Pittenger and Lewis




This week’s article for The Imaginative Conservative recounts a meeting I had while chaplain at Kings College, Cambridge with the theologian Norman Pittenger.

One afternoon I was sitting in my room reading an essay by C.S. Lewis called “A Rejoinder to Dr Pittenger”. Norman Pittenger was an Anglican theologian famous for being a proponent of “process theology”. Process theology is an outgrowth of the “process philosophy” of Alfred North Whitehead. It’s central concept is that God is more “becoming than being”—that God is relational and evolves as the world and history changes. A couple of Whitehead’s aphorisms sum it up: “It is as true to say that God transcends the World, as that the World transcends God.” or “It is as true to say that God creates the World, as that the World creates God.”

Pittenger had picked a fight with Lewis in 1958 in the pages of The Christian Century and Lewis responded with his usual wit and erudition. As I was reading the essay in one of the collections of Lewis’ essays edited by Walter Hooper the time came for me to take the boys to their rehearsal, and after dropping them at the choir room door I wandered around the famous chapel killing time and soaking up the atmosphere.

By and by a bulky old man leaning on a cane came up and engaged me in conversation.

Read the whole article here.