Two of my favorite Christian books are CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and Randy Alcorn’s Lord Foulgrin’s Letters. The Lewis book is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that portrays human life and foibles from the perspective of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below,” aka the devil himself, and his nephew and understudy, Wormwood. The book is hilarious but also very instructive in its depiction of the devil working in subtle ways to tempt humans and distract them from God, who Screwtape refers to as “the enemy.” This “devilish” indirect approach is far more useful than a blatant, head-on show of force in diverting folks from the path of righteousness. If you are a Christian and at all serious about your faith you have certainly noticed this to be true.
My other favorite book of this genre is the Alcorn book. This book is essentially a brilliant sequel and repackaging of Screwtape for modern readers. Like Screwtape, which Alcorn admittedly patterned on Lewis’ book, it deals with deep issues and provides important insights into life that are easily missed. And, it has an engaging plot that displays the clear and very biblical reality of a spiritual realm and warfare just outside of our senses. While Alcorn’s premise is the same as Lewis’ the format is different. Lewis presented his story of his human subject only through the content of the Screwtape letters. Alcorn’s format uses a series of brief chapters in the life of the main character, Jordan Fletcher, each followed by a letter or two from Lord Foulgrin, primarily to his disciple, Squailtaint, setting forth attack strategies, observations and critiques.
Like Lewis, Alcorn recounts how the seemingly “small” sins are the ones that can get us in the most trouble. Few of us will commit murder, but our pride, resentments, lies, and so forth, can rob us of our effectiveness for the Lord, and do injustice to the reputation of the One we should be glorifying through our actions.
So, what is this leading up to? Well, I just ran across a brief article by Regis Nicoll which reminds me of Screwtape and Foulgrin. Mr. Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. The article appeared at: Crisis Magazine as: The Making of an Apostate. It also appeared at: Crosswalk.com. I believe you’ll like it. RMF
The Making of an Apostate
Interesting, how humans can go through life without giving much serious thought to their faith. Oh yes, they may believe in a supreme Being and an afterlife. They may be members of a church, even leaders or clergy. They may have mouthed their allegiance to our Adversary. But beyond the sanctuary walls, they live as if he and his teachings are largely irrelevant. You have your demonic forebears to thank for this.
After generations assailing their spiritual yearnings, we learned that allowing them a small space for religion is better than allowing no space at all. Surprised?
I know it sounds strange, but the more adamantly they reject religion, the more it occupies their thoughts and conversations. In fact, a hardened atheist is apt to spend more of his mental energies pondering “God” and religion than the most ardent believer. Continue reading