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Poe discusses redemption on 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death

Hal Poe speaks in chapel Nov. 22 (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Hal Poe speaks in chapel Nov. 22 (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.Nov. 25, 2013 – To right the world’s wrongs is what justice is all about, Hal Poe said - a point that both C.S. Lewis and the Apostle Paul shared in their messages about redemption.

Poe, Charles Colson professor of faith and culture, discussed the life of Lewis, the late Christian apologist and prolific author of such works as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” during Union University’s chapel service Nov. 22. The date marked the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death.

“Lewis was a watcher of culture,” Poe said. “He was a person who noticed significant moments (that were) going to have an impact 50 years later.”

Poe said that Lewis confronted a generation of people preoccupied with pleasure, with the last article he wrote titled “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness.’”

The Apostle Paul faced a similar situation in Athens, Poe said, when Paul confronted religious groups who believed life had no meaning or purpose – and, consequently, no fear of punishment for wrongdoing. As a result, many Athenians solely focused on happiness in the present life.

But Lewis argued that the universal human awareness of “fair play” suggests a source of understanding between right and wrong, Poe said.

“Humans recognize when someone is being treated unfairly,” Poe said. “Something is coming to us from the outside to have a universal awareness for what we don’t have – what we long for.”

Although Paul and Lewis knew the gospel contained the answers to injustice, Poe said that Lewis noted a collapse in culture through which people have difficulty absorbing rational arguments or lengthy discussions.

In order to help people understand the gospel, Paul and Lewis not only talked about the Bible but also explained Scripture by using the art of their cultures.

“It’s not enough to declare some of the aspects of the Christian faith,” Poe said. “You need to explain what it means to people who don’t know.”

Paul used Greek poetry to help Athenians understand God, while Lewis wrote children’s stories to help spread the gospel. Through these ways, Poe said both men explained the promise of redemption in The Book of Revelation, where passages describe a time when God will bring righteousness and justice to the world.

The Bible, as well as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” ends in hope, Poe said.

“Live your life like you really believe you have the blessed hope,” Poe said. “Go forth, and be thankful in the Lord’s creation.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, Union dedicated its most recent Town and Gown lecture series in Lewis’ memory, with the series titled “Aslan’s Apologist: Celebrating the Intellectual Legacy of C.S. Lewis.”

Union also sponsored a trip to Great Britain this past summer to tour some of the historical sites in connection with Lewis’ life.

By Beth Knoll

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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