Christopher Derrick, a man who knew both Chesterton and Lewis personally, gives the opening address. A sober mind, quick witted, realist on the shortcomings of both men, he narrows what he sees as their primary similarities and strengths. He 'gets' them and notes reasons why many of us appreciate them so much.
Here are a few paragraphs I thought worth noting to you. When I read them, I found them robustly sane on the nature of my own work as communicator of who Jesus is and the Christian view of what he's doing with us. (Bold emphasis is mine.)
It has long been a commonplace to say that present-day people simply can't understand the traditional language of Christianity. I've always been rather skeptical about that. The verbal or lexical difficulties aren't so great. Where people fail to understand Christianity...I think it's mostly because they don't want to understand it.
However that may be, there's always a strong case for restating the gospel and the faith in the language of one's own time--provided that one does exactly that. The trouble is that some people claim and appear to be doing that necessary task, when in fact they're doing something radically different. It's one thing to restate the old faith so as to make it more easily understood; it's quite another thing to modify the faith so as to make it more easily acceptable. ...The pattern of much present-day theology--both dogmatic and moral--is not governed by what Jesus said and commanded, nor yet by the hard substance of the apostolic witness: it's shaped most crucially by what present-day people want to hear. As in business, the product gets modified in order to meet consumer demand. It's often modified very radically indeed. We hear of a renewed Christianity... made more relevant and meaningful and so attuned to the needs and preoccupations of this age. On closer inspection, it turns out to be mostly a secular humanism or a Marxism or something similar, just garnished with a top-dressing of Christian or Catholic terminology.
Now the great merit of both Chesterton and Lewis, considerined as religious writers, is that neither of them fell into that trap--that dishonesty, one might say. ...As regards substance, each--in the vst bulk of his writing--was in fact restating the ancient faith in the language of his day, in the rhetorical language of a flamboyant journalist or with the cool lucidity of a scholar, with a thousand new angles and insights but otherwise without modification. Each might thus be called a faithful translator, though a salesman or a propagandist as well, mightily successful in each.
One might sum it up by saying that while no sane person would read Orthodoxy or The Everlasting Man in order to find out whether the Christians were right or wrong, he might well read both in order to form a deeper imaginative understanding of what the Christians were talking about. ...You sometimes meet people who know that "love" is at the heart of the matter but are utterly confused thereby. They overlook the crucifying complexity of that four-letter word, its erotic and affective senses being so overwhelmingly dominant in our culture. The remedy is simple: tell them to read Till We Have Faces?"