Date: April 25, 2023
For those who have studied the Bicentennial Booklet, they will know that one of the events that we committed to as a Seminary is the C. S. Lewis conference. The title of the conference is “Still Speaking: C. S. Lewis as a Theologian for the Third Millennium.” The goal is to produce a book that reflects on how Lewis might help us going forward.
Now C. S. Lewis is in many ways a strange choice. He is English; he is an Oxford Don; he was not an advocate for LGBT inclusion; the theme of social justice is not prominent; and he is male, white, and heterosexual. So, why on earth pick someone so unrepresentative of the Church that we are becoming?
In one sense, we grapple with C. S. Lewis precisely because we want to take some of his insights to be lifted up and taken into the world where we are committed to a global Anglicanism that is committed to justice and inclusion. C. S. Lewis is a christian deeply committed to the Anglican tradition; he believes in the power of argument to persuade and, simultaneously, believes in the power of myth to touch the heart; he has a delightful, playful sense of theological work, with some distinctive views – he believes in a version of purgatory, animal immortality, and a thoughtful approach to Scripture. On certain issues, we must push back on Lewis; in other areas, we can build on Lewis. This is all part of being VTS in the 21st century.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and President of The General Theological Seminary