C.S Lewis on Evangelism

What was C. S. Lewis’ life really devoted to?  In 1952 an American theologian criticized Lewis for using simple analogies to explain the Trinity.  Lewis’ response shows where his heart really was in all his work.

“Most of my books are evangelistic, addressed to [those outside]. I was writing to the people not to the clergy. Dr. Pittinger would be a more helpful critic if he advised a cure as well as asserting many diseases. How does he himself do such work? What methods, and with what success, does he employ when he is trying to convert the great mass of storekeepers, lawyers, realtors, morticians, policeman and artisans who surround him in his own city? (God in the Dock, pp. 181-183)

Many criticisms hurled against modern churches that employ world metrics are legitimate. But there’s always a danger to swing the other extremes.  As Lewis rightly noted above, these criticisms tend to come from people who are not doing evangelism themselves. Faithfulness is to be chosen over success only if that faithfulness indicates faithfulness to the gospel itself.  As Lewis went on to say,

“The Christian knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.” (Christian Reflections, p. 10)

Even the well-known evangelist, D. L. Moody, was criticized for his methods by a lady.  Moody’s reply was humble. He said, “I agree with you.  I don’t like the way I do it either.  Tell me, how do you do it?”  The lady replied, “I don’t do it.”  Moody retorted, “Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.

Even when our Lord Jesus was evangelizing among the outcast, the drop-outs, tax-collectors and prostitutes, only one group was always complaining with his methods and theology.  In Luke 15: 2 “..the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Yet, our great Shepherd, said of the lost: “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk. 15:10).   Will we rejoice when the Lord saves a people for Himself? Will we pray towards that end? Will we line up with His mission and do what He has told us to do (Matt. 28: 18-20) ?  Or will we join the Pharisees and scribes club?