The True Myth

Lewis Tolkein

During mission week at Falmouth CU we showed The Dark Knight Rises. I was going to give a short talk at the end but we had some technical problems halfway through so I gave the talk in the middle instead. Thankfully it didn’t affect the talk too much since it wasn’t based on the plot of Batman but on the concept of myths.

Audio

Slides

JRR TOLKEIN: ‘The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories… But this story has entered History… There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits.”

CS LEWIS: “The story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others but with the tremendous difference that it really happened.”

Posted on by glenscriv in culture, evangelism, sermons

6 Responses to The True Myth

  1. Howard

    Great to hear of the use of TDKR – great film, and here’s a great video link re: Lewis and Tolkein on Myth and Christianity:
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzBT39gx-TE?list=PL052D8E7C4E1A7D93&w=560&h=315%5D

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  3. Cal

    Howard:

    That was a good dialog. Glenn’s quotes bring up an interesting argument that has dotted Church history: do we use myths positively or negatively?

    Do we speak of myths gleefully, but missing important points and missing the historical reality? Or do we tear down myths as distracting from the Truth which is no myth but contains the sublime beauty that myths grab after?

    Do we argue like Clement of Alexandria or Justin Martyr or like Minucius Felix or Tertullian?

    Good food for thought!
    Cal

  4. Glen

    Good points Cal, I find Tolkein and Lewis’s natural theology tendencies difficult. But I’m content to see that the gospel is *revealed* in a million ways even if I disagree with the Inklings’ belief in natural man’s ability to decipher them.

  5. Howard

    It’s interesting to consider the place and value of myth as ‘seeds’ for the Gospel message, especially when some are clearly Christ-orientated in perspective (Don Richardson’s “Eternity in their Hearts” looks at this phenomena, and William Haslam’s “The Serpent of the Cross” is a fascinating examination of the essential “Mythical” material of ancient religions). Many, of course, see much of the Biblical material itself as little more than myth, so it can be useful when someone comes along (like David Rohl in his work on Biblical Archeology) and affirms Tolkein’s and Lewis’ position that with regards to Biblical material, we are dealing with the true myth, or, to define it as something more than a fable, legendary records which are very, very much more than myths – genuine history on the genesis of our past.

    Myths and Legends may certainly cause us to think, but as with Lewis himself, this truly only comes into focus when the great story of the Gospel begins to cause light to shine within the dark corners of our hearts and minds – that is when everything is truly re-defined.

  6. John B

    I have some significant difficulties with Lewis’ theology. But, many people that I know are very resistant to the church in general, and preaching in particular. Often I find that they just won’t listen to a formal sermon, even when it’s one that they particularly should hear. In his fiction, as well as his apologetic writing, Lewis had an amazing ability to preach without being preachy, and so he can reach many who aren’ t willing to listen to a church sermon. I do wish that pastors would stop from citing Lewis as a doctrinal authority, though. I think that Lewis would have clearly rejected any such role for himself!

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