S. M. Hutchens has some provocative things to say about C. S. Lewis’ attitude toward egalitarianism and whether he considered it compatible with “mere Christianity”:
“[Lewis’] gentleness toward egalitarians was evangelical: he wished to win them to Christ. He did not think they could be mere Christians because he did not consider them Christians at all. To come to Christ is to leave egalitarianism; a church with priestesses, he gently indicated, was ‘not like a church.’ The egalitarian may honor and admire Lewis, but cannot honestly retain him as a coreligionist, much less a patron, since he has rejected the cosmology that undergirt his writings.”
You can read the rest of Hutchens’ piece here, “Patron Lost.” Hutchens really knows how to stir the pot.
It can be inferred that Hutchens considers Millard Erickson and Roger Nicole to be non-Christians due to their egalitarianism. Both of these men embrace an otherwise thoroughly traditional evangelical faith.
Hutchens considers Lewis to be a Christian, if I’m not mistaken. Lewis rejected inerrancy, accepted theistic evolution, and believed that some non-Christians may be saved.
I don’t mean to hurl stones at Lewis. Rather, I want to know what criteria Hutchens uses to coherently affirm that Erickson and Nicole are non-Christians while also affirming that Lewis is a Christian.
S. M. Hutchens
This comment is a year old now, but I have just come upon it, and will answer it, since it can be done quickly.
Thomas’s question is analogous to whether a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, or anyone else who embraces a false comprehensive doctrinal system (which I take egalitarianism to be) can be a Christian. My answer is that I must confirm what he may fear: that to the degree a man is an egalitarian, he is not a Christian. I can judge no man’s soul, his eternal destiny (even my own), which is known to God alone, but that is not the question here. The question is whether these men are Christians.
It is difficult for us to deal with the idea that good men, admirable and sincere men whom we rightly admire for many reasons, have embraced a system of believe that is fundamentally anti-Christian–and even more terrible to contemplate, are placing themselves under the condemnation of teaching it to others. But this is no more dreadful than to comtemplate the situation of many others, not of our tribe, who are in the same situtation. God have mercy.