Let me bring to your attention two recent books that belong in the library of every Christian college, Christian school, and Evangelical seminary—and in the personal libraries of many of their professors of English literature and theology–not to mention hordes of their students! Not to mention yours.
First is Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016). Diana Glyer says, “Williams has done the impossible: he has written a highly readable overview of C. S. Lewis’s theology. He draws from the deep well of a lifetime spent studying literature and theology and Lewis. My understanding has been greatly enriched; yours will be too. This book is a marvel.” Lewis was the greatest apologist and one of the most influential Christian thinkers and writers of the Twentieth Century. Yet until now we have not had a study of Lewis’s theology that was both comprehensive and critical, asking, “What is the theology that lies behind the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, and the popular apologetics, and what are its strengths and weaknesses as a guide to biblical truth?” Clearly this book meets a critical need.
Then there is An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018). Jim Prothero writes, “This book on Tolkien is not only readable, it is profound. The counter-culture movement latched onto to The Fellowship of the Ring more than a decade after its 1954 publication and never let go. The ultimate irony is that many of those young people were looking for alternative world-views to traditional values. And all the while, Professor Tolkien was a devout believer writing stories that reflected precisely traditional Christian beliefs and values. Donald T. Williams explores all the nuances of that irony here with humor and insight.”
Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was listed as the book of the century in three separate polls, and remains one of the most popular and beloved books of all time. And it was built on the biblical worldview of its author, as he himself said, “unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” That grounding in the Christian worldview is less obvious and in-your-face than in his friend Lewis’s books, but Williams brings it into clear focus here. Tolkien’s vision is a lens that lets us see the Gospel as true in the real world too. Williams is a good guide to why that is true and to what difference it makes.
Donald T. Williams (M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, PhD, University of Georgia) is R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia. The author of eleven books and countless articles, he is a border dweller, camped out on the borders between theology and literature, serious scholarship and pastoral ministry, Narnia and Middle Earth. These books are most easily ordered from Amazon.
Soli Deo Gloria!