There’s a new book out that was written in the spirit of CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Andrew Farley’s latest project is a work of fiction titled: Operation Screwtape – The Art of Spiritual War. For anyone interested in narratives exploring spiritual truths, this book might just be a fit for you.
Operation Screwtape could be read in 1-2 hours depending on one’s reading speed. During this short time, you will be exposed to spiritual warfare from the point of view of a demonic training manual. It is “a combat manual designed to train you in the art of spiritual war” (18). It is “required reading during the first millennium of study at the House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters” (19). The “principle goal is to inundate patients with subtly incompatible belief systems such that we obscure the simple truth about the Life” (19).
The book is divided into 3 major sections: Steal, Kill, and Destroy. Some of the things to be stolen are: influence, security, intimacy, clarity, confidence, and celebration. If demons can convince people that these things are not possible to attain, then they will push them off of the path of Life. An example of this logic comes in direct attack of the church:
As long as the church is centered on the feeble proclamation of moral principles and ethical standards, we will maintain momentum in casting them as hypocrites. Today’s prominent messages of behavior modification and self-improvement with the Body breed the veryt accusations of hypocrisy they work to dispel. And when they are blinded by us to the way of the Work, they cannot begin to fathom where they err (24).
The second section, Kill, involves several things the enemy seeks to put to death: contentment, focus, resources, life, holiness, righteousness, and discernment. In the chapter on killing holiness, the manual states:
Finally, the last section of Operation Screwtape seeks to destroy grace, freedom, funding, enthusiasm, unity, leaders and the Message. In the chapter on freedom, the manual concludes:
Do not allow them to grasp the lofty post to which they have been appointed. We cannot have them celebrate with any measure of real joy. Their joy is an infectious disease that will spread among them and even waft toward heaven as a fragrant aroma to their King. To us, it is a putrid stench (104).
Humans are naturally inclined toward, and therefore easily enticed by, rule-oriented systems. We witness the perpetual pep talks given by their ministry leaders, even telling adolescents to do more and be more for the Enemy [remember, this is from the demon’s perspective therefore this word is about Jesus, not Satan]. Then, as these young converts marry, have children, and are weighed down by normal, everyday concerns of life, they conclude they have fallen below the “radical” standard of spiritual productivity they once set for themselves. The pinheads love to weigh their spirituality on a scale of some sort (141).
Clearly, Farley’s goal is to write in such a way that spiritual truths come through each page. Many of these are basic ideas in the faith, while many others are profound. If someone is interested in spiritual warfare and the freedom of Jesus Christ, I recommend this book as a potential resource.
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