The Chronicles of Narnia Still Grips Our Imagination, 70 Years Later

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Today I have an article up at The Gospel Coalition reflecting on the 70th anniversary of the publication of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Here’s an excerpt.

As this month marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Christians would do well to ask whether The Chronicles of Narnia might show us the way to address the generations to come. Narnia persists in our imaginations because Lewis knew something about us that we sometimes forget. We’re not mere cerebral networks or limbic systems, but creatures made to look for signposts. The gospel, then, addresses us not just with logical reason or practical wisdom or enlightened self-interest, but—deeper than all of that—in an imagination that can feel what it is to tremble at a lion’s roar.

When asked in surveys about influential books of Christian apologetics, people in the Western world—regardless of age or background—almost always include Mere Christianity near the top of the list. And that’s true no matter how many chin-stroking contrarians say “Well, actually” to its arguments. For many of us shaped by Mere Christianity, though, the most important thing about the book isn’t the arguments for God—although those are sound and have withstood their critics like an eagle against a child.

For many, Mere Christianity resonates because of the written voice of the author. It’s a tone that, unlike the cynicism of modern religion, isn’t trying to market us a political agenda or a line of products, but is simply, with pipe in hand, bearing witness to something true—or, rather, to Someone who is Truth. In that sense, Lewis’s most important contributions in persuading skeptics or reassuring wavering Christians come not, first, from his training as an Oxford classicist but from his experience guiding children through a spare room, past a lamppost, and on into Cair Paravel and beyond.

Read the rest here.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.