Sunday, December 11, 2005

Obsession with chronicles of Narnia

The Lutheran Witness had a really great article addressing the some people's obsession with trying to label The Chronicles of Narnia as a the next big Christian film.

The Chronicles are not Scriptures

Surprisingly, one of the reasons that some readers are skeptical of the Narnia books is that they have numerous allusions to Scripture. Seeing these reflections, many readers identify these books as allegories. But Lewis did not. They are not substitutes for another story, nor does everything in the books symbolize something else. As a professor of English language and literature, Lewis was well versed in allegory and deliberately wrote these stories with more subtlety.

Certainly, there are biblical parallels, but the stories are not simply a recast Gospel. Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham, who is also a coproducer of the movie, recognizes
parallels, saying that a viewer who looks for Christian symbolism will find it, but notes that the story is also about relationships, chivalry, honor, commitment, duty, honesty, and family values.

These assessments do not diminish the parallels that are present in the story, but they provide an important caution. While the release of this movie—and the resurgence of interest in the books—provides a good opportunity for Christian witness, we should not be too aggressive. Christians who overzealously demand parallels between Aslan and Christ may cause some to avoid the movie. Allowing the plot to stand for itself opens it to a wider audience.

Is Aslan Christ?

If ever there was a literary parallel to Jesus, it is here. Aslan vividly demonstrates a sacrificial death, and a resurrection. He is like Jesus, exemplifying many of the things that Jesus did and taught. But Aslan is not equal to Jesus. He is a fictional character with significant parallels to the historic, biblical Jesus Christ.

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