C.S. Lewis Interview: Dan DeWitt

C.S. Lewis The Wardrobe Door

To celebrate 10 years of blogging here at The Wardrobe Door, I wanted to speak with some others who read, appreciate and study C.S. Lewis. Over the next few weeks, each day will feature an interview with one of these individuals (and maybe a few more).

Dan DewittDan DeWitt is the dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses on worldview, philosophy, apologetics, and C. S. Lewis.

He is the author of Jesus or Nothing and The Owlings: A Worldview Novella. You can read his musings at his blog Theolatte.

Wardrobe Door: What do you remember about reading C.S. Lewis for the first time?

My first serious reading of C.S. Lewis in adulthood came when I visited a local book store for a discussion group on The Screwtape Letters. I was only one who showed up.

I sat in the cafe of the bookstore for hours reading through The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, which I brought with me. It was one of the most pleasant mishaps I could imagine, and I’m tempted to think it was no mishap at all.

I fell under Lewis’s spell that evening while sipping lattes and reading The Problem of Pain. And I’ve never quite recovered.

WD: While it may be next to impossible to answer, what is your favorite Lewis work, one you consider most overlooked, and one that you tend to enjoy less than others?

Favorite: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

Overlooked: Miracles

Enjoyed less: The Space Trilogy

WD: Here are 50 of my favorite, what is your favorite Lewis quote?

My favorite Lewis quote comes from a letter he penned to a friend who was drifting from orthodoxy:

“We have no abiding city even in philosophy: all passes except the Word.”

WD: Why do you think he continues to maintain such influence in modern evangelicalism?

Though there may be places where I wish Lewis would have said more, there are few, if any, passages where Lewis might have said something better. He had such a gift to communicate in a clear and memorable way, which is why I, as an Evangelical, return to him regularly.

Lewis’s zeal for evangelism flowed through all of his writing from poetry to literary criticism, from fantasy to apologetics. Believers of all stripes find in a Lewis a powerful example of what it means to fulfill Jesus’s command to let our light shine before men.

WD: Like all of us, Lewis wasn’t perfect. Where do you find yourself disagreeing with him or his approach?

Lewis is not beyond critique, that is certain. No one is. We must give honor to whom honor is due. However, I do think most Evangelicals will take umbrage with Lewis’s treatment of Scripture in places, particularly his views on the imprecatory psalms in his Reflections on the Psalms.

But I don’t think we need to fit Lewis into a Southern Baptist mold in order to appreciate him fully. And though Lewis would perhaps be unwilling or unable to sign the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, I’ve encountered few authors who seem more sincere in their commitment to obeying Scripture than Lewis.

WD: If you had to choose, what is the most invaluable lesson you learned from him?

Though not a lesson, per se, I’m deeply indebted to Lewis for the many authors whom he introduced me to like G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers.

And if I were it pick a lesson, it would be the serious burden of apologetics, if taken seriously, that is best illustrated, in my opinion, in his poem The Apologist’s Evening Prayer [from Poems].

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.