Friday, October 9, 2009

Not Kidding

Having moved on to The Screwtape Letters, I'm continually impressed by Lewis' (we'll call it) "extrinsicism" - that is, Lewis' emphasis on the "externals" of religion.

Very frequently Lewis rails against introspective religion (that is, that self-centered piety that consists of heavy doses of self-examination). In his biography, I read a letter in which he believed that abstaining from introspection was the key to avoiding insanity in one's later life. In Mere Christianity, he virtually identifies humility as the opposite of introspection. And in The Screwtape Letters he has more or less identified that sort of piety as the subtlest form of idolatry, one of the demons' key tactics in causing apostasy.

(This is not even to mention his oft-quoted discussion on the sacramental nature of matter and spirituality, in which he points out that "God likes matter. He invented it.")

In retrospect, it's pretty obvious that my early encounters with Lewis' cleared the way for Peter Leithart's later iconoclastic tract, Against Christianity. (And this is all to say that the entirety of the Federal Vision controversy can be summed up in the question: Was C.S. Lewis Reformed?)

3 comments:

epeuthutebetes said...

And is the BCP Truly Reformed™ ? Ha, I know I should avoid that bone.

But if it’s Scripture that judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (the devices and desires of our own hearts?), not we ourselves, it seems natural at least that not all of it can come from our own introspection. It’s healthy that Lutheran confession and absolution doesn’t require enumeration of every sin to be remitted. Who can know Man’s heart but God himself?

Scott Schultz said...

I'm quite fond of the prayer of confession and absolution in the BCP.

I was talking to my wife the other day and commented that Anglicanism is like Reformed Lutheranism. Reformed in its ecumenical slant, what with the its openness in regards to communion - Lutheran in its eucharistic and liturgical slant.

epeuthutebetes said...

I know the Daily Office confession prayer but not the Eucharist one, though I heard the latter first in an ECUSA church in Maryland many years ago (eight years? alright, not quite many). Probably because I’ve never regularly attended any Anglican church. But yeah, I have a weakness for them too.

If I lived in Hong Kong, I’d almost certainly be an Anglican. And I learned recently that my dad was baptized into the Anglican church back in the 1970s when he turned to Christ as his sole comfort in life and death.

In referring to openness in regards to communion, are you talking about Open Communion or about the breadth of the Anglican Communion? I do think there’s a point to ‘So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.’