“So is Lewis to be seen as an Anglican writer? It is impossible to answer this question in the negative. Lewis chose to self-identify as a member of the Church of England, both in his public declarations and his pattern of church attendance. Furthermore, Lewis shows a clear literary and theological resonance with the Anglican writers of the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. Lewis may not be a ‘typical Anglican writer’ (a deeply problematic notion, by the way). Yet the historical study of Anglicanism reveals such complex and shifting patterns of Anglican identity that Lewis can easily be accommodated within its broad spectrum.
Yet from about the year 2000, when internal debates over the future directions of Anglicanism as a family of churches began to raise awkward questions about any notion of shared Anglican identity, the question of Lewis’s Anglican credentials is increasingly being framed in new ways. Many younger Anglicans, anxious to affirm both theological orthodoxy and their denominational commitment, are coming to regard Lewis as a benchmark of Anglican identity. For them, Lewis embodies — and, for some, even defines — what Anglicanism ought to be: a theologically orthodox, culturally literate, imaginatively engaged, and historically rooted vision of the Christian faith.
The recent failure of professional Anglican theologians and church leaders to captivate the imaginations and enlighten the minds of a rising generation within global Anglicanism has created a vacuum — which Lewis is increasingly coming to fill. Lewis embodies a liturgically and ecclesiologically unfussy Anglicanism that is rooted in the ‘Golden Age’ of its divinity, rather than being shaped by more recent controversies; that is lay rather than ordained; that speaks in eloquent and imaginatively satisfying ways, rather than in less accessible jargon of academic theology, which so often seems disconnected from personal faith; and which has no desire to dominate or belittle other denominations. Paradoxically, the question that a future generation might ask is not “Is Lewis really Anglican?’ but ‘Why isn’t Anglicanism more like Lewis?'”
–Alister McGrath, The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp. 158-159 (my emphasis) [Hat tip: JM]