Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Memo from Lord Foulgrin

"Don't attempt to refute Christianity when you can dilute it with anything and everything else. This is how we emasculate the message. Convince him the Carpenter is an enlightened master, in a line of spiritual teachers who went to the East and studied with gurus before working with His disciples. Commend Him as a great mentor. Damn Him with faint praise." ~ Lord Foulgrin

I doubt there's ever been an occasion when I've walked into any Christian section of a bookstore and haven't seen Paramahansa Yogananda's "The Yoga of Jesus" or Deepak Chopra's "The Third Jesus" innocuously nestled among the Christian books. I was once a member of the late Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship and Edgar Cayce's Association for Research & Enlightenment. Cayce, Chopra and Yogananda all deny that Jesus was the Christ. Their "Jesus" was a man just like us who attained the "Christ Consciousness", and so could their audience.

The problem, of course, is that it's a lie that leads the unsuspecting to the very gates of hell. And that was what the demon Foulgrin was getting at. Having spent time "searching" in the New Age and still dialoguing with some of these people in an effort to help them understand the gospel, Foulgrin's comments are particularly germane for me.

I was initially leery about reading Randy Alcorn's book "Lord Foulgrin's Letters" because it is based on C S Lewis' classical "Screwtape Letters". How can you improve on a classic? I had seen the book at Barnes & Noble and picked it up several times while debating whether I should buy it or not. I finally relented when my wife was looking for suggestions to buy me a birthday present.

I love C S Lewis' original work but I don't feel disloyal in the least when I say "Foulgrin" is great. I read the 197 page book in one day, I liked it so much. Alcorn is a lover of Lewis' works as well and gives due credit to him. Lewis even gets a cameo mention in "Foulgrin". And though he borrows from Lewis' format, Alcorn does add extra features. The book has a network of characters while the reader is granted insights into the demon targets' lives.

One of Alcorn's characters is a Reverend Braun who strongly reminds me of the Episcopal Bishop in Lewis' "The Great Divorce". In "Long Live Our Man in the Pulpit" we get to see what type of clergyman Braun is. He considers the message of the cross and blood to be "simplistic". And during one service he asks, "Pray with me now to the heavenly parent, whoever you may conceive him or her to be." In short, he's just the type of preacher that Foulgrin hopes for and another memory from my past.

Alcorn has done an excellent job and delivered some great insights. The book is worthy of a look.

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