Saturday night, my wife and I went to the stage adaptation of C.S. Lewis’, The Screwtape Letters. For those not familiar with this book, it is based on a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior “tempter” named Wormwood. The letters contain “professional” advise on methods of securing damnation of a man known only as “the Patient”.
Here are a few of the methods as outlined in the letters that we might see being used on us today.
• “Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
• “If you can once get him (the Patient) to the point of thinking that 'religion is all very well up to a point,' you can feel quite happy about his soul."
• "watering down the faith to make it easier for a supposedly incredulous and hardheaded congregation”
Despite Wormwood valiant attempts of implementing methods to tempt and lead the Patient astray, the man remains valiant to Christ and is taken up into heaven.
In thinking about what to share from the Screwtape Letters, I just received an email that I felt was very important to send out for others to read. The author of the following would prefer to remain anonymous. I think the adversary and his minions are alive and well in using his tactics on us, the “patients” in this world. Nephi prophesies of us in these latter days when he says, “they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. 2 Nephi 28:14.
Follow the Savior:
Culturally we’ve been molded in recent generations to fasten our eyes and eternal hope upon mere men rather than upon God and upon His Son who paid the price of salvational acquittal, and ransomed our freedom Himself. Somehow these singular and cosmically profound salvational acts have been given perfunctory position and superficial status, set off to the side, or reserved for closing remarks, in favor of cliché platitudes of men for other men.
Popular, though ill conceived cultural rhymes which are taught to our children, ingrain such erroneous thinking at an early age, and unless checked, these can form lifelong habits unmerited by scripture or doctrine or reason. One family’s course correction attuned the hearts of their children to the proper polestar of our lives as they would sing, “Follow the Savior.”
Those of us living in these times where mankind has lost its direction and cannot see afar off, would do well to check our own course and adjust our compass as necessary. We live in a time of mortal hero worship where men are placed upon pedestals and podiums, lauded for their seeming extraordinary service, forgetting that the servant of all spoke of Himself in the lowliest of terms.
These sacramental words come to mind; “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
Why then do we not talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins? Rather, we hear more and more insipid banality of men and the acts of men.
One of the greatest caveats of caution ever spoken were these words: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”
Few choose in indeed. As for me and my house, we will follow the Savior!
January 29, 2012