Author of A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis, as well as the official Discussion Guide for The Most Reluctant Convert, the movie about C.S. Lewis currently playing in theaters
Recently Dr. Devin Brown, a Professor of English at Asbury University and author of a number of books related to C. S. Lewis, accompanied a group of Asbury University Honors Program students to a showing of The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C S. Lewis, a film about the early life and conversion of one of Christianity’s most famous writers and apologists. Afterwards, Dr. Brown met with the AUHP students to discuss the film and was willing to answer a few questions for the website.
Why should the conversion experience of a mid-20th century English academic matter to us today?
In the Trinity Term of 1929, C. S. Lewis became, as he refers to it, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England as he gave in and admitted that God was God. Although his conversion took place nearly 100 years ago, it still resonates with us today because his story is our story — the story of a spirit in rebellion and a heart that can find no rest until it rests in God.
The story of C.S. Lewis’ conversion features the role of his reason and imagination. What are we to make of that?
Lewis offers a wonderful antidote for a faith that is composed only of feelings. Certainly we are commanded to love God with all our hearts, but many believers stop there. Through the writings that followed his conversion, Lewis sought to challenge the backseat position which is often given to the important role that reason and imagination have in our faith.
How does a movie about the life of C.S. Lewis fit with Asbury University’s Honor’s Program’s theme of “Studies in Virtue and Human Value”?
Following his conversion what was it that led C. S. Lewis to spend so much time and energy, and risk his scholarly reputation and comfortable academic life, trying to encourage those who believed and reach out to those who did not? One answer can be found in the depth to which Lewis truly believed the statement he makes near the end of the film – that there are no ordinary people. We have never met a mere mortal, and every day, to some degree, we are helping those around us to one eternal destination or the other.
Look for more interviews coming soon. Also, here is a recent interview with Dr. Christopher Bounds as he reflects on his recent talk at Asbury entitled, The Image of God, the Incarnation and Human Dignity