Get ten Christians in a room and ask them what book (other than the Bible) was most impactful for their Christian formation. I guarantee that at least one person (and probably more than one) will mention C.S. Lewis’ classic Mere Christianity. (Case in point: when I asked “What’s the most formative book you ever read?” on Twitter (and later on my blog) two respondents mentioned Mere Christianity.)
We all know the book Mere Christianity. Alas, the core concept that forms the book’s title is, for many, a bit harder to pin down. Just what is “mere Christianity,” anyway?
Last week, I posed that question to several friends and acquaintances, asking them to send me their own definition in approximately 5 to 6 sentences. As of yesterday, a total of seven responses had come in, all of them intriguing and thought-provoking in their own right. And that created a problem. You see, while my initial intent was to post all of these statements together in one article, it became apparent to me that each was deserving of fuller reflection. And so I have decided instead to post these several definitions of mere Christianity as part of a series. I’ll be posting them all in the order that I received them, each with an introduction and some brief commentary to follow.
The first entry in the series comes from Dale Tuggy. Dr. Tuggy is a professor of philosophy at SUNY (State University of New York) Fredonia and a prolific blogger and podcaster at his website Trinities. He is the author of the excellent book What is the Trinity? (which I review here) and of many journal articles and book reviews (many of which you can read here).
Dale Tuggy on Mere Christianity
“Only the one Jesus calls ‘Father’ is the one true God; the unique man Jesus is his Messiah. God the Father sent Jesus, gave him his message, empowered him, and endorsed him with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him. Jesus obeyed God’s call even to give up his life, but God raised Jesus from the dead, proving that Jesus was indeed God’s Messiah. God exalted Jesus to his right hand, making Jesus the one Lord under the one God. Jesus will return to fully establish God’s Kingdom on earth. All people should worship the one God and honor and follow his Messiah. Through Jesus we have the hope of resurrection to eternal life.”