Podcast - The Lewis Phenomenon: C.S. Lewis, Part 7

    Interest in Lewis has skyrocketed, hitting a high point about ten years ago on the 50th anniversary of his death. His books have been translated in about 40 languages. The Narnia Series has estimated sales of 150 million copies, and the books were among the most influential children’s books in the world. Mere Christianity (2001-2015) sold three million copies, and The Screwtape Letters sold two million. To top it off, there are over 300 million “Lewis Societies” worldwide. 

    Lewis was extremely popular in American circles, but less among the British. The dominant voice in British Christianity was J.R.R. Tolkien. Lord of the Rings was initially much more popular than Lewis’ writings. 

    The fact that we know of Lewis today is due to his executor, Walter Hooper.  

    Here are three things that Hooper identified that helped Lewis spring back into popularity: 

    1. Hooper published Lewis’ undiscovered material

    2. Lewis societies were formed (the first one appeared in New York)

    3. Biographies of Lewis were published

    When recommending Lewis to others, do so freely but with certain precautions. It is not ideal for Lewis to be your only guide to Christian theology or biblical understanding. Cole’s advice is to develop these skills and an understanding of the Bible through more solid, detailed, and well-rounded resources. Once this foundation is in place, you will be more prepared to take in Lewis. Lewis should be read alongside other solid Christian resources. He makes an amazing team player, but he should not be the head coach. 

    Lewis’ appeal continues to grow because there is a growing divergent pathway between the culture and his writings. This divergence makes his apologetics, reason, and faith very appealing. There are many who, without even knowing it, have been influenced by Lewis. 

    He has been described as “the ultimate travel partner along the Christian journey.” This resonates as true for countless individuals who have been taught to think through various aspects of theology, come to a deeper understanding of the human experience, and understand (in a more enchanting way) the world we live in. 

    Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.

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