When I first came to faith, one of the first authors I read was C.S. Lewis. I’d loved Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child, and had read some of the other books in the series, so when I found out he was a Christian, I was pretty darned excited.
The thing I noticed about Lewis’ theological work in contrast to his fiction, is it tends to be slow-burn material. The kind of stuff that, if you rush through it, you’ll miss something very important.
In other words, re-reading is necessary.
So, when I began my little re-reading project about three weeks ago, I knew one of the books on my list would have to be by Lewis. In this case, The Screwtape Letters.
The premise, for those unfamiliar, of the book is simple: it’s made up of the “found” correspondence between a senior devil (Screwtape) and a junior (Wormwood), documenting the younger’s mission to prevent a man known only as “the patient” from being won over to the side of their Enemy—Jesus.
The book’s premise itself is fascinating. To negatively communicate Truth—after all, it is written from the perspective of demons—while at the same time exposing falsehood is no easy task. From a purely creative perspective, this is insanely difficult to do well. In the hands of a lesser writer, The Screwtape Letters might well have achieved the same overbearing, heavy-handed moralism we find in later Star Trek series (with fewer cosmic reset buttons employed).
Lewis is no pulp writer, and for that we must be grateful. [Read more…]