C.S. Lewis and the Inklings

by Paul Spears, James Houston, Bruce Hindmarsh, Christopher Mitchell & Dave Horner

In this CCCA "Cultural Conversation," Paul Spears, James Houston, Bruce Hindmarsh, Christopher Mitchell and Dave Horner discuss the importance of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings in the intellectual history of Christianity in the 20th century.

Paul Spears, Director of Torrey Honors Institute, is an educator who is intensely interested in how foundational philosophical commitments drive educational theories. In his work he investigates how educational history, philosophy and learning theories combine to construct educational praxis. Dr. Spears has led groups of Torrey Honors students to Mongolia to work with Campus Crusade for Christ. He has spoken all over the nation on apologetics, theology, and educational philosophy. He has written a chapter on philosophy for ACSI's Foundations of Christian Education, and recently co-authored a book on educational philosophy, Educating for Human Flourishing: A Christian Perspective, forthcoming through Intervarsity Press. Before teaching at Biola, Dr. Spears was a youth minister for five years, and he enjoys working in an institution where he is not only an academic, but is able to minister to his students.

Bruce Hindmarsh took his DPhil degree at Oxford University in 1993. From 1995 to 1997, he was also a research fellow at Christ Church, Oxford. He has since published and spoken widely to international audiences on the history of early British evangelicalism. His articles have appeared in respected academic journals such as Church History and the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and he is the author of two major books of his own: John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition and The Evangelical Conversion Narrative. Bruce Hindmarsh has received numerous teaching awards, research grants, and fellowships. In recent years, he has been a Mayers Research Fellow at the Huntington Library and a holder of the Henry Luce III Theological Fellowship, and he is presently engaged in a research project on early evangelical spirituality.

An active lay member of the Anglican Church, he is married to Carolyn Hindmarsh, and they have three children: Bethany, Matthew, and Sam. He enjoys running on the trails and beaches of Vancouver. In January 2012, Bruce Hindmarsh was appointed as the incoming President of the American Society of Church History. The appointment finishes on December 31, 2014, and includes one year as President-Elect and another year as Past-President.

James M. Houston is the one of the “founding fathers” of Regent College. In 1966, while he was University Lecturer at Oxford (where he taught from 1947 to 1971, specializing in cultural and historical geography), James Houston was invited by a committee of Granville Chapel to become the first Principal of Regent College. Regent received its charter in 1968, and James Houston was appointed Principal in 1970, and also taught part-time at the University of British Columbia. Along with Vice-Principal W.J. Martin, he sought affiliation for the College with the University of British Columbia, which was granted in 1974.Following his term as Principal of the College from 1970 to 1978, James Houston was appointed Chancellor (1978-1980) as well as Professor of Spiritual Theology, until his appointment was endowed in 1991 as the Board of Governors' Professor of Spiritual Theology. 

He is co-founder of the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, DC, and still acting as a Senior Fellow. He is a prolific author, editor, and Christian scholar, and is respected worldwide as a leader in educating and equipping laypersons. His major areas of interest include the Christian classics, historical theology, and the traditions of Christian spirituality. Some of his most recent research is on the role of the penitential psalms in the history of the church.

James Houston has published numerous books and articles. His recent books include The Mentored Life (NavPress, 2002), Joyous Exiles (InterVarsity Press, 2006), and two volumes of Letters of Faith through the Seasons (David C. Cook, 2006, 2007). A number of his previous books have been re-published, including five volumes in the Soul’s Longing series: The Desire, The Fulfillment, The Prayer, The Creator, and The Disciple (David C. Cook, 2007). The Prayer was previously published as The Transforming Power of Prayer (NavPress, 1996) and as The Transforming Friendship (Lion, 1989). He has also recently published The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary (Eerdmans, 2010) with Bruce Waltke, as well as A Vision for the Aging Church: Renewing Ministry for and by Seniors (IVP, 2011) with Dr. Michael Parker.

Dr. Horner, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at University, has taught at the University of Oxford, Denver Seminary, and served as a Visiting Scholar and Research Associate at the University of Colorado. He has lectured in numerous classrooms and university forums nationally and in Europe, and he has written numerous articles and book chapters on ethics, apologetics, and ancient and medieval philosophy. Dr. Horner serves as Research Scholar for Centers for Christian Study, International, an effort to develop intellectual Christian communities within secular university contexts. He also serves as Executive Director of The Illuminatio Project, whose aim is to bring the light of a classical biblical vision of goodness, truth, and beauty into the thinking of the church and culture through strategic research and communication.

Prior to coming to the Torrey Honors Institute, Christopher Mitchell served for nearly twenty years as Director of the Marion E. Wade Center and as the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought, at Wheaton College, Illionis. He received his M.A. from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where his concentration was Historical Theology.  He has served as both a pastor and a missionary, and currently works as an editor for Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review, a journal published annually by the Wade Center. Dr. Mitchell's published works include: "Making Doctrine Dance," Christian History & Biography, (Fall 2005 Issue). "Bearing the Weight of Glory: The Cost of C.S. Lewis's Witness" in The Pilgrim's Guide: C.S. Lewis and the Art of Witness (Eerdmans, 1998). "Following the Argument Wherever it Leads: C.S. Lewis and the Oxford University Socratic Club, 1942 to 1954," in Inklings Jahrbuch fur Literatur und Asthetik (No. 17, 1999). "Jonathan Edwards's Scottish Connection," in Jonathan Edwards at Home and Abroad: Historical Memories, Cultural Movements, Global Horizons, eds. David W. Kling and Douglas A. Sweeney (University of South Carolina Press, 2003). He has also written articles for Who's Who in Christian History (Tyndale), Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology (T&T Clark), the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, revised edition (Baker), and the New Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press). 

Christopher Mitchell passed away unexpectedly July 10, 2014. Mitchell, 62, joined the Biola University Torrey Honors Institute faculty in 2013 and quickly became a beloved professor and friend to students and colleagues alike. He is survived by his wife Julie, four children and two grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.


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