MERE CHRISTIANITY

If you live in the USA, Canada or the UK watch for the release of the film about C.S.Lewis’s life. It is titled The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis” and released by the Fellowship of the Performing Arts, the film stars Alex McLean as Lewis. The work traces the author’s journey from passionate atheist to one of the most influential Christian writers of the past century.

Actor Max McLean will never forget the first time he read The Screwtape Letters by legendary author C.S. Lewis. 

Shortly after his conversion to Christianity in his mid-20s, McLean was given a copy of Lewis’ 1942 book by a friend. The book features instructions from a devil to his nephew, “Wormwood,” on ways to tempt followers of Christ.

“And I read one page, and I said, ‘I know this guy. This guy has been in my life for a long time, and now he was exposed.’ And the way Lewis exposed him, he made spiritual warfare very real,” the 68-year-old McLean told The Christian Post. 

“Being an adult convert, you bring a lot of doubts and baggage with you because … belief is hard,” he continued. “People that are raised in a faith, their souls, their conscience are formed. That belief becomes an integrated part of who they are. An adult convert has to undo so much. And Lewis had the same experience. So he just helped guide my way.”

What followed for McLean was a decades-long exploration into the life and works of the late Christian author. An acclaimed theater actor, the New York native has since spent much of his life adapting Lewis’ work for the stage, from The Screwtape Letters to ​​The Great Divorce.

Most recently, he adapted Lewis’ memoir, Surprised by Joy, into a play titled “C.S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert.”

“[Lewis] captured my imagination at a very early age; he’s become my spiritual guide. He’s allowed me to see Christianity from a vantage point that captures my imagination in a huge way,” McLean reflected. 

“He had a steel trap mind where he remembered everything and had this wonderful ability to articulate it into this glorious prose and speech. So, to be able to articulate those words after him, especially for a 21st-century audience, is just a tremendous blessing and honor.”

Now, “The Most Reluctant Convert” has hit the big screen. Initially, in theaters nationwide for one night only on Nov. 3, the movie garnered more than $1.2 million in box office sales and captured the highest per-screen average.

The film’s popularity prompted the addition of theaters and date expansions. Distributors announced the film will now run through Nov. 18 nationwide.

In addition to U.S. expansion, “The Most Reluctant Convert” will also release as a special event in cinemas throughout the United Kingdom and Canada. I am confident that Australia will not miss out and I will phone around to see what I can find out. You should do the same in your country.

FAITH JOURNEY BY LEADING SCIENTIST

Dr. Francis Collins is considered to be one of the most effective and ground-breaking scientists in the world. Collins graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia. He earned his PhD in chemistry at Yale and then decided, for good measure, he would go to medical school at the University of North Carolina. From there, he returned to Yale and later, the University of Michigan. He is most noted for having been chosen to chair the Human Genome Project where, in 2003, he led an international collaboration of two thousand scientists in sequencing the human genome. More recently, he was appointed by President Obama to be the Director of the National Institutes of Health. Clearly, he is a prominent scientist, but what is perhaps even more interesting is his spiritual journey.

DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH

“As a scientist, I had always insisted on collecting rigorous data before drawing a conclusion. And yet, in matters of faith, I had never collected any data at all. I didn’t know what I had rejected. So, I decided that I should be a little better grounded in my atheism. I better find out what this is all about. So, I challenged a patient of mine who was a Methodist minister. And, after listening to my questions and realizing that I was not dealing with a very full deck of information, he suggested that I read the Gospel of John, which I did…I found the scripture to be interesting, puzzling, and not at all what I had thought faith was about… then I began to read C.S. Lewis and realized there was a great depth of thinking and reasoning that could be applied to the question of God.”

Lewis convinced Francis Collins that reason and faith go hand in hand, though faith has the added component of revelation—the Bible. Collins had previously believed that Jesus and the stories of the Bible were nothing more than mere myths. Again, as he studied the historical evidence, he was stunned at how well documented and how historically accurate the Bible is. He also saw a surprising fidelity of the transmission of the manuscripts that were passed down over the centuries. And, over time, Francis Collins, based on the accumulation of the evidence that he observed, concluded that God exists, and that Jesus is the Son of God.

He also concluded that most of the religious skeptics that he knew and that he meets today are just like he was. That is to say, they didn’t want to think about these things and never looked at any evidence, never drawing conclusions from the real evidence that was available.

This is what Dr. Dallas Willard, former professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, believed was a major problem with individuals who considered themselves to be agnostic or atheist. Willard found that so many of the students and scholars he encountered on campus and in the world were guilty of what he called “irresponsible disbelief.” These bright men and women would often choose to disbelieve in something without any significant commitment to an investigation of that disbelief by way of sound reasoning and careful examination of the evidence.

ANOTHER C.S.LEWIS FAN – DR ALISTER McGRATH

Dr. Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. He holds three Oxford doctorates: a doctoral degree in molecular biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity degree in theology, and a Doctor of Letters degree in intellectual history. McGrath is a prolific author on many topics including science, faith, apologetics, C.S.Lewis, doctrine, and church history.

When asked, “Was there something in particular about C.S.Lewis that drew you to his writing”? his response will hopefully encourage you to start or read more of C.S.Lewis.

“You mustn’t laugh, but I had just become a Christian and was asking my Christian friends all these difficult questions. They got fed up and one of them, exasperated, said: “Why don’t you read C S Lewis?” I knew he had written a book about lions and wardrobes or something, so I bought one of his books and started to read. And it was as if someone turned the light on as if something clicked. I suddenly realised this makes sense. Nearly 50 years later I’m still reading, I’m still getting more out of C S Lewis because there’s so much there to discover.

If you have not read any of C S Lewis books then can I suggest you start with Mere Christianity. Perhaps Screwtape Letters. You decide once you have heard Dr Alister McGrath.