The Screwtape Letters: An Introduction To a Devil

In this podcast we cover “The Screwtape Letters“, one of the most popular books that C S Lewis ever wrote.  It is a set of letters from one senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior devil (Wormwood).  Wormwood has just graduated from Hell’s Tempters College, and is on his first post.  He is assigned to tempt a man on earth, and Screwtape, being an experienced senior devil, advises him on how to proceed.  Since it’s written from a devil’s point of view, it is a work of inversion or reversal in that what is black to us is white to them, and what is bad is good.   A reference to “Our Father’s house below” is a reference to Hell, and “the Enemy” refers to God.  This reversal helps you see things in a new and different way, and is one of the attractions of the book.

This book was written during WW II.  There are 31 letters in all,  and they were originally published one a week in an Anglican magazine.  They were so popular that they were re-published as a book in 1942, and have remained popular ever since.  The letters are short, direct, and written in the same informal style as “Mere Christianity” .  Jack covers the man’s conversion, the temptations that Wormwood uses,  why Hell wants humans, the devil’s view of war and suffering, and the man’s falling in love (among other things).  No matter how often you re-read the letters, you’ll learn something new.

Currently there is a play based on “The Screwtape Letters” touring the country after a successfu l off-Broadway run.  It’s a one-an play, basically, starring Max MacClean, and has r eceived excellent reviews wherever it has run.  You can find out more informati on by following the link below.

Here’s the link to this show’s podcast.

Link To More Show Notes


Mere Christianity-3: Beyond Personality

Mere Christianity Book Cover

This is the final podcast in our three-part series on C S Lewis’ Mere Christianity. It covers the last Section of the book, Book IV, which focuses on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and how it relates to salvation.  Jack  has no problem getting into theology.  While he agrees that the experience of God is our primary goal, he points out that theological doctrines (like the Trinity) can function as maps or guides to this goal.

Salvation can be thought of in two ways.  First, as a change in status whereby we go from being sinners and guilty before God to being forgiven and guilt-free.  Second, as a process whereby our self-centered nature is replaced by God’s nature, that is, we are made fit creatures for Heaven.   Jack emphasizes this second approach in this part of Mere Christianity, although he would most certainly agree that the other approach is also true.  He discusses the nature of a super-personal God, a God that remains one and yet contains three personalities, and how we can actually participate in the life of this God, if we will it.   Lewis also points out that this does really costs us ourselves as we currently are but results in our real selves as God intended us to be.

Jack also adds a helpful chapter on God’s relationship to time.  (Essentially, how we get into difficulties by thinking of God as inside time as we are).  However, we did not have time to cover it in this podcast

The Abolition of Man – Part 1: Men Without Chests

The Abolition of Man This is the first of 3 podcasts about The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis. Although it’s more than 60 years old, this book is surprisingly relevant to some of the major problems we see in our culture today. It tells us why we see so many people in all walks of life who seem to lack a sense of right and wrong, that is, they lack a “moral compass”. Lewis points out that this began when we abandoned the classic concept of an external, universal moral code and incorporated relativistic assumptions in our educational practices. Jack maintains that this produces “men without chests”, people who have a head (the ability to reason) and a belly (the ability to feel), but nothing that connects them (the chest). They have no way of determining when to act contrary to their feelings.

This is one of the shortest and most philosophical of Jack’s books. It won’t read quickly like a novel but is well worth putting in the time to consider what he says.

Link to the Show Notes for this podcast


Here is a link to the performance schedule for the play “The Screwtape Letters” mentioned in the introduction to the podcast on 11-11-2009.  (Link courtesy of Tim Parrish).

Screwtape Letters Performance Schedule

The Last Battle – Part Two: Endings and Beginnings

The Last BattleThis is the second of two podcasts on The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis.  This book is the last in the Chronicles of Narnia and tells of the end of Narnia and the discovery of the real Narnia in Aslan’s country, Heaven.  From a theological point of view we cover the Last Judgment, Salvation, and Heaven as described by Lewis in this book.   The tale contains some of his most beautiful writing as well as some of his best insights about human nature and God.  Ultimately it is a message of renewal and hope.  Nevertheless, we have to concede that it is unflinching in its insistence that all countries except God’s own must come to an end someday, and that everyone must undergo the experience of death.

The show looks at the forebodings of the end, the examples of treachery and betrayal in the tale, how beings are chosen to enter Heaven, and  the salvation of a noble, God-seeking heathen who does not know Aslan.