Some Theological Themes Common to C.S. Lewis and John Wesley

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Both C. S. Lewis and John Wesley thus recognized that the truths of scripture and of the spiritual life are discernable only to the one who lives the crucified life, that is, a life of abandonment of the self to God.  Apart from any willingness to let go of self-centeredness, the real truth is elusive.  On the other hand, those who truly wish to lead selfless lives and center their lives in Christ will be empowered to do so and will be led into all truth.

Richard M. Riss, Ph.D.

Professor of Church History

Somerset Christian College


[i]C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966/1971).

Till We Have Faces, 313.

Till We Have Faces, 307.

Till We Have Faces, 306.

Till We Have Faces, 128, 306.

I Corinthians 2:9.

Till We Have Faces, 23, 33, 74, 75, 76, 109, 144.

Till We Have Faces, 109.

Revelation 21:9-27.

Till We Have Faces, 113.

Till We Have Faces, 112, 115, 16, 118, 119, 120, 126.

I Corinthians 2:14.

I Corinthians 2:1-12.

Matthew 10:34.

Till We Have Faces, 117, 119, 121, 127, 138, 148.

Romans 1:20.

Till We Have Faces, 132.

Till We Have Faces, 141, 142, 169.

Till We Have Faces, 115.

Till We Have Faces, 117.

C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (London: Fontana Books, 1959), 183.

Till We Have Faces, 121.

Till We Have Faces, 124.

John Wesley, Sermon 17 (II.7), in Albert C. Outler, ed., The Works of John Wesley, vol.1 (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1984), 412.  John Wesley wrote here that it is a “vain hope . . . that a child of Adam should ever expect to see the kingdom of Christ and of God . . . without a constant and continued course of general self-denial.”

John Wesley, Sermon 48 (II.4), in Works 2:246.  Here, John Wesley states that those who have not been awakened “do not attain faith, because they will not ‘deny themselves,’ or ‘take up their cross.'”  Earlier in this sermon (I.2), 241-42, he had identified self-denial with renunciation of one’s will in favor of following the will of God.

John Wesley, Works, 11:171 (emphasis in the original).

For a fuller treatment of Wesley’s understanding of the spiritual senses as analogous to the five physical senses, see chapters two and three of Laura Bartels Felleman, “The Evidence of Things Not Seen: John Wesley’s Use of Natural Philosophy” (Ph.D. diss., Drew University, 2004), 23-99.

John Wesley, Sermon 45 (II.4) in Works, 2:192.

Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances, 2d ed. (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1988).

C. S. Lewis, Perelandra (New York: Macmillan, 1965/1970), 47.  Lewis writes of Ransom that, “when he opened his eyes-which had closed involuntarily at the shock of moisture-all the colors about him seemed richer and the dimness of that world seemed clarified.  A re-enchantment fell upon him.”

Perelandra, 72.

Perelandra, 76.