Summary: This message gives an introduction to my series on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and looks at four characters’ responses to prophecy.
This message is the first of a series I plan to do on Narnia. It is short in order to provide time for communion which we celebrate on the first Sunday of the month. Our Worship Arts Pastor introduced the series on the first Sunday of Advent. He gave the background for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe from the book, The Magician’s Nephew. These are the messages I am planning:
Series: Narnia: Encounter the Power!
December 04, 2005 The Narnian Prophecies: Hope to Hold On (Theme: Hope)
December 11, 2005 Jesus the Lion: Not Safe, But Good! (Theme: Love)
December 18, 2005 The King is on the Move! (Theme: Joy)
December 24, 2005 What if It Was Always Winter and Never Christmas?
December 25, 2005 The Gifts of Father Christmas
Message 1_ The Narnian Prophecies: Hope to Hold On
Pastor Wesley Hilliard
Van Buren, Arkansas
December 4, 2005
Isaiah 9: 2, 6,7 (KJV)
2 Peter 1:19-21 (NASB77) 19 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, page 74,75
Intro to the series and C.S. Lewis …
“It all started with a picture of a fawn carrying some parcels with an umbrella, walking through the snow in a wood!” (Douglas Gresham). This picture came to C.S. Lewis, or Jack, as he preferred to be called, at age 16. It wasn’t until age 40 that he decided to write a story to go with it. At first, he admitted, he didn’t know where the story would go … but then the lion, Aslan, came bounding into the picture. Lewis had been dreaming about lions, and for whatever reason, by chance or providence, the world has been treated with The Chronicles of Narnia. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the first of seven books in the series) was first released in 1951.
Philip Tallon and Jerry Walls write that,
The origins of The Chronicles of Narnia and C.S. Lewis’ desire to create mythical stories come directly from his own experience. His spiritual journey is bound up with the power of fiction and myth.
When he was 18, Lewis bought Phantastes, a novelistic fairy tale by the Scottish writer, George MacDonald. It had a profound spiritual effect on Lewis—even though at the time he was a confirmed Atheist. In Lewis’s words, Phantastes “baptized” his imagination. Not only did the mythical story fascinate him, but something deeper in the story affected the rest of his life. Lewis described the book as radiating a “bright shadow” which illuminated himself and the rest of the world around him. In his autobiography, Lewis calls the bright shadow “holiness,” though he did not know it then by that name. He admits, “I had not the faintest notion what I let myself in for by buying Phantastes.” He goes on to quip that “a young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
The author of the Phantastes, George MacDonald, was a Presbyterian minister who invested his strange stories with a thoroughly Christian worldview. Like Lewis in his later writings, MacDonald did not write books that were primarily allegorical but rather explored Christian themes through fantastic worlds. Lewis himself explicitly resisted the label of “allegories” for his Narnia books.
[Why? Because for Lewis, allegories] denoted direct equivalence between some set of ideas and the events of the story. Instead of this approach, Lewis intended books like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a kind of “what if” story. He wrote, “Supposing there was a world like Narnia, and supposing, like ours, it needed redemption, let us suppose what sort of Incarnation and Passion and Resurrection Christ would have there.” (from “Hollywood Discovers Narnia” by Philip Tallon and Jerry L. Walls in “Good News” magazine, page 11, November/December 2005)
I think that is cool! However, some people have trouble with using this medium of fantasy stories for conveying Biblical truth. Admittedly, these types of stories are not for everyone … But they are a truly powerful means for reaching many people with the Gospel, though not everyone appreciates or understands it.