C. S. Lewis and the Prospect of Mere Purgatory

Jerry L. Walls

in Purgatory

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732296
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918492 | DOI:
C. S. Lewis and the Prospect of Mere Purgatory

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Although not a Roman Catholic, C. S. Lewis, the most popular Christian writer of the twentieth century, believed in purgatory. This is significant because his influence in Protestant and evangelical circles is perhaps especially strong. This chapter shows not only that Lewis believed in purgatory, but also that is integral to his theology of salvation. It explores how he understood the doctrine by examining his comments on Roman Catholic theologians John Fisher, Thomas More, and John Henry Newman. While he was quite critical of Fisher and More, he saw in Newman the recovery of the true substance and spirit of the doctrine. His theological fantasy The Great Divorce is also analyzed for its insights into Lewis's account of purgatory. It is shown that Lewis affirmed a sanctification model of purgatory that may be appealing to Protestants as well as Roman Catholics.

Keywords: letters to Malcolm; Mere Christianity; The Great Divorce; Evangelicals; atonement; perfection; repentance

Chapter.  12435 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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