Local News: This Thursday’s Mission Mississippi Prayer Breakfast will be held at New Dimension Ministries (110 Alta Woods Blvd–Jackson, MS), where Thomas Jenkins serves as pastor. For more information, call (601) 327-6691. The purpose of Mission Mississippi’s prayer breakfast, held twice a week at 6:00 a.m. throughout the metro-Jackson area, is to foster greater unity among Christians across denominational and racial lines. To learn more, go to www.missionmississippi.org.
Dr. Ian Hunter, a Roman Catholic Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario recently wrote an article in which he speculates as to why C.S. Lewis, who himself held to a number of Roman Catholic teachings, never converted himself.
Here was his hypothesis on why Lewis remained Anglican, and never became Catholic:
“I propose a simple answer: in the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s, when Lewis’ influence was at its zenith, it was still possible to regard the Church of England Church of England (particularly in its high church or Anglo-Catholic manifestations) as part of that ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic church’ that all Christians who recite the creed profess to believe in.
Today, such a belief requires self-deception, or at least willful blindness. In his time Lewis was spared the spectacle of the Anglican Church apologizing itself into near bankruptcy; the spectacle of Bishop Michael Ingham devising rites for same-sex unions; and the spectacle of New Hampshire Bishop Vicki Gene Robinson abandoning his wife and children to take up with a homosexual lover. In short, in C.S. Lewis’ time, the Anglican Church was not yet the self-parody it has become.”
In all fairness, it needs to be pointed out that there still remains an orthodox presence within the Anglican Communion, albeit today orthodoxy is more characteristic of Anglicanism in the “Global South” (Africa and Asia) rather than in the West. The Anglican Mission in America, a missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to the United States, is a prime example of orthodox Anglicanism. Locally, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (604 Goodridge Drive; Ridgeland, MS) is affiliated with the AMiA, which has grown to over 150 churches since 2000, when the mission began.
Far from being a “parody of itself,” churches within the AMiA remain committed to the historic truths of the Christian faith.
Hunter argues that Lewis, were he alive today, would be Roman Catholic. He quotes Christopher Derrick, a longtime friend of Lewis, who said in 1996, “It’s difficult to imagine what Lewis would make of today’s Church of England. The Church of England is such a pathetic ghost nowadays. You can’t agree with it or disagree with it. There’s just nothing there.”
Again, the way in which Hunter paints all Anglicanism with one broad stroke is a mistake. To surmise that Lewis’ orthodoxy would’ve compelled him to become Roman Catholic is misguided for two important reasons. First, those things about the Church of Rome that Lewis found objectionable haven’t changed since the time of his death, and secondly, it would still be possible for Lewis to be an orthodox Christian Anglican even in 2011.