Thursday, June 17, 2010

Screwtape's Latest Advice Regarding Church

Correspondence between a senior demon (Screwtape) and his nephew (Wormwood) regarding nullifying the church's influence:

My Dearest Wormwood,

If you want to make sure that the enemy's people are relegated to obscurity, lead them to believe that the church is for them, not the other way around. Hire professionals to make sure their church experience is more personally satisfying. If they actually evaluate how much they like (or don't like) the worship than the efforts will actually be for them and not our enemy. Rob the enemy of the worship He desires all in the name of worship! In fact, if you can, get them to compete with one another over this so that some are considered better at it than others we will gain division as well. Ask for a small percentage of their money just to provide such a service for them and their families. Don't ask for too much money though, we do not want them to actually think church is important. Let them use the greater majority of their money on their life away from the enemies activities. Do what you can to assure that no one would put much expectation beyond that small percentage of giving on the disciples themselves, let them think: "That's what we pay the pastors and missionaries for."

Put the pros in robes (suits will do) and tell them they are specially called and anointed to do what mere mortals cannot--like hand out pieces of bread and pass a cup of juice. Diminish the enemy's love feast to simply passing a small stale wafer of a bread-like substance and a thimble of juice. We do not want them to enjoy one another's company and actually love (Yuck, I hate even saying the word).

Take the commanded practices out of the hands of the regular people and make sure that those who will actually do them only do them with Christians behind the veil of sacred institutions and stained glass windows. In fact, if you really want to keep disciples from being made, command them to disobey Jesus and make it a sin for them to actually baptize others. If you can make it a sin to obey the enemy you have won a great battle. Then they are our followers, rather than His, but they think they are following the enemy! How grand our task is.

Don't let many become one of these professionals, in fact, make it extremely expensive and difficult to be allowed into the club of the sacred anointed. The fewer people that obey Jesus' commands and take responsibility for the enemy's work the better. Those who do actually practice the commands will do so with pride which is even better for us than if they didn't do them at all! If you can get them to see this service as a career, then they will bring expectations into the work that will make the practices themselves a duty under their job description. You can take all the good out of these practices if you play your cards right.

Make the church obsolete. Let people start other organizations to accomplish what she was meant to do. Leave her the tasks of marrying and burying, baptizing and communion so she will feel sacred and special in spite of not doing anything at all. Let others do the mission work, the evangelism work, the social service work, the counseling, and the leadership development. Charge her people for all those services, so they feel like they are contributing without having to actually do any of them.

Let them find success in how many people attend their sacred event once a week so that they are not concerned with any sort of success the rest of the week. Oh what a victory if you can make them feel proud about doing barely anything at all! It's like having two wins for the price of one. In fact, if you can get them to feel like their lack of contact with the other people in the world is a spiritual obligation that God desires of them we will not have to worry about the enemy's work in the world. It will all be ours! If we can keep them from being in the world or doing anything of substance, and actually feeling proud of being more spiritual in doing nothing we can win this war entirely. Oh, I get so excited thinking about the possibilities!

Make their "faith" about everything they do not do, rather than the things they should be doing. If people think that they are Christians because they don't dance, drink, dip or double-dip then the attention is off of the actual responsibility of hearing God and doing what He says. Make it about everything other than love, keep love out of the picture in all ways possible. In fact, if you can get them to think they are serving God better with hate than the enemy loses everything. Let them evaluate how good a person is by how much they look like themselves. Oh we have done well if that is the case. Then they have actually come to see themselves as the standard of goodness and led them to live in judgment of all others. Imagine how good it will be if the church all looks the same--smug and content with so little!

In fact, remove from them any chance of actually hearing God's voice. Let them hear other people who tell them what God is saying...then pass off things that are not important through those other voices. Stay away from the real dangerous words that are in the Bible. Let the pros use the Bible to only defend their own opinions. Let them think the enemy is on their side so that they have greater confidence in spouting off their opinions about meaningless things. Do, however, allow them to speak some good things so everyone feels good about hearing them, but keep the actual words of the scripture away form the people. Good words are fine, and better than the truly powerful words that we all fear and hate so much.

Let a few of these pros become popular because they tell good jokes, stories and witty sayings, so that people are deluded into thinking that they have just heard from God because they got teary eyed after laughing. Let the people feel like the Bible is so magical and mysterious that ordinary people without the degrees (or robes) are incapable of using it right and would only create a mess. Keep the ordinary people from hearing the enemies voice at all costs. This is your most important task Wormwood. Do not fail in this.

Take my advice and you will do well.


Your Uncle Screwtape

NOTE: Please know this is not from C.S. Lewis, and that I mean no disrespect to this great mind in this post. It is just an attempt to use his same sly manner in addressing a spiritual problem. Read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis if you want to understand this post and want to read a real good example of what this is attempting in a far less effective manner.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant post. Much to think about. Much to get disturbed and (dare we say) offended about. Great post, Neal.

KatieD said...

Great writing Neil! I'm looking forward to that novel getting finished one of these days!

Adam Lehman said...

Made me tear.

Anonymous said...

Neil, this is fantastic. thanks for sharing. Mind if I repost?

Anonymous said...

Disturbing but true post. Well written. Thanks from a "professional" who needs to be constantly reminded that the church is for God and not for those who attend on the weekends.

Burly said...

Oh, snap!

doranmo isa said...

Neil, you got me! I actually thought this was from Mr. Lewis's book (I haven't read the whole thing, but I know the premise of it). I did start getting a bit suspicious towards the end, because I started thinking it sounded a like Organic Church. haha