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'Mere Christianity' by C.S. Lewis

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#1
So by the reccomendation of brother in Christ here on these boards I picked up a copy of Mere Christianity today from the bookstore.

I haven't had a chance to really delve deep into it but I read the Foreward and the Preface and a little bit of the first chapter.

Wow can C.S. Lewis write. It's not like other philosophy books where you get bogged down by boring rhetoric, C.S. Lewis writes for the simple men and women. The ones who do not need a college education to decipher the words he uses.

The foreward was a great little insight into the life of C.S. Lewis (I honestly had no idea that he had served in WW1).

Anyways, I think this book is going to be a fantastic read.
 

Mike

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#2
Wow! You went right out and bought it! :thumbsup

He has a bit of dated/British style of speaking, but it's easy to get past. I've never heard ANYONE of faith be critical of this book. He's very straight forward, doesn't waste pages repeating himself, and takes a very practical view of faith matters. I'm sure you'll find that he has a very good way of simplifying his thoughts and framing his point. Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to disagree with anything he says in this book!

It's been years since I read it. It sits on my shelf as a keeper, though. Between my wife and I, we wore it out reading it over and over. :yes
 
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#3
Well it was so highly reccomended that I had to pick it up! :biggrin I was also going to pick up the other book reccomended (I think it was called Gods Messenger) but they didn't have a copy of it. They've got a nice little christian section at the book store, I also noticed the book called The Shack which I see has a thread here.

So far I haven't noticed much of the dated/British style of writing/speaking. I might try to track down a copy of this as it was originally broadcast on the BBS. It'd be something to hear it read straight from C.S. Lewis himself.

Just disecting the title and the little bit I did read, 'mere' fits perfectly. It's simple. Bare bones. Written for the 'simpleton' or 'common man'.
 

Mike

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#4
Brother, if you read through any thread about "The Shack", you'll see why my advice is to stay away from that book. It is very flawed theologically. Now, it's not meant to be a theological book, but people have been misled by it.

Like you said, "Mere" - simple, the basics. It's meant to be the "essentials" of Christianity that most feel are important and central. It avoids getting into areas that people bicker and argue about that aren't really salvation issues.

It's not a book for the simple-minded. People have mistakenly inferred that from the title. Glad you didn't. He has a very simple way of writing. Some authors want to impress with big words. He just says it like and average Joe. Man, you make me want to pull it off the shelf again! :lol
 
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#5
Thanks, Mike. After reading your reply I went and read some in that thread about The Shack, definitely don't want to be misguided by improper theology being so new in my faith. It's why I passed on picking up any of the Left Behind books today, when I first joing this forum I read the thread about that series and the false teaching that there is to be a pre-tribulation rapture. Which is a little beyond where I'm at, as I've never read revelations, so I don't know.
 
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#6
I am a little better then halfway through this books right now myself.

So far it is a very good read, CS Lewis really keeps you interested with his writing style.

I will recommend this book to anyone.
 

Mike

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#7
I am a little better then halfway through this books right now myself.

So far it is a very good read, CS Lewis really keeps you interested with his writing style.

I will recommend this book to anyone.
:thumbsup

(coming back to comment)

My favorite statement in this book, which is often quoted, is on page 56 (assuming the printings are the same) in the chapter called "The Shocking Alternative". It's the final paragraph of the chapter. He really nails it there. Actually that whole chapter is great. Actually, the whole book is great!
:)
 
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#8
I bought a book which had both "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters" in it. I got about 4/5th of the way done with "Mere Christianity" and then I lost the book...

But what I did read was awesome! There are some things I had to ignore, but they were very few and very far between (and if I recall correct it was merely denominational things).
 
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#9
I am a little better then halfway through this books right now myself.

So far it is a very good read, CS Lewis really keeps you interested with his writing style.

I will recommend this book to anyone.
Me too, I'll definitely reccomend it. The way he moves from topic to topic is in a concise manner, and he really touches on the reason he believes in a Creator.

:thumbsup

(coming back to comment)

My favorite statement in this book, which is often quoted, is on page 56 (assuming the printings are the same) in the chapter called "The Shocking Alternative". It's the final paragraph of the chapter. He really nails it there. Actually that whole chapter is great. Actually, the whole book is great! :)
I know the paragraph, I just read it today! I agree, the entire book is fantastic.

I bought a book which had both "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters" in it. I got about 4/5th of the way done with "Mere Christianity" and then I lost the book...

But what I did read was awesome! There are some things I had to ignore, but they were very few and very far between (and if I recall correct it was merely denominational things).
He keeps mentioning the Church of England. Is that a Catholic Church? I'm actually kind of glad he's going at this approach based on a view that all Christians, regardless of denomination agree upon.
 
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#10
Church of England is a branch of Catholicism. The Catholic church wouldn't allow the king to get a divorce, so he made his own church up. They are called Anglicans, if I recall properly.
 
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#11
Interesting stuff, thanks Pard.

Like I said, I'm glad he's leaving certain denominational sensitive theology out of the writing. Being so new in the faith, I don't know what all I should believe other than Jesus is the only way into heaven, and that God created the universe.

I'm looing at different churches in the area and there's Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, non-Denominational, Protestant, etc. Kind of overwhelming on trying to figure which one to go to. :chin

Back to the book. Just finished Chapter 7 on 'Forgiveness'. This is a tough one for me. Even though I have accepted Jesus's sacrifice for my sins, I'm not sure if I can forgive myself. Forgiving others comes easier for me, as I (for the most part) treat others better than myself, even those who have done wrong to me. It's just a natural makeup of my character.
 

Mike

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#12
G, many Christians can relate to what you're saying about forgiving yourself. Allowing others to rent space in your heart by unforgiveness is hard enough. Having that space in your heart that finds it difficult to forgive yourself is very painful. It really comes down to believing in His Grace and the price paid for by Christ. You need to know deep down what you believe. He is Great enough to fully Forgive you your sins.

Romans is a book that I find very helpful in addressing this, especially chapters 3 & 4, IMO. It's the particular book that convicted Martin Luther to protest a church that was having people pay indulgences to cover their sins. They would pay money to be forgiven, and God mightily Spoke to him, compelling him to stand up against this practice.

I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the book. I really wish Lewis would have written more of this kind of book. There's also "The Problem of Pain" where he writes a Christian response to suffering in this world. But "Mere Christianity" is a great overall enveloping of the Christian faith. I love reading your posts. Your thirst for Him is an inspiration to me! :yes
 
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#14
Church of England is a branch of Catholicism. The Catholic church wouldn't allow the king to get a divorce, so he made his own church up. They are called Anglicans, if I recall properly.
The Anglicans are not a branch of the RCC.
 
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#15
Now I want to read this book. I don't think I've ever read it. I read the Great Divorce, awesome read!
 
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#16
Thanks for the insight Mike!

Hitch, what was bland about it to you? The ideology/theology? The writting style? Constructive criticism my friend! I'm interested in hearing your ideas on what made it bland.

After I finish Mere Christianity I'm moving onto The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, and then God's Smuggler (going to try a different book shop if they don't have it I'll order online).

I've got about 5 more chapters to go and I'll have finished the book. Its been great. I'll go back and re-read certain chapters that really hit home on certain topics.

The 3 chapters on Charity, Hope, and Faith (the latter broken up into two chapters) was quite fascinating. Here's a little excerpt from the chapter on Charity.

Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find oe of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what fine forgiving chap you are, and to put im in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his 'gratitude', you will probably be disappointed.[/quote]

What I take out of this is don't do kindness to a fellow human being for a reward. The act itself is the reward. Sometimes I find myself in this situation when, lets say, I give a friend help moving. They offer some money, and I decline. They're usually pretty persistant though in wanting to give the money and insist on me taking it, which I usually end up taking.

There's been times when depending on the situation, I'll get irritated if they offer nothing. I always decline when they do offer a reward (payment), and sometimes they aren't persistant. I don't get irritated then, it's usually only when they don't offer. It's sort of built up in our society to offer a reward for a good deed, when the deed and the feeling of happiness for helping someone out is the reward.
 

Mike

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#17
I read this one over the winter and found it quite bland.
Hitch, I believe Lewis' target audience for this book were seekers and new Christians, so I'm not too surprised to hear you say this. He doesn't get into deep theology or volatile issues, so someone who has moved on to more intense reads might feel that way.

I always suggest this book for new Christians. It will always have a special place in my heart, because it was one of my first reads as a new believer. For that reason, I still turn to it from time to time. He was very well spoken and articulates his points very succinctly.

gunghorjc, that was a neat part, as well. Thinking kind thoughts and focusing on likable traits of your "enemy" will help to soften your heart toward them. Sometimes this is very hard to do, but as he says, eventually you can get to a place where you genuinely pray for them. That's where we should be! :yes
 
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#19
Finished the book today. It definitely has left me with plenty of food for thought. Now I need to digest what I read. The closing paragraph of the book I found very enlightening.

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
 

Mike

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#20
Part of the reason for the distinctive writing style is that Mere Christianity is actually a compilation of Lewis's short radio addresses during WWII.
Interesting. I thought he pulled from his radio material, but I didn't know this book was a compilation of it. Good stuff. Thanks!