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The Screwtape Letters

  • by C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters

C. S. Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential Christian writer of his day. In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis masterfully uses satire in order to emphasize the battle for the soul that goes behind the scenes of the visible world.

It is written from the perspective of an old demon, Screwtape, who is very subtle and very smart. Writing the letters to his inexperienced nephew Wormwood, he teaches him how to successfully tempt and entice humans. Consider his advice, “Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself (God) we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him toward themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills.” Although fictional in genre and humorous throughout, the book demonstrates the seriousness of the devil’s attacks on the Christian faith.

The goal of the book however, is not to reveal devil’s thoughts and the weaponries which he uses against the mind, but to expose the vises of the human heart and to give a comprehensive depiction of the human character. No matter how far along you’re in your sanctification process, you will find this book hitting a homerun at some point. For example, old devil’s advice concerning the highest Christian virtue is one of such points, “Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact?”

And yet, Lewis, without being “to preachy,” exhorts Christians to live by faith righteously, relying on the power of God through prayer; by faith that is based on the victory of Christ.

“… So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11).