Friday, December 17, 2010

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

This week I read the disappointing Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel. As a fan of both literature and theology, I grieve when I read Christian books that are flat and boring. Dorothy Sayers wrote that the truths of Christianity describe the greatest drama ever staged. That’s why I’m frustrated with writers who manage to wring all the life out of them. And that is why it was balm for my soul to pick up a book by C.S. Lewis.

The Last Battle is the story of King Tirian, the last king of Narnia and his battle against the Calormenes. I hesitate to describe it in anymore detail because I don’t want to spoil it for potential readers. The final chapters express complicated theological ideas in a gentle, simple, beautiful way. Have you ever wondered if people who don’t hear about Jesus get to heaven? Have you ever wondered what Heaven will be like? These passages will open your understanding (and blow your mind!).

Lewis tied up the series in a satisfying way with references to many of the main characters from the other books. Another pleasurable aspect of the book was that it met my need for meatier fare to prepare my heart for the season. A stable is a major backdrop to the story and Lucy makes a passing comment that “In our world, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” It was a perfect Christmas comment and clinched the book as my favorite in the series. (Even as I write that I’m not sure that’s true. There was something to love in every single one of the books.)


GretchenJoanna said...

Great review! Lewis is certainly good at expanding one's vision, and sometimes with just a one-liner like that part about "bigger than our whole world."

Merry Christmas!

Seth said...

I always find The Last Battle frustrating, but only because the "strong delusion" deceives so many. But I love the ending.

I've had a similar frustration with some of Strobel's work, though I did admire The Case for a Creator quite a bit.

Carrie said...

I haven't read any of Strobels books yet. I have a few sitting on my shelf but I haven't gotten to them yet. It was curious to hear your take on the Christmas one. Hmmm. I've never been sure what to think of them.

Lewis now, well, I have no complaints! =)

the Ink Slinger said...

I've always loved The Last Battle. And I think that if I had to pick only one Narnia book to call my favorite, The Last Battle would be it.

Great review!

Embejo said...

C S Lewis. What a brilliant author...these books are so accessible. My children love them for the pure fantasy and adventure..I love them for the depth of story and the theological ideas. Wonderful

Carol in Oregon said...

I will *never* forget the experience of reading The Last Battle to my youngest son. The moment is seared on my brain. I can see us, lying slant-wise on my bed. I propped my head on my hand as I read.

Collin started to bounce when a character from a previous book showed up. "HE'S here?" His excitement was not only palpable, it was shaking the bed! I think it was his first knowledge of *reunion*.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I look at Strobel's books as more reference than anything I try to sit down and read.

I believe he has a law degree and he writes as such but I have found his information helpful. We used a couple of his books when we homeschooled.

I think the ending of The Last Battle is among the very best of all Lewis' work!

jenniferarb said...

This too is one of my favorite Narnia books. I know many Christian moms who will not allow their children to read anything that has anything at all about witches, magic, fantasy, etc. In their view the Chronicles of Narnia gets lumped in with Harry Potter. I have tried to make the case for fantasy by using my own personal experience with Narnia books. I was raised in a nominally christian household. I knew the story and basic ideas but that is as far as it went. But I was a reader and came home from the library every week with a stack of books. I was 8 years old when I read through the Chronicles of Narnia (for the first time). I remember very clearly the moment I read the final chapters of the Last Battle. As the understanding came to me my heart pounded and I had tears of joy in my eyes. It would be another 10 years before I would accept Christ but I know that this moment was integral into leading me to Him. Praise God for C.S. Lewis! He not only understood the problem of watchful dragons but he gave us one means to get past them.