Andrew Farley is a friend of mine. Andrew recently released an intriguing work of fiction entitled, Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual Warfare. The book is a compelling read and it highlights some wonderful truths about who we are in Christ and where our focus should be. I caught up with Andrew to hear him talk about the book. Enjoy the interview and order Andrew’s Farley’s new book.
Give us the premise of “Operation Screwtape.” What is the book about?
Andrew Farley: It’s a fiction book. And in the book, an expert linguist encounters a device containing thousands of archived files revealing a worldwide conspiracy. Operation Screwtape is the largest of these files and details the intelligent scheme to steal, kill, and destroy Christianity. Here’s a video clip of the discovery of the device:
What motivated you to write it?
Andrew Farley: This year marks the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death. Lewis gave us a new form of fiction when he wrote “The Screwtape Letters.” I wanted to celebrate that. At the same time, I wanted to introduce a book with all new themes focused specifically on the message of grace. For me, there is no more important topic. After all, the apostle Paul even referred to the gospel as “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). In the book, I demonstrate how the enemy wants to keep us from understanding the fullness of God’s grace– our forgiveness, our acceptance, and the free gift of righteousness we enjoy.
Explain the genre of the book and the style.
Andrew Farley: Operation Screwtape is a combat manual designed to train demons in the art of spiritual war. Here’s a short excerpt to show the way it reads:
“Sell them on the idea that the Ghost dwells in the physical places they worship instead of being housed literally within them. Have them imagine the Ghost as swooping down to fill their worship venues with His presence, when in fact they are actually sensing the natural effects of fixing their minds on Him within. If we fill their minds with the idea that His presence is reliant on their buildings, their music, and their reading of the Book, they will inevitably conclude He is not very present the remainder of the time. They will settle for less, and we will accomplish more.”
As you can see, this combat manual contains terms like “the Ghost” and “the Book.” This is the demons’ way of referring to the Holy Spirit and the Bible. They also speak of “the Blood” and “the Life.”
What “need” is the book seeking to meet? In other words, if someone is thinking to themselves, “How will I benefit from reading this book?,” how would you answer?
Andrew Farley: We have an enemy, yet that enemy is “all bark and no bite.” But the enemy’s bark can still be quite persuasive sometimes – we buy into the accusation and subsequent guilt; we take on the condemnation; we then measure our spirituality and come up short in our own minds. We settle.
But Operation Screwtape tips the enemy’s hand, showing us the cards he often plays in our lives. The book enables us to see the full inheritance we have as believers in Jesus Christ. It reminds us just how clean and just how close to God we really are.
Ultimately, the book is about Jesus and how we can rest in his finished work.
When a reader closes the book after reading it, what do you hope will change in their thinking and their life?
Andrew Farley: So far, readers are responding with comments like, “Wow, I see it now. I realize how I’ve been missing the mark in my thought life. I’ve been so focused on me and how I’m doing. I’ve been forgetting to just fix my eyes on Jesus and what He did for me. It’s so simple!”
This was my hope in writing the book – that those who read it could see just how deeply loved they are.