Book Review: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. Your affectionate Uncle Screwtape” (Pg 47-48)

Your Affectionate Uncle, Screwtape

C.S Lewis has written an incredible piece of literature that gives a fictional insight into how Satan and his servants use different methods to attack Christians. The letters of advice are sent from an uncle to his nephew who is new to the business of tempting Christians. The suggestions and tips that are given are convicting when you realize that this is exactly how you have fallen into sin in one or more areas in your life. In the book, Screwtape suggests using the church against the man that they’re dealing with. The man, Screwtape says, can become a critic of churches without him realizing it, by slowly being introduced to the idea that the church he’s attending just doesn’t “feel right”. Next, he can go to different churches and judge them by their appearances rather by what they’re teaching. The idea of using sexual temptation is brought up a lot, as well as introducing him to false christians; people who claim that they believe and say all the right things, but their actions lead the man into sin without him realizing it.

Getting Into the Mind

This was a very hard book for me to read. As a Christian, I have fallen into temptation and given in to so many of Satan’s tricks. When we are weak, we are most susceptible to temptation, and I have struggled with this most of my life. The comfort I could take from this book while reading it was that I know that my God will never forsake me (Deuteronomy  31:8), that he will protect me from all harm (2 Thessalonians 3:3), and that there is no love like His that I can find anywhere else  (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love is not a trick. It is not a facade put there to make me believe in something false. Throughout the book Screwtape calls God’s love false and that it is not really love, it’s just a face He puts on to make us believe Him. The Bible says otherwise though, and we should never doubt God’s love for us.

Make Them Doubt the God They Worship

As Christians, we are ridiculed for our faith a lot, and some even face persecution unto death. Satan uses this to sow seeds of doubt into our minds—doubts about God’s love and even about His existence. The ideas in this book are all too real. Satan uses anything and everything that he can against us to lead us into sin and to try and sever our relationship with God. But God tells us to continually be on our guard and to be ready for when Satan attacks us  (1 Peter 5:8). He has given us His Word to equip ourselves and all we have to do is read and memorize it. We can also talk to God and ask Him for wisdom .

Even though these letters are fictional, the author has shown us just a little of what we’re up against. The bad news is that we cannot fight this by ourselves; the good news is that God has given us all the tools we need to fight it and with Him anything is possible (Mathew 19:26)

Be prepared

While this is a very interesting read, I struggled at some points as I read book, and even started questioning some doctrines. The author was by no means trying to make us doubt God, but the book can cause some to start leaning dangerously in that direction. Unfortunately this is something that Satan can and will use against us if we are not continually reading God’s word and praying. God has given us armor to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:10-20). Using God’s Word to filter through what we read, even if it’s a christian book, is the best thing to do. We never know when or where Satan might try and attack our minds.


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