The Apostasy of C.S. Lewis
Updated: Jun 18
The late British author C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), who was known as Jack, is extremely popular with evangelicals today. In fact, he could be said to be the “godfather of modern evangelicalism.” He remains one of the most quoted professing Christian authors of all time, and that speaks absolute volumes. Lewis is loved with an equal fervour by “conservative evangelicals,” hell-denying emergents, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Pentecostals, Calvinists, and even some Atheists, a fact that speaks volumes to those who have ears to hear.
I personally once owned practically every book authored by C.S. Lewis including, "Mere Christianity." They were given to me mostly as gifts in the time period immediate to my conversion, with the exception of one or two, and I read them all. From the get-go, though I was largely Biblically illiterate preceding my conversion, I knew the things he was writing was not coming from someone that was truly converted. And then there were glaring errors as well and rarely scripture quoted or exposited. He certainly didn’t hold to the Word of God as the only source of truth, but rather held to a very low view of Scripture. His was maybe a religious experience but it wasn’t Biblical Christianity.
Why was Lewis an apostate? Let's consider the evidence.
1. Lewis's Belief about Man and Evolution revealed his Apostasy.
C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential names in "evangelical" Christianity today, believed in theistic evolution, that God used evolution to create man. He called the Bible's creation account a "Hebrew folk tale."
Lewis openly accepted that evolution was a valid scientific theory of origins. In fact, his most famous Christian book, “Mere Christianity,” includes the concept of scientific evolution as an example of spiritual growth in the books grand finale. This was never updated, revised, or changed, throughout Lewis’ life.
"[T]hat man is physically descended from animals, I have no objection . . . For centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself . . . The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man … [I]n the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism . . . a new kind of consciousness which could say 'I' and 'me,' . . . which knew God . . . [and] could make judgments of truth, beauty, and goodness" (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain).
The literal six-day creation is a fundamental of the faith, taught from one end of the Bible to the other and placed at the very heart of the gospel (e.g., the literal fall of man from whence we derive, Christ’s genealogy traced from Adam, faith in creation required for salvation—Heb 11:1-3, 6), but Lewis denied it, rejecting it for a theistic evolution which he claimed had a valid scientific explanation. He openly accepted that evolution was a valid scientific theory of origins. He considered the Genesis creation account a “Hebrew folk tale.” In "The Problem of Pain" Lewis said “man is physically descended from animals.” He claims that man “may have existed for ages in this state before it became man.” Then God “caused to descend upon this organism a new kind of consciousness.”
Lewis also denied the total and natural sinfulness of man. Thus, it comes as no surprise then that he denied the literal accuracy of Adam and Eve and the record of the fall of man.
Lewis was a Platonist which is the philosophy of Plato or his followers. Any of various revivals of Platonic doctrines or related ideas, especially Neoplatonism and Cambridge Platonism (a 17th-century attempt to reconcile Christianity with humanism and science).
2. Lewis’s Belief about the Gospel/Salvation revealed his Apostasy.
Lewis rejected the doctrine of Christ's bodily resurrection and the substitutionary blood atonement of Jesus Christ; that is, that Christ died in our place to pay for our sins. Lewis denied and rejected that salvation come through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. His idea of salvation was that it came through baptism, faith, and the Lord's supper. He believed that some moral non-Christians would be saved and sincere followers of pagan religions could be saved without personal repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:
“There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence . . . Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 64, 208-209).
So a statement as following comes as no surprise: “When I was a young believer in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis helped me understand the relationship between Christianity and other religions in an inclusivist way” (Clark Pinnock, More Than One Way?, 1996, p. 107).
“Now before I became a Christian I was under the impression that the first thing Christians had to believe was one particular theory as to what the point of this dying was. According to that theory God wanted to punish men for having deserted and joined the Great Rebel, but Christ volunteered to be punished instead, and so God let us off. Now I admit that even this theory does not seem quite so immoral and silly as it used to; but that is not the point I want to make. What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor another is Christianity. The central belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter: A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work.” (Lewis, Mere Christianity).
The “penal substitutionary atonement” is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis denied it. The Bible plainly states that Christ shed His blood and died to satisfy the penalty of God’s holy Law. But Lewis claimed that it does not matter if one believes or rejects this. Christ shedding His blood for our sins is not a “theory” or a “formula”; it is a fundamental teaching of God’s Word; it is the very heart of the Gospel; and if one does not receive it, he cannot be saved.
Lewis believed in an ancient heresy called Ransom theory of atonement. This heresy originated with Origen, a favourite of the heretical "church fathers," and also believed by the Roman Catholic Augustine, the true father of Calvinist theology. This heretical theory teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice, said to have been paid to Satan, in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin. This is pure fiction, originating and embraced in the minds of unregenerate heretics, Christ rejectors.
Naturally, he denied the eternal security of salvation as well, as do majority false believers, especially those of a religious product, which without no man can be saved (separation and eternal security are inseparable—1 Jn. 5:9-13, believing that salvation can be lost is a false gospel embraced by majority of false religious groups).
The necessity of supernatural conversion through repentance and faith in Christ is a fundamental of the faith, but there is no evidence that Lewis experienced this. None of his books, or articles, or biographies about him, give a clear teaching on the new birth or a clear biblical testimony that he was born again. This should be cause for the deepest concern. Lewis’ autobiography Surprised by Joy presents a very confused testimony. Lewis definitely experienced a mystical “conversion” of some sort and he changed from Atheist to Christian, but that is not biblical regeneration. This has happened to many others, including Malcolm Muggeridge, and both of these at the end of the day were committed to a false sacramental gospel (Roman Catholicism), which Paul identified as cursed of God (Gal 1:8-9).
Salvation by grace without works and sacrament is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis believed in baptismal regeneration and taught that the “Christ-life” is spread to men through baptism, belief, and the eucharist (Mere Christianity, p. 61).
The sole Mediatorship of Christ is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis denied it. He believed in prayers for the dead (Letters to Malcolm, p. 109). Lewis confessed his sins regularly to a priest and was given the sacrament of last rites on July 16, 1963 (Roger Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis: A Biography, 1974, pp. 198, 301).
Salvation exclusively through the name of Christ is another fundamental of the faith that Lewis denied. He said that it would not be very wrong to pray to Apollo, because to do so would be to “address Christ sub specie Apollonius” (C.S. Lewis to Chad Walsh, May 23, 1960, cited from George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, 1994, p. 378). Lewis elsewhere claimed that followers of pagan religions can be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ (Mere Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco edition, 2001, pp. 64, 208, 209). In the popular Narnia series, which has in"uenced countless children, Lewis taught that those who sincerely serve the devil (called Tash) are actually serving Christ (Aslan) and will eventually be accepted by God:
“But I said, ‘Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.’ He answered, ‘Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.’ . . . therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him’” (Tbe Last Battle, chapter 15, “Further Up and Further In”).
3. Lewis’s Belief about God’s Word revealed his Apostasy.
He rejected Bible inspiration and inerrancy. Lewis denied the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible and the inerrancy of Scripture, rejecting the Bible as the infallible Word of God.
“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.” (Letters of C. S. Lewis, p. 428).
This is completely heresy. Such wickedness is collaborated in the following ignorant statement:
“Ye can know nothing of the end of all things, or nothing expressible in those terms. It may be, as the Lord said to the Lady Julian, that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well. But it’s ill talking of such questions. ‘Because they are too terrible, Sir?’ ‘No. Because all answers deceive” (The Great Divorce, Kindle location 140-150).
In this aforementioned book Lewis taught that questions such as the finality of men’s destiny and purgatory cannot be understood in this present life and we should not fret about them.
Lewis held to some pretty horrible, depraved and wicked views on Scripture. Speaking of the Psalms, Lewis characterized some of them as “fatal confusion,” “devilish,” “diabolical,” “contemptible,” “petty” and “vulgar” (Reflections on the Psalms, pp. 18-22).
C.S. Lewis did not believe that the earliest portions of Genesis were literal historical narrative, but rather that they were mythical ways of grasping for truth:
“The earliest stratum of the Old Testament contains many truths in a form which I take to be legendary, or even mythical—hanging in the clouds, but gradually the truth condenses, becomes more and more historical. From things like Noah’s Ark or the sun standing still upon Ajalon, you come down to the court memoirs of King David. Finally you reach the New Testament and history reigns supreme, and the Truth is incarnate. And “incarnate” here is more than a metaphor. It is not an accidental resemblance that what, from the point of view of being, is stated in the form “God became Man,” should involve, from the point of view of human knowledge, the statement “Myth became Fact.” . . . I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical.” (Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Essays, p. 129).
The inerrant inspiration of Scripture is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis denied it. In a letter to the editor of Christianity Today, Feb. 28, 1964, Dr. W. Wesley Shrader of First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, PA, warned that “C.S. Lewis . . . would never embrace the (literal-infallible) view of the Bible” (F.B.F. News Bulletin, Mar 4, 1984). Lewis even believed that Jonah and Job are not historical books (“Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism,” Christian Reflections, edited by Walter Hooper, Eerdmans).
4. Lewis’s Belief about Eternity revealed his Apostasy.
Lewis also denied the finality of one’s destiny at death. He taught the possibility of repentance beyond this life and also that of purgatory. This is the theme of “The Great Divorce”
“Is judgment not final? Is there really a way out of Hell into Heaven? ‘It depends on the way ye’re using the words. If they leave that grey town behind it will not have been Hell. To any that leaves it, it is Purgatory. And perhaps ye had better not call this country Heaven. Not Deep Heaven, ye understand.’”
The doctrine of the finality of one’s destiny at death is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis taught a second chance and the possibility of repentance beyond this life. This is the theme of The Great Divorce.
“Is judgment not final? Is there really a way out of Hell into Heaven? ‘It depends on the way you’re using the words. If they leave that grey town behind it will not have been Hell. To any that leaves it, it is Purgatory. And perhaps ye had better not call this country Heaven. Not Deep Heaven, ye understand’” (The Great Divorce).
This is plain heresy. There is no such thing as purgatory, only heaven and hell. Christ-rejecting antichrists love to have a way out of the eternal damnation coming their way, so they invent doctrine to appease their conscience. Even those of a reprobate mind know they are going to hell lest they repent on this side of the grave.
In this book Lewis taught that questions such as the finality of men’s destiny and purgatory cannot be understood in this present life and we should not worry about them (as quoted in the previous point).
5. Lewis’s Belief about Heaven and Hell revealed his Apostasy.
Unsurprising considering his beliefs in a false place called purgatory, Lewis denied and rejected the biblical doctrine of an eternal fiery hell, claiming, instead, that hell is a state of mind one chooses to possess and become:
“Hell is a state of mind--ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind—is, in the end, Hell” (The Great Divorce, p. 65).
The existence of heaven and hell and the absence of an intermediate stage is a fundamental of the faith, but Lewis denied it, believing in purgatory (The Great Divorce and Letters to Malcolm, pp. 110-111). Why believe in purgatory if hell doesn’t actually exist?
Associated with his rejection of hell, he also claimed that believing in Satan was not necessary in holding to the Christian faith. That definitely further reflects his unsaved condition.
“No reference to the Devil or devils is included in any Christian Creeds, and it is quite possible to be a Christian without believing in them. I do believe such beings exist, but that is my own affair. Supposing there to be such beings, the degree to which humans were conscious of their presence would presumably vary very much…” (Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock, pp. 56-57).
No wonder this famous author is so popular especially amongst neo-evangelicals and emerging churchers.
6. Lewis’s Belief about God the Son revealed his Apostasy.
Lewis said that it would not be wrong to pray to Apollo, because to do so would be to “address Christ sub specie Apollonius” (C.S. Lewis to Chad Walsh, May 23, 1960, cited from George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, 1994, p. 378).
In the popular Chronicles of Narnia series, which has influenced countless children, probably most if not all children in evangelical churches, Lewis taught that those who sincerely serve the devil (called Tash) are actually serving Christ (Aslan) and will eventually be accepted by God:
“But I said, ‘Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.’ He answered, ‘Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.’ ... Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him’” (The Last Battle, chapter 15, “Further Up and Further In”).
Lewis also denied the virgin birth of Christ.
7. Lewis’s Belief about Occultism Made him an Apostate.
The Chronicles of Narnia intertwines a few vague biblical themes with pagan mythology: nymphs, fauns (part man and part goat), dwarfs, centaurs (part man and part horse), Dryads (tree-women), and Naiads (well-women). All of these creatures are depicted as serving Aslan, the alleged Christ figure. Lewis presents the deeply heretical idea of good magic. He calls Aslan’s power “Deep Magic” and Aslan’s father’s power as “Emperor’s Magic.” He introduces the pagan god Bacchus and his orgies as a desirable thing. He presents the myth of “Father Christmas.” He teaches that Adam’s first wife was not Eve but rather a woman named Lilith and that she was a witch.
Horribly wicked and ungodly. All of it.
Not surprising, Lewis was a big fan of the Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.
8. Lewis was a Catholic and that revealed his Apostasy.
Lewis was in fact a Catholic, and wanted nothing to do with evangelicals, and majority evangelicals of that day knew better and wouldn't associate with him. James Houston wrote that:
“[Lewis] had no cultural connections with Evangelicals. He had no friends among them. . . . His friends were all Anglo-Catholic or Catholic. . . . Lewis, of course, has been adopted by the Evangelicals in America in a way that would have made him very uncomfortable. He didn’t associate with them; he didn’t think of himself as one of them.” (We Remember C.S. Lewis, 2001, p. 136).
Even the apostate publication Christianity Today (CT) noted that he was “a man whose theology had decidedly unevangelical elements” (CT, Sept. 7, 1998). In spite of that, Lewis has been called a “Superstar” by Christianity Today. A 1998 CT poll rated Lewis the most influential evangelical writer, and in light of the wretched spiritual-doctrinal-moral condition of “evangelicalism” today, that is a very telling statistic and certainly no praise for Lewis. Lewis was a Catholic indeed, believing in purgatory, confessing his sins to a priest, believing in prayers for the dead and had the last rites performed by a Catholic priest (C.S. Lewis: A Biography, pp. 198, 301). He received the Catholic sacrament of last rites on July 16, 1963.
9. Lewis was Merely a "Christian" by name.
Yes, it’s a play on words, reflective of his most popular book. He was nominal at best. That's it. A complete and utter apostate. Worse, because of the intentional purveyance of his poison, he was a wolf in sheep's clothing (Ac. 20:29-30), the clear voice of a stranger in contrast to the Great Shepherd’s voice which is the voice of the truth of Scripture (Jn. 10:1-5). A true enemy of the cross of Christ in every sense of the word. Altogether these things are shocking but they are not surprising, since “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13), but what is truly shocking is the amount of professing believers accepting his toxic material as Biblically genuine and not separating from it and burning it.
Really, how much evidence does one need to see that Lewis was a very deceived Christ-rejecting, Bible-rejecting Catholic Taoist, who invented a new god characterized in his books, a blatantly false “believer” who at the end of life slammed into an eternity in hell? How tragic and how sad. Yet, most evangelicals have zero problem with him, referencing him and quoting him rather frequently. I have seen this occur in the denominations of EMC and EBMC.
But I don't find this major influence among most evangelicals surprising at all, considering evangelicals are very soft on hell (if it gets mentioned at all, which is denial by silence), their gospel and salvation is similarly perverted as well, they are ecumenists as Lewis was (in the book Mere Christianity he said that Christianity is a large house with many different acceptable rooms, such as Catholicism, Protestantism, etc), they are nigh-universalists as Lewis was completely and majority are just as lost as Lewis was (Matt. 7:13-23; cf. Jn. 2:23-25; 1 Jn. 2:19; Ac. 8:13-24).
Nevertheless, Lewis is held in very high regard and that fact he is loved with equal fervour by “conservative evangelicals,” hell-denying apostate emergents, “Christian” rockers, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Pentecostals, and even some atheists is a fact that speaks volumes to those who have ears to hear. It is very tell tale. Rob Bell, who is shockingly beloved by evangelicals likewise, holds practically to the same wicked and ungodly views as Lewis, which is really not shocking. In the acknowledgements section of Love Wins, Rob Bell writes: “. . . to my parents, Rob and Helen, for suggesting when I was in high school that I read C.S. Lewis.” Bell became an apostate because of an apostate. Richard Mouw, past president of Fuller Theological Seminary, a heretic and apostate in his own right, said: “If I were given the assignment of writing a careful theological essay on ‘The Eschatology of Rob Bell,’ I would begin by laying out the basics of C.S. Lewis’s perspective on heaven and hell” (“The Orthodoxy of Rob Bell,” Christian Post, Mar 20, 2011).
Clearly C.S. Lewis was an apostate belly-serving heretic and utter “enemy of the cross of Christ” who used “Christianity” for his own selfish and gainful purposes and certainly not for the glory of God, fulfilling many passages of Scriptures warning about false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing such as Rom. 16:17-18; Phil. 3:18-19; Pet. 2:1-3, 15-22 and Ps 1:4-6.
As a summary, the agnostic C.S. Lewis believed in theistic evolution; Platonism; denied eternal hell fire; completely denied the true gospel in place of a false and seriously perverted gospel that rejected the doctrine of Christ's bodily resurrection and the penal substitutionary blood atonement of Jesus Christ and that believed any sincere follower of pagan religion could be saved without personal repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; denied the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible and the inerrancy of Scripture, rejecting the Bible as the God’s infallible Word; held to some quite horrible, depraved and wicked views on Scripture characterizing some of the Psalms as “fatal confusion,” “devilish,” “diabolical,” “contemptible,” “petty” and “vulgar”; rejected earliest portions of Genesis as mythical ways of grasping for truth; denied the finality of one’s destiny at death and taught the possibility of repentance beyond this life and also purgatory; denied and rejected the biblical doctrine of an eternal fiery hell, claiming, instead, that hell is a state of mind one chooses to possess and become; horribly apostate views on the Lord Jesus Christ Whom he likened to “sub specie Apollonius” and claimed those who sincerely serve the devil (called Tash) are actually serving Christ (Aslan), and denied His virgin birth; wrote many books based upon occultism; embraced Catholicism towards the end of his life, which is completely flooded with every kind of heresy, apostasy and evil, just like Rev 18 says; was a universalist; etc.
What of value spiritually can someone who is spiritually dead offer any true believer? They can’t tell you how to be saved, because they are lost themselves. They can’t tell you how to live for the Lord — because they are not living by faith or pleasing the Lord. They can’t open up the Bible to you and teach you, because it is a closed book to them. All they can do is seduce you and deceive you and destroy you. And that is precisely what he has done to millions of people over the course of a century.
Irregardless of some good things Lewis might have said and believed and written, he was unregenerate and an apostate, teaching massive heresy and mythical fantasy that opposes the truth of Scripture. His voice truly was the voice of a stranger (Jn. 10:1-5). He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No born again believer that loves the Lord should ever read an apostate (Am. 3:3; Eph. 5:11; Rom. 16:17; 2 Jn. 1:9-11).
That someone can quote and love CS Lewis without discerning his apostasy, and treat him as a true Christian, is terribly concerning and quite possibly revealing as to their true spiritual condition. God the Spirit, Who indwells the inner man of all truly regenerated believers, does not lead a believer to discern this man as just and acceptable. Quite the opposite. The Scriptures God the Spirit teaches to His own proves that Lewis was an apostate and must be marked and avoided at all costs (Rom. 16:17). It’s a disgrace to God to love the writings of this man and to quote him positively, and all who do so need to urgently examine themselves whether they are truly in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 1:10). Saved people follow the voice of the their Good Shepherd (the Word of God), and not the voice of strangers (Jn. 10:1-5):
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."