Stained glass image of Jesus with lamb

Liar, Lunatic, or Lord

By Bob Krupp

C. S. Lewis did not think people should be allowed to call Jesus a nice teacher. Lewis believed that He left only three options as to who He was: a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord.

Unbelieving critics have dismissed this as a classic case of a false alternative and prefer to call Him whatever they want. Some Christian writers suggest that Lewis was perhaps too simplistic or a bit naive.

Perhaps we ought to think again before giving up on Lewis’ challenge. The people who were first confronted by Jesus’ claims debated Him just as Lewis would have wanted.

When Jesus appeared at the Feast of Tabernacles, the people were divided about Him. Some said He was a good man – others said that He was not a good man but deceived the people (John 7:12). Later, some of them told Jesus that He was demon-possessed when He challenged them about their desire to kill Him (John 7:20). After Jesus proclaimed that the living water of the Spirit of God would flow out of all who believed in Him, some said that He was the Messiah, the Christ (John 7:41).




I think Lewis was right and we should not allow the good man response to stand unchallenged.


Bob Krupp is  Associate Professor of Church History and Library Director at Western Seminary.

About Bob Krupp

Bob KruppAssociate Professor of Church History and the Library Director at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.