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DeWitt, who teaches courses about the 20th Century’s most prolific Christian apologist, saw a Louisville performance of the play. Its “vivid imagery … will not soon, if ever, be forgotten,” he said.
“I’m thankful the play is faithful to the book, focusing on the senior demon to junior demon exchanges instead of attempting to act out episodes described” in the novel, DeWitt said.
Lewis, the author of many Christian favorites, including the Chronicles of Narnia, has sometimes been criticized for some of his theological views.
DeWitt grants Lewis held some views that likely would not “get an ‘amen’ on the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Still, DeWitt asserts “much of the heavily debated points in his thought come from his works of fiction,” which were not intended as “didactic prose.” Lewis himself warned in his preface to The Screwtape Letters that not all that Screwtape said can be trusted, DeWitt noted.
Lewis’ fiction should not be treated as a Bible commentary or as a “treatise on theological issues,” DeWitt said. Instead, Christians should read Lewis’ works “with eyes opened to see them for what they are, hearts prepared to appreciate so much of what is helpful and minds trained to analyze the more problematic passages.”
Art Aryis, president of Kingstone Media, a publisher of comics and graphic novels presenting biblical truth, is a fan of C.S. Lewis who has not yet seen “Screwtape.”
“One of my favorite C.S. Lewis sayings is that ‘reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning,’” Ayris told the Witness. Ayris is also executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Leesburg.
“As people of God, we have been entrusted with the whole truth, and I embrace media productions that stretch our imaginations in God-honoring ways,” he said, adding that Christians should support “Screwtape” and “enter into a sanctified imagination.”
Screwtape was first published in 1941 as a series of weekly articles in a church publication, The Guardian. The following year, the book was published and was an immediate success. In 1947, Lewis was featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Lewis dedicated Screwtape to his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, among many other works.
The Orlando performances of “The Screwtape Letters” are Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, while the Jacksonville performances are March 9 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Moran Theater. For ticket availability, pricing and further information, go to: www.screwtapeonstage.com.
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