The Halloween Screwtape Letter!? (Re-Post)

The following is a revised piece from what I shared previously. It was on Oct. 31, 1941 that the 27th letter from Screwtape was published in The Guardian. The following year it came out in the UK in the book The Screwtape Letters (1943 for the US).

While there is no material directly related to Halloween in this letter to Wormwood, Screwtape deals first with the “scary” subject of prayer that was also addressed in the 3rd, 4th and 8th letters. Here Wormwood is advised how to deal with the fact that his patient had made his present issues “the chief subjects of his prayers.”

In the third paragraph Screwtape begins to discuss how “intellectual difficulties” can be raised about petitionary prayers. He notes that if what the patient prayed for doesn’t happen then Wormword can lead him to think it “proves” prayer doesn’t work and if it does happen then how can he know if wouldn’t have occurred anyway if he didn’t pray!

In the final paragraph the topic of “The Historical Point of View” is addressed. This is different from what was mentioned in the 23rd letter about varying views on the “historical Jesus.” Screwtape describes here a brief definition of “The Historical Point of View” as meaning:

when a learned man is presented with any statement in an ancient author, the one question he never asks is whether it is true.

He goes on to comment:

To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge—to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behaviour—this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded.

This idea is described as “chronological snobbery” in chapter 13 of Surprised by Joy (SBJ) and is a phrase Lewis credits Owen Barfield as helping him understand. In that chapter of SBJ, Lewis provides this definition to the expression:

the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.

Exploring C.S. Lewis Misquotes and Misconceptions (Podcast Recap)

updated 10/14/17

The following is the easiest way to locate the six part podcast series Exploring C.S. Lewis Misquotes and Misconceptions. This series is a companion to my Confirming Quotations and Correcting Misconceptions blog posts.

Just click on the picture of the episode you want to hear and it will take you to the podcast site to listen to it.

 

Episode 1 – General introduction to the series that provides an overview to all of the material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 2 – Explores quotations falsely attributed to Lewis
(first of two-part)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(CMCSL-7): C.S. Lewis was a Universalist

UPDATE: It’s seems I’ve “over-summarized” MacDonald’s views on Universalism…inadvertently creating, or continuing a misconception about him. Because of time commitments related to just doing a book on misquotes related to Lewis, I will formally update the article below at a later date. If you are wanting a better understanding of his views, then read this online article: GEORGE MACDONALD’S VIEWS ON UNIVERSALISM by David L. Neuhouser

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series


Saying C.S. Lewis is popular among Evangelicals is like reporting the grass is green. However, there are those who are on the other end of the spectrum, believing Lewis is dangerous because of some of his views. One of those issues deals with the heart of the Christian faith – the issue of salvation. Specifically, whether or not everyone will be saved. Those who believe ALL will be saved are called “Universalists.” That is, if you hold to the idea that all will eventually go to Heaven, you are a Universalist. Some believe that Lewis held this position. However, a careful consideration of his writings clearly shows he did not hold this perspective.

Specifically, there are three main reasons some believe Lewis held a Universalist position. The first has to do with the Emeth character from The Last Battle, the final Narnia story. A second common factor for thinking he believed in Universalism is his praise of George MacDonald, who was a proponent of universal salvation. Finally, another concern expressed by some is comments Lewis made related to salvation in Mere Christianity, as well as other writings.

(CMCSL-6): Lewis Didn’t Experience Suffering Until His Wife Died

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series


Movies that dramatize the life of famous people are frequently also famous for presenting them either more perfectly than they were or else characterizing a fault the person didn’t have. If your only exposure to Lewis was the 1993 Hollywood version of Shadowlands, then you likely think (among other false notions) that he never experienced any real pain or suffering in his life until his wife died in 1960. That is simply not the case. Likewise, there are those who question how familiar Lewis was with these issues when he wrote The Problem of Pain in 1940.

(CMCSL-5): C.S. Lewis was Just a Children’s Author

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series


I often find it amazing how little some people know about C.S. Lewis. Of course, I’m bias, considering the fact that I eat, drink and sleep all things Lewis (or some think I do). Yet, when I pause and consider how multi-talented he was, it is not hard to understand why most don’t know a lot about him. It’s strikingly similar to the problem Superman had when seen up in the sky. Is that a bird? No, wait it’s a plane! Someone needed to give the observer the glasses that Clark Kent wasn’t wearing to clear things up. Finally, a sane person steps up and proclaims that Superman is above them.

For Lewis, the confusion is worse. While there are more than three choices, common options are that he was an Oxford teacher, a Christian apologist, and a Children’s author. Of course, he was all that and more. However, most only think of him as the latter, a kid’s writer. In fact, some have thought that a hundred years from now that this might be the only achievement by which he will be remembered. While The Chronicles of Narnia are a great achievement on many levels, people are missing out on a lot from Lewis if they only consider those books.

(CMCSL-4): After Winston Churchill, Lewis Was the Most Recognized Voice in Britain in the 1940’s

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series.    


Most people enjoy being recognized. In fact, those who are well-known are usually ones who seek out the fame. This was not the case for C.S. Lewis. While he enjoyed the company of friends and spoke publicly, he was also a rather bookish man. In an interview published in the September 8, 1947 issue of Time he is quoted as saying, “I like monotony.” So, even though Lewis didn’t seek to be famous, he nevertheless became a public figure.

Much of his fame (at least in England) is attributed to the fact that he was on the radio (BBC) speaking in favor of the Christian faith on four series of talks that later became the book Mere Christianity. His third show from the first series had an audience of over two million listeners! Is it any wonder there is the claim that Lewis was the most recognized voice after Winston Churchill? Even though this detail has been mentioned by established scholars, it is simply not true.

(CMCSL-3) – Lewis and Mrs. Moore Were Secret Lovers (UPDATED)

NOTE: This article was posted June 10, 2017 and updated with additional content on June 17. The only actually change is found at the end of article, where I added (with permission from the author) a previously unpublished portion from material Dr. Jerry Root sent me related to the topic.

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series.    


People who are famous are always subject to rumor and gossip, even if they are Christians. Well-known individuals who are dead who didn’t provide clarification on an issue before their passing leave the door open to speculation for good or for ill. Such is the case regarding the relationship between C.S. Lewis and Mrs. Moore. If you’ve only read books by Lewis and none about him, then you probably have no idea who she is. If you are among those and you enjoy his works then you might want to be able to address the fact that Lewis did live with a woman who wasn’t even divorced as well as the claim that he had a sexual relationship with her (years before he married Joy Davidman).

(CMCSL-2) – Lewis Had a Serious Crisis of Faith After Losing a Debate to Anscombe

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series.    


Anscombe Debate Loss

There’s no denying that C.S. Lewis’ most original work in the 1950’s was with fiction. The impact of his seven Narnia stories are, in fact, what Lewis is primarily known for today. Few recall that Mere Christianity was published during the same period (although it features previous released content) and also that the novel Till We Have Faces came out the same year as The Last Battle. Because Lewis wrote so many fictional works in the 1950’s one wonders why he devoted more books to this genre than any other. If you believe some accounts it just had to be because of something that occurred in early 1948. However, one needs to be careful when explaining why he wrote more fictional works than material directly defending the Christian faith.

(CMCSL-1) – The Four Loves audio is Lewis reading his book

This is part of an occasional series exploring questionable claims about the life or writings of C.S. Lewis.  For a list of the topics either already explored or planned to be examined you can visit the introduction to this series.    


Four Loves Not Audiobook

HThe Four Loves (4 Cassettes)ave you ever heard C.S. Lewis’ voice? In case you didn’t know there are several recordings of Lewis speaking. The most famous (and freely available) is one of his radio talks from the 1940’s. That material was adapted and became a part of the classic Mere Christianity (hear the only surviving talk from it via this link). Years later he wrote a lesser known title, The Four Loves. It is a short, but insightful exploration of the four different Greek words for love. Maybe you’ve heard him reading the book? Many people believe the recording with the same name is Lewis reading his book. However, it is not.

(Video) Dr. Joseph Pearce – “An Introduction to G. K. Chesterton”

The following is the first of two talks by Dr. Joseph Pearce from the Inklings Fellowship Weekend Retreat in Montreat, NC. This one is called “An Introduction to G. K. Chesterton.” It was given on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

Please note that the video was NOT professionally recorded. It was done by using the LG V20 smartphone. Both the audio and the video was recorded with it.