Chapter 6

Lord, Liar, Or Lunatic

C. S. Lewis has been called one of the most original Christian thinkers of the 20th century. Ironically, as a Christian writer he never set out to be novel. Instead, he used his imagination and skills to recast ancient truths in fresh and insightful ways. In this booklet, we have briefly looked at how Lewis’ conversion to Christianity transformed his imagination, reason, conscience, and expectations. One of the most compelling aspects of his conversion was that it was an extended process, not just a single event. Indeed, the transformation of his mind took place on multiple levels over a long period of time. But central in his transformation was One who had once been to him the unknown God but ultimately became his intimate Savior and Friend. It was Jesus Christ who ultimately transformed him. And Lewis made it clear that none of us can remain neutral in our response to Him. Here’s what he wrote in Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.33