The following is a guest post by Rev. Jonathan Marlowe, pastor at Chapel Hill and Midway United Methodist Churches, Reidsville North Carolina. Jonathan is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
I have recently been re-reading C.S. Lewis classic children's books, The Chronicles of Narnia. Although I read them many years ago and appreciated them at the level of entertaining stories, I am now reading them with an eye towards (among other things) what I can learn from them theologically. Good stories can function at many different levels. It would be a mistake to read too much Christianity into them, but Christians would be amiss if we did not also pay attention to the theological subtlety with which Lewis crafted his narratives. Karl Barth developed his notion of "secular parables" in which the truth of the gospel is manifest even in sources that do not explicitly acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ.(1) The gospel is known only in and through Jesus Christ, but once it is known, we can see reflections of it in other places. I have found one of those other places in The Chronicles of Narnia, and not just in the oft cited first book of that series.