C.S. is one of the most prolific authors and is considered by many to be a leading a voice in the Christian community. Throughout his long and fruitful writing career he wrote many books speaking in favor of Christianity. In particular, The Screwtape Letters is a unique and immensely powerful apologist work that has become an essential part of Christian study. This is mainly due to the fact that this work takes the perspective of the demons trying to corrupt humans, which is starkly different than traditional Christian literature. Therefore, what follows below is a discussion of the The Screwtape Letters, with an emphasis on how specific takeaways from this book can be used to deepen a person’s faith.

You're lucky! Use promo "samples20"
and get a custom paper on
"Theology Summer Reading: The Screwtape Letters"
with 20% discount!
Order Now

To begin with, this book is a collection of letters between two demons. One demon is Screwtape, who is sending letters of advice to his nephew Wormwood, who is struggling to perform his functions as demon. That is, Wormwood has been assigned the task of corrupting the Patient, a typical human, but he is has trouble doing so. Therefore, Screwtape tries to help him subtly corrupt the Patient, thus revealing the various tricks and strategies that demons use to corrupt humans. In particular, these letters reveal how humans are tempted over long periods of time, with the end result being that their soul is condemned to hell for all eternity. Furthermore, throughout the course of the book, the Patient struggles with his faith and Wormwood struggles to use this weakness against him. However, the Patient’s faith gradually strengthens, due in part to other Christians that he has surrounded himself with, and, in the end, he dies prematurely, with his soul ultimately going to heaven. Therefore, Wormwood fails, as he is unable to successfully apply his uncle’s strategies to corrupt the Patient.

Christians everywhere can use the lessons from this book to help strengthen their faith and to live according to the word of God. In particular, this book talks about always looking towards the future and not paying attention to what is going on at the present. That is, one of the strategies that Screwtape tells to Wormwood is to help humans dream of the future, as it forces them to live in an alternate world. “It is far better to make them live in the Future… it is unknown to them, so that making them think about it we make them think of unrealities” (Lewis 68). By doing this, humans are not mindful of their surroundings and the effect that they have on others, as well as themselves. That is, they cannot live according to the word of God if they are not aware of the present. Therefore, one of the best ways of corrupting humans is to give them the desire for the future, and struggling Christians should learn that excessive thought or worry about the future may be an attempt to divert their attention away from the present and the teachings of Christ.

Furthermore, this book teaches the lesson having a strong resolve in the face of adversity. That is, it is easy for Christians to adhere to Christian principles when everything is going well, but the true test of a person’s faith is adhering to Christian principles in difficult times. This is demonstrated clearly in a specific quote from the book: “A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky” (Lewis 137-138). Here, the author is explaining that the values of chastity, honesty, and mercy should not be conditional, as it was for Pontius Pilate and his treatment of Christ. That is, while Christ hung on the cross, he wanted to give him mercy, but when the crowd threaten to turn violent he changed his mind (McGrath). Therefore, this demonstrates how a person’s values are threatened in the face of adversity. For Christians today, this is an especially relevant lesson. That is, most Christians today have a number of factors in their lives that make living a life dedicated to Christian values difficult, in that people have stress from their professional and personal lives, are surrounded by temptations of all types, and experience moments were their spiritual resolve may be weaker than normal. Because of this, they need to understand that this is normal and to stay focused on the teachings of Christ.

Overall, The Screwtape Letters is a unique book mainly because of its unique perspective and in depth understanding of the struggles for many people to remain diligent Christians and to not be corrupted. That is, this book takes the point of view of demons trying to make humans go astray, thus revealing to the reader the many different types of strategies that demons use to manipulate humans away from Christ. Therefore, this book is an essential piece of a Christian’s library, as it has many lessons that can be learned about remaining close to God and following in the path of Christ. In particular, this book should convey to Christians the need to stay focused on the present and to not excessively dream of the future, as it distracts from applying the lessons of Christ. This book should also convey the need to have a strong resolve, in that having Christian values cannot depend on the situation.