Things Helpful for Salvation (C.S. Lewis)

I am beyond a Raving Fan of C. S. Lewis. 
There are few writers who weave together the gifts of imagination, affection, intellect, will and action as C. S. Lewis. This year I am reading lots of Lewis and many books about Lewis.

Leadership teacher and author, Bobby Clinton, recommends that leaders have historic mentors. A historic mentor is someone from the past. You access their wisdom by reading and reflecting on their life and work. I have done that for many leaders over the years (including Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa like Nelson Mandela). I have done in-depth study and learning from the great theologians and writers on spirituality, like Ignatius of Loyola, Augustine, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Owens, Wesley, Eugene Peterson and Peter Kreeft (the last two being contemporary authors).

Over the years I have read quite a bit of Lewis and from time to time would read a book about him. This year I am reading a dozen or so of his books and I have a list of about twenty books about Lewis. 

If you want to follow my personal reading through the year - you can follow it on this Books Read in 2014 Pinterest Board. You will not only see my reading on Lewis, but the variety of reading I do.

If you want to see my collection of C. S. Lewis quotes - you can follow it on this C. S. Lewis (Life, Wisdom, Quotes) Pinterest Board (quite a few of them are my own creation, others are copied from the Internet).

C. S. Lewis  The Latin letters  things helpful to salvation  work full of dangerous hazardsHere is one of my favorite Lewis quotes. It speaks to me due to the topic and then the heart and passion of Lewis about this topic.

The topic is - Things Helpful to Salvation. Lewis was committed to helping his wide audience learn faithful, historic, biblical Christian faith. Lewis knew there were different ways of understanding the faith, different interpretations of salvation.

And since this SALVATION theme was important above virtually everything else, Lewis wanted prayer. He wanted prayer so he would speak and write things that were helpful for his readers to experience the graces of the Christian life.

Pray for me . . . what a humble and vital request.

For this is a Work Full of Dangerous Hazards. You would think Lewis was referring to some vocation that works with toxic elements, or perhaps some nuclear science, or maybe cutting edge genetic technology. No, that is not it.

The work full of dangerous hazards is the work of writing about the Christian life. Writing about Christ the Savior and Lord. Writing about the work of Christ accomplished and applied to humanity.

Lewis was well acquainted with the history of Christian thought. He understood the difference within various Christian traditions. He knew the different interpretations of the spiritual life of following Jesus. So he asked for prayer.

I resonate with this so much since the CORE work of Leadership ConneXtions International involves the spiritual formation of the inner world of those called to lead in the name of Christ. It is indeed a work full of dangerous hazards. 

The spiritual life, the work of spiritual formation is the life of sanctification. Currently there is some real "debated differences" on the nature of progressive sanctification and the best way to understand the relationship between the once for all work of justification and adoption we experience and the ongoing transformation that has historically been known as progressive sanctification.

There are BIG differences in understanding this relationship. There are equally large differences in discerning what are the appropriate "ways or methodologies" of spiritual formation.

While generally, when I teach on these things, I have a warm and wide reception from participants, there are some who disagree and at times vigorously, especially with the Spiritual Exercises approach I have developed.

My general response is simply, take what is useful to you and leave alone what is not. But, Christians are known to be zealous for their interpretations of the truth. Occasionally, some participants are zealous in their resistance. That is always a sad thing for me. And I always need prayer to be full of wisdom and grace, as well as humility and a teachable heart.

I certainly understand that some "critics" feel a great need to be critical. I too have been (and surely will be in the future) critical of others who I believe are speaking things that are NOT HELPFUL about salvation. Truth matters. Fidelity to the truth matters. When it comes to essential matters about salvation - this truth matters most of all. So I understand the critical demeanor.

While I am increasingly fully of joyful confidence about the biblical, theological and historical insights I weave into my spiritual formation approach - this is a work full of dangerous hazards. My desire is to only speak what is helpful for salvation... or at least, not harmful.

So pray for me . . . and pray for all those called to lead others into the fullness of life with Christ.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org