Two noted Christian writers were born on this day. Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898 & twenty years later in 1918, Madeleine L’Engle was born.
C. S. Lewis was a member of the Inklings, an informal Oxford literary group with wide ranging influence. His books included popular apologetics such as Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy. I remain particularly fond of his Screwtape Letters. But he may well be best remembered for his children’s series the Chronicles of Narnia.
Madeleine L’Engle was an American Episcopalian, and a forthright Christian universalist, which has caused her some trouble with orthodox Christian bookstores, which are reluctant to stock her writings. She is best known for her young adult novels, and particularly A Wrinkle in Time and its four sequels.
While not quite a Christian Universalist, Lewis comes close. Significantly his Great Divorce raises the question of an always open door into paradise. Although he doesn’t really follow through with a stated belief that in time everyone will walk through that door. So, while I’m sure some are suspicious, his books are found on the shelves of those orthodox Christian bookstores, when L’Engle’s are not.
Certainly at least from Origin, and his Apocatastasis, a Greek word meaning something along the lines of reconciliation or restoration, Universalism, the belief that in the last instance all things will reconcile to God, has been at the very least a minor current within the Christian tradition.
According to the Wikipedia article on Christian Universalism, ‘The conversion of Bishop Carlton Pearson to a form of Universalism and his subsequent excommunication by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops in 2004 caused Christian Universalism to gain increased media attention because of Pearson’s popularity and celebrity status.’
The article also mentions a Christian Universalist Association. However, as of this writing the association only lists two congregations, at the moment an umbrella, whether denomination or network, remains more of an aspiration. That said their website does note how “Many Christian philosophers, theologians, writers, and scholars are coming to believe in a Universalist interpretation of Christianity. A rapidly growing number of books are being published on the subject of Christian Universalism. Hundreds of Christian Universalist websites have exploded across the internet over the past few years, run by people with a wide variety of religious backgrounds and viewpoints. It appears that Universalism is beginning to develop into one of the most significant ecumenical movements among Christians of our time.”
So, it is a treat to see these two lovely writers and sympathetic spiritual figures joined in their births as well as in their faith.