Rekindling the Intellectual, Spiritual, Creative legacy of Christians in Culture

Lewis at Desk In this podcast we take up the subject of CS Lewis' view of chastity. CS Lewis took the subject very seriously and said in Mere Christianity, "Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it: the Christian rule is, "Either marriage with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.' Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct, which has gone wrong." Dr. Bryan Burton, Pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church and adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Seminary is joined by "hospitable" disputers Jennie Spohr and Dan Reade, whose job it is to play devil's advocate with Lewis' views, followed by Q and A from the audience.

12 Responses

  1. Bryan Burton took issue, briefly, with Dan Reade’s closing comment on updating Lewis, but then went on to say “we need to be far more creative and work harder at speaking the Christian faith into the cultural context in which we find ourselves today.” In fact, this seems to have been exactly Reade’s point.

  2. Ah, but he is also correct in reminding us that we ought to stick to the hard road, the path we have been called to walk on, not because it is easy, but because it is hard, and God wants us to walk worthy on this same hard way.

  3. “God’s intent is the fullness of joy” – But our culture’s definition of marriage seems a long way from that. What does marriage mean in a culture that builds walls around it – eg A man A woman?

  4. What do you think Lewis would say about the search of college students for lasting and meaningful relationships?

  5. Did Lewis ever address the more “orthodox” of Catholic notion that sex was primarily for procreation not recreation?

  6. When did our sexual instinct go wrong? The quote suggests a date later than the fall. Did Lewis state or suggest the date/time/event?

  7. If we say that only complete chastity is virtuous outside of marriage, does it follow that every activity in the marriage bedroom is virtuous?

  8. When I hear a ground-swell of voices from those married to one person for an extended period who remaind chaste before that marriage saying “We’ve been cheated and swindled!” I’ll disagree with Lewis. I am not hearing it. Are you?

  9. What difference does it make on Lewis’ quote whether or not he practiced chastity?

  10. In sex for Christians, Lewis Smedes speaks at length on sexual activity between unmarried Christians in the “vast gulf beyond holding hands, but well short of sex.” With certain caveats, Smedes is rather positive on the benefit of this type of activity. What do you think Lewis’ thoughts would have been on that which is physical and sexual between the unmarried yet not actually sex?

  11. By “joy,” Lewis didn’t mean “overwhelming happiness, as the panel seems to think. He meant an almost painful longing brought on by the experience of beauty. A person who has read even the least bit of Lewis *honestly* would know that. I wonder that any of the panel has read any Lewis at all.

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