The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. In 1919 Lewis published his first book, a cycle of lyrics titled Spirits in Bondage, which he wrote under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton. Jack, who would have spent some time that week reading the books with which the essay was concerned, would sit listening, very often lighting, smoking, and relighting his pipe, and perhaps making a few notes. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important… His second volume of poetry, Dymer, was also published pseudonymously. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Though the author hated radio, he recognized the opportunity to reach a wider audience. It was Magdalene College at Cambridge University that finally honored Lewis with a chair in 1955. In the words of evangelical leader John Stott, “He was a Christ-centered, great-tradition mainstream Christian whose stature a generation after his death seems greater than anyone ever thought while he was alive, and whose Christian writings are now seen as having classic status. This little volume opened a 30-year stream of books on Christian apologetics and discipleship that became a lifelong avocation. Joy had many strikes against her: she was an American, of Jewish descent, a former communist, 16 years younger than Lewis, divorced, and personally abrasive. Quite a feat for a man who long disparaged “the Christian mythology” and regarded God as “My Enemy.”. Jack’s door, like all the doors in New Buildings, was thick, but, through it, one could easily hear the strong, booming voice say, “Come in.” The room was adequately, but rather shabbily, furnished. He argued that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. I read this book after I broke free from the high-control fundamentalist Christian group I was raised in. ... Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. On rainy days—and there were many in northern Ireland—he pulled volumes off the shelves and entered into worlds created by authors such as Conan Doyle, E. Nesbit, Mark Twain, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. That depends on what you’re looking for. Lewis, C.S. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Soon after joining the English faculty at Oxford’s Magdalen College, Lewis met two more Christians, Hugo Dyson and J. R. R. Tolkien. But he explored the Bible for himself, through reading it and through conversations with his friends. … JESUS SAID, “I AM THE TRUTH.” C. S. Lewis: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Even so, it wasn’t love that primarily motivated the couple to marry in 1956—Joy couldn’t renew her permit to live and work in England, so her only chance to stay in the country was to marry an Englishman. Pray as though everything depended on God. Your donations support the continuation of this ministry, Containing today’s events, devotional, quote and stories, © Copyright 2021. Lewis said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Home > Sermon Illustrations. Anscombe won the day, and Lewis was reportedly “deeply disturbed” and “in very low spirits.” He never wrote straight apologetics again, though he continued to communicate his faith through fiction and other literary forms. So did Nevill Coghill, a brilliant fellow student and lifelong friend who, to Lewis’s amazement, was “a Christian and a thoroughgoing supernaturalist.”. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. “I never saw anything so beautiful.” Despite an interruption to fight in World War I (in which he was wounded by a bursting shell), he always maintained his home and friends in Oxford. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. The two developed a deep friendship, much to the dismay of many of Lewis’s friends. Perhaps because of the worldwide shock regarding the president’s death, Lewis barely made headlines, and his funeral was attended mostly by family and close friends, including the Inklings. A Grief Observed appeared in 1961 under a pseudonym, because it was so intimate and personal Lewis couldn’t bear for it to be published with his own name. Lewis writes, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”2 Truth — understood … Kindness in words creates confidence. In a seeming miracle, Joy’s condition improved, and she and Lewis enjoyed three happy years together. I knew nothing about him, except that he was the college English tutor. 22. "HE WAS A HEAVILY BUILT MAN who looked about forty, with a fleshy oval face and a ruddy complexion. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Second, it is violently opposed. Even close Christian friends like Tolkien and Owen Barfield openly disapproved of Lewis’s evangelistic speaking and writing. Though his books gained him worldwide fame, Lewis was always first a scholar. 'He’s really worth listening to.’ And those soldiers did listen attentively for the entire fifteen minutes.”. Regardless of their reception close to home, Lewis’s 25 Christian books, including The Screwtape Letters (1942), Mere Christianity (1952), the Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56), The Great Divorce (1946), and the Abolition of Man (1943), which Encyclopedia Britannica included in its collection of Great Books of the World, have sold millions of copies. “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, is of infinite importance. The author quotes CS Lewis at the start of the book, who said, "Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. C.S. “What exactly do you mean by the word ‘sentimental,’ Mr. Sayer?” he might begin. “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. This is a fundamental question and no one has yet set out to prove or disprove Christianity. Lewis once wrote, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” In issuing more significant encyclicals and visiting more nations than any other pope, he’s shown that Christianity remains a world force. As C.S. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. All rights reserved. Lewis helped out by underwriting the boys’ boarding school education and paying the rent on a house not far from his own. In 1941, the director of religious broadcasting at the BBC (who had found personal comfort through reading The Problem of Pain) asked if Lewis would be willing to speak on the radio. The sheer volume of letters led him to seek his brother Warren’s secretarial assistance but did not prevent him from crafting responses that showed the same clarity of thought and literary grace possessed by all his writing. Sermon Illustrations. The best way he knew to grapple with his feelings of grief, anger, and doubt was to write a book. Lewis entered Oxford in 1917 as a student and never really left. Christian History Institute. As the writer and scholar C. S. Lewis put it, "Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. He admired their brilliance and their logic. The tutorial was a formal occasion. From inconsistencies, absurdities, errors, contradictions and adult make-believe this books shows how the bible is false and thus that Christianity … why(God)why is an audio series FROM MOSAIC BOSTON that examines the claims of Christianity. C.S. Within two years of his conversion, Lewis published The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism (1933). One correspondent in particular would play a major role in Lewis’s life. In the summer and fall of 1963, Lewis’s health deteriorated. On one side of the lovely eighteenth-century fireplace in which a coal fire would be burning during cold weather, there was a sofa upon which he sat; on the other side, there was an armchair for the student. One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. If Christianity is true, it is of vital importance to every one of us. C. S. Lewis Quotes Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. At age 35, thorough research lead me to conclude that … Lewis once said that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. All truth passes through three stages. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. In fact, Lewis’s “Christian” books caused so much disapproval that he was more than once passed over for a professorship at Oxford, with the honors going to men of lesser reputation. His books continue to sell extremely well (the Chronicles of Narnia set, for example, is among Amazon.com’s top 200 titles), and many readers rate him as the most influential writer in their lives. - CS Lewis Christianity if it is true is worth our investigation." I did not know that he was the best lecturer in the department, nor had I read the only book that he had published under his own name (hardly anyone had). A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. His mother’s death from cancer in 1908 made him even more withdrawn. Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive. In spite of his many intellectual accomplishments, he refused to be arrogant: “The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”* God’s truth … (In “Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock) There are only two … Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the … He died in his sleep on November 22, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Though history has all but forgotten them, it was Christian preachers and teachers who really tamed the West. Kindness in giving creates love. “What it actually did to me,” wrote Lewis, “was to convert, even to baptize ... my imagination.” G. K. Chesterton’s books worked much the same way, especially The Everlasting Man, which raised serious questions about the young intellectual’s materialism. After a bad fall in her house, Joy was diagnosed with bone cancer. Books were not the only means Lewis found for sharing his message. Wearing a gown, a pupil would stand outside the tutor’s door and wait until the clock struck to before knocking. Not everyone approved of his new interest in apologetics. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Then he would present a summary of the ways in which the word had been used in the past, perhaps adding, “Well, Mr. Sayer, if you are not sure what the word means or what you mean by it, wouldn’t it be very much better if you ceased to use it at all?” ... Everyone recognized the breadth of his knowledge. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” I searched earnestly for a … Lewis once said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important… The appeal of C.S. His mother’s death convinced young Jack that the God he encountered in the Bible his mother gave him didn’t always answer prayers. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” John is making it clear that he sees Jesus of infinite importance. Joy gradually fell into financial trouble. Even after I had been taught by him for three years, it never entered my mind that he could one day become an author whose books would sell at the rate of about two million copies a year. Lewis may have been buried without fanfare, but his impact on hearts and lives has never stopped growing. These men became close friends of Lewis. Lewis and His Times, [Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #65 in 2000]. After his only brother, Warren, was sent off to English boarding school in 1905, Jack became reclusive. At a quarter to eight, the bartender turned the radio up for Lewis. “There were books in the study, books in the dining room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds,” Lewis remembered, and none were off limits to him. Mrs. Lewis’s death came just three months before Jack’s tenth birthday, and the young man was hurt deeply by her passing. Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basis, Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. Until now. He continued to write literary history and criticism such asThe Allegory of Love(1936), considered a classic in its field, and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (1954). Of course, it will be so only so long as we keep the impulse pure and disinterested.”. Lewis was born into a bookish family of Protestants in Belfast, Ireland. However, she stimulated Lewis’s writing, and he enjoyed her company. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. —George Sayer, Lewis’s pupil and, later, biographer, in Jack: C.S. “Never have I loved her more than since she was struck down,” Lewis wrote to a friend. What Christianity Cannot Be "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. - C.S. C.S. The new Christian devoted his talent and energy to writing prose that reflected his recently found faith. “Christianity, if false, is of no importance and, if true, is of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” *Image: Creator of Heaven and Earth … The only thing it cannot be is moderately important… A few months after the civil wedding ceremony, something happened that did rouse Lewis’s emotions. Books; Holidays; What Christianity Cannot Be. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. First, it is ridiculed. Lewis If it is not true, it is not "great for us" — it is very sad, and it means that Christians are deluded. In addition to spreading Lewis’s fame as an apologist and speaker, the BBC talks produced at least two major results. BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Barfield had converted from atheism to theism, then finally to Christianity, and he frequently badgered Lewis about his materialism. Lewis gallantly offered his services. Earlier efforts to become a poet were laid to rest. His black hair had retreated from his forehead, which made him especially imposing. The exact quote is, "One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. As Lewis continued to read, he especially enjoyed Christian author George MacDonald. His daughter is an author of six Christian books pointing people to Christ, and his son is a seminary professor and has written several Christian books as well. Soon thereafter her alcoholic husband abandoned her for another woman, and she moved to London with her two adolescent boys, David and Douglas. “The place has surpassed my wildest dreams,” he wrote to his father after spending his first day there. His attachment to Oxford was so strong that when he taught at Cambridge from 1955 to 1963, he commuted back to Oxford on weekends so he could be close to familiar places and beloved friends. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” — “God In The Dock” 23. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important. The outcome was seven sets of talks, broadcast between 1941 and 1944, with titles like “Right and Wrong: A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe?” and “What Christians Believe.”, The weekly broadcasts were very popular—just what weary, discouraged Brits were looking for in the gloom of World War II. Lewis once aptly observed that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Soon Lewis recognized that most of his friends, like his favorite authors—MacDonald, Chesterton, Johnson, Spenser, and Milton—held to this Christianity. No pupil of his will ever forget the way he quoted the poetry he enjoyed. O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive! On top of that, his father never fully recovered from her death, and both boys felt increasingly estranged from him; home life was never warm and satisfying again. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. the only thing it cannot be is moderately important. In 1924 he became a philosophy tutor at University College, and the following year he was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, where he tutored in English language and literature. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Whether in the realm of reason or imagination, in personal or public life, Lewis maintained, “I believe in Christianity … The other was a deluge of correspondence, including many letters from spiritual seekers to whom he wished to make a detailed, personal reply. Even to his best biographer and longtime friend George Sayer, Clive Staples Lewis was a surprise and a mystery. “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading,” Lewis later wrote in the autobiographical Surprised by Joy. "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. Lewis A passionate atheist, now firm believer and author of a wide range of books, C.S. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. The tutorial always began the same way: The pupil would read the essay that he had been told to write the week before. Lewis’ writings continues to be the way in which Lewis combined reason and imagination. Lewis frequently received criticism from members of his closest circle of friends, the Inklings (the nickname for the group of intellectuals and writers who met regularly to exchange ideas). The two were married in an ecclesiastical ceremony at Joy’s bedside, and she moved in with Lewis, presumably to die. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. This early doubt, coupled with an unduly harsh, self-directed spiritual regimen and the influence of a mildly occultist boarding school matron a few years later, caused Lewis to reject Christianity and become an avowed atheist. Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance… -- C.S. 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