Stage actor Max McLean has a long history of bringing renowned author C.S. Lewis’ literary creations to life, portraying the theologian and his projects.
Listen to the latest episode of CBN’s Quick Start podcast 👇
McLean’s film “The Most Reluctant Convert,” which starts streaming on Pure Flix Dec. 24, is no exception, as the movie sheds light on the “remarkable spiritual journey of C.S. Lewis,” the renowned author of “Mere Christianity,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “The Screwtape Letters,” among other iconic texts.
McLean is perhaps uniquely suited to answer some of the deepest questions about Lewis’ faith journey from atheism to Christianity, with the actor telling CBN’s Faithwire about the issues that most fuelled Lewis’ initial skepticism.
“He said his argument against God … was the universe was so cruel and unjust,” McLean said. “But then he asked himself, ‘Where’d you get this notion of cruel and unjust? You call a line crooked because you have some idea of a straight line.'”
Despite feeling the world had no meaning, Lewis eventually came to see humans as creatures with purpose and value. McLean explained how Lewis initially lived in a “realm of contradictions” before embracing Jesus.
Some of his life experiences fueled that internal chaos.
“[Lewis] lost his mother to cancer when he was nine. He had a very strange relationship with his father, which he regretted all his life,” he said. “He was in the trenches during World War I and saw the butchery of trench warfare, and he came to the conclusion: either there’s no God behind the universe, a God who’s indifferent to good and evil — or worse — an evil God.”
From that starting point, though, he started to recognize there was something bigger — that he was connected to a Higher Power.
Watch McClean explain Lewis’ conversion and experiences:
This journey led Lewis not only to faith but also to spread the Gospel in stunning ways. McLean said Lewis believed faith should be shared “simply,” appealing to the validity of the biblical accounts.
“If it is untrue, no honest person will want to believe it,” McLean explained, citing Lewis’ beliefs in presenting evidence for the Gospel. “If it is true, every honest person wants to believe it. It all hinges on Jesus.”
As for “The Most Reluctant Convert” — the film that tells of Lewis’ own journey — Pure Flix founder Michael Scott praised the movie for its powerful storytelling.
“Jesus told stories,” Scott told CBN’s Faithwire. “He did parables … the modern-day parable is film and television. What a great story to tell is C.S. Lewis’s life … [he] started as a boy, as a Christian, became an atheist, and then back to Christianity.”
He continued, “It’s an incredible tale with an incredible arc to it.”
Scott said he has seen movies about spiritual conversions perform very well, citing author Lee Strobel’s “The Case For Christ” film as an example.
“We’ve seen these types of films do really well, because they touch on a lot of issues,” he said. “They have some great intellectual things that are going on inside the films that the characters are wrestling with.”
McLean, who has been portraying Lewis’ material on stage for the past 20 years, told Faithwire Lewis is “one of the great writers of the English language.”
While McLean had done “The Screwtape Letters” and other projects on stage, COVID-19 presented a plethora of challenges, including the shutting down of productions.
Suddenly, McClean wasn’t able to fill seats.
So, his attention turned to making a movie and, hence, “The Most Reluctant Convert” was born. Watch the movie on Pure Flix starting Dec. 24.
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***