April 9, 2009

Mere Ecumenism: C.S. Lewis and the Mormons

Here's the abstract for my paper on C.S. Lewis. The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology has invited me to present the paper (still in the works) at their conference in May at Claremont. Thoughts, questions, suggestions are welcome: 

Since the 1950s various Latter-day Saints have shown particular interest in the religious and fictional works of C.S. Lewis, apologist for “mere Christianity.” Lewis’s recently published collected letters add new insight to Lewis’s other works and I will utilize them to explore three areas of interest. First, the letters demonstrate how Lewis’s personal experiences on his path from atheism to Christianity contributed enormously to his later apologetic efforts. “You ask me my religious views,” an 18-year old Lewis responded to lifelong friend Arthur. “I believe in no religion…Superstition of course in every age has held the common people, but in every age the educated and thinking ones have stood outside it.” Almost fifteen years later he confessed to Arthur, “How deep I am just now beginning to see: for I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ—in Christianity.” Lewis retained memories of his former unbelief which affected his works—- many of which demonstrate his concern for what he called the “virtuous heretic.” Much like members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lewis sought for and found ways to hope for those not converted to Christianity during mortality. Second, Lewis’s works have transcended denominational boundaries to reach an impressively diverse Christian audience. Thus his general apologetic approach is an insightful model of charitable, respectful and ecumenical engagement, despite any theological difficulties in Lewis’s understanding. Finally, because Lewis has often been utilized by LDS General authorities, teachers and authors, a call for a continuing and more responsible engagement is appropriate.

April 7, 2009

BYU's Daily Universe and the 12 Apostates

It was a pretty unfortunate typo, that's for certain. On the other hand, in my news experience mistakes are more likely to be made in photo captions than elsewhere. I think in retrospect this will be seen as an uninentional (and pretty funny) little gaffe. To the folks at the Daily Universe: don't lose too much sleep over it; the bretheren will likely laugh this one off.