Edwin Lewis (1881-1959) was an American
Methodist theologian primarily associated with Drew University in New Jersey.
Born in Great Britain, Lewis traveled to Canada as a
missionary before continuing his education in the United States. He eventually became a professor of theology at Drew.
Lewis' early work demonstrates the influence of
Boston personalism, a school of Protestant liberal theology widespread among Methodists during the first half of the 20th century, and British idealism.
Jesus Christ and the Human Quest is an example of his early perspective. In the book, Lewis argues that the Christian faith has its foundation in the nature of persons and personhood.
In 1929 he was named editor of the Abingdon Bible Commentary. While preparing the massive reference work, Lewis claimed to have "rediscovered the Bible" for himself. He reacted strongly to the 1931 Laymen's Missionary Report,
which he believed hampered the Christian missionary effort, in his article "The Re-thought Theology of the Re-thinking of Missions" which appeared in the
Growing more suspicious of the subjective theological liberalism of the day, he published A Christian Manifesto in 1934. In the book, Lewis railed against liberal theology (which he referred to as
modernism), reasserting classical Christian themes such as the transcendence of God, the
sinfulness of humankind, the
divinity of Christ, and the
objective work of the atonement.
Lewis wrote: "No statement of Christian belief which does not include a supernatural reference...is a true statement."^
He followed A Christian Manifesto with
A Philosophy of Christian Revelation and
The Creator and the Adversary, both of which continued his reclamation of Christian orthodoxy from an
Arminian perspective. Lewis argued that Gods triumphs over evil by outsuffering and outloving his adversary.^
Lewis' work proved infuential to an entire generation of Methodist theologians, notably Carl Michalson and
Albert C. Outler.
- ? Edwin Lewis, A Christian Manifesto (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1934), p. 16.
- ? Thomas A. Langford,
Practical Divinity: Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition (Nashville: Abingdon, 1983), p. 205.