C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet October 29, 2016

Alister McGrath has just written a book that I expect to become a bestseller. It’s called C.S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet.

C. S. Lewis is an icon in the Christian world. Even 50 years after his passing, his work continues to educate and enthrall millions of people. Lewis was a brilliant thinker. An intellectual who had a gift for writing to the right brain (think Narnia). He was an erstwhile atheist turned Christian apologist.

In this new biography, C.S. Lewis—A Life, Alister McGrath creates an inspiring portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis.

Here is Publisher’s weekly review:

To the question of whether the world really needs another biography of C.S. Lewis, McGrath’s lucid and unsentimental portrait of the Christian champion responds with a resounding “yes.” The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death, and times have changed and evangelical sentiments have matured. McGrath offers a new and at times shocking look into the complicated life of this complex figure, in a deeply researched biography. The author takes us headlong into the heart of a Lewis we’ve known little about: his unconventional affair with Mrs. Jane Moore; his hostile and deceptive relationship with his father; his curiosity about the sensuality of cruelty. McGrath navigates the reader through these messy themes, ultimately landing us onto the solid ground of Lewis’s postconversion legacy. He shows with skill, sympathy, dispassion, and engaging prose that Lewis, like the rest of us, did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. But he got over it, as must all those who would prefer a Lewis without shadows.

C.S. Lewis is thoroughly researched, yet highly readable. It offers a chronological account of C.S. Lewis’ life, literature, and his exploration from atheism to Christian faith. It shows his weaknesses, his eccentricities, and even some of the things he did that some Christians would find scandalous, writing him off in self-righteous judgment.

Despite this, Lewis and his legacy have survived and triumphed over all who would demonize him. God used this man, without question, despite his flaws (which every Christian minister has), his mistakes, and some of the decisions he made that some religious people would approve and others would disapprove. Overshadowing it all, the book highlights the remarkable things Lewis did for the Lord.

I remember spending a few hours with N.T. Wright several years ago at a conference we both spoke in, and how impressed I was with how much Wright owed to Lewis. Not long after, Wright came out with a book entitled Surprised by Hope, which was inspired by Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. The impact was profound. Here’s Wright’s endorsement of the book . . .

Many of us thought we knew most of what there was to know about C.S. Lewis. Alister McGrath’s new biography makes use of archives and other material that clarify, deepen, and further explain the many sides of one of Christianity’s most remarkable apologists. This is a penetrating and illuminating study.

~ N.T. Wright

Tim Keller also weighed in saying,

Alister McGrath’s new biography of C.S. Lewis is excellent . . . His impact on me was profound and lsting, and Dr. McGrath clearly explains why so many believers and Christians today can say the same thing.

~ Timothy Keller

If you are a C.S. Lewis fan . . . or you are someone who is interested in learning about the man behind the message (and the movies) . . . then you’ll want to own this book.

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