Phil Ryken, president of Wheaton College, makes that argument in this essay:
Philip Graham Ryken. “Lewis as the Patron Saint of American Evangelicalism.” Pages 174–85 in C. S. Lewis and the Church: Essays in Honour of Walter Hooper. Edited by Judith Wolfe and Brendan N. Wolfe. London: T&T Clark, 2011.
Ryken first presented this talk to the Oxford University C. S. Lewis Society in 1995. The essay also appears in Beyond Aslan (2006), which you can read online via Google Books (pp. 69–81).
Ryken opens by quoting A. N. Wilson:
‘At Wheaton College in Illinois,’ he said, ‘where they are rather stupid fundamentalists, they have made C. S. Lewis into a god. They think he gives intellectual support for all their prejudices.’ (p. 174)
Ryken gives several reasons that Lewis is so popular among American evangelicals:
- Britishness. “Lewis evokes for Americans all the sophistication and quaintness of England” (p. 175). His “peerless academic credentials” help give evangelicals “a sense of intellectual credibility” (p. 176). Continue Reading…