I recently read a twist on the Screwtape Letters, the CS Lewis classic, written by Jared Wilson. In Wilson’s version, the client is a pastor. The letter is from Wormwood to Grubnat, an even lower demon – one placed in charge of subtly sabotaging a pastor. I found the satirical letter to be full of truth. Some excerpts from Wilson’s (Wormwoods) letter:
Dearest Grubnat, my poppet, my pigsnie,
The reports of your progress warm my blackened heart. When you were assigned to one of the Enemy’s ministers ten years ago, his infernal Majesty and I knew you’d have a rough go of it. The zeal of one new to the pastorate can be a daunting challenge to even the most cunning of our comrades. You now prosper from that sweet spot of pastoral fatigue. The shine of newness is gone.
There are many temptations common among the Enemy’s undershepherds but one universal temptation of them arises from their flesh and it is this: they want people to be pleased with them. Wanting to be liked is not a sin, really — to use the Enemy’s terminology — but it can be quickly turned to one at the hands of a spiritual disintegrator as shrewd as yourself. Some tacks you might consider: Suggest to your client that he works for the people, not the Enemy. Remind him who pays his salary. The quicker you can get your patient to see himself as a professional, as an employee, the better.
Bring in reinforcements to stoke division and dissension in his flock. Put him on the defensive. Demoralize him. Make him feel as though he has more to prove, more to be. Make arrangements to see that he comes to shepherd under compulsion, not willingly, much less eagerly, and suggest that he view the sheep of his flock as problems to be fixed or resources to be used.
If you can steer him into a position of prideful domineering, that would be most excellent, but the key in all congregational unrest is not just to divorce the people of a church from each other or from their leaders but to divorce the leader from faith in the Enemy.
More to come, if the Enemy delays.
Pastors are attacked by Grubnats every day. Survival is possible only as pastors focus on the truth of the Gospel – that strength comes from God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit – and not from the approval of people.