Nov 252017

MLD will return soon with a new set of studies on the Book of Revelation.

Until then, we’re going to take a look at a Christian classic, “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.



As a side note, I think this is the most lied about book in the history of Christendom, in that if all the evangelicals who claim to have read it actually did, they would run screaming from it as if their hair were on fire.

I picked it up some thirty years ago and quickly set it back down.

It was full of heresy according to the narrow orthodoxy I’d been taught.

Now that I have found a broader path on the narrow way, it’s quite enjoyable and thought provoking.

I love this quote, which matches my own ecumenical leanings, and which will be our passage for the weekend.

“I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions—as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.

It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.

In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door- keeper?”

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those Who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.”

We have a lot of folks here in the hall and many who have found their room…and some who are in the process of changing rooms.

All are welcome here…

  71 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. Michael, this book is still one of my faves. I first read it almost 30 years ago, and I still find wisdom (and correction) in it now. Haven’t agreed with all of it, still wrestle with some of it. But it still impacts me .

    The section you quoted is one that I still wrestle with sometimes, actually. Not that I disagree with his premise, exactly, it’s more that I’m still understanding it. The church I was attending when I first read this book was singing the praises of ecumenism as “the thing to follow at all costs”, and one of the costs was sound doctrine (at least, it seemed that way to me.) I’m still burned.

  2. Owen,

    I hear you.
    We’re all going to have differences in what we consider “sound doctrine”.

    There are those who insist that you have false doctrine if you don’t believe in their eschatology, while I think eschatology is a tertiary doctrine.
    We have seen the disputes here over the Eucharist and baptism.

    I have to engage others with humility …I think I’m right, but I might not be…

    So much of what sect we join has to do with our individual personalities…Anglicanism fits me like a warm coat in winter…but doesn’t fit others at all.
    I’m ok with that…

  3. “So much of what sect we join has to do with our individual personalities…Anglicanism fits me like a warm coat in winter…but doesn’t fit others at all.”

    This is what Lewis cautions against. The criteria he commends is:

    “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this?”

  4. I can affirm those criteria in many different sects…

  5. We have people here that have found homes in Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Reformed churches, evangelicalism, and more.

    I have no doubt that they are exactly where God intended them to be.

  6. For me, I had to come to grips with the fact that for 1500 years there was basically one church with Eastern and Western expressions.

    The church didn’t begin with Luther and Calvin.

    It really didn’t begin with Chuck Smith or Aimee McPherson.

    Still, God has used and blessed all manner of churches at times and at times they all fulfill Lewis’s criteria.

    What makes us choose one over another?

    Good question…

  7. Let’s just say that he probably wouldn’t include this one.

  8. They sound very ecumenical 🙂

  9. Rastafarian Cannabis church? Oh vey… I wonder when new members find out Rastafarianism believes that Haile Selassie was the second coming of Christ?

  10. What a great idea! I hope to learn a lot from this.

  11. Well done Michael! I think i am in the process (still)of changing rooms. Some days i feel i am in t&he hall.

  12. JD, that is some church. Lol

  13. I’ve tried to read it a couple of times and it was over my head…hope i can follow along here.

  14. Remember one thing – all those rooms have doors to the outside, so one can be just as likley to enter the Church thru one of those rooms … that hall is a center hall

    or so it seems to me… 😇

  15. Dusty, you’ll be fine…

  16. A Bible-believing, Rastafarian, cannabis church. Umm…no!!!

  17. “For me, I had to come to grips with the fact that for 1500 years there was basically one church with Eastern and Western expressions.”

    I held a similar view of the history of Christianity until I read Phillip Jenkin’s outstanding book with a really long title: The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia–and How It Died

    It made me wonder what God has in store for the Western and Eastern Churches and what he may raise in their places.

  18. some of us have had the impression, perhaps, that the world was ignorant of the gospel and it was incumbent upon the western world to take the gospel to the whole world = our missionary focus of recent past…
    I’ve heard rumors, possibly spawned by the book linked at #17, of an ancient pocket of Christianity along the Chinese border (must get that book)…
    we’ve tended to put Christianity’s progress on a time-line of our own construct, going from Israel, building and spreading uniformly along that line … God doesn’t work that way come to think of it, so… what does God have in store for us now indeed?
    the western world thinks it is smart and progressive when, in fact, it has been nurtured by the Christian faith and God’s protection… I sense now a strong desire in the human race to pervert or destroy this Faith… blaming it for holding back progress…. ? …. hmmm

    we’re promised a look at Revelation thru the eyes of the Lutherans soon – all to be interpreted as symbol and metaphor? we do need to understand or at least be familiar with the book’s content… these sure look like “perilous times to me” … dunno

  19. Em, it’s not through the eyes of the Lutherans at all, although Lutherans do hold this view. It is however the view of the historic church throughout time and is still held today by probably at least 75 – 80% of worldwide Christians.
    Stay tuned to find out why.. 🙂

  20. well …… i stand corrected, MLD
    make that thru the eyes of A Lutheran…
    you will make the case for the interpretation of the book held by “75 – 80 % of worldwide Christians.” … okay … interpretation set back when the earth was flat? 🙂

    i’m comfortable in my minority … even during my teen years when one is supposed to want to be part of the crowd, i didn’t …
    i’m not a scholar, so i only have the option of choosing my teachers from among the scholars God has gifted to instruct … i will do my best to not disrupt your class with inane and uninformed opinions from the safety and comfort of my pew … that said, Revelation does not – IMO – lend itself well to debate anyway, yet everyone who claims to follow Christ should be familiar with the contents of the book as, since, the ascension of our Lord, the Church has been wondering if “today could be THE DAY”
    have we focused too much on the great climactic event described in Matt 24 (what an event! ) and not enough on the letters to the churches that are designed to stabilize the churches down thru time? it looks like it today – or so it seems to me

  21. Em, for one who does not think it is worth debating, you are debating it before we even begin.
    Hang in there, once you here what I have to say, you will be agreeing with me on Rach point.

  22. MLD, to loosely quote my youngest daughter when she was a child: I’m not debating; I’m just talking about how it is… 😇

    From here there’ll be no attempt to debate your teaching series on Revelation…
    might quote a teacher or two, tho… Dunno. LOL. … then again, maybe not…

  23. Read on a website called campus reform that a city I prof named j Daniels claims that “the white nuclear family is one of the most powerful forces supporting white supremacy” and a “key perpetrator of racism” – seems she is calling for the end of “white nuclear families” for the good of civilization … say what????
    Calling good evil and evil good? A study of Revelation is timely indeed – even if it is taught from a “traditional” viewpoint

  24. Okay, I corrected that spell check “I” and this evil tablet put it back … grrr
    city U not. City I ….

  25. I like this room (PP)! 🙂

  26. John 20:29 you make me smile.

  27. Dusty, you make us all smile… 😊

    Oh and MLD @ 21 … “worth debate” is not the best approach anyway… But worth study is. … IMNSHO … debate will bog down and get us polarized again

  28. I personally think you guys should listen to some Chuck Smith teaching through the Bible. It’s a two edged sword, old and new testaments. It’s amazing how they compliment each other and bring us the truth that sets us free! “The Word of God endureth forever”

    Spurgeon said,
    “The Bible isn’t ancient, nor is it modern … it is ETERNAL!”

    Blessings to my Friends, PLP

  29. I would rather listen to my cat vomit…

  30. Your cat must not get fed well either! But there will be cats in heaven … that’s how God is going to string all those harps. or would that be a CATastrophy? CATapolts were invented for a reason. Perhaps Noah forgot about that one species that wasn’t suppose to come on the ARK. (which would have included skunks). But then who is perfect? 🙂 At least Noah was PRE-FLOOD! He wasn’t mid-flood or post-flood! If he had been anything but PRE-FLOOD we’d all be up the crick without a paddle. Peter called Noah a preacher of righteousness. That tells us that Noah gave the first “water down message!” His wife “Joan” was “all in” when the weather got bad. He and his family were spared from GLOBAL JUDGEMENT. They rose from the earth to above the mountains. Soon those that trust in Him now will be taken from the earth to the clouds in a moment, the twinkling of an eye just before global judgment comes again! It must then be important that we watch and be ready.
    Christmas Blessings, PLP

    “Accept Him with your whole heart. And use your own two hands. With one reach out to Jesus. And with the other … bring a friend” Love Song – Jesus Movement

  31. You’re about to be raptured from this site…

  32. Michael. It’s amazing that I’ve been on this site this long. Yet I consider you all my friends. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but the debate is healthy. It could be that many of your viewers enjoy the discussions. It’s not like things haven’t been thrown back at me too. But I accepted it in the spirit of love. I’d love to stay on and chat, but if I’m not welcome then there’s plenty to be done. It’s easy chatting with those you agree with. Yet when confronted … your up and ready to erase me. Perhaps others enjoy the friendly back and forth. By the way … I’m not Lew Phelps … I’m Regis

    All My Best,
    Regis Filbin

  33. Phelps,

    You haven’t confronted me…you’re not even capable of such.
    What you are is a shill for one of the Smith family with a past of your own.

    The only comment I’ve received from my readers is that you possibly could be helped by medication.

    As it annoys me too much to read your nonsense, you are gone.

  34. “Yet I consider you all my friends. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but the debate is healthy.”

    I don’t really find any debate or discussion in Phelps’ comments. Only trolling and mocking. That’s not a healthy combination for anyone.

  35. I no longer know what to make of Chuck Smith. There were quite a number of his sermons I listened to. But looking back, I wasn’t really that excited about them. Even started tuning him out.
    Circa 2000, the radio offerings of Calvary Chapel Distintives bothered me. His explanation of how CC was “distinct” felt like a flat note. Older now, I believe our emotions are an essential gift from God. Even when we don’t understand them.
    More recently, I have been thinking of the statement……on this rock I will build my Church. The thoughts I’ve held on the Church, as existing in my own lifetime, as well as It’s entirety, now seem in error. They seem simplistic. Something I just adopted or created to help make sense of my world.

  36. I’ve never heard even one Chuck Smith sermon.
    I have no clue who Lew Phelps is. Probably a fine guy.
    I have no desire to debate eschatology with MLD for the 4,000th time.

    I do LOVE Mere Christianity though 🙂

  37. Josh – this is why we need to study Revelation. It is sad that the Rapture Theology crowd lost the meaning when they took Revelation from being the Gospel of the Exalted Jesus (as opposed to the Jesus in his state of humiliation on earth) to one of end times dragons chasing pregnant women across the sky. 🙂 – Lets see where we go with this when we get there.

  38. “this is why we need to study Revelation”

    Because I love Mere Christianity?!?

    Revelation without dragons and pregnant women is cutting out a lot of chapters.

  39. Josh – the dragons and pregnant women are the backdrop, the scenery in which we see the enthroned slain lamb – not the subject matter of the text.
    But let’s wait and let the anticipation rise.

  40. No thanks 🙂

  41. FWIW – “Late Great Planet…” and its resulting flurry of excitement was one of the devil’s most ingenious strikes at taking our Lord’s return seriously… the Rapture (which makes sense of Scripture for me) is not our Lord’s return, BTW …

    i am in the process of reading up on Dispensations… for the life of me, i can’t see the problem with identifying the periods in the history of mankind and our Lord’s dealing with us into categories…
    we do seem to run into a problem when dividing Believers and our Lord’s dealing with them into categories and that is where and why i must spin off into the minority (according to MLD) view that conflicts with what MLD’s teaching will construct…
    “The truth taught by Jesus Christ can apply to believers of any dispensation, but there is a difference between a legitimate application from a passage of Scripture and the precise interpretation of that passage. There may be many edifying applications that greatly benefit believers in a devotional or practical way, but the objective of rigorous scholarship is a precisely accurate interpretation. Interpretation attempts to discover what the passage means. Each passage must be interpreted in its context in terms of those to whom it is addressed. ……” “The Divine Outline of History,” R. B. Thieme
    This will be what MLD presents from his scholarship and those of his teachers, i presume… i am not a scholar, i can only choose my teachers and so, lacking a drive to prove i’m right, i won’t debate MLD’s presentation on Revelation – in this case silence will not be assent, however 🙂

    may God the Holy Spirit do His work – may all come away from the coming Revelation study with a serious, intense realization that God is holy and means business, eh?

  42. But I do like Mere Christianity.

  43. To Em and Josh – the fact that you both preemptively refuse a discussion of any view differing from your own is not new in Rapture Theology – in fact it is required. Much like the JWs who are instructed to drop off their written materials but are forbidden from taking such from their target.
    You both will be missed.

  44. MLD – it is the fact that we have discussed it 4 billion times. We could just dig it up and link those discussions. But I do appreciate another comparison to the JW’s. You are always good for at least one of those.

  45. We have not discussed Jesus as the exhulted, risen slain lamb of the Revelation 4 billion times – but I am a bit saddened that if we have you are tired, bored and frustrated with such discussions.
    As I said, you will be missed.

  46. “am in the process of reading up on Dispensations… for the life of me, i can’t see the problem with identifying the periods in the history of mankind and our Lord’s dealing with us into categories…”

    I have big problems with that scheme, the main one being they are man made, arbitrary, distinctions imposed on scripture.

  47. I appreciate the sentiment.

  48. @ 47 – But so is every other hermeneutical system ever devised.

  49. Lutherans like the Church Fathers and quote from them freely in the Confessions. Modern day, the Fathers are quoted in the Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH) and in the study notes of The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH)

  50. oops, wrong thread

  51. Michael observed regarding dispensation, “I have big problems with that scheme, the main one being they are man made, arbitrary, distinctions imposed on scripture.”

    well, one could say the same about the choices made for the canonizing of Scripture, the dividing of the Old and New Testaments, the chapters and verses, certainly… categorization can lead to discoveries and understanding

    IMV – to say that they are arbitrary (“based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system”) is just not accurate, although, admittedly my understanding and acceptance comes from was taught by the late R.B. Thieme

    i haven’t spent/wasted any time studying all the varied teachings extrapolated out there… and i won’t deny that we have our share of crackpots out here in the loosey-goosey world of evangelical Christianity 🙂

  52. Em,

    If R.B. Thieme were alive today he and I would be mortal enemies.
    He was everything I loathe and have fought against for the last 16 years.
    I trust you can chew the meat and spit out the bones of his teachings, but many were aberrant to the point of heresy.
    His teachings about the office of the pastor make the Moses Model look like gold from the fathers…

  53. The ‘Colonel’ as RB was know was a dyed in the wool Dallas guy who preceded Hal Lindsey by10 years. He taught a straight ‘Late Great’ type eschatology. He was a tough old coot – but his congregation loved his abuse.

  54. Pastor Phelps could soon start posting in cutouts of magazine fonts and magazine models…

    Just wow.

    Philbin, P-H, btw.

  55. Hope I never came off like that

  56. Assuming she holds to the creeds, is there a room in the Lewis house for this Bishop?

    I can see that she could hold to the creeds by training and still be a blasphemer.

  57. descended,

    Phelps was a troll of a clan who used to be here often 10 or so years ago.

    He was raptured from the blog last night…

  58. Thieme was from a standard dispy line.
    This dissertation outlines some of the concerns around him from his peers.

  59. “Assuming she holds to the creeds, is there a room in the Lewis house for this Bishop?”


    Nor is there (or will there ever be) room for links from Breitbart on my blog.

  60. If I remember right, Marilyn Quayle and Kathy Lee Gifford were products of the Colonel’s church.

  61. re R.B.Thieme… he, like Smith had his mindless followers for whom the Colonel could do no wrong (most of those who studied under him didn’t refer to him as the ‘Colonel’ BTW)… the congregation that made up his Berachah church was a mixed bag… lots of military found and followed the Lord thru the man’s ministry

    yes, he did teach that the pastor was the one in charge of the church …
    yes, he was a product of Dallas Theological Seminary in most of his teaching …
    yes, Hal Lindsey did take his material from Thieme … but…
    Thieme did not approve of Lindsey’s use of it, or the exploitation and sensationalism that Lindsey went on to make of it…
    yes, he was tough from the pulpit, “sit down, shut up and listen” – he was a product of his military background – was in charge of Luke Field, training air cadets in WW2 and he never really shed his military viewpoint
    but he did conduct himself pretty much as an “officer and a gentleman” out of the pulpit, did not expect adulation or obeisance from anyone (well, his wife Betty maybe – i think that the man was a bit of a chauvinist) …

    The Bible Answer man misrepresented his teaching to the point of lying – yes, i have the documentation, but it is in storage along with most of my worldly goods … no i wasn’t a big fan of Walter Martin’s radio program, but i have his Kingdom of the Cults – it has value

    one could not sit in on a class and come away with any understanding of what he taught… understanding gained from Thieme’s style of teaching, his charting etc. required time…
    yes, in spite of John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb, he did teach that the soul did not occupy the fetus until drawing its first breath at birth… yes, that’s handy if you want to support abortion and not good from that aspect…
    was he always correct? no

    yes, i have sat in his classes …. am i a Thieme “groupie?” no… do i second everything the man taught? no, but his teaching in the main, though unorthodox in style, was very acceptable and not what i’d describe as aberrant Christianity – aberrant from the evangelicalism of the day, perhaps…

    That most here would find him offensive is to be expected. He was in his time despised by most of church world, i’ve seen more than one walk out of a teaching session
    However, i consider him one of God’s gifts to my understanding of the Faith and, while i don’t consider him – or any other man – the final word on the Faith, anytime i make a pew observation here, it’s pretty apt to be colored by what i learned from him…

    sooo? be careful when this pew sitter pontificates – beware of heresies 🙂

  62. MLD,

    Please don’t publish your first article on Revelation until all the eyes are plucked out and the wax that is being poured into the ear canals of the noble Bereans has fully hardened.

    As for the rest of us, I am waiting in eager expectation to read your commentary.

  63. Apparently nobody like Mere Christianity.

  64. MLD,

    Please don’t publish your first article on Revelation until Jean’s nose is completely brown.


  65. It’s comical – when I completed the 87 part Weekend Word study of Matthew, I mentioned the next study would be on Revelation. Ever since it’s been like a full moon night in a Lon Chaney Jr movie.

  66. Stay the course, MLD stay the course. 😏

  67. I didn’t comment on the last week of Matthew either. Nothing new here. Just a waxy eared Berean Jehovah’s Witness. 🙂

  68. I’m going to talk about Mere Christianity, dang it. Whether you guys like it or not 🙂

    This is one of the few books I encourage all Christians to read. Lewis has such a way with language, but his brilliance is in being eloquent, artistic, and yet, understandable. I think this in itself brings glory to God, and his excellence should be an inspiration to each of us to practice whatever gifts God has blessed us with.

    The passage quoted in the article is a great example. You can just feel the locations that he speaks of. The uneasiness of the hallway. The warmth of home.

    The question was posed earlier of how you found “your” room. I’ve done a lot of thinking on that over the years, because I really didn’t want to be Baptist. How did I end up here, and how did it become so warm and familiar to me?

    I think I would answer that if the kindest, gentlest, strangest, bravest, wisest, most Christ-like man you new was standing behind one of those doors, you’d probably follow. As my granddad was all those things to me, and he was a Southern Baptist pastor, my being here makes sense in retrospect.

  69. FWIW
    Josh the B, yes, everyone should read Mere Christianity – agreed and, i think, The Screwtape Letters also… it will get one over the idea that the devil goes dancing around like a banshee in a red suit with a pitchfork and horns growing out of his skull … don’t know what God sees, but it’s probably worse than the myth
    weird, but true – as a child there was a big clothes closet over the stairwell and my cousins and i used to pretend that it had a back door that led to a magic land… that was before he’d written The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe…

    Your pastor grandfather and mine are probably friends now… two kind, gentle, strange, brave and wise Christ-like men… i remember being spanked by my grandfather after my grandmother had had it with me one day (the only time he spanked me)… i was about 6 – he took his “strop” and gave me one good whack, then to mollify my poor tired grandmother in the other room, he then smacked his hand with the strop 3 more times… he said that he thought that one whack was all my infraction deserved…

    BTW – We knew many lovely S.B. folk during our years of affiliation with them… grounded and gracious… (there were a few who weren’t – like anywhere else)

  70. Great story about your grandfather, and brings back memories for me too. I was 4, and my grandmother had enough of me one day. Sent me to the corner in the hall, and went and told my granddad to come deal with me. He had the most serious look on his face as he got down on one knee and looked me straight in the eye. He whispered, “You…and me…are buddies.” Then he cracked cracked a smile, but put his finger to his lips so I wouldn’t laugh out loud. Ahh, love those memories.

    Hey, I was once at a large SB church. At a business meeting the music minister held up a picture of the space shuttle exploding. It had letters cut out and glued to it that said “You’re next”. The head of the deacons stood up and said proudly, “I sent that.”

    So yeah, I’ve known a few awful Southern Baptists.

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