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Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday of Easter, series B, in the style of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. The author addresses the spirit of the Antichrist in today’s Church, particularly in reference to the Holy Scriptures.

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“My Very Dear Antichrist”

6Easter2003 1 John 4:1-11 May 25, 2003

© 2003 by the Rev. Robert C. Baker,

Redeemer Lutheran Church, Vero Beach, Florida,

with sincere apologies to C.S. Lewis!

My very dear Antichrist,

Cordial greetings in the name of our most abysmal potentate, the Prince of Darkness.

I trust things are going well for you upon the face of the earth. After all, following the most joyous occasion in the Garden of Eden, you have been quite, shall we say, preoccupied with that puny race of men? You are truly deceptive, and your name says it so well: Anti-christ, the one who sets up himself in place of Christ, against Christ. How devilishly perfect that you should present yourself to those wretched creatures not simply as a substitute, but actually as their one and only hope (perish the thought!) of salvation. What genius!

You are truly cruel and cunning, and for that you are to be commended. While the Prince himself slithered around that tree and caused both Eve and Adam to question the veracity of our Enemy’s word, you, in a delightfully wicked way, conceal yourself and appear to their progeny as the Enemy’s own Son! You draw them away from trusting in the Enemy’s every utterance (and actually recorded in that cursed book available for the poor idiots to read!). Then, you cajole them to trust rather in their feelings, their perceptions and their tastes. “Experience,” you preach to the fools, wooing them away from the certainty of our Enemy’s revelation as divine truth. “Opinion,” your encourage them to think, even as they look at black ink on white paper. “Yes, it says this,” you lure them to admit, and then by a coup de grace, you deliver the death blow: “But, I think…” Brilliant!

Now, I must confess that we were deceived, and for that we will have an eternity of regret. Truly we were certain of our victory when we saw him hanging there. Why, he no longer looked like one of them at all. A cruel trick it was, foisted upon our most wicked Prince and the rest of us, fiend and foe alike. Oh, the horror that the Enemy’s Son would take the nature of these creatures into himself, seemingly hiding himself from us. Such torture, that the Enemy’s wrath was unleashed not against these human morsels, but upon the their wretched savior. Alas, the agony of knowing that all those who look upon him in this pierced, bloody state will live for eternity! (We should have known better: the Enemy had, after all, given these horrid creatures a sign in the wilderness through that awful servant of his, Moses. How dare he use the Master’s own Garden form against him!)

And yet, I hear that you have made significant inroads into that body known as the church. Why, the very word makes my skin crawl! I am gratefully pleased at your continued deception, and am overjoyed to learn that a significant portion of them now not only believe, but also defend not the Enemy’s, but your words. You live up to your name, my very dear Antichrist, and for your faithfulness to our diabolical cause may you savor the taste of a thousand souls! Every course hair on the back of my warted neck stands on end in excitement, knowing that some of these puny creatures actually teach that they can remain in the Enemy’s good graces while not simply denying, but actually contradicting his teachings. Such delectable deception: masquerading yourself as a false prophet here or a super apostle there, a pope in one place or council in another, a church commission then and a church panel now. (How you managed that one I truly do not know; perhaps you took it from our illustrious Prince’s own playbook? Stealing from the Father of Lies: how fiendishly clever!)

You manage to get not a few of them to believe that some of the Enemy’s words recorded in that wretched tome are untrue. (That part, I must confess to you, was easy; remember using the Enemy’s own creation to construct Darwin’s design?) But your cruelty showed forth most brilliantly when you convinced the followers of the Enemy’s Son that they could consider themselves his disciples while rejecting some, if not most, of his written words. Except, that is, those words dealing specifically with how much he loves them! Why, what an unbelievable mechanism of eternal damnation, yielding a bounteous harvest of throaty wails and shards of human teeth: the marriage of self-deception and arrogance! Truly our most horrendous Lord was delighted with your Meisterstuck, your masterpiece, and I’m sure our quota will come closer to being filled due to your tireless efforts. Quickly stoke the fires!

Thus, you have convinced no small number of these ecclesial creatures that not only does the Enemy’s moral code no longer apply (thereby robbing them of the opportunity to confess and to return to the Enemy’s good graces), but also that the Enemy’s burdensome rules and regulations—bravo!—rob them of their freedom. Your cunning work will ensure they will never realize that, by following their own self-centered desires, they will place themselves more firmly within our grasp. (Hark, is that the sound of roasting flesh before us for one hundred million years?) As you have said over the course of millennia, it is only a short step, humanly speaking of course, from the denial of the Enemy’s desires and intentions to true spiritual anarchy. Oh, how they tend to play into our hands, and indeed seek continued warmth by wrapping themselves within our taloned fingers! I urge you, my very dear Antichrist: continue playing to their inborn depravity, particularly within that despicable institution called church, toward your, and our, eternal advantage.

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