! Reepicheep is a favorite of mine!!

    Hope to correspond more with you in the future!


  2. Hi Sharon:

    Thanks so much for sharing your testimony with us -- what a rich experience of encountering Aslan / Christ.

    It's too good for a mere comment. I wanted to email you about publishing your testimony (maybe asking you to tease it out a bit more), but I wasn't able to find your email address.

    If you see this comment, please email me back and I'll tell you what I'm thinking:

    Welcome to Mere C.S. Lewis. Thanks for your positive review,

  3. I can't wait to read Sharon's testimony!

  4. Thanks Margaret. It's good to hear from you. So far I've been able to re-connect with Sharon, but I'm trying real hard. I was so taken by what she shared in that comment that I'm quite sure it would be awesome to hear it with some more details. We'll see what happens.

  5. Sharon,
    We would do well if we would spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating on the life of Christ from the manger to calvary, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones.

    In Gethsemane sweating great drops of blood. Denied by Peter, forsaken by His disciples. In Pilate's judgment hall, subjected to the cruelty and humiliation of the Roman soldiers being beaten and having a crown of thorns forcefully pushed down on His head.

    Then barbarically nailed to the cross and mocked by the rabble in the crowd and finally His cry "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani."

  6. Margaret your back, I also will be looking for her testimony. Ken, Andy doesn't seem to think much of Aslan can't wait to see some other comments. gary

  7. Through the Blogmaster
    Now that Gary has opened this door which I personally desired to remain closed, I shall address Gary's comment.

    Some are under the assumption that fiction no matter what guise it comes in, it is healthy for young people. To some the demonic Harry Potter series is acceptable (I cringe at the thought) literature. The Chronicles of Narnia are considered suitable because of the Christian overtones. And yet both are fiction.

    Personally I gravitate to Christ rather than Aslan an imaginative character in a C.S. Lewis novel.

  8. "Demonic" Harry Potter series? Really? Have you read these books, Andy? Do you really think the Devil wins the day? In my opinion, the Harry Potter series has Christianity written all over it... and there is plenty of scholarship to back me up on that assertion. Thank God for JK Rowling and her inspired imagination... And thank God for C.S. Lewis and Aslan!

  9. Andy,

    “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
    13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

    17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

    “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

    21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

    22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."


    Andy, you run into a serious problem with your position -- our Lord, himself, was a storyteller. This fictional account of a father and his two sons tells us much about the compassion of our heavenly Father. It tells us FAR more than if Jesus had merely stated the fact that God our Father is compassionate.

    You say that gravitate toward Christ rather than Aslan. That's fine. My experience is that in encountering Aslan, I find myself encountering deeper truth about Christ.

    Since Jesus was a storyteller, Lewis is, in fact, being Christlike in telling stories to make points that he felt went beyond merely stating facts.

    C.S. Lewis and others argue that all good stories actually serve to tell or bring to light some aspect of THE story of God in this world.

    The point of the Chronicles of Narnia is not that we walk away worshipping Aslan, but that through Aslan we find ourselves drawing closer to Christ.

    Hope that helps, buddy :)

  10. Ken,
    I will only touch upon one issue here.

    "But that through Aslan we find ourselves drawing closer to Christ."

    Please consider your above statement on its own merit.

  11. This is called a misquote, Andy. My sentence actually read, "The point of the Chronicles of Narnia is not that we walk away worshipping Aslan, but that through Aslan we find ourselves drawing closer to Christ."

    I stand by it. You want me to re-consider half of my sentence on its own merit? I don't understand what you're getting at. Please reconsider my statement (the full sentence) on its own merit and compare to Jesus himself.

    Jesus told a fictional story about a compassionate father and a wayward son. Through the father in this story, I can find myself drawing closer to God the Compassionate Father.

    C.S. Lewis wrote a fictional story about another world and a great Lion who redeems that world. Through the lion in this story, I can find myelf drawing closer to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus.

    I reassure you, Andy, that I have considered my statement on its own merit. Story is a powerful medium for conveying truth. Lewis took truths about Christ and incorporated them into his story about Aslan so that as we read about Aslan, the truth we discover often brings us to new understanding about Christ.

    As I said above, since Jesus largely taught by way of story, Lewis is actually being Christlike in telling stories to convey truth.

  12. I kind of side with Margaret and Ken on this one. I will probably be seeing Harry Potter myself within the next week or so. But to Andy's defense there are many who feel the same way he does. g.

  13. Call it what you like, all I did was point out what you wrote.

    Jesus said and I quote "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:"

    Again I quote Jesus "I am the way, the truth and the life."

  14. Jesus told a story (fiction) about a Good Samaritan. In reading and reflecting upon that story I learn something powerful about Jesus himself -- the way he rescued me when no one else cared.

    Likewise, a person can read about the humiliation and sacrifice of Aslan and learn something powerful about Jesus.


  15. I agree with AJ Vanderhorst.  I found your blog as a result of a search to find this quote.  I am reading another Christian blog in which Christians are urged to use more colloquial language, language I continue to consider to be swear words or curse words.  The basis of the argument in favor of our need to use these words in our sermons is that "It's 2012."  A poor argument it seems to me.  

    So far I'm glad I found this blog.  I'll be back.