There is perhaps no single writer who has had more influence on both the Church and on the Culture than Clive Staples Lewis. Perhaps best known for his Chronicles of Narnia series of books (which of course recently became a series of movies), he was the author of many, many other books. He wrote poetry, he wrote theological treatises, he wrote books on education and literature and philosophy. Lewis was truly a remarkable man.
Born into a moderately religious family, "Jack" became an atheist in his teen years, only to rediscover his Christian heritage in later life. He was very much an "intellectual" Christian, famously coming to Christ in part through philosophical and theological discussions with fellow Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. Of course, Lewis' friendship with Tolkien had other influences on both men. It was from that friendship that the world was given both Narnia and Middle Earth. Not a bad outcome to say the least.
The first Lewis book I read I swore would be my last. I read the Screwtape Letters and was so "freaked out" by Lewis' insight into the minds of demons and how they work (as well as what seemed to be insight into my own heart!) that I didn't think I'd ever really want to read him again. But I later picked up Mere Christianity (originally a series of radio broadcasts) and Lewis quickly became a favorite.
Later, a trip into Narnia cemented Lewis' place in my heart and mind. Our family even took an 8 month trip through the Narnia books during our family worship time each night, along with a wonderful companion devotional. Now, I have a family full of Lewis lovers, all knowing the truth that while Aslan is good, he's not safe; what a great portrait of our good and holy God.
While not entirely orthodox in all his views, and while his solid Anglican leanings would put him at odds with what we would call Evangelicalism on many matters, Lewis is still a huge influence in the Church. John Piper has said that Lewis' enduring influence is due to his "unwavering commitment to what is True and Real and Valuable, as opposed to what is trendy or fashionable or current." A pretty good assessment.
For a little more on Lewis, check out these two lists from the Gospel Coalition blog. One on 9 Things You Should Know About C. S. Lewis. The other on 9 Things You Should Know About the Chronicles of Narnia.
I'd love to share a few favorite Lewis quotes, but as I said about Packer's book in my last post, I don't think I could narrow it down. One of my favorite books is a 600 plus tome called The Quotable Lewis. When just your quotes and excerpts fill an encyclopedic volume like that, it's obvious you had a lot of good things to say.
So let me just end with this quote, written in a book on 16th Century English Literature. Lewis writes "Even posthumous fame depends largely on accident." That may be true in many cases. But in the case of C. S. Lewis, it's no accident at all.