We’ll admit it, we’re Narnia fans. Sus read the complete Chronicles of Narnia every year to Ben, Josh, and Jenny when they were growing up. And, of course, we attended The Voyage of the Dawn Treader together over our Christmas holiday. So, we were intrigued when Campus Crusade’s student ministries in Utah and Faculty Commons, Campus Crusade’s ministry to professors, capitalized on the pre-release buzz of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie, hosting lectures by Lewis scholar Dr. Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College.
- At Utah State, a diverse crowd of 220 faculty and students, including graduate and international students, responded in overwhelmingly positive ways to Dr. Mitchell’s description of Lewis’s spiritual journey from atheist to Christian. The event was emceed by a Christian student and a professor who boldly proclaimed his faith. Many atheists and non-Christian students are now talking personally with Campus Crusade for Christ’s staff about the Gospel.
- Fifteen students who attended Dr. Mitchell’s lecture at Westminster College in Salt Lake City were interested in joining a C.S. Lewis book discussion group.
- Faculty Commons worked with Campus Crusade’s international student ministry at the University of Utah, to host a special session with Dr. Mitchell for faculty and for Chinese graduate students. (We’ve learned that C. S. Lewis’ works are very popular in China.)
- Forty-five Christian students at Utah and Utah State took copies of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, asking God for courage and for opportunities to give the books to their professors.
Like many U.S. campuses today, the British university environment when Lewis was a professor at Oxford, was already skeptical and even scornful about Christianity. In the midst of that atheistic and agnostic terrain, C. S. Lewis influenced his students for Christ, but he also knew that he could reach a lot more people with his writing, particularly through his stories, more than through his books on apologetics. He succeeded beyond all expectations. The Chronicles of Narnia have never been out of print and are popular worldwide, selling over a million copies per year. The Narnia movies have exposed millions more to Lewis’ work.
In addition, C. S. Lewis explained the basics of the Christian faith in everyday language on BBC radio during World War II. (Listen to one of his talks here.) His popular radio talks were later compiled into another one of our favorite books, Mere Christianity. Our staff at Faculty Commons considers this book one of their most effective evangelistic tools. Nearly fifty years after Lewis’s death, it continues to lead skeptical and atheistic professors to faith in Christ. While his apologetics books explain the truths of Christianity in everyday language, his fiction, like The Chronicles of Narnia, harnesses the power of art and imagination to touch all kinds of people from around the world, planting Christian truth in their hearts and minds.
The life of C. S. Lewis is just one example of the impact professors can have on society. Faculty Commons comes alongside Christian professors to give them a voice for their faith on today’s college campuses. Thank you for helping to influence young people through the faith of godly professors around the world.
NOTE: If you’re in Chicago, you might want to visit the Marion E. Wade Center, a major research collection of materials by and about seven British authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. We drove past in 2009 and now I wish we’d gone in!! C. S. Lewis came to Christ through reading George MacDonald’s books and talking with J. R. R. Tolkien.
Related Posts: Various quotes from C. S. Lewis