KNOW THE ENEMY.
ANTICIPATE HIS ATTACK.
Expert linguist Dr. Andrew Farley encounters a device containing thousands of archived files revealing a worldwide spiritual conspiracy. Operation Screwtape is the largest of these files and details the intelligent scheme to steal, kill, and destroy.
"Operation Screwtape channels the creativity and wit of C. S. Lewis while introducing the brilliant insights Andrew Farley is already known for in his bestselling books. This book will entertain you, but it will also challenge you to awaken to some astounding realities that, apparently, the forces of darkness do anything to hide."--David Gregory, New York Times bestselling author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
"Andrew Farley's books have had a huge impact on my spiritual life, challenging me to live an authentic, grace-filled life. Operation Screwtape is his latest, most entertaining work yet. Once you start reading this book, you won't want to put it down!"--Bart Millard, lead singer for MercyMe
I always new there had to be someone working behind the scenes to keep me from believing that grace could really be that good!
- Very good
I received this audiobook for the purpose of doing a review.
Narrator Thoughts - If I could have picked a voice for this audiobook, I would have chosen someone like David Heath. His deep voice adds the sinister touch that blends with the book to make it believable. He got into the character so well that I was trying to remember that this was just a fiction book based on spiritual realities.
Book Thoughts - The book itself was very good. I thought that Andrew Farley did an excellent job of explaining some of the ways in which the enemy deceives and manipulates us. It was an excellent book for that. It also helped me to remember that I need to rely completely of God. Some of the ways he puts things are brilliant and eye-opening.
The only note I would put on this is that it's not as good as The Screwtape Letters. C. S. Lewis in my opinion wrote the best book on how the enemy of our souls wages war. This book is good, but as far as passing the Screwtape Letters, no it comes in a close second.
- Good but not Lewis
Short Review: This is an update to CS Lewis' classic Screwtape Letters. Intended to be a captured propaganda/training manual for young demons instead of letters from an older demon to a younger. Screwtape Letters was the first Lewis book I remember reading on my own (probably around 12) and I have read it at least a couple times since (but not recently). But this didn't feel quite as good. It is less subtle for one thing. Also while I think that Farley has a lot of the right ideas, I think his solutions are sometimes over the top. For instance, I agree that sometimes people's repeated confessions of the same sin only serve to focus the person on the sin and they never live in freedom from the sin. But that does not mean that confession is bad, it just means that there are bad ways to do confession.
I would give this a 3.5 if I could. There are some good ideas here, but it lacks some of Lewis' literary subtlety and sometimes goes a but too far trying to remind us that we are saved by Grace and not by our own works (which I theologically affirm.)
My full review is on my blog at http://bookwi.se/operation-screwtape/
christianaudio provided me a copy of the audiobook for purposes of review
- Show ALL Reviews
From what I understand Operation Screwtape picks up where The Screwtape Letters leaves off. The writer is brilliant! As is C.S. Lewis. For the two of these writers to be able to take on the voice and viewpoint of a demon is quite an undertaking. To be able to keep a contradictory dialogue of conversation going without skipping a beat is quite amazing. The narrator sounds strikingly similar to the narrator of The Screwtape Letters. He really gets into character and brings the book to life!
I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review, and I can honestly say I truly enjoyed listening to this book, and found it to be quite interesting. I would not hesitate to recommend it to my friends and family.
- thoughtful listen
I had read The Screwtape Letters years ago and really found them to be interesting and thought provoking. Operation Screwtape follows along in the same vain. My husband (who listened along with me) and I had more discussion over this book than any other that we have read (other than the Bible). This book presents some very thought provoking ideas as far as the Christian walk is concerned. These ideas are presented as a lecture course for demons. The narrator, David Cochran Heath does an excellent job of voicing the lecturing demon. His laugh and tone of voice would send chills down my spine at times.
I received a review copy of this book through christianaudio.com in exchange for a review of my honest opinion.
- The Enemy’s Plan Revealed
Operation Screwtape by Andrew Farley, is an interesting, if a bit misguided, attempt to reproduce the brilliant satirical novel, The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis in a broader form. It focuses on a manual written for demons to tempt and ultimately destroy the lives of Christians by using various techniques.
I found it a very interesting book that was challenging at times but I found there seemed to be a lot of doctrinal differences to what I believe, which made it frustrating at times. The satirical style of the book and the added evil laughs in the audio made it quite a cutting insight into what the enemy might plan to do to Christians, especially those who try to live in their own strength and ability.
The narration was very good for this book, with the author using a very evil sounding voice throughout and some very wicked laughs from the demons as they realize their plans are working.
This book is very interesting and compelling but sadly contains quite a lot of information that just didn’t sit right. Therefore read it as an interesting read rather than insightful doctrine.
This audiobook was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audiobooks at christianaudio.com.
- Chilling, but warm
Operation Screwtape contains words written by a demon. To be fair, it is a translation. And, well, to be completely transparent, it was all written by “expert linguist” Dr. Andrew Farley, author of The Naked Gospel (2009), God Without Religion (2011), and Heaven Is Now (2012). Operation Screwtape is the most recent of his books.
Overview of Operation Screwtape
Farley, who seems to specialize in the shock factor, writes the book as if it were a training manual for demons. The book follows the model of C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, in which a senior demon instructs a younger demon on the most effective methods for tempting his subject. Since the techniques of the original Screwtape Letters are outdated, according to the introductory matter of Operation Screwtape, herein is a demon's training book for a new age. The training gives to the demonic neophytes a way to mess up the spiritual lives of Christians.
Review of Operation Screwtape
There is a chilling warmth about the book. On the one hand, it is chilling because you're reading about the calculated, aggressive, and conspiratorial advances of the enemy. On the other hand, it is warm and encouraging, because you are reminded of the power of the gospel as it combats the advances of our adversary. The book contains plenty of theology, albeit coming from a demon. These sections that are rich in Scriptural truth serve to remind us that the gospel is sufficient, that we are safe in Christ, that we are dead to sin, and that we will ultimately triumph.
Reading a book from the enemy's perspective is fascinating. It takes some getting used to. Most Christians are accustomed to reading praiseworthy things about God, and not-so-praiseworthy things about the Devil. This book contains precisely the opposite. When reading the book, you begin to experience "aha" moments when you “figure out” how demons are tricking you, and the sinister techniques they're using to tempt you. But for all its fascination, we need to remember that we're not really reading a Demon's Training Manual. This stuff was not actually written by a demon.
What you're reading is speculation, thoughts on portions of Scripture, a bit of deduction, and a lot of personal experience. It is helpful to get a look at us — the good guys — from the perspective of the bad guys. But the book isn't some cosmic Wikileaks. The book is a product of a human author, and therefore discernment is advised, just as with any book.
Writing an entire book from the perspective of a demon has another potential shortcoming. When we start blaming everything on demons and the devil, we see less of the sin that has pervaded hearts. “The devil made me do it,” is a not-so-subtle self-justification, a way to exonerate self from the burden of our depravity. The Bible, however, describes the condition of our hearts as “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and paints a deplorable picture of what we're capable of, even without the help of demons (Romans 1:18-32).
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Farley's book is that it reminds us of the presence and cunning of the evil one. Ephesians 6 provides an impetus for reading the book: “We...wrestle against...the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The “schemes of the devil” are something to take seriously, and to stand against faithfully.
This review first appeared on the blog, www.danielthrelfall.com
- One of the best audio books I've listened to...
Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual War by Andrew Farley was awesome!
I absolutely enjoyed every minute of listening to this book. It had me thinking, pondering, rewinding, and laughing. David Cochran Heath did a fabulous job at narrating this book. He included all of the proper inflections, and the best-timed chuckles, to capture the deviousness of the devil's work.
Knowing a little bit about C.S. Lewis' book, the Screwtape Letters will help in understanding the idea behind this book. But that work should not be considered a prerequisite to enjoying and understanding this book.
Here is the basic premise: This is a manual on spiritual warfare against the Christian. It is written, as if, from an "older" and more experienced demon to "young" demons in training. It outlines various effective and efficient attacks on the Christian. Attacks that, though they cannot remove the Christian from the love of God, they will render the Christian ineffective and unproductive for the cause of Christ. Obviously, this is a very fictitious premise, but it is anchored in a spiritual reality that is very imminent.
Not knowing much about Andrew Farley, I found that I was hesitant and cautious as I was listening to this book. I didn't know which direction he was headed on several different occasions. But I found his points to be well-grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I laughed at myself in nearly every chapter, as I realized that I had fallen prey to this attack or that maneuver that Farley was outlining from the perspective of a tempter.
Because of Andrew Farley's insightful points on our spiritual battles and David Cochran Heath's abilities at narration, I found myself reeling at the utter weakness of Satan in comparison to the Power of Jesus Christ. As Christians, our focus needs to be in the cleansing reality of the Blood of Christ and we need to walk in that forgiveness that was bought by such a dear price.
I absolutely want to encourage you to pick up this book, and without a doubt, the version you pick up should be the audio version.
- Not for the Spoonfeeders
Where to begin? This book takes on 2 huge challenges.
#1, with the word ‘Screwtape’ in the title, you’re putting your book in the same ballpark as CS Lewis’ great work, The Screwtape Letters.
#2, The subject matter. When you’re talking about the training demons get you want to be sure your theology is rock solid lest you demonize something that might actually be biblical.
Regarding the first issue, this book is marvelously written. Farley isn’t just stealing a CS Lewis word to give his book some credibility. The man can write! The audio version of this book is absolutely fantastic. Heath is super expressive, even adding some evil laughs. The book is quite captivating. Excellent ‘production’, if you will.
#2 is where honestly, I’m not sure where to place this book. I only listened to this book once (while I was working), and there were a lot of new ideas presented that caught my attention, but since I wasn’t looking at a print book I couldn’t just stop, reread, and see if what was said was actually right.
As I read in a different review, if you need to be spoon fed this isn’t the book for you. He brings up a lot of different issues, gives a very brief explanation, and moves on to the next tactic. This book moves. There’s some ideas here that I’d need unpacked before fully embracing them. I’d just caution that you keep your Bible handy and use it as the final authority. It’s definitely a great resource to jar your brain and get you thinking.
If you’re a thinker or a CS Lewis fan I’d definitely encourage a listen, or better yet get your hands on a print copy.
I received a free copy of this audiobook courtesy of christianaudio.com’s reviewer program.
- Challenging and insightful
C.S. Lewis’ classic work "The Screwtape Letters" is unique because, at the time it was published, Christian satire was rare. Conceived as a conversation between two demons on the best way to tempt a man, called “the Patient,” Lewis’ novel turned the Christian living conversation on its head by depicting the morally-reversed world of the demons.
Andrew Farley’s Operation Screwtape is written as a companion piece to Lewis’ book, and depicts this same world. But instead of following the epistolary style of The Screwtape Letters, Operation Screwtape is formatted as a propaganda-filled war manual for the legion of demons. Different approaches to tripping up “the Patients” are laid out and seem to be formatted in a way that echoes the “steal, kill, destroy” warning of Jesus in John 10:10 (i.e. chapters like “steal influence,” “kill contentment,” “destroy unity”). The focus here is on an army of demons trying to trip up the Church as a whole, so it’s not as personal as Lewis’ Wormwood taking lessons from Screwtape on how to best tempt his single “Patient.”
This book is very insightful and broad-reaching. I found it to be an interesting mix of funny and stinging in its truths. Farley certainly satirizes our many hang-ups in the Church, and the variety of ways we lose our way. Farley laments (and the demons celebrate) our over-emphasis of certain doctrines and wrong interpretations of scripture. But he also emphasizes the power we have in Christ (called “the One”), living by the Spirit (called “the Ghost”), as the demons cower in fear and frustration. If they can keep us from fully grasping the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection (called “the Work”), and our resulting state of freedom and victory (called “the Life”), they win. Otherwise, they certainly lose.
David Cochran Heath’s over-the-top narration is a great touch. He is all-at-once sinister, angry, bitter, and mocking in his tone, punctuating the many rants with evil laughter. The language is colorful and Christians are referred to—among other things—as “stupid,” “losers,” “misguided,” “short-sighted,” and “small-minded.” That last jab is directed at those who mindlessly follow those who claim to be able to predict the end of the world. It made me wonder if Farley maybe enjoyed being able to get a few shots in on those who truly bother him while writing as the demon.
Farley puts forward some biblical interpretations and theological ideas that I don’t completely agree with. However, in general, I found myself being confronted with many of my own weaknesses and insecurities in a healthy way by this book.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- Will make you think
Honestly, I was not sure I really wanted to listen to this book when it came up for my review. It is called Operation Screwtape -- The Art of Spiritual War by Andrew Farley. I read what it was about and thought it sounded interesting, but it wasn't really in my type of books that I normally read or choose to listen to. But I decided I would give it a try since I have been interested in spiritual warfare lately.
I will say first that the narrator, David Cochran Heath, did a wonderful job. He has a great voice for this book and adds an evil sounding laugh too. He really made the book enjoyable for me.
This book is interesting and will definitely cause you to stop and think. It is somewhat confusing at first, and you have to get into the right frame of mind to listen to it (one of the reasons I wasn't sure I wanted to listen in the first place). It is written from the perspective of satan and things he does....steal, kill, and destroy. For example, he steals clarity, confidence, and intimacy. He kills focus, resources, and holiness. He destroys freedom, unity, and leaders.
What this book makes me wonder is if we as Christians truly live aware of the power we have AND how the enemy is doing everything he can to get us off track. The ways he uses are truly cunning. When I heard them from this perspective, it made me more aware of things in my own life that are attacks of the enemy. We need to pay attention and realize the power we have with Christ in us and stop allowing the enemy into our lives.
I thought this book was well-written. I will also add that if I was reading this book (instead of listening) there were some things I would want to stop and look up in the Bible because I wasn't sure they were accurate in how they were presented in the book.
I received this book from to the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
- If this was written by a demon, it was intended to fall into our hands
C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters launched a new genre of Christian fiction: demonic correspondence. The purpose of this genre is to use fictional dialogue or instruction from one demon to another as a means of educating believers on the ways in which we can be led into temptation and sin, as well as identifying the false beliefs errant perspectives we may hold. To understand what the author intends to communicate requires a kind of backward thinking process and analysis of what the book says. Thus if a demon desires to convince us that something is true, the inference is that it is false, and conversely, if a demon desires to convinces us that something is false, the inference is that it is true. Additionally, if a demon concedes something as true, we should generally take it to be true, and a strong approval of something would indicate it is bad, whereas a strong disdain for something would indicate it is good. Thinking about and understanding these books requires more thought than the average Christian living book you’ll find at the local Christian bookstore, and those who merely read for pleasure or a quick bit of encouragement may miss the entire point the author wishes to convey.
Operation Screwtape is a guidance manual for demons geared mostly towards causing trouble for Christian believers. Farley shows himself to be a good writer and clearly pays homage to Lewis’ own style of writing. The narration by David Cochran Heath is superb, making the audiobook version sound more like a dramatic reading than merely a professional narration.
Aesthetics aside, it is the content of the book that is most important. There were a few sections and chapters of the book that I found very helpful to believers. One of the demons’ tactics is to overwhelm believers with insecurity regarding their salvation. The demons freely acknowledge that once a person believes he is “forever lost” to them, but they realize that by obscuring that truth and getting believers to repeatedly “ask Jesus into their hearts” they can cripple a believer’s effectiveness by the constant insecurity of not knowing whether or not he has lost his salvation.
Unfortunately, most of the book gave me the distinct impression that, were this really a manual for demons, it was intended to fall into our hands. I say this because the conclusions Farley tries to lead his readers to are often unbiblical. For instance, Farley asserts that believers have no need for ongoing repentance because Christ’s blood covers their sins. However, this completely ignores Bible passages that view ongoing repentance as a mark of the Christian life (cf. 1 John 1:9; 2 Cor. 7:9, and the admonitions to repentance by Christ Himself in the letters to the churches in Revelation). He also denies that sinful desires originate in us, but rather asserts that they are external pressures from the world (and demons). This is contrary to Matthew 15:16-20 and James 1:14-15. Farley sees a total break between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant so much so that he doesn’t believe any of the Old Testament commands (or even the pre-resurrection commands of Christ) have any bearing on believers today. In essence, Farley takes the doctrine of “salvation by grace through faith” as a requirement to place no expectations on believers whatsoever except to encourage them to let the Spirit live and work through them.
Although I enjoyed reading The Screwtape Letters, and even As One Devil to Another, with its shortcomings, was an enjoyable read, Operation Screwtape was altogether different. I found myself nodding as I listened to the first two chapters, but slowly I started to raise and eyebrow and rewind now and again, saying, “He didn’t just suggest what I think he did.” The result was that by the end I became convinced that this book was much more likely to lead me into error and sin than it was to lead me into victory over Satan’s tactics. Now that is scary.
I received this book from christianaudio for the purpose of review.
- Absolutely Brilliant
I really enjoyed this audiobook a lot, as it was very well read and written. As I like the original Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, I was very glad that this is as good. This works on several levels, as a very humorous story to listen to, as a teaching audio on spiritual warfare, but also as a refreshing audio about the goodness of God and his wonderful grace.
The narrator David Cochran Heath is absolutely brilliant and perfect for this audio. His evil voice with his menacing laugh and instructions to his demon agents was very believable. He really made me laugh quite a few times during this audio, and I imagine more than if I'd read the print version of this book. I would definitely recommend this audio to anyone who likes the original Screwtape and to other listeners too. Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for this copy.
- Sheds light on what's happening around you!
Picking up where C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters ends, Operation Screwtape is the transcription of secret documents recovered from the dark realm, never meant to be seen by humans. Read as a tactical war manual, the book outlines various techniques that Satan's minions (dragons) can employ in the war for men's souls (patients).
The superior who wrote this manual is careful to explain ways in which the plans can go awry, and what should be done in each circumstance. A prologue in the beginning sets the tone for how this manual came into the hands of Dr. Andrew Farley, detailing the risk the translator took in publicizing what he'd found.
Although this is obviously a fiction book, the methods of spiritual warfare described in its pages are clearly part of the real battles raging around us each day. By thinking about our world in terms of our enemy's tactics to steal, kill, and destroy us, the author sheds light on how to avoid the traps of the enemy and engage in what is going on in the lives of our friends and family. In this way, a very entertaining book also serves as an important weapon.
I listened to an audio version of the book, and the voice of narrator David Cochran Heath was perfect, oozing villainy and disdain. I could almost see the military leader behind this manual grimacing as he referenced holy things, and snarling as he issued evil threats to his inferiors.
Chapters were short enough to take in small bites, then stop and digest what I'd heard. Listening to them with my family led to some great conversations on how the enemy of our souls works, and how we can recognize and avoid his schemes.
PARENTAL RATING: PG. I highly recommend this book for teens and adults, and with some guidance, children might also enjoy the audio version or hearing it read aloud.
I received a copy of this book from christianaudio.com in exchange for my honest review.