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Charleston Southern University > CSU News > Annual Lens Conference Examines Life of C.S. Lewis

Annual Lens Conference Examines Life of C.S. Lewis

University Relations // 02.08.2017

The Lens

Dr. Jerry Root, professor of evangelism at Wheaton College, and Bill Smith, director of the C.S. Lewis Institute in Atlanta, Ga., explored the life and career of C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christian thinkers of the 20th century, at the Lens Conference at Charleston Southern.

Root spoke on “Wisdom from the Abolition of Man” and “The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis.” Smith addressed “Insights from the Conversion of C.S. Lewis” and “Gaining Perspective by Connecting Beauty, Wonder and Worship.”

Smith said studying the life of Christian leaders is important in light of Hebrews 13:7, which says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.”

Smith said the conversion of C.S. Lewis provides us the following insights:

  • “God has placed natural signs in the world that point to something beyond.”
  • “God uses a variety of events, circumstances and people to lead us to himself and to shape us into the likeness of Christ.”
  • “A robust Christian faith engages our whole being.”

In his second lecture, Smith said the appropriate response to beauty and wonder in the world around us is worship. He advised against putting anything in creation in the place of God. An example would be the use of technology. Technology is good, but it becomes an idol if it crowds out everything else in life.

With respect to evangelism, Root said, if God made us for Himself, we must show God’s desire for a relationship to draw people to Him.  If only a condemning God is pictured, it is unlikely people will be reached.

When speaking of Lewis’s belief that God walks everywhere incognito, Root told students, faculty and staff attending the lecture that “It’s up to us to find Him.”

The annual Lens Conference is designed to bring clarity and focus to our lives and to the world in which we live.


Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.