Powerful Screwtape Letters

Are you bold enough to expose the Devil’s schemes, and dismantle them like you’re peeling onions?

One man did it quite successfully in his literary work: C. S. Lewis.

My hubby and I watched “Affectionately Yours, Screwtape – The Devil and C. S. Lewis during the week.

“So powerful,” my hubby exclaimed at the end of the DVD.

Indeed, one of Lewis’ most representative works is The Screwtape Letters (1941). Using the tone and perspective of a devil, the book explores “the ramifications of the seemingly small decisions of everyday life in the battle between good and evil.”*

Inheriting the idea of Dante’s Comedy and John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lewis created a unique literature for general populace, that any average English-reader could be warned about the nasty schemes and tactics of the Father of Liar.

Lewis modernized the language and used the first person narrative to facilitate easy reading and understanding. Screwtapes Letters are a collection of letters with “specific instructions” from uncle devil Screwtape to the nephew devil Wormwood.

It is quite a trip to read about Screwtape admonishing Wormwood’s progress in spoiling new-found faith of a certain Christian on earth. Screwtape wanted to make it clear that they abhor light, goodness, soundness, and charity. Their “Enemy” is God.

The devils, of course, are great accusers. In actual fact, they themselves are fallen and despicable. They work intensified once a person decided to become a Christian. They quickly attack when a Christian is upset by the poor appearance of the other in church (Screwtapes, letter #2). They stir up daily pinpricks through mutual annoyance among family members at home (letter #3). They constantly turn the minds of man away from God by producing feelings by the action of one’s own wills (letter #4). They cause despair and fear about future during wartime (letters #5 & 6). They create disbelief in man about the existence of devils and therefore catch them off-guarded in matters of temptations (letters #7 & 8). They corrupt a person to make his inner being drab, cold and empty (letter #9). Pride breeds contempt, and they work hard to rob one of the virtues of joy and humor (letters #10 & 11). And the devils’ schemes go on and on …

Well, now that we’re aware of devils at work, my fellow-believers in Christ, think about what is obviously necessary – what would be our defense?

* Louise Cowan and OS Guinness eds. Invitation to the Classics – A Guide to Books You’ve Always Wanted to Read (Michigan: Baker, 1988), 335.


About Florence Kuek

Was lecturer and researcher at a state university. Currently serving as Head of Student Services at a college. Has a pastoral heart for people. PhD candidate, Chinese Studies at University of Malaya.
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