Friday, October 11, 2013
The Difference Between Evangelical and Fundamental
Lewis derived his theological understanding of the Bible from his reading of Scripture, his intimate knowledge of the Church Fathers and the Medieval Doctors, and also from his awareness of modern biblical scholarship. While Lewis was regularly critical of Modernist biblical scholarship’s naturalistic dismissal of the miraculous, its pedantry, literary tin-ear, and over-eagerness to conflate Jesus’ story with the stories of pagan mythologies (he had precious little patience for Rudolf Bultmann, for instance ), he was not at all given to the knee-jerk reactionary Fundamentalism which has held so much sway in American Evangelical culture. In fact, Lewis incorporated many of the more well-supported conclusions of modern biblical criticism into his theology of Scripture, not least critical opinions about the historicity of much of the Old Testament. In good Anglican fashion, Lewis creatively drew upon the deep resources of the Church’s grand Tradition in order to think through the contemporary problems posed by modern critical scholarship. Here I wish to focus on three features of Lewis’s theological conception of Scripture—his understanding of the Bible as being incarnational and sacramental in character, and Christotelic in focus—before turning to his theological reading of Genesis 1-3.I found this fascinating not because it revealed much to me about Lewis, but because it says so much about Evangelicalism. I love that crack about Fundamentalism in the pull quote. Way too many Evangelicals are really Fundamentalists and frankly, I think Lewis defines the divide.
If I had to sum it up in a nutshell I would ask a single question, "Do you think to develop your beliefs or to justify them?" I think we should all ask ourselves this question everyday. Yes, we must tame our intellect to work in concert with the Holy Spirit, not against it, but it is a tool given to us by God. We must learn to use it properly.
CS Lewis Evanbgelicalism Fundamentalism