In explaining why C. S. Lewis wasn’t more popular among American Christians in the 1960s, Alister McGrath wrote this:
What evangelical would want to be associated with someone who smoked heavily, drank copious quantities of beer, and held views on the Bible, the Atonement, and purgatory which were out of place in the evangelical community of that age?
I love it!
This came from Alister McGrath’s excellent biography of C.S. Lewis (p. 365). If you haven’t read it yet, click the link above to get a copy from Amazon. It is the best biography on Lewis I have ever read.
Mark Richmond says
Interesting observation. Lewis theology aside (an evangelical against purgatory seems axiomatic) the reason Americans didn’t pick up on Lewis was because if his personal habits? How many evangelicals would have known of them ? The 1960’s (I lived through them) were quite different in many ways but a biggie was communication and free flow of ideas and that era would best be described as the dinosaur age compared to today. And finally remember Lewis became very popular here in the 70’s. I don’t quite agree with this .
Ah, yes! This is a great biography that shows us the very human side of Clive Staples. McGrath shows us the more “colorful”, unvarnished version of Lewis, not the sanitized Evangelical version. Lewis is one of my favorite writers and McGrath’s bio is my favorite Lewis bio.