C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity impacted me tremendously. I read it for the first time in the 9th grade. It converted me—not to Christianity (I was already a devout Christian) but from denominationalism. From that moment I found myself taking seriously the faith not only of fellow evangelical types but of Catholic and Orthodox friends as well.
I will not indulge my narcissistic urges by telling my full story here. What is pertinent is that years later I am a Pentecostal Anglican in the ACNA with a Masters degree in religious studies from a state university where I was mentored by an Eastern Orthodox Christian professor and all but the Thesis for an MA in Philosophy from the same university where I was mentored by a Roman Catholic Natural Law Philosophr. Besides the great Anglicans like Mr. Lewis and N. T. Wright, I have been greatly impacted by Catholics like Chesterton, Tolkien, and Kreeft. Furthermore I have developed a genuine love for early church fathers and been theologically formed by modern Orthodox writers such as Alexander Schmemann, Kalistos Ware, Losky, Sophrony, and Thomas Hopko. Finally I would be grossly negligent if I did not mention evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics that have helped shape me: Simon Chan (my favorite living theologian), Leslie Newbiggin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Richard Foster, Heidi Baker, and countless unknown missionaries. I thank God for exposing me to the richness of His kingdom in the broader Christian family.
What guides me here is a commitment to theology as worship…and as central to the whole of life.
At the same time, because at the center of the Christian faith is the fact that God became man and entered history taken together with the Judeo-Christian linear understanding of history—God started this world and he will end it—means that the study of history is closely tied to theology. As such, I take tradition seriously.
It is sad that so many Christians blindly accept the modern progressive worldview of history (that goes for political right and left). That is the uncritical idea that our “scientific” approach to life is superior to the “superstitions” of past generations and that “new” is automatically better by virtue of its newness. In theology it manifests itself in the assumption that we finally have the Christian faith right after nearly 2000 years of doing it all wrong.