Essays on the Church by CS Lewis

Summary: Three essays about the church.

I have been working on a two month free trial of Scribd, a Kindle Unlimited and Oyster competitor that offers unlimited access to their library (a Netflix for Books) but also has 30,000 audiobooks. It is the audiobooks I am interested in. Scribe has a far better selection of audiobooks than Kindle Unlimited. And the ebooks selection at Oyster is roughly the same as Scribd’s.

I will post a review of the service in the next week or so. By that time I will have used the service for a month.

Included in the audiobooks is several short collections of CS Lewis’ essays. These are all included in the larger CS Lewis: Essay Collection and Short Pieces, which has 135 essays. That is a little too overwhelming to tackle. But these smaller collections are organized thematically and much shorter. This one on the Church is only 3 essays and 36 minutes long.

The first essay is about the possibility of Anglicans and Roman Catholics merging back together. In the 1940s I think that Lewis wrote an essay that is still basically true. He thinks that the ceremonial differences are important but not so much that they couldn’t be overcome. He thinks that the theological differences are important, but not in the way that most think. The divide between faith and works has really been already overcome (essentially the point of Mark Noll’s book as well) because the belief that Roman Catholics fear about Prodestant’s understanding of faith is not really what Protestant’s believe and the fear about works salvation that Protestants believe of Catholics is not really what Catholics believe. What divides Protestants and Catholics is that Protestants fear not what Catholics now believe, but what they may believe in the future and if they were to sign on to join the Catholic church they are also submitting to the authority of the church. On the other hand Catholics fear the chaos that is within the Protestant church. It is an insightful short piece.

The second essay was also in God in the Dock and is about the possibility of women becoming Anglican Priests. I did not think Lewis made the case the first time I read it and a second reading didn’t persuade me any more than the first. Mostly, it seems to be an argument not from theology but from Tradition. God has presented himself as male in scripture, the priest is a reflection of God to the congregation, so he should be male is a short form of the argument. It is probably more persuasive for an Anglican than someone like me that doesn’t think of the priest as a representative of God.

The third essay is about Church music and was also printed in the 1998 book Christian Reflections. I am a bit mixed on this third essay in large part because I am not sure what he is actually saying. The essay asks if church music should be changed to match culture. And Lewis sort of says both yes and no. He is interested in quality music. He is not interested in pandering to the crowd. He is also not interested in elitism, but at the same times thinks that those that are not qualified to ‘get’ high quality music should learn to live with it (as well as those that perform high quality music be prepared to have people not get it.)

Lewis ends by saying he is not sure that he has been helpful to the professional staff that is responsible for music in the church and I have to agree with him.

Essays on the Church by CS Lewis – Audiobook

From CS Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces Purchase Links: Hardcover, Audible.com Audiobook 

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