C.S. Lewis: Spittle-Fleck on the Psalms

Here is a piece of slanderous Lewisian spittle-fleck on the Psalms:

“The ferocious parts of the Psalms serve as a reminder that there is in the world such a thing as wickedness and that it (if not its perpetrators) is hateful to God” (C.S. Lewis, Reflections, p. 33 [SOURCE]).

2 Timothy 3:16 ought have been a sober reminder to Lewis that there is such a thing as God-breathed-ness (Greek: theopneustos).  Lewis exudes the dual sentiments of

“Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou!” (cf. Isaiah 65:5)


“Foh! snuff, put the branch to the nose and say, contemptible!” (cf. Ezekiel 8:17)

Why C.S. Lewis would not (or perhaps did not) consistently and explicitly attribute this alleged ferocity, self-pity, and barbarism to Jesus Christ for all His “hard sayings,” or even to the martyrs of Revelation 6:9-11 is an interesting question. At any rate, it is clear that Lewis was gripped with a severe contempt for the Breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16).

At least one thing Lewis fell prey to was an abysmal understanding of theopneustos (see 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21).

Self-pity is indeed bad enough — it is a form of pride. Self-absorption seems related to this. Lewis adds two slanderous epithets, “ferocious” and “barbaric.”

Here is R.L. Dabney — an unbelieving prophet of many Reformed persons’ own — deftly and deeply driving this dagger into the darkened hearts of those pretentious “apostles of a lovelier Christianity” and pious petitioners for a pseudo-psalter that conforms to their own “charitable” and “civilized” sensibilities (these Dabney quotes fit C.S. Lewis like a form-fitted glove).

“This age has witnessed a whole spawn of religionists, very rife and rampant in some sections of the church, who pretentiously declared themselves the apostles of a lovelier Christianity than that of the Psalmist of Israel. His ethics were entirely too vindictive and barbarous for them, forsooth; and they, with their Peace Societies, and new lights, would teach the world a milder and more beneficent code” (R.L. Dabney, Discussions, Volume One, p. 709).


“The consequence of this erroneous admission of actual discrepancy between the morality of the Old Testament and the New is, that expositors have fatigued themselves with many vain inventions to explain away the imprecatory language of the Psalms. The generality of this feeling is betrayed by the frequency of these attempts. A curious betrayal of this skeptical impression exists to this day, in the book of Psalms, in the hands of our own Presbyterian people. Instead of a metrical version of Psalm cix., as it stands in the inspired lyrics, there is a human composition upon the beauty of forgiveness” (R.L. Dabney, Discussions, Volume One, p. 710).

I would not say that “I am quite the R.L. Dabney junkie.” However, comma, I would say that he is among my favorite 19th century heretics, with these two paragraphs given as cases in point.