Christianity · Theology · Writing

Wise Minds Think Holily: A Study of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis (Part Two)

Hello everyone—

This is a continuation of a research paper I wrote on two of my greatest literary heroes. If you’d like to read the first portion, please click the “Previous Post” button below this publication. Thank you!

No one has successfully summarized the legacies of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis. Each man has had innumerable books written about his faith and writings, and Christians still adore the names of Chesterton and Lewis. Their fiction has inspired diverse films and television series, Dawn Treader and The Father Dowling Mysteries (22) being only two of modern filmmakers’ tributes to the twentieth-century Christian apologists. According to McGrath:

“The international success of the movies has led to Lewis’s more religious works being freshly translated or republished in languages other than English. In the United States, polls of American Christians show that Mere Christianity is regularly cited as the most influential religious book of the twentieth century, just as polls of ordinary readers continue to affirm the abiding popular affection for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and its canonical status in the children’s literature of the twentieth century.” (23)

Robert F. Gorman wrote similarly of Chesterton, stating, “The American Chesterton Society (ACS) publishes Gilbert Magazine, and the Chesterton Society of England publishes the G.K. Chesterton Quarterly. Dale Ahlquist, president of ACS, produced the television series The Apostle of Common Sense, which aired on the Eternal Word Television Network and explored various themes and issues examined in Chesterton’s wide corpus of writing.” (24) As much as the media has honored Chesterton’s and Lewis’ writings, Christians also love the personalities of both men as expressed in their compositions. Lewis constantly expressed himself as “simply an educated layman, who spoke directly and accessibly to ordinary Christians over the heads of their clergy,” (25) and Chesterton as a man who through his books “demonstrated keen awareness of soul craft, spiritual realities, and human weakness.” (26) With all the similarities between both men’s literary influence, media acclaim, and personalities in writing, contemporary society has yet to forget C.S Lewis and G.K. Chesterton.

The similarities between C.S. Lewis’ and G.K. Chesterton’s conversions, writings, and legacies show the richness that can result from knowing Christ. Above all else, both men were warriors of the written word and for the Word of God. With everything the two men wrote, an additional glimmer of God’s glory appeared to those who received their works and received Christ as a result. Though the earthly bodies of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton have long been shrouded in dust and dirt, the products of their pens still spark second births in the souls of the unsaved. In studying C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton’s personal lives, works, and legacies, those still living are able to understand the truth: Wise minds think alike only because they know and understand both who made them wise and why they should not boast in their intellects. They endeavor to think holily, and it is for that endeavor that Christ-minded intellectuals are forever remembered and sanctified in heaven.


~Sarah Merly

May 8, 2018

Isaiah 53

ENDNOTES (continued from first part; Turabian/Chicago formatting for both endnotes and bibliography):

(22) Gorman, “G.K. Chesterton,” 2013.
(23) McGrath, C.S. Lewis a Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, 377-78.
(24) Gorman, “G.K. Chesterton,” 2013.
(25) McGrath, C.S. Lewis a Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, 369-370.
(26) Gorman, “G.K. Chesterton,” 2013.

BIBLIOGRAPHY (for both the first and second parts):

Chesterton, G. K., and P. D. James. Father Brown: The Essential Tales. New York: Modern Library, 2005.

“C(live) S(taples) Lewis.” In Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Biography In Context (accessed March 26, 2018). http:// u=21667_hbplc&sid=BIC&xid=d57d72c0.

Gorman, Robert F. “G.K. Chesterton.” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia (2013): Research Starters, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2018).

Mategrano, Terri, PhD, and William Shakespeare. CliffsComplete Hamlet. Edited by Sidney Lamb. New York: Hungry Minds, 2000.

McGrath, Alister E. C.S. Lewis a Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. 

Montgomery, John Warwick. “The un-apologist: oblivious to convention, Chesterton launched a bold campaign to point a mad world back toward truth.” Christian History, August 2002, 28+. Academic OneFile (accessed April 4, 2018). http:// u=21667_hbplc&sid=AONE&xid=26978c2c.

Sullivan, John, ed. G.K. Chesterton: A Centenary Appraisal. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1974.