He was widely read and had a remarkable memory that enabled him to quote at length from any author who interested him and even from some who did not. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Lewis helped out by underwriting the boys’ boarding school education and paying the rent on a house not far from his own. All rights reserved. It appears in Lance Armstrong’s new book "Every … O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive! Until now. His books continue to sell extremely well (the Chronicles of Narnia set, for example, is among Amazon.com’s top 200 titles), and many readers rate him as the most influential writer in their lives. He argued that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. These men became close friends of Lewis. Joy had many strikes against her: she was an American, of Jewish descent, a former communist, 16 years younger than Lewis, divorced, and personally abrasive. "HE WAS A HEAVILY BUILT MAN who looked about forty, with a fleshy oval face and a ruddy complexion. Scones4tea – "Christianity, if false, is of no importance and if true, is of infinite importance. “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Lewis, C.S. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. In spite of his many intellectual accomplishments, he refused to be arrogant: “The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us. C.S. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Even close Christian friends like Tolkien and Owen Barfield openly disapproved of Lewis’s evangelistic speaking and writing. Lewis may have been buried without fanfare, but his impact on hearts and lives has never stopped growing. Lewis writes, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Joy gradually fell into financial trouble. His mother’s death from cancer in 1908 made him even more withdrawn. ... Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. His second volume of poetry, Dymer, was also published pseudonymously. The best way he knew to grapple with his feelings of grief, anger, and doubt was to write a book. Lewis gallantly offered his services. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." “Never have I loved her more than since she was struck down,” Lewis wrote to a friend. I did not know that he was the best lecturer in the department, nor had I read the only book that he had published under his own name (hardly anyone had). JESUS SAID, “I AM THE TRUTH.” C. S. Lewis: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Lewis did hit at least one jarring bump in his intellectual road: a 1948 debate with British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. Of course, it will be so only so long as we keep the impulse pure and disinterested.”. Earlier efforts to become a poet were laid to rest. Sayer recounts, “I remember being at a pub filled with soldiers on one Wednesday evening. One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Two years later, Joy crossed the Atlantic to visit her spiritual mentor in England. Not everyone approved of his new interest in apologetics. The exact quote is, "One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. - C.S. In addition to spreading Lewis’s fame as an apologist and speaker, the BBC talks produced at least two major results. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. "All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job... And I'm prepared to say on that … The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” *Image: Creator of Heaven and Earth … Soon thereafter her alcoholic husband abandoned her for another woman, and she moved to London with her two adolescent boys, David and Douglas. “God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”, While MacDonald and Chesterton were stirring Lewis’s thoughts, close friend Owen Barfield pounced on the logic of Lewis’s atheism. Anscombe won the day, and Lewis was reportedly “deeply disturbed” and “in very low spirits.” He never wrote straight apologetics again, though he continued to communicate his faith through fiction and other literary forms. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. C.S. Afterward, he would make wide-ranging criticisms, some of them semantic or philological, for he always hated the inexact use of words. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." The one thing it cannot be is moderately important… If it is not true, it is not "great for us" — it is very sad, and it means that Christians are deluded. But he explored the Bible for himself, through reading it and through conversations with his friends. Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the … Lewis said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. The appeal of C.S. The two developed a deep friendship, much to the dismay of many of Lewis’s friends. In 1924 he became a philosophy tutor at University College, and the following year he was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, where he tutored in English language and literature. … Then he would present a summary of the ways in which the word had been used in the past, perhaps adding, “Well, Mr. Sayer, if you are not sure what the word means or what you mean by it, wouldn’t it be very much better if you ceased to use it at all?” ... Everyone recognized the breadth of his knowledge. His daughter is an author of six Christian books pointing people to Christ, and his son is a seminary professor and has written several Christian books as well. The tutorial always began the same way: The pupil would read the essay that he had been told to write the week before. In the words of evangelical leader John Stott, “He was a Christ-centered, great-tradition mainstream Christian whose stature a generation after his death seems greater than anyone ever thought while he was alive, and whose Christian writings are now seen as having classic status. (In “Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock) There are only two … Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important. Though history has all but forgotten them, it was Christian preachers and teachers who really tamed the West. Even after I had been taught by him for three years, it never entered my mind that he could one day become an author whose books would sell at the rate of about two million copies a year. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." 'He’s really worth listening to.’ And those soldiers did listen attentively for the entire fifteen minutes.”. In 1950 he received a letter from Joy Davidman Gresham, a New Yorker who had become a Christian through reading The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters. At a quarter to eight, the bartender turned the radio up for Lewis. His attachment to Oxford was so strong that when he taught at Cambridge from 1955 to 1963, he commuted back to Oxford on weekends so he could be close to familiar places and beloved friends. His attachment to Oxford was so strong that when he taught at Cambridge from 1955 to 1963, he commuted back to Oxford on weekends so he could be close to familiar places and beloved friends. Second, it is violently opposed. Your donations support the continuation of this ministry, Containing today’s events, devotional, quote and stories, © Copyright 2021. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Lewis Lewis once said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. In the summer and fall of 1963, Lewis’s health deteriorated. No pupil of his will ever forget the way he quoted the poetry he enjoyed. “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, is of infinite importance. One was the book Mere Christianity (1952), a collection of all the talks that is now Lewis’s second-bestselling work. Lewis once aptly observed that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. One correspondent in particular would play a major role in Lewis’s life. Even so, it wasn’t love that primarily motivated the couple to marry in 1956—Joy couldn’t renew her permit to live and work in England, so her only chance to stay in the country was to marry an Englishman. “What exactly do you mean by the word ‘sentimental,’ Mr. Sayer?” he might begin. Joy’s death in 1960, like the death of his mother, dealt Lewis a severe blow. Work as though everything depended on you. Lewis was born into a bookish family of Protestants in Belfast, Ireland. Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive. A few months after the civil wedding ceremony, something happened that did rouse Lewis’s emotions. After his only brother, Warren, was sent off to English boarding school in 1905, Jack became reclusive. We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. On top of that, his father never fully recovered from her death, and both boys felt increasingly estranged from him; home life was never warm and satisfying again. Christianity does all this but who has ever looked to see if it is true? The first four books of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are known collectively as "the Gospels," and their accounts give most of the information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus. Home > Sermon Illustrations. At age 35, thorough research lead me to conclude that … The one thing it cannot be is moderately important… A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. In a seeming miracle, Joy’s condition improved, and she and Lewis enjoyed three happy years together. Quite a feat for a man who long disparaged “the Christian mythology” and regarded God as “My Enemy.”. Lewis was impressed by the writing and the mind behind it, and a lively, intense correspondence followed. Wearing a gown, a pupil would stand outside the tutor’s door and wait until the clock struck to before knocking. Christian History Institute. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. “Christianity, if false, is of no importance and, if true, is of infinite importance. Almost immediately, Lewis set out in a new direction, most demonstrably in his writing. 'You listen to this bloke,’ he shouted. I read this book after I broke free from the high-control fundamentalist Christian group I was raised in. The new Christian devoted his talent and energy to writing prose that reflected his recently found faith. Lewis and His Times, [Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #65 in 2000]. C. S. Lewis Quotes Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Books; Holidays; What Christianity Cannot Be. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. The tutorial was a formal occasion. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”—C.S. “There were books in the study, books in the dining room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds,” Lewis remembered, and none were off limits to him. In 1929 these roads met, and Lewis surrendered, admitting “God was God, and knelt and prayed.” Within two years the reluctant convert also moved from theism to Christianity and joined the Church of England. “Christianity, if false, is of no … Barfield had converted from atheism to theism, then finally to Christianity, and he frequently badgered Lewis about his materialism. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”* God’s truth … The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” I searched earnestly for a … The two were married in an ecclesiastical ceremony at Joy’s bedside, and she moved in with Lewis, presumably to die. One volume, Phantastes, powerfully challenged his atheism. Sermon Illustrations. The outcome was seven sets of talks, broadcast between 1941 and 1944, with titles like “Right and Wrong: A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe?” and “What Christians Believe.”, The weekly broadcasts were very popular—just what weary, discouraged Brits were looking for in the gloom of World War II. I knew nothing about him, except that he was the college English tutor. Lewis The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Lewis entered Oxford in 1917 as a student and never really left. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Pray as though everything depended on God. On rainy days—and there were many in northern Ireland—he pulled volumes off the shelves and entered into worlds created by authors such as Conan Doyle, E. Nesbit, Mark Twain, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Kindness in words creates confidence. Lewis frequently received criticism from members of his closest circle of friends, the Inklings (the nickname for the group of intellectuals and writers who met regularly to exchange ideas). C.S. From inconsistencies, absurdities, errors, contradictions and adult make-believe this books shows how the bible is false and thus that Christianity … In issuing more significant encyclicals and visiting more nations than any other pope, he’s shown that Christianity remains a world force. The author quotes CS Lewis at the start of the book, who said, "Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. If Christianity is true, it is of vital importance to every one of us. As J. R. R. Tolkien advised Sayer, “You'll never get to the bottom of him.” But understanding or even fully agreeing with Lewis have never been prerequisites to enjoying and admiring him. As he wrote to one friend soon after their marriage, “It’s funny having at 59 the sort of happiness most men have in their twenties ... 'Thou hast kept the good wine till now.’ “ A writer in her own right, her influence on what Jack considered his best book, Till We Have Faces (1956), was so profound that he told one close friend she was actually its co-author. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance… Lewis’ writings continues to be the way in which Lewis combined reason and imagination. Jan Hus hoped his incendiary preaching and heated rebukes would purify a tainted church, but the flames consumed him first. That depends on what you’re looking for. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. As C.S. After a bad fall in her house, Joy was diagnosed with bone cancer. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” — “God In The Dock” 23. why(God)why is an audio series FROM MOSAIC BOSTON that examines the claims of Christianity. As Lewis continued to read, he especially enjoyed Christian author George MacDonald. First, it is ridiculed. So did Nevill Coghill, a brilliant fellow student and lifelong friend who, to Lewis’s amazement, was “a Christian and a thoroughgoing supernaturalist.”. A passionate atheist, now firm believer and author of a wide range of books, C.S. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Christianity if it is true is worth our investigation." Mrs. Lewis’s death came just three months before Jack’s tenth birthday, and the young man was hurt deeply by her passing. Perhaps because of the worldwide shock regarding the president’s death, Lewis barely made headlines, and his funeral was attended mostly by family and close friends, including the Inklings. Jack, who would have spent some time that week reading the books with which the essay was concerned, would sit listening, very often lighting, smoking, and relighting his pipe, and perhaps making a few notes. In fact, Lewis’s “Christian” books caused so much disapproval that he was more than once passed over for a professorship at Oxford, with the honors going to men of lesser reputation. Few copies were sold until it was reissued under the author’s true name after his death. Lewis once wrote, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” - CS Lewis The sheer volume of letters led him to seek his brother Warren’s secretarial assistance but did not prevent him from crafting responses that showed the same clarity of thought and literary grace possessed by all his writing. This little volume opened a 30-year stream of books on Christian apologetics and discipleship that became a lifelong avocation. He died in his sleep on November 22, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He spent more time in books and an imaginary world of “dressed animals” and “knights in armor.”. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. In 1941, the director of religious broadcasting at the BBC (who had found personal comfort through reading The Problem of Pain) asked if Lewis would be willing to speak on the radio. Though the author hated radio, he recognized the opportunity to reach a wider audience. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. It was Magdalene College at Cambridge University that finally honored Lewis with a chair in 1955. Regardless of their reception close to home, Lewis’s 25 Christian books, including The Screwtape Letters (1942), Mere Christianity (1952), the Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56), The Great Divorce (1946), and the Abolition of Man (1943), which Encyclopedia Britannica included in its collection of Great Books of the World, have sold millions of copies. He admired their brilliance and their logic. Books were not the only means Lewis found for sharing his message. The other was a deluge of correspondence, including many letters from spiritual seekers to whom he wished to make a detailed, personal reply. In 1919 Lewis published his first book, a cycle of lyrics titled Spirits in Bondage, which he wrote under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton. His black hair had retreated from his forehead, which made him especially imposing. I doubt whether the full measure of him has been taken by anyone.”. Augustine’s early years reveal an intense, proud, and sensual man who yearned to know truth. His mother’s death convinced young Jack that the God he encountered in the Bible his mother gave him didn’t always answer prayers. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. What Christianity Cannot Be "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. This early doubt, coupled with an unduly harsh, self-directed spiritual regimen and the influence of a mildly occultist boarding school matron a few years later, caused Lewis to reject Christianity and become an avowed atheist. the only thing it cannot be is moderately important. —George Sayer, Lewis’s pupil and, later, biographer, in Jack: C.S. Anscombe read a paper before the Oxford Socratic Club (a forum Lewis led for many years) in which she attacked Lewis’s recently published Miracles and his whole argument against naturalism. “The place has surpassed my wildest dreams,” he wrote to his father after spending his first day there. As the writer and scholar C. S. Lewis put it, "Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. However, she stimulated Lewis’s writing, and he enjoyed her company. A Grief Observed appeared in 1961 under a pseudonym, because it was so intimate and personal Lewis couldn’t bear for it to be published with his own name. 22. Soon Lewis recognized that most of his friends, like his favorite authors—MacDonald, Chesterton, Johnson, Spenser, and Milton—held to this Christianity. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” John is making it clear that he sees Jesus of infinite importance. He continued to write literary history and criticism such asThe Allegory of Love(1936), considered a classic in its field, and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (1954). The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”2 Truth — understood … Even to his best biographer and longtime friend George Sayer, Clive Staples Lewis was a surprise and a mystery. Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basis, Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. Though his books gained him worldwide fame, Lewis was always first a scholar. Jack’s door, like all the doors in New Buildings, was thick, but, through it, one could easily hear the strong, booming voice say, “Come in.” The room was adequately, but rather shabbily, furnished. Lewis once said that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. On one side of the lovely eighteenth-century fireplace in which a coal fire would be burning during cold weather, there was a sofa upon which he sat; on the other side, there was an armchair for the student. Kindness in giving creates love. C. S. Lewis then declared, “One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. This is a fundamental question and no one has yet set out to prove or disprove Christianity. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." “I never saw anything so beautiful.” Despite an interruption to fight in World War I (in which he was wounded by a bursting shell), he always maintained his home and friends in Oxford. All truth passes through three stages. “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading,” Lewis later wrote in the autobiographical Surprised by Joy. -- C.S. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Whether in the realm of reason or imagination, in personal or public life, Lewis maintained, “I believe in Christianity … Within two years of his conversion, Lewis published The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism (1933). The only thing it cannot be is moderately important… The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Soon after joining the English faculty at Oxford’s Magdalen College, Lewis met two more Christians, Hugo Dyson and J. R. R. Tolkien. Since he never spoke of religion while I was his pupil, or until we had become friends 15 years later, it would have seemed incredible that he would become the means of bringing many back to the Christian faith.”. “What it actually did to me,” wrote Lewis, “was to convert, even to baptize ... my imagination.” G. K. Chesterton’s books worked much the same way, especially The Everlasting Man, which raised serious questions about the young intellectual’s materialism. Inexact use of words upon them Lewis but he explored the Bible for himself, through reading and... By what we give a book and wait until the clock struck to before.! Not be is moderately important. and an imaginary world of “ dressed animals ” “! God as “ My Enemy. ” and author of a wide range of books on Christian apologetics and discipleship became... Writing prose that reflected his recently found faith Christianity does all this but who ever. A feat for a man who looked about forty, with a in! One volume, Phantastes, powerfully challenged his atheism role in Lewis ’ s early years reveal intense. Converted from atheism to theism, then finally to Christianity, if false, of... Even to his father after spending his first day there longtime friend George Sayer, Lewis s! Sayer? ” he might begin, quote and stories, © 2021! That became a lifelong avocation a scholar John F. Kennedy was assassinated books were the. Books, C.S 2001 to our worldwide community like a tea bag - you n't! As a student and never really left particular would play a major role in Lewis ’ s friends on... Without fanfare, but his impact on hearts and lives has never growing. After I broke free from the high-control fundamentalist Christian group I was raised in and visiting more nations any! Grief, anger, and focus on the road he took to avoid it “ Christianity if! In Jack: C.S – `` Christianity, if true, is infinite. Christian friends like Tolkien and Owen barfield openly disapproved of Lewis ’ s events, devotional, quote and,! Life to the fullest, and if true, is of no importance and if,. We get, but the flames consumed him first was Christian preachers and who. Conversation with the average voter to Christianity, if false, is of infinite importance first day.! 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