The News Conference

Life Style

The auditorium is packed. People are seated elbow to elbow as far as you can see to your right and left. At least twenty rows of seats are before you, and an unknown number lie in back of you. It’s an impressive gathering.

You notice everyone seems to be wearing some sort of name tag with such logos as FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, and Associated Press. The crowd is a mixture of reporters, journalists, TV anchor men and women, and other correspondents.

They are mumbling in an excited way, frequently glancing up at the podium on the stage. After a few minutes, a large man dressed in a rumpled tweed suit walks across the platform. He steps up to the microphone, and a sudden hush falls over the throng of reporters

You look at the nearest large TV screen which monitors the podium. Now you can see the speaker, and to your amazement you find yourself staring at a familiar face. “What? But that’s impossible. Isn’t he… ?”

Your words are cut short as the man speaks. In a rich baritone voice which sounds for all the world like Winston Churchill, Clive Staples Lewis addresses the audience:

“People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, if you don’t, I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it.

“I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself.

“To be one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us every moment is progressing to one state or the other.”

Lewis pauses, looks over the sea of reporters, then continues as though he were lecturing his students.

“Before the days of Christ, our understanding of reality was rather limited. We were born apparently through no choice of our own. We lived a few years. Then we died. Where we went from here no one knew. Death was a veil behind which we could not see. It’s possible that near-death experiences gave some ancient people a brief peak at what transpired during and immediately after death. But what followed that fleeting glimpse remained a mystery.

“Then Jesus Christ enters the picture. He says he is the Son of God. He claims he has been around since before the creation of the world. And he tells us he is an expert on humanity. He knows why we are here; what we ought to do with our lives; and what happens to us after death.

“This Jesus speaks with authority. He acts like he knows what he is talking about, and he does things no normal human can do: things like walking on water, giving sight to people born blind, and raising the dead back to life. You cannot ignore a Man like that.

“Then we find the most extraordinary sequence of events in all of recorded history. Jesus tells us he is the Son of God, and he will prove it beyond all doubt. He says he will die, and he will rise from the grave on the third day. He does die. And he rises from death on the third day. We have seen the evidence.

“When Jesus fulfilled that promise, he demonstrated knowledge, power, and authority far beyond that of any mortal. Here we see One greater than all the kings, prophets, and philosophers put together.

“Jesus is our ultimate authority. He is our source of truth. There is no other. Why are we here? Jesus gives us the answer. How should we conduct our lives? See what Jesus says and follow it. That is the best advice anyone can give. What about death? Jesus knows what lies behind that closed door, and he tells us about it. Listen to him.”

Lewis stops. He bows his head. Is he gathering his thoughts, or praying? I don’t know. But in another moment he speaks again.

“Some people have the mistaken idea that Christ is a benign grandfather type who will pat you on the head and say, ‘There, there, it’s quite all right,’ regardless of what you do. Those people will be in for an unpleasant surprise.

“Others think that Jesus is somehow our equal, and he is open to bargaining. That too is wrong. Jesus is not our equal. He is our superior in every sense of the word. His laws are not suggestions. They are orders. He didn’t tell us to make up our own rules as we go along. He says to follow his commands. He didn’t tell us his views on life and death are just one way of looking at things. He says here is reality. This is the way things are. If you want eternal life, you will do as I say.

“Many do not want to hear that message today. It cramps their style; it limits their independence. It throws cold water on their pride and ego. To those people, we must say, it’s time to grow up. You are not an independent agent; you are a created being. And Christ is the one who breathed life into you. So forget pride and ego.

“Fifty years from now, your pride and ego will be buried in a box six feet deep along with a skeleton and a bit of dust. By then, if we are still able to recall our pompous little vanities, we will probably have a good laugh at them.”

Then, to my amazement, C.S. Lewis’ body and clothes start to glow. In a fraction of a second he vanishes into thin air! Many excited whispers run through the crowd. “What happened?” “Did you see that?” “Where did he go?”

For an instant the stage is bare. Then a large bright glowing light appears behind the podium. In the blink of an eye, the light becomes a figure, a figure in white. His clothes glisten like lightning. His skin is white as snow, and his eyes are dark as coal. Immediately I know the identity of the Man in white. Standing before us is Jesus Christ.

An excited murmur runs through the auditorium, but quickly subsides for we see Jesus is about to speak.

Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is your one and only goal in this life. This is your sole purpose for being here. The wise among you will heed my words. You will make every sacrifice to obtain this reward.

“Here is my command: love one another. Love your neighbor as yourself. Forgive those who wrong you, and repay good for evil. Make sure of your salvation. Practice faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of heaven.

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