You may not know Max McLean’s face, but you may know his rich, baritone voice from the Bible translations he has narrated. His voice is so popular, it’s the default choice on many English Bible apps.
And thanks to a new movie that became a hit, McLean’s face, too, is growing in popularity.
“The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis” retells the dramatic conversion experience of Lewis. Lewis enrolled at Oxford University as an atheist before becoming a Christian thanks to the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien and others. McLean stars as a middle-aged Lewis in the movie, a mixture of narration and drama. It was filmed at 18 sites in and around Oxford, England.
On its opening night last year, the film finished No. 2 at the box office — trailing only “Dune” — and No. 1 in per-theater average. It now is available on home video.
Drawn to Lewis’ story
“The Most Reluctant Convert” is based on a stage play of the same name starring McLean, who said he naturally was drawn to Lewis’ story.
“I’m an adult convert to Christianity. He was an adult convert to Christianity. I read his works at an early age in my Christian development,” McLean recalled.
Lewis’ atheism was grounded in multiple life tragedies, McLean noted.
“He lost his mother to cancer at a very young age. He had an estranged relationship with his father that got worse when his mother died. He had firsthand experience with the senseless brutality of trench warfare in World War I — he called it the hell where youth and laughter go, only to see horribly smashed men still moving about like crushed beetles.”
Lewis came to the conclusion that either God did not exist or is indifferent to good and evil, McLean said.
Logic, reason and the Holy Spirit
Eventually, though, logic and reason — and the Holy Spirit — drew Lewis to Christ. He “saw the contradiction in his own beliefs,” McLean noted.
A line can be called “crooked,” Lewis argued, only because a straight line exists with which to compare it. Similarly, he said, “What was I comparing this universe with when I called it cruel and unjust?” McLean recounted.
Lewis eventually concluded: “‘If pain is so undeniably real [then] that which overcomes pain is even more real, more essential,’ and that to Lewis was the essence of Christianity,” McLean said.
All the words in the film attributed to Lewis are his, McLean added.
“People really resonate with [him].”
“The Most Reluctant Convert” debuted as a stage play at the New York City-based Fellowship for Performing Arts, which McLean founded. The theater’s goal is to produce stories from a “Christian worldview to engage a religiously diverse audience.”
“It’s just my feeble attempt of being faithful to the calling that God has given me,” McLean explained. “My life verse is Ephesians 2:10: We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. So I’ve always felt that the obligation of a Christian is to listen to the Holy Ghost when He speaks.”
For more information visit CSLewisMovie.com.