[Mere Christianity]: A Review

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

I am honored and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of sharing my thoughts on Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. It seems wrong to call this a “review” in the traditional sense of the word. It’s not something I feel qualified to critique; instead, I would say this is more of a response. It’s hard to put into words what this book means to me and to many others. This is my first experience into C. S. Lewis’ writing outside of Narnia (which I love!). And it was a beautiful way to begin. I was blown away by how poignant and relevant this book is.

Initial Thoughts:

  • I need to read more Lewis! There are so many beautiful nuggets of wisdom and truth in this small book. I felt a deeper connection to God and to those around me after reading this book. And I’m hungry for more. What are your favorite Lewis books?
  • Learning the context of this collection of essays was helpful for me. My edition offered a short note before the text that explained how Lewis first read these as “radio talks” during WWII and they were later adapted into a single book.
  • I listened to a lot of this audiobook with my husband it was a special time for us to read and discuss these ideas together. I also enjoyed listening to it because it felt more authentic to the original way it was presented.

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Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis discusses the profound ways that faith, repentance, and a rebirth in Christ can bring all men to greater meaning and strength. Goodreads says, “In 1941 England, when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, C. S. Lewis was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. More than half a century later, these talks continue to retain their poignancy. First heard as informal radio broadcasts on the BBC, the lectures were published as three books and subsequently combined as Mere Christianity. C. S. Lewis proves that “at the center of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice,” rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations. This twentieth century masterpiece provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

To begin, what genre are we in? I am not sure how to categorize this book’s genre in a simple way. Certainly, it’s a religious text but was also first a radio script. It isn’t scripture but it also isn’t a novel. It’s a bit academic but not so dense that the average reader can’t understand what is being said. It has clear direction–Lewis says he is seeking common ground among all Christians rather than arguing about who is “right” in the Christian tradition. I haven’t read anything quite like it. It’s a book I will return to in shorter parts to reread. I read this book slowly because it has so much in each chapter. It was amazing to find myself agreeing with Lewis’ well reasoned logic and compelling connections that bring us all to the same Christ.

“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.”

“We need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.”

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What does Lewis talk about in this book? In a simple phrase, Lewis discusses the commonalities that all Christians share. There are three main sections in the book: first defending the need for morality, second arguing the ethics and virtues of Christian behavior, and third the ultimate goal of Christianity. Forgive me if those descriptions are a bit overly simplistic. Certainly, Lewis delves deeply into all his arguments and I am only just beginning to understand them. Every section is full of such beautiful quotes and wisdom. I felt like I could have underlined most of the book and then printed it out to put on my wall. The beautiful ways Lewis discusses faith and the journey of Christians are inspiring. His discussions of how faith grows, how man becomes reborn in Christ, and God’s higher plan for all of us really struck me. This book left me feeling empowered as a Christian and excited about continuing my journey towards Christ (the journey of a lifetime).

“Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriage) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God”

“I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.”

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Who is the best audience for this book? I included this book on my Classics Club list because I am a Christian and I wanted to read more C. S. Lewis. Certainly, this book is for Christians at any place on the path of discipleship. But it’s also just for people–no matter their faith, background, or situation. Lewis does not alienate any potential reader in his text. In fact, he welcomes differing opinions and wants to discuss religion openly. This is a book to help us all grow closer to God in our own ways. I’m glad such a book exists.

I feel like I have only discussed the tip of the iceberg with this book. And I have only experienced the tip of the iceberg of Lewis’ extensive writings. I am now anxious to read more Lewis (and to reread Narnia!). Excited to delve more into his work!

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What is your favorite book by C. S. Lewis? And why?

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This novel is my 27th finished on my list for The Classics Club! Check out my full list here. For more info on the club, click here.

9 thoughts on “[Mere Christianity]: A Review

  1. Jillian

    My favorite by Lewis is A Grief Observed, because it is so raw. He is usually so elegantly logical. In A Grief Observed, you really get to see how human he was. (It’s his journal responding to the death of his wife, and his struggle with faith in the days following.) x

    After that I love The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe. I read it over and over as a kid. 🙂

    Also, I would term the genre of Mere Christianity an “essay.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Screwtape Letters–in my opinion, it bears much of the intellect and wisdom of this novel, but because the points are presented in an ironic way through satire, processing that wisdom was even more intriguing and eye-opening. It is almost hard to explain, but it’s one of the books that has left a mark on me.

    Liked by 2 people

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