Satan's Board Meeting
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”
Matthew 10:8 ESV
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." Mark 16:17-18 ESV
One day Satan called a board meeting in the heavenlies. The lower echelons of his kingdom on earth and under the earth attended via video conference. After a senior demon named Screwtape proposed a toast, another point of order was brought up. (1)
An evil spirit posed the question: “How can we further advance our agenda in regards to the church? More specifically, how can we further prevent the church from kicking our butts?” (2)
One unclean spirit spoke up: “Wouldn’t it be strategic to infiltrate the church with particular religious demons? What if our kingdom commissioned a particular breed of demon that got people to manifest particular religious attitudes? We could thereby get Christians to unwittingly believe ideas that served to preserve our kingdom’s mission to deceive, steal, kill, and destroy.”
Another seconded the motion: “That’s a good idea. We don’t like getting our butts kicked. We don’t want the church to destroy our work as Jesus and the early church did. It thus sounds great to me if we can infiltrate the church with teachings which made it sound holy to avoid kicking our butts.”
Satan asked: “By what means, then, will we accomplish this?”
One spirit replied: “I will become a lying spirit in the mouths of Christian ministers. After they unwittingly invite me in, I’ll get them to tell their sheep that it is arrogant to cast out demons. I’ll tell them that believing Mark 16:17 creates ‘one-up-one-down-Christians.’ Rather than obeying Jesus’ commandment to his disciples in Matthew 10:8, I’ll even get them to actually believe and claim that they do everything according to the book of Acts. However, I’ll get them to treat with great suspicion those who cast out demons, heal the sick, and speak in tongues.”
A demon named Slubgut concurred: “You could be onto something. Imagine if we could convince the church to not cast out demons, that it would be more sanctifying for them and their growth if they left us inside the people. Fortunately, we continue to succeed in our current strategy of merely convincing the church that their addictions, sexual sin, depression, illnesses, victim and failure mentalities, etc. are not coming from us but from themselves. That approach is still working greatly in our favor.”
Pigslime chimed in: “Certainly we can breath a sigh of relief about that. But yes, it would be awesome if Jesus’ followers whom he stole from our kingdom were freaked out in fear by the very notion of casting out demons. Our spirits of fear can continue to ensure that. (3) Now the spirits of fear can work in tandem with the newly recruited lying and religious spirits.”
Ratschmutz spoke up: “Let me see if I got this straight. If we could get the notion of obeying Jesus’ wretched commandment in Matthew 10:8 to sound utterly ridiculous to Christians through our religious agents in the church, then they won't consider a contradiction between the demon-casting early church and their own local church today? Ah, we could even get them to sincerely believe that they follow the discipleship model of Jesus and the early church as close as anyone can, yet when they see another ministry doing the miraculous, we could get them to assume that these Christians are part of a weird cult without further investigation.” (4)
Screwtape replied: “Yes, that’s correct. We actually have infiltrated the Enemy’s people with these lying spirits for thousands of years. That’s why those discipleship-know-it-all Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of our master.” (5)
Another spirit spoke up: “Wouldn't it be awesome we could persuade the church never to heal the sick? Wouldn't it be great if they would rather die than to pray the prayer of faith, lest they risk sounding too charismatic or risk being accused of believing the prosperity gospel?” (6)
Carpface agreed: “Certainly it would be very good for our cause to create dogmas that would attribute sickness to God's will rather than to our work. Then believers would fear actually going against God's will should they have the audacity to heal the sick.”
Screwtape answered: “Yes, just as we persuaded those discipleship-know-it-all Pharisees that healing on the Sabbath is ungodly, we can persuade the clergy of today that physical healing isn't a thing for God's house today.” (7)
Slubgut spoke up again: “Thus, if a church member has a disease, severe allergy, etc., we’ll get the church so hung up on things like ‘Paul’s thorn’ and the times believers weren’t healed yet or in this lifetime that they won’t bother intentionally and persistently looking at the entire word of God in regard to healing. They won’t bother calling for the elders of the church to anoint them with oil in the name of our Enemy, that they won’t be made well through the prayer of faith.” (8)
Ratschmutz spoke again: I just had an idea about keeping them from receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Check this out. We get them to believe that if they ask our Enemy for a fish, that He’ll give them a snake. We get them to think that speaking in tongues is actually demonic, especially if we produce a counterfeit version of tongues among our own captives through drug use. (9) Thereby we can get them to view speaking in tongues with such suspicion that they don’t ask Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit.
Carpface got excited: “Yes! We can also accuse Christians of causing disunity if they obey the Enemy’s repulsive commandment “do not forbid speaking in tongues.” (10) The Holy Spirit then can’t have it His way when the ministers under our influence want to maintain control of everything.”
Screwtape concluded the session: “Yes, those are all wonderful ideas. Put them into practice and be prepared to give a full report at our next board meeting.”
That reference comes at the end of C.S. Lewis’ work “The Screwtape Letters.” This satirical allegory is based on a similar analogy and 2 Chronicles 18.
C.f. Matthew 16:16ff. See also “Would You Like to Kick satan’s Butt Personally?”
C.f. 2 Timothy 1:7.
C.f. Luke 11:14-23. See this issue also addressed in my article “Is So-and-So False or Legit?”
See my article “Health vs. Wealth” where I posit that the phrase “health and wealth gospel” may present a false dichotomy.
C.f. Luke 13:10-17.
C.f. James 5:14ff.
C.f. Luke 11:9-13. I once heard from Derek Prince (likely his Foundations series) that it was heard that Rastafarians spoke in tongues. However, in light of Luke 11:9-13, a Christian doesn’t need to worry about receiving a demon (referred to as “snakes” throughout the Scriptures) when asking the loving Father for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
C.f. 1 Corinthians 14:36ff ESV. To explore this issue more in depth, see my article “10 Reasons a Ministry Shouldn't Always Forbid Speaking in Tongues in a Corporate Gathering."