J.R.R. TolkienJ.R.R. Tolkien, a world-renowned author and scholar, was a committed Christian and outspoken witness to the power of God in his life.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” is internationally recognized as the father of modern fantasy literature.
Upon graduation from the University of Oxford in England, Tolkien became the youngest professor at the University of Leeds. In 1925, Tolkien returned to Oxford and wrote “The Hobbit” and the first two volumes of “The Lord of the Rings.”
Tolkien never expected his stories, originally written for his children, to become popular. However, in 1936, the volume came to the attention of a London publishing company. When published a year later, “The Hobbit” became a bestseller with adult and children readers. The publishers asked Tolkien to write a sequel.
Tolkien promptly worked on what would become his epic novel. He spent more than 10 years writing “The Lord of the Rings.” It was during these years that Tolkien received enthusiastic support from his Oxford colleagues, particularly from his closest friend, C. S. Lewis, the author of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” as well as the Christian apologetic, “Mere Christianity.”
A devout Catholic, Tolkien had a deep, abiding faith that he freely shared with his colleagues. He once wrote to a friend who wanted to know the purpose of life that it was, “to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.”
Tolkien had a life-changing influence on his Oxford colleague and friend, C.S. Lewis, an avowed atheist who became a Christian and later wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Mere Christianity.” Soon after meeting Tolkien, Lewis lamented that, “these queer people [Christians] seemed now to pop up on every side.” It wouldn’t be another five years until his conversion to Christianity.
C.S. Lewis testifies to an evening in September 1931 in which he stayed up until 3:00 a.m. “talking to Tolkien about everything from myth to Christianity to poetry.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, a world-renowned author and scholar, was a committed Christian and outspoken witness to the power of God in his life. His famed works have theological underpinnings, as does the world of his equally famous friend, C.S. Lewis.
The ministry of friendship is undeniably an important catalyst for conversion. How are you ministering to your friend group? Who are you influencing through your relationships?