Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Redemption: Extreme Makeover

‘Niceness’—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.Zara Phillips of Great Britain rides Glenbuck during the Showjumping event on the final day of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on September 6, 2009 in Stamford, United Kingdom
    For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders—no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings—may even give it an awkward appearance….
    In the last chapter I compared Christ’s work of making New Men to the process of turning a horse into a winged creature. I used that extreme example in order to emphasise the point that it is not mere improvement but Transformation.

Quotes from Mere Christianity, Part 87
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 215-216, 218.


  1. I would say that this is the differences in focus between a merely social church and an evangelical church.  It's something that many mainstream churches really have to watch out for. (I'm allowed to say that because I'm in a mainstream church :P )

    And Merry Christmas Ken!  Thanks for this blog!

  2. Merry Christmas Jennifer and everyone reading [i]Mere C.S. Lewis[/i]!

    Check back tomorrow for a more cheerful Christmas reading by Lewis. I really liked the acute accuracy of some of Lewis' observations in today's reading, "The commercial racket of Christmas," but it does end up being rather down on Christmas.

    As to your point, Jennifer, I agree (and I'm allowed to because I'm also in a mainstream church).

    Have a Merry Christmas everyone :)

  3. Yes, these comments are from a couple weeks ago... I meant to re-post part of this reading and add on a new part from a later chapter. Well, I did that, but I accidentally did it over top the previous (pre-Christmas) post. In any case, it is a great point that Lewis is making here about Redemption!

  4. " It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature."

    oh, i love that part.
    encouraging. thumbs up for this post man~!