The Screwtape Letters were written in 1942 by the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (who also wrote “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” series.)
Screwtape is a senior devil whose job is to increase the store of malice and misery on Earth. He achieves this by carefully targeting humans and then providing them with an array of temptations that can take their minds away from God.
Under Screwtape’s charge is his nephew Wormwood, a novice devil. The letters between them record their efforts to turn a young man from his newly-adopted Christianity back to ‘Our Father Below’ (Satan). Wormwood receives detailed instructions on how to exploit the man’s weaknesses and bring him permanently around to sin.
Both shocking and amusing, C S Lewis’s satire was a bestseller in its day, selling over half a million copies. It was a brilliant response to the creeping atheism, existentialism and materialism of Lewis’s time, attracting the smart reader who normally may have dismissed Christianity as a moral guide.
The book is quite a challenge to understand, because everything is morally in reverse. You have to remind yourself that the ‘Enemy’ referred to is God, and that the way of life advocated by Screwtape is the exact opposite of a good Christian life. For instance, Screwtape bemoans that that the Enemy has given human beings free will to choose the Good, and that God actually loves ‘the human vermin’.
Each chapter deals with a different temptation such as a lack of neighborly love, smugness, lust, and identifying with non-believers because they are clever and witty.
If you’ve never experienced the Screwtape Letters you’re in for a treat! If you have read them, come and share your insights and hear what others have to say.
We’ll be listening too a full audio production of the book in the seminars so no preparation is necessary. But if you would like to read it on your own before hand and do a separate personal study these links will give you what you need. The discussions on Saturday will be different than the personal study guide.
Seminar Dates and Schedule
August 23rd 9am-Noon: Letters 1-10
Sept. 27th 9am-Noon: Letters 11-20
Oct. 25th 9am-Noon: Letters: 21-31