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Notes: Spiritual Formation in the Life of C.S. Lewis Part 2 Notes

Spiritual Formation in the Life of C.S. Lewis
A Breakout Seminar at Perimeter Church June 8-9, 2007
Presentation given by Dr. Lyle Dorsett former head of Wade Center at Wheaton College
See Part 1 of these Notes.

III. Elements of Spiritual Formation (Part 2)

A. The Church
1. �The NT knows nothing of individual Christianity�

2. Salvation is the hallway, pick a room to worship in and fellowship

3. Lewis was shaped by choice of Anglicanism

4. Anglican traditions of Lewis� time and his opinion
a. Evangelical (Reformed)
– high view of Scripture
– lacked high view of Sacraments
b. Anglo-Catholic
– Lewis� choice
– high view of Sacraments
– no belief in Transubstantiation
c. Broad Church (i.e. liberal)
– low view of Scripture

5. a proud person cannot do Kingdom work

6. Became Anglo-Catholic because he wanted communion once a week, minimum.

7. 7 years after CSL�s conversion, he felt nudged in prayer to have a mentor

8. Believed one should worship with those different from you

9. felt grace was in communion (John 6)

B. A Spiritual Director � Father Walter Adams (b. 1869 � d. 1952) Anglican Priest
1. CSL chose humble, unknown man

2. CSL felt need for a confessor � James 5
– went because he was held accountable

3. On Sister Penelope�s recommendation and through her prayers in 1940 found Adams

4. Adams was 70 years old when CSL came to him, Lewis met him once a week

5. highly influential on Lewis, can�t understand Lewis without this knowledge

6. Lewis came to love:
a. The Book of Common Prayer (1662 edition) (Enlightenment = chronological snobbery)
b. Anglican Service Order � Reading of Scripture, Sermon, Communion (high point of service), Hymns

Lewis Progression of Anglican Service.bmp

c. Confession, Accountability, Fellowship, Service

7. �Care for the soul and Holy Spirit will take care of the rest� � Fr. Walter Adams

8. Lewis didn�t like hymns

9. Lewis� service was writing

10. Luke 11 � great prayer chapter
– If you don�t fill the soul with the Holy Spirit then the bad will come back with more ferocity.

11. Adams told Lewis he needed Prayer, Scripture and Communion since that is where grace is

12. Adams was a member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist

13. Communion
– Lewis said to �get Holy Communion as often as you can get it�
– Communion is like �an arm from a hidden country reaching out and touching you.� � CSL
– Root of idea is Luke 24 (first communion?)
– Psalm 34:8
– for the first five years CSL said he felt nothing when taking Communion, but felt that the obedience helped him grow and become spiritually strong

14. Adams wrote two pamphlets

15. Lewis chooses him because he knew Jesus personally

16. Mentor of Adams was Robert Benson � founder of Anglican male order
– not only talk about cross but about resurrection (Benson concept)
– the real you must talk to the real God (Benson concept)
– both concepts come out in Lewis writing

17. Lewis faults:
– bitterness toward people
– intolerance
– lust

C. Other Mentors and Influential Friends

1. Evelyn Underhill � founder of modern retreat movement
– Service = Adoration + Awe + Service as a progression

2. little impact on him spiritually from the Inklings, they only helped to sharpen his thinking

3. 3 people of profound impact
– Father Adams (Anglican Priest)
– Sister Penelope (Anglican Nun)
– Helen Joy Davidman (Jewish convert, eventual wife)

4. Tolkien was instrumental in conversion but not growth afterward
– �midwife in Lewis spiritual birth, but he was not very good at post-natal care.� � Dorsett

5. Books
a. George MacDonald � �baptized my imagination� CSL – Phantastes
– �I don�t think I�ve ever written a book that didn�t have something of George Macdonald� – see collection of MacDonald Lewis edited
– Learned concept of joy
– learned characterization
– learned what a father is
b. Charles Williams � Dorsett calls him �bad news�
– professional influence on Lewis
– spiritual influence on Lewis
– Williams sought mental/spiritual affairs with women
– women loved him, he elicited it, and they remained proud of it (Dorsett tells of interview with couple who knew him, woman still loved him after several decades, husband wanted to hurt him)
– Williams wined and dined women while his wife was away
– Lewis fell for his magnetic personality
– Williams got people dependent on himself rather than God
IV. C.S. Lewis as Spiritual Guide

1. increase his role after Father Adams death

2. effective lecturer, but not good one on one

3. spiritual mentor via mail
– most spiritual council in letters to women
– no men due to their lack of humility?
– handwritten letters
– some to children with illustrations
– Topics included: Becoming a Christian; How to Use Money; Bible Interpretation/Doctrine; Overcoming Lust; Getting focus on Jesus

4. Thoughts (General)
– You need to get your focus on Jesus Christ, become dependent on him
– Practice the Spiritual Disciplines
– Get Holy Communion

5. Would counsel people directly � bluntly but reasoned throughout
6. Teaching on pride and humility � sins are manifestations of pride � me and what I want are important, more than Jesus = pride

V. The Best Saved for Last: Marriage to Helen Joy Davidman (d. 1960)

1. had brother who was psychiatrist named Howard (died athiest)

2. mother was cultural Jew, father was atheist

3. encouraged to think critically by father

4. highly gifted photographic memory, analytical and critical mind

5. read 10-15 books a week

6. first publication in 1938 �Letters to a Comrade�

7. �Anya� � book about cleric and �Smoke on the Mountain� � Jewsish Christian interpretation of ten commandments

8. converted in 1946 after abandoned by first husband

9. fed Lewis� idea of Christ�s presence especially during communion

VI. Questions

1. Lewis often called an evangelical saint, what does Dorsett feel are some of his flaws?
a. his dim view of hymns
b. believed in Purgatory
� saw P as place to wash up before seeing God, not a place of punishment
c. Latter Narnia Chronicles
– sincere person who didn�t believe in Christ could be saved, although Narnia is not allegory as CSL says, so it is not a one to one correlation

2. John 13-16 is essential to understanding his theology

3. How do I read Lewis?
a. things worth doing require effort
b. Read �The Essential C.S. Lewis� by Dorsett

4. The Socratic Club? (Lewis was faculty advisor)
a. Stella Adwinkle asked Lewis about changing worship service to attract unbelievers, he said bad idea because service is for believers
b. The Club would debate and have best minds vs. best minds on two sides of issue
c. Lewis tried to change His culture, not culture in general

5. Lewis and the Theatre
a. not playgoer
b. undeveloped area of knowledge for him
c. probably would be upset with movie Shadowlands
– treatment of Joy Davidman, although Debra Winger did best she could with what she had
– Christ not lifted up enough
– Anthony Hopkins played him poorly
d. Would have hated Narnia movies, didn�t like hype

6. Till We have Faces
– letter to Clyde Kilby explains its purpose
– see PBS series Lewis vs. Freud

7. Aloof from people but understands them well
– listened to Holy Spirit
– listened to people, Inklings, and fiction

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