'A Barricade across the High Road': CS Lewis on the theology of his time

Marcel Sarot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this article, I analyse C.S. Lewis's attitude towards the theology and the theologians of his time. Lewis often emphasised that he was not a theologian. Sometimes he does so out of modesty, to excuse minor errors that a specialist in the field would not have made. More often than not, however, something else plays a role: Lewis's dislike of the theology and the theologians of his time. Although he intended not to become a party in theological controversies, Lewis occasionally took sides. He expressed himself in extremely negative terms about the liberal ... movement, which in his experience... dominated the theology of his time. By assuming them to be in error, and showing how they had arrived there, he participates in the practice he elsewhere rejected as 'Bulverism'. Moreover, he employed pejorative, sexually tinged metaphors. Only on one occasion did Lewis provide arguments for his rejection of liberal theology, and on that occasion he limited himself to New Testament exegesis. On another occasion, Lewis states that he allows only marginal, religiously irrelevant revisions of Christian doctrine. Ironically, his own revisions sometimes went beyond this - for example, in the case of the traditional doctrine of hell. in this article I suggested that for Lewis, the practice of faith implicitly is the ultimate criterion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5542
Number of pages7
JournalHTS Teologiese studies / Theological Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • CS Lewis
  • Theology
  • Liberal theology
  • Bulverism
  • Hell
  • Doctrinal development

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