Friday, September 21, 2007

Geniuses and Giants

This morning I was finishing C.S. Lewis' Weight of Glory. What a great Christian philosopher! How eloquently he puts the issues facing believers! The ideas he describes fill his novels, so they were so familiar to me that I thought they were my own. Heaven, church, faith, glory are all very relevant spheres to explore.

After reading the last essay in Weight of Glory, I pulled out my Journals of Jim Elliot, which has been begging to be read since I purchased it earlier this summer. The first page of entries had his application thoughts on several chapters of Genesis, cross-referenced with other Bible verses, even including a Greek (Greek alphabet even!) word to clarify the meaning of the verse, prayers, the challenge of pastors and mentors. I was delighted to be able to underline. Usually my underlines mean "well put," if you're familiar with the phrase (see Fiddler on the Roof). Today they meant, "Me too. I need to work on that. Thanks for pointing that out. I need to remember this."

C.S. Lewis was a professor, a philosopher, a lapsed atheist. His impact through his books has been huge in the past fifty years. As far as I can tell, C.S. Lewis didn't live such a radical faith. He was a genius, almost prophetic through his understanding of the outcome of popular worldviews.

Jim Elliot lived his faith. He wasn't perfect. He struggled. In his journals I read his prayers begging God to sanctify him. As a student preparing for the mission field at a Bible college, he was well-versed in Scripture and evangelism. I know from reading Passion and Purity that he avoided wasting time by studying memory verses in the lunch line.

Jim Elliot is a hero of mine. It would be relatively easy to die for Jesus. What is harder, the great adventure and lifetime of effort, is to live a life of radical faith for Jesus. Jim Elliot did both. When he wrote, you heard Scripture. When he decided what to do, he sought God's will in His Word.

Which book would I rather read? The Journals of Jim Elliot. In the same way I would rather hear a Sunday school lesson (or teach one for that matter) that, like the Journals, was saturated with Scripture, in a let-God-speak-for-Himself way. Christian philosophy like that which CS Lewis offers is interesting, but lacks the qualities that make it "...profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," as would a lesson focusing on the Bible.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Laura H. said...

Great post! I really appreciated it!
I know this might sound a little weird, but I am also an avid writer at heart. I am writing stories for Children that will portray christian heroes, that will be honorable to the Lord. I am in the process of getting one book ready for publishing, but need some help, either co authoring or editing, before sending off to a publisher. Do you have any recommendations?
Laura H.