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Old 12-22-2005, 12:02 AM   #1
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A Question for Those Who Know Something About Theology and CS Lewis

I am reading the cover story in this month's issue of Christianity Today about C.S. Lewis. I have a question for those of you out there who may know more about theological terms than I do (which isn't much!)

Clive Staples Lewis was anything but a classic evangelical, socially or theologically. He smoked cigarettes and a pipe, and he regularly visited pubs to drink beer with friends. Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn't subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He belived in purgatory and baptismal regeneration. How did someone with such a checkered pedigree come to be a theological Elvis Presley, adored by evangelicals?

My question is: what are penal substitution and baptismal regeneration? I have done some research and believe that I have a basic idea but I was wondering if someone could describe them in layman's terms and also if anyone knows about Lewis and his beliefs if they could tell me what he believed in instead?
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Old 12-22-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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C.S. Lewis wrote some great stuff. I've really gotten a lot from "The Screwtape Letters" and "Mere Christianity." I don't know a whole lot about the man, although I'd like to learn more. I wouldn't doubt it if your findings are true on him. The fact that he's loved so much, I would guess, is because on the important things, he not only gets it right, he gives us a new way of seeing things, and in turn, broadens our understanding of it. This is what great teachers do. Does he have it all right? I doubt it. He's human. Bono is even more of a theological Elvis (in more ways than one ) and Christians love him. (see my thread above.) Why? Because he gets the big things right and inspires us tremendously.

As far as penal substitution and baptismal regeneration, I've honestly never heard of those terms or things put that way. I'd like to learn more about what Lewis means by them though. By penal substitution are we talking how Christ paid the price of our sins by dying in our place? If so, yes, I believe that. Any follower of Christ should.
Baptismal regineration, I don't know about. Coming to a belief in Christ makes us a new creation, according to the Bible.
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Old 12-22-2005, 04:13 PM   #3
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From what I have been able to gather penal substitution refers to the fact that Christ's shedding of innocent blood paid the penalty for our sins. There are other views which try to explain why the death on the cross was necessary which I am still trying to learn more about. My question though is what would Lewis have believed instead? It seems to me that Aslan dying to save Edmund would correlate directly with penal substitution. It's interesting just how much Mr. Lewis' beliefs varied from the standard American system. In Mere Christianity he refers to both the evolution of humanity and the fact that there are those who in religions outside of Christianity who will be saved.

I dunno...seems like when you get down to it no two people have the exact same beliefs about the big issues even people in the same church. I guess I shall carry on my research and my quest for understanding with respect and humility and cling to my understanding of what Jesus did for me and all of us. I'd appreciate any other feedback and thanks for letting me know your thoughts coemgen.
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Old 12-22-2005, 04:58 PM   #4
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Baptismal regeneration is the belief that the act of baptism is what brings you salvation. There's some nuances within the baptismal regeneration camp, but all generally hold to the belief that you have to be baptised to be saved.
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Old 12-22-2005, 05:07 PM   #5
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I know a little less about penal substitution, but I think it's the belief that Christ's death satisfied man's legal debt to God. It's the idea that when man sinned, he broke God's law, and thus would have to pay a debt of eternal separation from God. With Jesus' death, that debt was paid, thus allowing man to be declared "not guilty."

Penal substitution views the relationship between God and man in legal terms. Hence the name.
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