The Everlasting Man

I suffer from a neurological anomaly. Every time my eyes see the word “denomination”, my brain sees the word “abomination”.

The divisions between Christians are a terrible scandal. They wound Christ Himself, and for compassionate reasons, I wish to propose a solution:

We all must centre our lives on Christ and in that centring dissolve all that divides us . This is why He came to us, to be our King in all circumstances over all the vastnesses of space and time. The way that the Church, his intended eternal nation, has splintered and tribalised, and fought amongst itself is not what Christ wants at all.

“That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21)

To this end, I want to recommend a book to you all for your Christmas holiday reading. It was written in 1925 by GK Chesterton, and is a non-controversial review of the history of mankind, Christ and Christianity. In it he tries to portray the spiritual journey of humanity, at least from a Western point of view. It is a cracking good read.

There are two great things about this book. Firstly, it is mostly responsible for the conversion of CS Lewis, who credited it with “baptising his intellect”. In “Surprised by Joy” Lewis wrote:

“Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive “apart from his Christianity.” Now, I veritably believe, I thought – I didn’t of course say; words would have revealed the nonsense—that Christianity was very sensible “apart from its Christianity.” But I hardly remember, for I had not long finished The Everlasting Man when something far more alarming happened to me. Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing, “ he went on, “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man (who has certainly never since shown any interest in Christianity. If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not – as I would still have put it – “safe,” where could I turn? Was there no escape?

Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society offers a lecture on-line on the topic of The Everlasting Man

( It begins:

C.S. Lewis was an atheist until he read Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man, but he wasn’t afterwards, prompting him to observe that a young man who is serious about his atheism cannot be too careful about what he reads.

Of all of Chesterton’s literary monuments, this is perhaps his greatest, for he eloquently and concisely packs the whole human story between the covers of one book. He begins by pointing out that the main problem with the critics of the Church is that they are too close to it to see it properly. They cannot see the big picture, only the small picture that directly affects them. With their sulks and their perversity and their petty criticism they are merely reacting to the Church. What they need to do is back up. And that’s what Chesterton has the reader do in this book. Back up far enough and to see the Church in all its startling beauty and unexpected truth.

The book was written as a kind of rebuttal to H.G. Wells’ popular book, The Outline of History. Chesterton said that Wells was like an author who disliked the main character in his book. Wells glossed over the two biggest points in history. The first is the uniqueness of the creature called man and the second is the uniqueness of the man called Christ.

The second great thing about this book  is that it is available online and is copyright free.

Get it and read it now.

(Thanks to for the quotes)


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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5 Responses to The Everlasting Man

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    Chesterton. Thanks. That reminds me. I must retire for the night:

    “if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick. But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man.


  2. kathleen says:

    Thanks JH – that really had me in giggles! 😆

    Isn’t it great to have commenters like John Henry – and our dear Brother Burrito – with their lively sense of humour keeping laughter in life, in spite of so many sad, bad things happening in the world around us?!
    (Toad is a pretty good ‘comedian’ too…… when he’s not behaving like a grumpy old ox that is! ;-))

    I read ‘ Everlasting Man‘ some time ago. I must admit to finding parts of it hard going – so much talk of pantheism and paganism, which seemed old-fashioned to me then (but probably wouldn’t now!) – but I also thoroughly enjoyed it. Just one of those paradoxes!


  3. toad says:

    Toad, is honoured, and flattered, to be more or less included in CP&S’s Comedic Pantheon, along with Burron and JH.
    But he must point out that it is far easier for him, because he has such sure-fire topics as, “Gay marriage,” pedophile priests, G.K.Chesterton and C.S.Lewis, to mine for nuggets of humourous content.

    Matters which Bro and JH are, more or less, obliged to take somewhat seriously. .


  4. Most of the denominations started as attempts to do just that — get the focus firmly on Jesus Christ and get rid of the arguments about differences. It never works. The Campellites, the Foursquare Pentecostals and the Society of Friends, to name a few that I have experience with, all began as efforts to clear away the distractions and just follow Jesus. They all splintered.


  5. Brother Burrito says:

    I am not suggesting yet another denomination!

    If we all imitate Christ better, as we rise, we must converge (pace Flannery O’Connor)

    Nice blog by you on St John. Thanks.


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