The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader sails into movie theatres this weekend. The third of the installation of the Narnia series looks to be another box office winner. The adventure story should make a natural transition to the big screen, and given the previous efforts of Walden Media to offer a high quality, family-friendly films that closely follow the narratives of C.S. Lewis, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader seems certain to follow the proven pattern of success.
Many Christians, undoubtedly, will flock to the local cinema this weekend simply because of the story’s original author – C.S. Lewis (1898-1963). The Oxford scholar penned some of the most popular books in Christian apologetics. Lewis defended the supernatural elements of Christian beliefs in notable writings such as The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and Mere Christianity (which was elected best book of the 20th century by the popular magazine Christianity Today).
His theological prose utilize an approachable flair that still resonates with the contemporary mind. Additionally, Lewis’s literary style lacks the supercilious tenor that undergirds many aspects of the present-day Christian media, and his consistent appeal to reason (rather than emotion or authority) allows him to connect with the progressive intellect. While the forward-thinking skeptic may not agree with Lewis’s conclusions concerning the human need for God, the deity of Jesus Christ, or the historical reality of Jesus’ miracles, such skeptic can still respect his contentions.
Lewis also penned many fictional stories, some of which possessed overt biblical imagery. The second book in the Narnia series – The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe – details the story of Aslan, a king who sacrifices his own life to save a malcontent boy, and just like Jesus Christ, Aslan resurrects from death. He then leads the story’s protagonists to victory. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is actually the fifth book in the series, lacks the overt Christian imagery as the earlier writing, but the writing alligns to Christian morality.
For the present day Christian who holds to a historical understanding of the Bible (as opposed to a myth-based perspective), the writings, life, and influence of C.S. Lewis offer much encouragement. While a generation for Bible-based Christians either seemed to build immense social enclaves or entered the public arena with a finger-wagging, politically-motivated, and self-serving agenda, Lewis’s own story tells of time when Christian thinkers earned the public’s respect because of their willingness to imagine, their thirst for truth, and their love for Jesus. For today’s emerging Christian leaders, most are part of the vanguard which seek to emphasize the greatest commandment:
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22.37-39)