Local pastor publishes fourth book, ‘Operation Screwtape’

Local pastor Andrew Farley’s latest book deals with problems faced by Christian followers, but it is his first fictional effort.

In a nod to C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters,” Farley has written about an instructional file found on a device. The book is meant to be read like a training manual for “novice tempters,” Farley said, on how to destroy Christianity. In Lewis’ book, Screwtape is a senior demon instructing his nephew in how to secure the damnation of a British man known as “the Patient.”

Farley said he wrote “Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual War” because this year marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death.

“I am honoring what C.S. Lewis brought us. At the same time, I’m delivering a modern version with all new themes,” Farley said.

“The book is designed to really help people,” Farley said. Christianity is simple, he said, but people over-complicate it. God’s message, he said, is being hidden by “the enemy.”

A tactic of the manual is to put doubt in people’s minds about their worthiness of that forgiveness.

In preparing to write “Operation Screwtape,” Farley said he read books on combat and even speeches by Adolf Hitler to get the correct angry tone for a manual for demons.

Although he said his other books have been published as audiobooks, he said this one, as a work of fiction, is more entertaining.

“When I heard the audiobook, I felt like I was hearing the ideas for the first time,” Farley said, noting that the reader, David Cochran Heath, sounds diabolical and devilish, but in a very intelligent way. “Occasionally, he has this diabolical laughter.”

After people finish “Operation Screwtape,” Farley said he hopes they close the book and realize how loved, forgiven and accepted they are, and that some of the obstacles that kept them from seeing it are removed from their thinking.

“I want them to see how they’ve been duped, how they’ve settled for less and that they’re really destined to experience more because of the finished work of Christ,” he said.

Lee Higginbotham, a pastoral counselor and friend of Farley’s, said he has read both “The Screwtape Letters” and Farley’s “Operation Screwtape.”

Lewis’ early book is a “really hard read,” Higginbotham said, but he said Farley’s book is shorter and more clear.

“You just have to get around the concepts,” Higginbotham said. “I found it to be powerful. I quickly adapted to the language and the code words, that the devil calls the Bible ‘The Book’ and Jesus ‘The One.’”

Higginbotham recalled going to lunch with Farley when he was writing “Operation Screwtape.”

“It was draining him a little more than others because the language (in “Operation Screwtape”) is so precise,” Higginbotham said.

Farley has just finished another book that he said will come out in June or July. He said he is writing it with a Christian band and might travel the country with them to promote the book at concerts.

Farley, pastor of Ecclesia: Church Without Religion at the intersection of 66th Street and Iola Avenue, has also published three Christian books, including “The Naked Gospel,” “Church Without Religion” and “Heaven Is Now.”

Baker Books is the publisher of “Operation Screwtape.”

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