Books of the Month ~ January 2008
To start 2008 off right, the first selection of the year will concentrate on two classic works from C.S. Lewis: "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters". Mere Christianity was my first exposure to Lewis, long before I appreciated his Chronicles of Narnia series. Both books are excellent reads and are not overly long or technical.
Arguably the 20th century's most influential Christian writer, C.S. Lewis sought to explain and defend the beliefs in "Mere Christianity" that nearly all Christians at all times have held in common. Lewis employs thoughtful, logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection.
Whether or not one agrees with Lewis's arguments, it is a pleasure to read such an eloquent work. This simple yet deeply profound classic, originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts in the 1940's, is a work that is still relevant today; must reading for believers and skeptics alike.
On "The Screwtape Letters" (summary appears on Amazon.com):
Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, of tempting his "patient" away from God.
Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit.
The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings. --Patricia Klein
You can get them both in one volume here, and in two separate volumes here and here.
The final selection for this month is "Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith" by Henry M. Morris.
Many Christians today are woefully ignorant about the Bible, and what impact it can have on a world in darkness. Even skeptics can get some solid answers to many common questions about the Bible and its authenticity and reliability. In this excellent book, Morris discusses such hot topics as:
Problems in verbal inspiration
Fulfillment of Prophecy
The structure of Scripture
Alleged Bible contradictions
The Bible and science
The Bible and ancient history
The unique birth of Christ
You can purchase your copy here, here and here.
Labels: Books of the Month