My Open Letter to Peter Kreeft

Hi Dr. Kreeft,

I enjoyed reading your book, Heaven: the Heart’s Deepest Longing. It was gifted to me by my friend Philippe, who I met at Barnes and Noble bookstore about a year and a half ago.

I discovered C.S. Lewis’ non-fiction when I was 10 years old. (I am now 50.) I have not read his Narnia or other fiction–and also, I don’t at all understand why people love Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings so much.

Soon after, a long time ago, I read several of your books about Lewis and the afterlife.

I also became fairly convinced of inclusivity, at least as a possibility, through your Handbook of Christian Apologetics, which was also a generous gift from my friend Philippe. I had already formulated something very similar to inclusivity on my own, years ago, and I have never liked it when people tried to categorically exclude it (as if they could categorically exclude where the wind would blow).

I grew up Lutheran, but now, for many years, I have been searching for a church that does not have the false Gospel of Lordship Salvation, and is not focused on money, families, only worldly success, entertainment, etc..

I studied for the Lutheran ministry for three years, till age 20.

In watching your You Tube videos and reading your books and about you, I was under the impression that you had gradually come to Roman Catholicism recently, but in fact, I recently found out from a video of your speaking, that that happened well before I was born.

I am wondering if you have ever personally met C.S. Lewis?

It seems that many groups that disagree on basic beliefs, from Roman Catholics to Mormons to Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim Lewis as their own. Just last night, a different friend of mine told me that a co-worker was reading a book claiming that C.S. Lewis was primarily an environmentalist, and that this could be shown by referencing all the parts of his work that promote it.

I certainly understand their and your enthusiasm for C.S. Lewis, as I have read most of his major non-fiction more than once, and I am reading Mere Christianity now for the sixth time (even though I found his several serious flaws years ago: Purgatory, the hinted-at idea that salvation (eternal and irrevocable according to Holy Scripture) can be lost, an early belief in evolution and millions of years, an acceptance of baptismal regeneration, an acceptance of churches that formally teach salvation by human-only works, and his general lack of forthrightness about justification, among a few other things.

Still, C.S. Lewis is my favorite non-biblical author of all time, in terms of prose style, content, general knowledge, Christian insights, warmth and humanity and realism, and, of course, spirituality.

And, much as I admire your writing, speaking and thinking, as happens the more you read an author, I am starting to see flaws in your thinking and writing.

Today I read an article you wrote where you said that it does not require faith to know that God exists. But Hebrews 11:2 clearly says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” I’d say it is clear that even God tells us that we need faith to know that God exists, and that He created the world. Will you recant? 😉

Most significantly, the greatest error that I see in your faith and thinking is that you import works into saving faith in Christ, for salvation.

I am sure you must have heard this before, but my question is: why do you believe that (if you still do)?

It is my current understanding that good works of practical and progressive sanctification are the outgrowth of saving faith in Christ. (I am not here referring to the positional sanctification that Christ immediately gives as a gift to all who believe.) Christ did everything necessary for our salvation that we receive through simple God-enabled faith in Him.

Also, although I really like the argument in the Handbook that the entire Reformation was one great misunderstanding, that argument now seems to me to be more than a bit inaccurate.

I do not see how works of sanctification can be part of salvation without making mere humans co-Saviors with Christ. This “other Gospel” kind of thinking is clearly and doubly condemned in Galatians chapter one in the severest possible terms by Paul.

Your thoughts?

Thank you and God bless you in Jesus’ Grace (John 6:47),


Curtis Smale

P.S. I am sending a copy of this letter to my friend Philippe, and I will also post it, and your reply, with your permission, to my blog,, as I think many people would like to hear what you have to say on these subjects, even if it is true that you have answered them all before. Thank you.

Sent from my iPad