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Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:21

The Penal Substitution of Christ

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Question:

You should include in your list of those who reject the penal substitution of Jesus Christ C. S. Lewis.  I think he is a far greater threat to the church than many that you mentioned because he is revered by so many, and "godly" men like John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon refuse to expose C. S. Lewis for the false teacher that he is.   They are willing to give him a pass that they won't afford to others.  I have a email exchange with Phil Johnson to clearly prove this point.  The fact that he didn't believe in the penal substitution of Christ is common knowledge and taught in his book Mere Christianity.  Your work of exposing false teachers isn't really done until you expose this heretic who has had immense evil influence within the church and is partially responsible for leading such notables as Chuck Colson and Peter Kreeft astray.

The one most people have heard is the one I mentioned before"”the one about our being let off because Christ has volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us.  Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory.  If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?  None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment the police-court sense.  On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf someone who has not.  Or if you take "˜paying the penalty', not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "˜standing the racket' or "˜footing the bill', then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend." (page 56, Mere Christianity)

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/december/9.28.html

Standing up for the truth in an age of error for Christ's sake, His church and His glory,

Lauren

Jacob's Answer:

Dear Laura,

I have obviously publicly detested the horrible deceptions perpetrated against The Body of Christ by Peter Kreeft and Chuck Colson who selectively cited the aspects of CS Lewis that suited them, but ignored other aspects of what he published.

With respect, it appears you do the same. In "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" CS Lewis affirms substitutionary penal atonement with the death of Aslan The Lion. While I too certainly would disagree with aspects of his writings, a comprehensive overview of his work must be evaluated, not only one work in isolation from the whole. He was not a doctrinal theologian and should not be read as one.

As a Christian apologist, CS Lewis was a "credal apologist" only . He defended the broad historicity of the Gospel narratives based on his background as a Professor of Comparative Literature against theologically liberal higher critics (eg. his brilliant and sardonic essay "Fern Seed and Elephants" being a classic case in point). The Screwtape Letters moreover is a true Christian classic that I consider essential reading for young believers and his "Abolition of Man' was a spiritual insight into the long term sociological implications of an increasingly godless education system ; his thesis in this book  was in a sense socially prophetic and is vindicated by history.

None of the conservative Evangelical contemporaries who knew him  (and he met many) doubted his personal faith and again he was an author and an Oxbridge literature expert, not an academic theologian or doctrinal scholar.

While I also have certain areas of disagreement with CS Lewis, I have little  doubt he was a regenerate believer in Jesus whom God used. I think you are not comprehensively understanding CS Lewis. Yes, he had his defects . But he certainly had his virtues. I would not want to highlight his errors without noting his attributes and the blessings God gave the church through him despite his blindness to certain issues.

Respectfully In Jesus,
Jacob Prasch
(Moriel)

Philippians 1:6

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