Five Points Blog

A Visit to Oxford University

Teaching has existed at Oxford, England since the year 1096. Today, Oxford University is the oldest place of learning in the English-speaking world; it has been a school for 918 years. From its early days, Oxford was a center for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. John Wycliffe, a 14th-century professor, campaigned for a Bible in the vernacular against the wishes of the papacy. During the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford. In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of treason, was forced to flee the country. The 18th-century professor of geometry, Edmund Halley, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name, and John and Charles Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.

It was at this historic wellspring of scholars that C. S. Lewis schooled, graduated, and later taught in its halls. He was the famous Christian apologist who helped steady the courage of the British people during World War II with his weekly radio program of hope and faith; the famous debater of his time who challenged the atheists with well-reasoned arguments for the truthfulness of Christianity; the author of many Christian-focused fiction and non-fiction books widely read today.

I was privileged to be traveling to this place last October to attend a conference on C. S. Lewis knowing full well that I did not comprehend the impact this school and its graduates have had on the world. I left a week later having had my brain crushed under the weight of trying to absorb a fraction of what was shared on Lewis, his life, his views, his faith, his thinking, and the heights of his intellect which call us upward to a God we will never stop knowing more fully. Among the speakers was Dr. Michael Ward, a research fellow at Oxford and author of The Narnia Code.

Each morning Dr. Ward shared a part of his amazing insight into how Lewis loved myth, lore, and stories of medieval literature (Lewis’ academic focus). One story of Lewis’ life that was shared was how before Lewis was a Christian, his friend J.R.R. Tolkien would share the gospel with him. One day as they walked together, Tolkien—remembering Lewis’ love of mythology—said, “What if one of those myths you love were actually true?” Tolkien talked to Lewis of the story of a person who so loved that he gave himself, so that others might live. Lewis knew this story—it was common in the ancient medieval myths. It speaks to a desire for virtue common to all people. This was the turning point in Lewis’ life, the day he began to realize, “What if one of those myths actually happened?”

Lewis went on to lecture and write on medieval literature in a new way. It was no longer mankind’s existential hope in virtue but now a foreshadowing of the true myth. Lewis would write about how we live in a “shadow land” that is only the weakest of images of what is waiting for us. We live now as vapors full of holes, but then we will be solid for the first time. We go to a reality that will not compare to this world, to a glory that has weight.

The mythological story form Lewis uses in his fiction enables us to identify, to feel, to experience more fully the truthfulness of ideas in our world in a way that speaks to our humanness. God makes us both rational and imaginative—by using both we can know God more fully.

Join us for a two-part event, “A Voyage into Narnia,” that will help you understand and appreciate more of C. S. Lewis, his world of Narnia, and how he intended for us to see God by breathing Narnian air. On Wednesday, May 28, Dr. Michael Ward will join us to discuss the imagery of Narnia that C.S. Lewis used to speak to our souls and draw us to God. And on Saturday, May 31, Joe Rigney, professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary and author of Live Like a Narnian, will apply Lewis’ Chronicles to our call to be and make disciples.

Why Do You Want to Be Foster Parents?

This question is often addressed to my husband, Makarios, or me, as we are in the process of becoming licensed as foster parents. While the reasons are many, the most compelling is a biblical one. There are many Bible passages that command God’s people to care for the widow and the orphan, which reveals God’s compassion for them. 

However, Matthew 25:31-46 is most meaningful to me. Jesus tells us about how at the end of time, the King will come and separate the people into two groups. Those who are welcomed into the kingdom are those who served the King. He says, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv.35-36). The righteous people ask when they did those things for Jesus, so he replies, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (v.40).

When a family fosters or adopts a child, they are able to do all of these things Jesus spoke about for one of the least of these. They provide food and drink and clothes, they invite in a stranger, take care of their illnesses—be it mental, physical, or psychological—and set them free from their personal prisons.

The Holy Spirit comforted me with verse 40 when I was feeling inadequate as a parent. God reminded me that whatever I do for a child, I do for him. My weak attempts to parent well, when done for the Lord, can be used by his grace to bless the child. Whether we have the privilege of fostering or adopting one child or more, for days or weeks or a lifetime, it will be in obedience to God’s Word.

We want to foster so that we can serve the children that are least wanted by most of society and to ultimately serve King Jesus.

This guest post was written by Jennifer Darawi, a Five Points member and mother of three.

Holiness Without Legalism

Dr. Bruce Ware spoke with Children Desiring God on how can parents and teachers can encourage holiness without teaching legalism. I was greatly encouraged by spending a quick 3 minutes watching this video. May the next generation set all their in God!