At my church a special discussion group for high school seniors is delving into the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. I think this is a wise choice. The approximately 200 page (printings vary) gem is an excellent sounding board for young adults who want to get a firm grasp on the core of their beliefs before leaving home for work or college.

There are two things that need to be said about the book. One, it was written in 1950’s England, so it reflects the language and worldview of that time and place. Two, its richness for the mind rivals that of flourless chocolate cake for the palate—one can savor only a sliver at a time.

Lewis touches on many topics that are essential to a believer’s perspective on life, as well as a believer’s attitudes about faith and practice. He asks decisive questions and does not shy away from complex answers. Among his topics are: Where does morality come from? Moral behavior within us, between us and others, and in relationship to God. Who is God and what is He like? Does God want to make me feel miserable? Why Jesus? The reason for the crucifixion. Explaining the Trinity. How does God work in my life? What is the whole point of being a Christian and not just a nice person? Choice. The role of sex. What happens to good people who never hear about Christ? Forgiving evil. The great sin of pride. Why suffering? Why doesn’t God just invade the world and wipe out all evil? Becoming like Christ—what does it really mean? What’s the point of all this?

Some readers may find Lewis a little conservative on certain subjects, others too liberal. But you don’t have to agree with his every opinion to benefit from the depth of his reflections.

Due to the nature of this book, it is best read slowly, a chapter or two at a time, then discussed. This could happen with a mentor or parent or in a class or youth group with a teacher to monitor discussion and explain harder concepts.

Reading Mere Christianity was a gift to my soul. A master storyteller, Lewis uses interesting word pictures to illustrate timeless ideas. Both adult and mature teen readers could benefit from a thoughtful tour of this compact presentation on the inner life of believers.

A classic in Christian apologetics, Mere Christianity is available at libraries, book stores, Christianbook.com, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

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