I recently watched “Prince Caspian“, and (as with all things by C. S. Lewis), it caused me to reflect on the writings and theology of C. S. Lewis.
Have you ever wondered why he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia? I am convinced it is partly because he knew that stories often teach theology better than simply teaching theology.
Look at these quotes from Lewis:
You must translate every bit of your Theology into the vernacular. This is very troublesome and it means you can say very little in half an hour, but it is essential. It is also the greatest service to your own thought. I have come to the conviction that if you cannot translate your thoughts into uneducated language, then your thoughts were confused. Power to translate is the test of having really understood one’s own meaning. A passage from some theological work for translation into the vernacular ought to be a compulsory paper in every Ordination examination.” (God in the Dock, 98).
I have found that nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of that Faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate.” (God in the Dock, 103).
He is not necessarily talking in these quotes about teaching theology through story, but by looking at his practice, I think that he would argue that the most basic “vernacular” of any culture is story. I would love to see some creative, theologically-minded storyteller write a multi-volume novel which teaches basic theology.
Maybe The Chronicles of Narnia are exactly that…