C. S. Lewis and the Prospect of Mere Purgatory
Although not a Roman Catholic, C. S. Lewis, the most popular Christian writer of the twentieth century, believed in purgatory. This is significant because his influence in Protestant and evangelical circles is perhaps especially strong. This chapter shows not only that Lewis believed in purgatory, but also that is integral to his theology of salvation. It explores how he understood the doctrine by examining his comments on Roman Catholic theologians John Fisher, Thomas More, and John Henry Newman. While he was quite critical of Fisher and More, he saw in Newman the recovery of the true substance and spirit of the doctrine. His theological fantasy The Great Divorce is also analyzed for its insights into Lewis's account of purgatory. It is shown that Lewis affirmed a sanctification model of purgatory that may be appealing to Protestants as well as Roman Catholics.
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