So, you say your subject has been reading a lot. Not only is he reading a lot, but he’s also reading a lot of the Enemy’s books. I have had this situation before. It’s not your fault. The enemy puts a nasty void within them so that they seek Him. Will His propaganda ever end? Of course, it is our ultimate hope that they fill this void with materialism, emotionalism, and shallow opinions that they grab one at a time from the hooks provided by our master. You know . . . “Mere Satanaity,” as we like to call it. However, it is an evitable result that at some point they will find that the void is best filled with a knowledge and relationship with that despicable Man that should be dead, but who tricked us that dreadful day.

Do not worry. Many of us have been here. In fact, some of us intentionally get here as we can often gain more power in this predicament. Here’s what you do: allow the vermin to read. Not only should you allow him to read, but you should instigate it every chance you get. Don’t let him ever have a break. Get him to move from one book to the next, one article after another. Make him watch every video there is on any given subject. The moment he sits down his C.S. Lewis, have him pick up Francis Schaeffer. Once he is done with Wallace’s course on Textual Criticism, have him immediately click play on Habermas’ horrible course on the Resurrection. Don’t let him have any breaks. Give him an insatiable drive toward knowledge. Make him think they can learn and understand every subject there is. Make him think that this is an automatic path to spirituality. Whisper into existence a mindset that says the more they know—the more facts they have in their brains—the more spiritual they are. Have others praise and envy them for how many facts they put in their head. Let them take great pride in the number of books they read. I don’t mean to brag, but I had one subject boasting that he read five books a week. Sometimes I would make him read six! Oh boy, what fun it was watching him fall.

Before you think I have lost my mind, hear me out. I have been doing this for a long time. I know it seems as if this methodology would work against us, but listen to this: Yes, I admit, it could work against us. But this is only if, in their learning, they take the time to contemplate what they’ve read. You see, so many of them think that reading, knowledge, and facts produce a spirituality that is guaranteed. But this is not the case. The reading alone does nothing. Facts alone do nothing. These things can just enter their mind and become easily wasted as they hastily move on to the next book. Whatever you do, DO NOT give them time to process what they read. Don’t let them sit down and think. Don’t let them ask Him questions about it. Don’t let them wrestle with what they have learned and begin to form a systematic understanding of our Enemy’s world and His ways. You see, it is like when humans eat. It is not the eating itself that helps them grow and gain strength, it is the digestion of it. That’s why our Enemy has them sleep. The time of sleep is the digestion of all their nutrients and activities, helping their bodies to integrate all they’ve taken in. It gives them time to heal through the systematic integration of all they did the day before. In the same way, when they read and learn, they need the same digestion. This is a digestion of the mind and the spirit. They have to have time to relate this information to their world, their circumstance, their community, and their emotions. This is called critical thought. Our master below hates critical thought. In fact, I have heard him call it “the worst of all circumstances” a time or two. The ability to think critically is something that our Enemy has had from the beginning and he gifted it to all these vermin. Thanks be to him down under, they often don’t know how to use it. They think that if they’re just able to quote verbatim some Christian Reformer they read, some footnote in their Bible commentary, or the latest and greatest theological fad author, this counts toward their love for the Enemy. Indeed, just about all these filth walkers think this. This is why there is envy, jealousy, and pride in the hearts of so many when it comes to reading and knowing facts.

I have to go, but let me say one more thing about this information overload we put them in. It very often creates a great swelling of hubris and pride (which we love more than all else), while knowledge with critical thinking brings about humility (which we hate more than all else). This, in turn, brings about jealousy from others who want to be “intelligent” like them. This is the best of all worlds!

In short, if they take up learning, don’t give them time to breathe. There are many people who will be  playing biblical Jeopardy in Hell.  Ha! I just made that up…”biblical Jeopardy in Hell”! Don’t steal it.


Until next time,


Your hating Uncle, Screwtape

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    4 replies to "Modern Screwtape Letters #3 — Biblical Jeopardy in Hell"

    • Steven Francis

      Brother, I love that your profile adds, “But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children.” Our Lord has blessed me with the same experience. Kathie and I celebrated our forty-forth anniversary on Christmas Day and some are actually beginning to believe that we might make it!
      You have been such a blessing, my friend. For some reason, the Lord has also blessed me with years and years of physical suffering. On Monday I had X-rays of my spine, especially the Thoracic region, to seek the reason for debilitating pain that plagues me during the night. I have a spine that resembles a railroad track through the mountains, along a river. It is a classic study of kyphosis, lordosis and scoliosis, in one individual. Oh, and spinal stenosis is there as well, with several varieties of arthritis. Charismatics and the HW&H’ers, love to tell me that I need to confess the sin in my life. I am sure that you have heard that time after time, as well.
      Your openness about the physical, mental and emotional journeys that you and you wife have gone through, and how that Lord has dealt with you, has been such a blessing. He has used both of us in ways that are far beyond what we could every have ever believed when we entered this journey of ministering for Him. I so look forward to seeing the result of our efforts, when we stand before Him in the Eternal Kingdom.
      God bless you, your family and your ministry,

      Steve Francis
      [email protected]
      [email protected]

      Psalm 142:7

      • C Michael Patton

        Beyond our ability to handle, eh? I reluctantly believe that that keeps us closer to him. But, man, it will be nice to get into that new body.

        Your prison ministry is such an inspiration as well. Thanks for being so faithful in it.

        • Steven Francis

          Since we haven’t been able to hook up on this terrestrial place, I look forward to seeing you in Glory. I’d say that we need to make an appointment to do so, but, I believe that He has already done so!!!
          I’ll see you there!

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks brother

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