RE: [asa] (CS Lewis and inerrancy) A case of non-biological ID

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Tue Jan 29 2008 - 15:57:11 EST

Can anyone suggest a book or something that explains how CS Lewis
"definitely rejects Inerrancy."


I'd like to learn more about that.





From: [] On
Behalf Of Michael Roberts
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 2:47 PM
To: Vernon Jenkins; j burg
Subject: Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID


I also enjoy Fernseeds but have lost my copy. CSLewis is always good
value - orthodox , and takes a non-literal but historical view of the
Bible and definitely rejects Inerrancy.


Despite have studied/taught theology I regard some critics as tedious
and Bultmann is not helpful at all. No history in the Gospels and he
wrongly believes all the NT writers believed in a three decker


But from what I know of Lewis he could only count to 10:):):)



        ----- Original Message -----

        From: Vernon Jenkins <>

        To: j burg <>

        Cc: Michael Roberts <> ;

        Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 10:19 PM

        Subject: Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID



        Since last writing I have again read C.S.Lewis's Fern-seed and
Elephants *. As you may already know, this takes the form of a reasoned
response to the claims of the demythologizers - foremost among whom are
your preferred authorities Bultmann and Tillich. Your stance concerning
the achievements of these men is so markedly different from my own that
I thought it appropriate to introduce a few of the opinions of this
notable Christian apologist.

        Describing himself as 'a sheep, telling shepherds what only a
sheep can tell them', CSL begins by reminding the shepherds that the
sheep fall into two broad groups: 'the uneducated, and those who are
educated in some way but not in your (the shepherds') way.' Concerning
the first group, he suggests that it would hardly do for those shepherds
holding views like Bultmann's or Tillich's to tell them what they really
believe, viz.

        "A theology which denies the historicity of nearly everything in
the Gospels to which Christian life and affections and thought have been
fastened for nearly two millenia - which either denies the miraculous
altogether or, more strangely, after swallowing the camel of the
Resurrection strains at such gnats as the feeding of the multitudes."

        CSL believes that most liberal priests, faced with this problem,
"have recalled from its grave the late medieval conception of two
truths: a picture-truth which can be preached to the people, and an
esoteric truth for use among the clergy."

        Speaking as a member of the second group - educated, but not
theologically educated - CSL writes:

        "The undermining of the old orthodoxy has been mainly the work
of divines engaged in New Testament Criticism. The authority of experts
in that discipline is the authority in deference to whom we are asked to
give up a huge mass of beliefs shared in common by the early Church, the
Fathers, the Middle Ages, the Reformers, and even the nineteenth

        He is skeptical about this authority: "...whatever these men may
be as Biblical critics, I distrust them as critics. They seem to me to
lack literary judgement, to be imperceptive about the very quality of
the texts they are reading...If he tells me that something in a Gospel
is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he
has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the
flavour; not how many years he has spent on that Gospel."

        Citing a number of examples from Bultmann's writings, he
concludes "These men ask me to believe they can read between the lines
of the old texts; the evidence is their obvious inability to read (in
any sense worth discussing) the lines themselves. They claim to see
fern-seed and can't see an elephant ten yards away in broad daylight."

        Again, he finds in these higher critics a constant use of the
principle that the miraculous does not occur. "Thus any statement put
into our Lord's mouth by the old texts, which, if he had really made it,
would constitute a prediction of the future, is taken to have been put
in after the occurrence which it seemed to predict."

        Of course, if we know that inspired prediction can never occur,
or that the miraculous is impossible, then this is a sensible position
to take. But as CSL points out, whether the miraculous is possible is a
philosophical question. "Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more
authority than anyone else."

        Yet another matter that concerns CSL is the critic's attempts to
reconstruct the genesis of the texts he studies. Carried out with
immense erudition and great ingenuity this, at first sight, may be very
convincing. However, as CSL points out, he has watched reviewers
reconstructing the genesis of his own books in just this way - and has
usually found them to be wrong!

        I conclude with one final quote from this fascinating and
hard-hitting address: "Once the layman was anxious to hide the fact that
he believed so much less than the vicar: he now tends to hide the fact
that he believes so much more. Missionary to the priest of one's own
church is an embarrassing role..."

        John, I trust you will find these extracts from CS Lewis's work
both interesting and challenging - and invite your comments.

        Vernon <> <>

        * 'Fern-seed and Elephants' was read to the students of Westcott
House. a theological college at Cambridge, on 11 May 1959, and was
published under the title 'Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism' in
Christian Reflections.

                ----- Original Message -----

                From: j burg <>

                To: Vernon Jenkins <>

                Cc: Michael Roberts
<> ;

                Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 5:14 PM

                Subject: Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID


                Vernon wrote: "Yes, the depredations of Bultmann,
Tillich and others are well-known to informed bible believers. We all
have a pretty good idea what the terms _demythologizing_ and
_deliteralization_ mean; but they are not for us."

                "depredations?" I wonder if you have seriously studied
these writings. In any case, the words "depredations" and "informed
bible believers" in the above is simply a case of using persuasive
adjectives to claim an assumed "high ground." Politicians are
particulary good at this tactic.


                Vernon also wrote: "To take such liberties with the
Judeo-Christian Scriptures is, in my view, madness; and, considering its
clearly stated provenance and dire warnings, Revelation must be the one
Book that it is least sensible to tamper with."


                The use of "liberties" and "tamper with" are likewise
examples of persuasive adjectivism. Hey -- I may have coined a new word

                Vernon also wrote: "However, clearly, that is a matter
for you and your conscience."


                No -- it is a matter of my mind. Here I stand -- I can
do nothing else. I understand that you are on a crusade to argue
literalism for many parts of scripture that most scholars have long
decided otherwise. But your arguments appear to have more in common with
astrology than reason.


                Have you considered getting a real life?



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Received on Tue Jan 29 15:59:12 2008

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