The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 5

According to Wikipedia, today there are around 40 ongoing wars and conflicts with over 100 combat deaths currently taking place in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, there is an increasing concern over the possibility of imminent large scale wars involving nations such as America, Russia, Ukraine, China, Taiwan and North Korea. We also recall that The Screwtape Letters were written in England during the height of the Second World War.

What are the potential temptations that a Christian might face in time of war? Uncle Screwtape has some words of advice on the topic for young Wormwood. These words also provide an interesting reflection for us in our time and place.

If you’ve not yet purchased your own copy of the book, you can download Chapter 5 here.

What advice did Jesus offer to his disciples when faced with the possibility of war? In speaking to his closest disciples about the impending invasion and overthrow of Jerusalem, along with the complete destruction of the Temple, Jesus had this to say:

4    Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 

9    “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 

Matthew 24:4-14

For your consideration:

  • What risks does Jesus foresee for his disciples in time of war?
  • What risks does Screwtape foresee for Christians in time of war?
  • How could a Disciple of Jesus Christ prepare themselves to spiritually prosper, even in adverse and horrible circumstances such as war?

2 thoughts on “The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 5

  1. stewiross February 7, 2022 / 11:47 am

    I love the quote: “One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe he is going to live forever”.

    • Stuart February 8, 2022 / 6:12 am

      Yes, it reminds me of the WW1 saying, “there are no atheists in the trenches.”

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