There is an alarming trend occurring in Christian circles today. Many people who have publicly forsaken the occult and testified their deliverance and salvation in Jesus Christ, are returning to their former pagan practices. And many are publicly renouncing and attacking Christianity on social media.
The brilliant book by C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters, gives the reader a unique perspective on the devil’s wiles regarding this topic.
Synopsis: “The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.”
The Screwtape Letters is a Christian apologetic novel first published in 1942. Although it is fiction, it powerfully illustrates theological concepts regarding demonic oppression and control of human behavior, ultimately proclaiming Jesus Christ’s deliverance, salvation, and triumph in the lives of those who believe and trust in Him alone.
The story is written as a series of letters from Screwtape, the primary mentoring demon, to his demon-in-training and nephew Wormwood.
Here is a quote from the book’s Preface by Lewis:
“I HAVE no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to
the public fell into my hands.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the
devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to
feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally
pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same
delight. The sort of script which is used in this book can be very easily
obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but disposed or excitable
people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.
Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar. Not everything that
Screwtape says should be assumed to be true even from his own angle. I have made
no attempt to identify any of the human beings mentioned in the letters; but I
think it very unlikely that the portraits, say, of Fr. Spike or the patient’s
mother, are wholly just.
There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.”
The main purpose of this post is not to review The Screwtape Letters, but instead to focus on one specific chapter: How Screwtape instructs Wormwood to make the best of the situation when his “patient” becomes a Christian.
On Chapter II of The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape instructs Wormwood how to manipulate his newly converted “patient” away from God’s Truth:
“MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian. Do not
indulge the hope that you will escape the usual penalties; indeed, in your
better moments, I trust you would hardly even wish to do so. In the meantime we
must make the best of the situation. There is no need to despair; hundreds of
these adult converts have been reclaimed after a I brief sojourn in the Enemy’s
camp and are now with us. All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily,
are still in our favour.
One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand
me. I do riot mean the Church as we see her spread but through all time and
space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess,
is a spectacle which makes I our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is
quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished,
sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees
the local grocer with rather in oily expression on his face bustling up to offer
him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them
understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of
religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew
and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has
You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like “the body of Christ” and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy’s side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or
have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite
easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous. At his
present stage, you see, he has an idea of “Christians” in his mind which he
supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is
full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the
other people in church wear modern clothes is a real—though of course an unconscious—difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him
ask what he expected them to look like. Keep everything hazy in his mind now,
and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the
peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.
Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming
to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this
disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs
when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey
buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married
and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of
life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The
Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these
disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His “free” lovers and
servants—”sons” is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the
whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals.
Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere
affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves
them to “do it on their own”. And there lies our opportunity. But also,
remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness
successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much
harder to tempt.
I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew
afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do—if the
patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or
the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner—then your task is so much
the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question “If
I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should
the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is
mere hypocrisy and convention?” You may ask whether it is possible to keep such
an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is!
Handle him properly and it simply won’t come into his head. He has not been
anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he
says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom,
he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit-balance in the Enemy’s
ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great
humility and condescension in going to church with these “smug”, commonplace
neighbours at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.
Your affectionate uncle,
Concerned Christians are posting on social media about the increasing phenomenon regarding former occultists who claimed to have given their lives to Christ, only to return to serving Satan.
Bill Posey and Joe Miroddi of Answers for the Paranormal Podcast, recently did an interview with Jerry Blase, a former Satanist regarding this topic titled: As a Dog Returns to its Vomit. Listen to this eye opening interview here
2 Timothy 3:1-9, well describes these “difficult times for Christian service”.
Perilous Times and Perilous Men
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
My prayer is for those who once proclaimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have turned away, to “rend their hearts”. In Joel 2:12-13, God declares, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:7
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark word and against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12.
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