Once again, I find myself taking the the wisdom of Joseph Harris and putting on my blog because his article is so pertinent at this time!
I realize among conservative Bible believers and most fundamentalists, Clive Staples Lewis is not a staple in their literary diet. I certainly do not agree with or endorse everything from his pen, however, “The Screwtape Letters” stand alone as genius. This work is an account of an experienced demon instructing his novice demon nephew in the ways of sabotage and subterfuge against Christianity. Below is my version of a Screwtape letter.
My Dear Wormwater,
This is just a note of encouragement for you in your ministry. I have been hearing good reports of your evangelism for our master. Your massive, intense campaign undertaken over the past 40 years has been fruitful. It is evident that lives have been changed, families transformed, churches altered, and society affected as a whole. I notice as you have used phrases such as “reaching this generation” and “discovering felt needs”, people have been encouraged to “make a decision” for our lord. Cunning is your prestidigitation indeed.
Changes in your converts are manifested in lifestyles, churlish attitudes, dress, and worship. As a demon in training, you have excelled in converting the church in your outreach program. In bringing the unconverted to our master’s ways, many churches now look, act, talk, think and dress like the world. Instead of the church reaching the world, we have successfully reached the church with the world. The majority of churches today feel the pressure to conform to new and modern standards, with only a few still holding on to “the old paths”, as they like to say. How thorough is your work. I commend you for focusing on burning the forest, not just cutting down a couple of trees.
Your “methods change, but the message remains the same” mantra was a stroke of genius. It has beguiled many unsuspecting churchmen into introducing worldly devices into their ministries and worship services they might not otherwise have tolerated. Your perfidy is unmatched. Our father below may even take note of your progress, if your perseverance is relentless.
Man has an insatiable desire to worship. Your mission is to always encourage worship, but incorporate small changes that steer incrementally away from their “worship in spirit and truth”, with the appearance of focusing on the enemy (and always cloaked in stained glass language), yet creating a god for them to worship who is strikingly similar to their divine, yet unmistakably different.
Patience, my dear Wormwater, patience. One cannot eat a whole elephant in one meal, but even the largest pachyderm can be ultimately consumed one bite at a time. Resist the temptation to change the enemy overnight, but continue with small bites.
Your affectionate Uncle and Demon mentor,
Slewtape (Joseph Harris)