30.1 – Screwtape Writes…

Download This Issue of ARPTalk (#30) in PDF Format

Download This Issue of ARPTalk (#30) in PDF Format

My dear nephew Wormwood,

I write you again, hoping to impart to you the art of deception and the importance of having patience and persistence in your work!  As you surely know, our historic work at Ebenezer’s College has been made particularly effective by our skillful, patient and persistent use of deception and incitement to rebellion.  Together, these have enabled us to make use of many a good man in our current plight at SC ZIP 29639.

What is more, our patience and persistence have enabled us to outlast several threats to our cause, as you should remember from the events of 1977, 1997 and 2008.  In those years, there arose men of the ARP Church, or at least a small band of them, who showed courage and determination to insist upon Christian Philosophies of Education, to install an Evangelical President and even to affirm a doctrine of the inerrancy of Holy Scripture.  Our relentless and tireless efforts frustrate those men quickly, and when they do not see results or when they are ridiculed by our people, they become easily discouraged.  This is why you must have patience now, Wormwood!  Do not be surprised by such occasional courage and conviction of the few.  Know that it will soon pass.  It always has.  You see, so long as we have our way with the many and so long as the many can outnumber the few, we can discourage the efforts of the few, and we can continue to control the territory of SC ZIP 29639.  Such successful control has long made use of skillful deception and incitement to rebellion, which is what I want to remind you of now.

What has served us so well to defeat the occasional “small band of concerned ARP churchmen” is our ability to convince the many of the church that the band of the faithful few are “not nice” or that they are “too narrow”.  This has worked very well for decades, mostly because so many of the few are afraid of not being liked or thought well of by the many.  I know it is not surprising to you that men who call themselves “ministers of the Gospel” are so easily controlled by self-serving interests, for this is the very way we have had such success with them.  Ultimately it is their own pride that easily defeats their desire to do what is right.  And, if you can get just one of these men to give in to his self-serving interests, he quickly becomes contagious among them all!  In no time, one will agree with another that he is “reasonable”, and they will then follow his lead.  If we can play this to our advantage again, Wormwood, I am convinced we can protect our interests at Ebenezer’s College for decades to come.

Something else to remember in order to continue our successful work, my dear nephew, is that you should never underemphasize our proven success in convincing good ARP men to do the “softer” thing.  If called upon to do something even remotely difficult or slightly challenging to their “gut feeling” or “cultural preference”, the easier and softer way is almost always chosen by soft men.  Be encouraged by this, and use the “softer” ploy often.

I have also found it particularly effective to whisper in the ear of good men that the easier and softer way is “more peaceful”, “fair”, “rational”, or in some way actually “good for the church”.  So long as they choose ease rather than “faithfulness to calling”, we are advantaged in every way.  Even men of strong beliefs fall for this, and this, my dear nephew, is how we have maintained our stronghold on this institution of the ARP Church.  Whisper often “peace, peace”, and these men will believe it because it is the easy way even as it leads to destruction.  By using the term “peace” these men give themselves subtle permission to protect their personal interests as the Church goes wanting.  This is of great benefit to us.

Wormwood, I must admit that I have been especially concerned of late that the number of strong men has increased in their Church and that our work in Due West – our beloved SC ZIP 29639 – might be threatened.  This is why I am writing you.  I am counting on you in this matter and am writing so that you will know how you can best help our cause.

I need you to whisper in the ears of good ARP men.  I need you to whisper with me in their ears that they need to “protect their jobs” and “save their own skin”.  I need you to whisper with me that “the softer way is the better way”.  I need you to whisper that the Synod should not do anything that could be viewed as “harsh” or as “punishment” for Ebenezer’s College.   Tell them that “time is on their side” and that “all is really not that bad”.  And, be especially sure that you whisper to them that “good Christian’s don’t dispute” even as their opponents dispute with them.   In this way they will yield their necks to the enemy.

If you do these things, I am certain at least one or two ministers will compromise on matters they should never compromise on, matters of the souls of Ebenezer’s students.  Ah, how reassuring to realize that pastors do this for the sake of their own skin, security, comfort, and convenience!  Oh, our Dark Master is especially pleased when we get ministers to do this, and I will be especially proud of you if you help your uncle in this way.

Wormwood, labor with me so that Ebenezer’s College will remain just as it has long been, so very unlike Ebenezer himself! Fight with me against the King and His Kingdom in SC ZIP 29639, and laugh with me as we do so in the King’s own name and with the resources of the King’s own Church.

Your sulfurous uncle,


Editor: The Editor, Charles W. Wilson wrote the above. The Editor hopes you found it interesting.

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  1. Claire Muzal says:

    I grew up in a Catholic family that highly regarded CS Lewis’s writings, and all of us 7 children were encouraged to read The Screwtape Letters from the 1950’s on forward – and most of us have continued to read his many other writings also. You nailed this one Editor Wilson!! How true, how true – thank you.

  2. Peter G Rambo says:

    Agreed! EXCELLENT rendering of CS Lewis.

  3. JAY WEST says:

    Very intersting from a psychological point of view!

  4. Jason Nussbaum says:

    “Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organisms in a body- different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children, or pupils, or even your neighbors, into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else’s troubles because they are ‘no business of yours’, remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you. If you forget that he belongs to the same organism as yourself you will become an Individualist. If you forget that he is a different organ from you, IF YOU WANT TO SUPPRESS DIFFERENCES AND MAKE PEOPLE ALL ALIKE (emphasis mine), you will become a Totalitarian. But a Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or an Individualist.”

    ~CS Lewis, Mere Christianity