Screwtape Letters Part 1: Repost

UPDATE: The most popular series I have written is the Screwtape Letters series. A number of university students continue to access it, which suggests somewhere someone is teaching a C.S. Lewis course. That the hits continue to be consistent suggests the series is helpful to students. So, in honor of the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death, which coincides with the assassination of John Kennedy, I am going to repost that series (with certain updates/improvements).

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screwtape50thbIn this book (click here to get your copy of the 50th anniversary annotated edition), Lewis provides the reader with correspondence between Uncle Screwtape, a management-level demon, and his entry-level demon nephew, Wormwood, whose purpose is to tempt humans to avoid encounters with the Enemy. In the context of this book, God is identified as the Enemy, which is uncomfortable for me to read, but understandable in this context since God is Satan’s ultimate enemy.

In this fictional tale, C. S. Lewis offers an “insider’s view” of the presumed thought process and training program in the bureaucracy of the demon world. While it is admittedly fictional, on several occasions Uncle Screwtape’s instruction and/or encouragement to his young nephew left me thinking “that is a very reasonable possibility.” And, whether or not the demon world operates precisely as portrayed, the imagery is helpful in assisting the reader to think more biblically regarding the battle between the Spirit and the flesh (e.g., see John 3:6), and to recognize that demonic temptations toward unbelief aren’t coincidental occurrences. Rather, they are well-orchestrated events that start in apparently benign ways: a glance here, disbelief there or a misplaced trust elsewhere.

I offer the following quotes from the Preface for your consideration. Perhaps they will be as thought provoking for you as they were for me.

PREFACE

1. “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.”

Clearly it is both naïve and spiritually dangerous to disbelieve in the existence of devils [demons]. The Bible is clear in this matter: See for example, Luke 8:26-39. On the other hand, to become obsessed with the demon world is also dangerous and can take away attention more appropriately directed toward Jesus. The apostle Paul encourages Christians to think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, things of excellence or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

2. “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”

See John 8:44.

To be continued…

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