C.S. Lewis may be the most quoted and beloved 20th-century writer. Because of his ability to speak so clearly and intelligently on deep theological subjects, Christians often misuse and occasionally misjudge Lewis.
We often view him as a professor of theology instead of English literature. In that role, Lewis would serve as a bridge to connect students to pieces of literature they had never been exposed to or experienced.
That is the primary role Lewis played as a Christian for many during and after his life. He is a bridge.
Through works like Mere Christianity and Miracles, Lewis is a bridge to philosophical and apologetic arguments for many Christians who merely assume their faith and for many atheists who dismiss it.
Lewis played this role in my life during a pivotal time when I was told to “just have faith” when I brought up serious questions about Christianity. I needed someone to show me my faith had intellectual rigor. Lewis did just that.
With The Chronicles of Narnia and other fictional works, he serves as a bridge to fantasy writers and the importance of the imagination many—including Christians—who have unknowingly assumed a modernist mindset that rejects anything beyond what our senses can see.
Lewis spoke about writing stories to “sneak past the watchful dragons” people have in their lives to prevent them from being moved by a rational argument. Being moved by the sacrifice of Aslan can prepare hearts to recognize and embrace the sacrifice of Jesus.
Lewis was a bridge to connect many with ancient Christianity and historic theologians and their works, like Athanasius’ On the Incarnation.
Lewis challenged “chronological snobbery” wherever he found it. He encouraged people to not simply read modern writers like himself, but read from previous generations. Their blind spots are different from our own and thus they can expose some of our faulty thinking.
Most importantly C.S. Lewis was a bridge to Christ. In all that he did, in every aspect of his life, he wanted to point people beyond himself.
Lewis spoke about the dangers of being tied to this world or mistaking this world for our ultimate home. He was changed by Christ and founded his home with Him in eternity. He wanted others to do the same.
Don’t treat Lewis as if he was the destination. He wasn’t. He was a cultural translator who took the difficult and made it understandable. That is his greatest legacy and one that Christians would do well to emulate today.
You may not have the intelligence or skill of Lewis—there are not many who do—but you can still serve as a bridge for those in your context.
Know your surrounding culture, so that you can communicate effectively with the people in your life. But know your sending Christ even more, so that you can communicate correctly the message He has given you.
You may not get much glory or attention. Bridges rarely do. But you will be aiding people to their ultimate destination and there’s no more important job.