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IT DOESN'T GET
Shirtless, Jordan Fletcher kicked back on the lounge chair on the sunny deck of his new house at Sunriver, basking in the high desert beauty of Central Oregon. He'd always longed to have a special place of his own. Now it was his—and no one could take it from him.
Jordan's wife, Diane, sat five feet away reading her novel, but it may as well have been five miles. They inhabited two different worlds. He found it easier to avoid conversation, since it usually ended up in a laundry list of ways he'd let her down or things she wanted him to do. High maintenance, he thought. He breathed in the scent of fresh pine and contemplated the mountain peaks framed by the huge blue sky.
Well, she can't accuse me of blowing it on this place.
"I'm walking to the store." The voice from behind startled him. Jillian? It didn't sound like the voice of a little girl—maybe because his strawberry blond daughter was now seventeen.
"Okay," Diane said weakly, eyes not moving from her novel, the story of a life far more interesting than her own.
Jordan looked disapprovingly at his daughter's skimpy outfit. He started to grumble something about not talking with strange boys, but by then she was gone. She seemed always to vanish these days, outrunning his words. Jillian never asked permission for anything anymore. Half the time she never told them where she was going.
He looked over at fourteen-year-old Daniel, his hairin a stiff black bang against his pale skin, earphones permanently attached to his head. He sat under a desert pine, still pouting because his best friend couldn't come with him and he was stuck with the family. He wore his perennial black T-shirt featuring some rock singer, with an embossed "Hail Satan," blood spurting out of the words. Daniel gazed at a magazine Jordan didn't recognize, probably about computers or vampires or who knows what.
What's he doing wearing those stupid boots on a hot sunny day? When will he grow up, take some responsibly?
Jordan stood restlessly and ran his hand across the smooth deck railing. He looked at the tennis courts where he could barely see someone practicing serves. He watched carefully, trying to figure out if the guy was good enough to beat him. Finally he turned around and studied the house, his latest symbol of success and happiness. The shutters screamed at him.
The builders had installed the wrong shutters. He'd left a message and hadn't heard back from them. He wouldn't let them get away with it. Still though, the place was beautiful.
Wait till Hal sees this. It makes his mountain chalet look like a bungalow. And Matt's little beach cottage? No comparison. I'll buy a barbecue and have it going Friday night when they get here. A few cases of beer on be. Everything'll be perfect.
He looked at the vacant spot under the tree where Daniel had been a moment ago.
Oh, well He's fourteen. Not like he needs a babysitter.
Jordan went inside to get his briefcase off the shiny oak dining room table. He pulled out the monthly sales figures. He'd gone over them already but wanted to study the numbers again. He returned to the deck and settled back in his lounge chair, sipping lemonade.
Yeah, it was true. He'd outsold everyone. He'd come out on top again.
I can borrow a little more, get that ski boat. No problem.
It felt great.
Yeah, great. Everything's great. It doesn't get any better than this.
* * *
Our Working Arrangement
My newly assigned subordinate Squaltaint,
I'm recording these instructions despite the misgivings of my assistant Obsmut, who believes it's too risky.
As you've heard, there's been a reshuffling of the chain of command in your geopolitical sector, precipitated by the removal of Ashtar for his reprehensible acts of disloyalty against Lord Beelzebub. I've been assigned to command your region. You and your cadre of six tempters now fall under my authority. So do all your current subjects, including the vermin assigned to you, Jordan Fletcher.
In our kingdom's multilevel marketing structure you have now come in under me. I will be the beneficiary of your successes. I will also be held responsible for your failures. Make sure there are none.
Since I have vested interests in your success, I'll offer my keenest advice and monitor your progress. I'll aid you in deceiving and destroying Fletcher. Together we'll share the spoils of victory.
I'm a master of strategy and tactics. In my letters, I'll tutor you in the fine art of deception. I'll begin with Foulgrin's Basic Training, or if you prefer, Temptation 101.
These half-spirit, half-animal hybrids who inhabit this planet, our planet, are an endless source of fascination and frustration. They're such creepy little things, misshapen balloons of flesh, bloated bags of liquid and alloy. Grossly inferior to spirit beings, they should be our servants—yet the Enemy would have made us theirs!
As you deal with Fletcher or any of them, remember in the end they are but raw material, to be used by us against Him or by Him against us. They're weapons to wield in our jihad against heaven, that oppressive citadel called Charis.
Never forget the reason we revoked our citizenship—to establish the new and greater realm of Erebus, that mighty domain of which hell is but a junkyard, a ghetto for human slaves. (The Enemy claims we shall one day join them there—I think not, but if the worst proves true let's first do all the damage we can.) Our kingdom is being built each day with the bony bricks and bloody mortar of the Enemy's precious image-bearers—including your cockroach Fletcher.
Picture it, Squaltaint: The sludgebags are caught in the crossfire between Erebus and Charis. Skiathorus, what they call earth—that festering wound, that canker sore of the cosmos—is the battlefield where two rival kingdoms vie for the allegiance of puny men. The delicious thing is, the vast majority of them don't have a clue about the raging battle. How can they prepare for a battle they don't even know they're in? And how can they win a battle they haven't prepared for?
Foulgrin's rule number one: Keep them in the dark.
The central question is always this—how can we exact revenge on the Enemy? It was He who evicted us from our rightful dwelling, He who chose the sludgebags over us. He made ours a government in exile, driving us out to the hinterlands of the spirit realm, where we have no place to call our own until we colonize Skiathorus.
What can we do to inflict pain on this Creator who at first glance appears untouchable?
Intelligence gathering yields the answer. The Carpenter gave it away when He asked that vermin Paul, "Why do you persecute me?" Well, who was he persecuting but Christians?
There you have it, so simple it's elegant: To persecute them is to persecute Him. By striking out at them—and at all His weak and vulnerable image-bearers—we kill the Enemy in effigy. Better yet, we actually inflict harm on Him.
In and of themselves the vermin are utterly insignificant. But because the Enemy places such value on them, they become immensely useful to us. They're the objects of our aggression and the means of our attack against Him. What better way to hurt the divine parent than to kidnap His children, brainwash and torture them?
Delightful, isn't it? As you hatch your plots for Fletcher, Squaltaint, never lose sight of the big picture.
As you're doubtless aware, I'm known throughout Erebus as a highly decorated agent of Beelzebub. Indeed, from time to time I've traveled with the Master himself and served as his confidant. I am an experienced tactical instructor. My sage advice and counsel to field-workers is legendary. You'll find me far more accomplished than Ashtar.
Count yourself privileged to be the recipient of my advice. Know that many would give their right arm to receive my counsel. Know also that many have given their right arms when they failed to heed it.
Despite Obsmut's reservations, my sending letters to subordinates has many advantages over our conventional communication. Something vital gets lost in oral transmission, and you can never fully trust the messenger. (The Enemy has the unfair advantage of being present in more than one place at a time. The rest of us must make do.)
Our methods of thought-projection have also proven imperfect. Enemy warriors—those bootlicks with whom we once served—sometimes overhear our messages. And occasionally our emotions—rage in particular—blur our thoughts and create some unfortunate misunderstandings.
I have before me your résumé, Squaltaint. I see you've had only mixed success with the thirty-eight sludgebags assigned to you in the past seven centuries. No less than six of these became Christians, and only three of those did you manage to derail from serving the Enemy.
My standards are higher than Ashtar's, and my tolerance for failure lower. Trust me when I say it is in your best interests to serve me well. Sit at my feet and learn, or you will lie on my plate and be devoured.
The scientist must know the lab rats or he will not be able to use them to greatest advantage. Guided by my keen eye, you will come to understand the human prey. You will learn to stalk them, developing the keen instincts of the predator.
Submit immediately detailed information on Jordan Fletcher. In my next letter, I'll advise you concerning my strategy of team temptation. Bear in mind I may pay a visit to the field at any time. Unannounced.
To get you started, here are Foulgrin's Rules of the Sting:
1. Never lose sight of your goal—Fletcher's enslavement.
2. Find just the right bait, tailor-made for him. Be sure the hook is well hidden.
3. Use as many lures as you can. He may pass on one but bite on the next, or spend his life moving from one to the other.
4. Make him promises and actually keep a few now and then, so he doesn't catch on to the setup.
5. Tempt your prey with what he wants to have, but give him what you want him to have. Lure him, coddle him, reassure him all will be well, even as you fatten him for Lord Satan's altar.
If you're somehow unfamiliar with my past campaigns and decorations, you should review the attached sixty-page vita, which summarizes a smattering of my accomplishments over the millennia. Attached also are Foulgrin's 66 Rules of Temptation, an acknowledged classic. Read, marvel, and obey.
There are many reasons to follow my orders. First is our common commitment to retaliation against the Enemy and aggression against the sludgebags. Second is the punishment I'll inflict upon you if you let me down. I'll celebrate your victories with you, but should you fail, I'll discipline you severely. Mercy is the Enemy's weakness—not mine.
We are forging the only sort of alliance that works in Erebus, a coalition of mutual self-interest that keeps our house from being divided against itself. For both our benefits you must deceive and destroy Fletcher. As long as you do, we will get along fine.
When talking to you, I explain, clarify, and enlighten. When talking to the sludgebags, I hide, eclipse, and obscure. You must be honest with me and dishonest with them. Never get it backwards. I eagerly await your first report.
Remember, Squaltaint, while the vermin have successfully exorcised demons from their daily conversation, they've failed to exorcise us from their daily lives.
We always work best in the dark.
Your indisputable superior,
|Note to Readers||14|
|Prelude: The Hunt||17|
|Chapter 1: It Doesn't Get Any Better?||19|
|Letter 1: Our Working Arrangement||21|
|Chapter 2: Voices||25|
|Letter 2: Know Your Prey||26|
|Chapter 3: The Darkness, the Book, the Stain||31|
|Letter 3: Working Behind the Scenes||33|
|Chapter 4: Shutting Doors||57|
|Letter 4: The Vermin's Stinking Family||38|
|Chapter 5: Two Worlds||43|
|Letter 5: Hunting||43|
|Chapter 6: Face-Off||49|
|Letter 6: Shaping How the Vermin See Beelzebub and Us||51|
|Chapter 7: The Deal||57|
|Letter 7: Moral Relativism and Your Sludgebag||58|
|Chapter 8: Fletcher's World||65|
|Letter 8: The Word "My"||68|
|Chapter 9: The Game and the Book||71|
|Letter 9: Truth and Fiction||72|
|Chapter 10:A Little Choice||77|
|Letter 10: Captains of Their Fate||78|
|Chapter 11: Conversation and Coffee||83|
|Letter 11: Making Him Wrong about the Carpenter||87|
|Chapter 12: The Counterfeit||91|
|Letter 12: Disposing of the Evidence||92|
|Chapter 13: The Message||97|
|Letter 13: The Ultimate Insult||98|
|Chapter 14: All the Same?||101|
|Letter 14: Twisting the Forbidden Message||103|
|Chapter 15: What Would It Mean?||107|
|Letter 15: Footholds||108|
|Chapter 16: The Blue Blur||111|
|Letter 16: The Sting||111|
|Chapter 17: Appointment||115|
|Letter 17: Your Unthinkable Disaster||116|
|Chapter 18: The Squadron||119|
|Letter 18: Cinderella with Amnesia||122|
|Chapter 19: Getting Started||127|
|Letter 19: All Is Not Lost||127|
|Chapter 20: What's with Dad?||131|
|Letter 20: Making the Best of a Bad Situation||132|
|Chapter 21: First Contact||137|
|Letter 21: On the Prowl||139|
|Chapter 22: The War Within||143|
|Letter 22: The Battle for HIS Money and Possessions||145|
|Chapter 23: The Invitation||151|
|Letter 23: Eliminating Shame||152|
|Chapter 24: The Bookstore||157|
|Letter 24: Love and the Male Maggot-Feeders||159|
|Chapter 25: Bad News||165|
|Letter 25: Making Sure He Doesn't Get It||166|
|Chapter 26: It Would Have to Be Obvious||171|
|Letter 26: Their Efforts to Take Us Down||172|
|Chapter 27: Surprise||175|
|Letter 27: Love and the Female Maggot-Feeders||176|
|Chapter 28: The Test||181|
|Letter 28: Suffering, the Enemy's Megaphone||182|
|Chapter 29: Options||187|
|Letter 29: Take Him Down||188|
|Chapter 30: Mom||191|
|Letter 30: Postponing Evangelism||192|
|Chapter 31: Dad||197|
|Letter 31: Long Live Our Man in the Pulpit||199|
|Chapter 32: Get Out||205|
|Letter 32: Worship in the Forbidden Squadron||206|
|Chapter 33: The Talk||211|
|Letter 33: Accusations||213|
|Chapter 34: Needing Help||215|
|Letter 34: Message from the Enemy's Agent!||216|
|Chapter 35: The Hike||223|
|Letter 35: Visitation||224|
|Chapter 36: Going to Kill Me||227|
|Letter 36: Our Fairy Tale about Origins||228|
|Chapter 37: Different||253|
|Letter 37: Lard Chemosh||254|
|Chapter 38: Final Answer||239|
|Letter 38: Damned If You Do||239|
|Chapter 39: My Messenger||241|
|Letter 39: The Enemy's Appeal to the Vermin's|
|Chapter 40: It's Over||247|
|Letter 40: Choosing a College||249|
|Chapter 41: Enemy Strategies||255|
|Letter 41: Distracting Him from Missions and the Poor||257|
|Chapter 42: Home||261|
|Letter 42: Intolerable Developments||264|
|Chapter 43: Help||269|
|Letter 43: Line in the Sand||270|
|Chapter 44: Confession||273|
|Letter 44: The Vermin's Longing for Pleasure||274|
|Chapter 45: Applause||279|
|Letter 45: Smelling Like the Enemy||280|
|Chapter 46: Shout to the King||283|
|Letter 46: The Final Disaster||284|
|Chapter 47: Survivors||291|
|Letter 47: One Last Hasty Note||292|
Posted December 18, 2010
I've heard about this book many times, but I've never had the opportunity to read it. When my pastor recently preached a series of messages about the work of Satan, he recommended everyone read this book. I checked this copy out from my local library.
The novel is written much like C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, which I read many years ago. Lord Foulgrin writes to instruct, encourage, and threaten Squaltaint, his underling, a demon in charge of tempting, deceiving, and guiding the human, Jordan Fletcher into sin. Truths from the Bible permeate the pages which show the behind-the-scenes spiritual battle waging all around us.
Interspersed between each letter is a story about the life of Jordan. The characters are quite believable--a family of four, struggling with their complex lives. The pace of the plot keeps the pages turning. It was hard to put down.
It made this reader pause and think more deeply about the things of God. I am so glad that I finally got around to reading this awesome classic. I highly recommend this book to Christians or nonbelievers.
Posted June 3, 2005
Posted July 19, 2001
Author Randy Alcorn holds up the mirror for the church in this novel of spiritual warfare. Like C. S. Lewis's demon Screwtape, Lord Foulgrin writes a series of letters to his assistant as he mentors the lesser demons in how to prevent people from embracing the Christian faith. The book is noteworthy both for its creativity and its subtle convicting power. Again and again, Foulgrin's letters pierce the facade of our culture's comfortable Christianity, hitting every moral issue of our time. For example, on moral responsibility, Foulgrin writes, 'What they most fear and despise is moral accountability. They'll gradly embrace any theory removing this built-in sense they must answer for how they've lived.' It's a riveting read, with redemptive value.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 4, 2000
This is the quintessential book for grasping the psychology of 'the real world'. We don't 'see' everything that's out there, but in these pages you will find a plethora of clues to what is really 'going on' !! Don't miss this one !!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2000
If Mr. C.S. Lewis was still here in his clay earth suit, I believe he would say to Mr. Randy Alcorn, 'Very well done, little brother.' Randy Alcorn's latest work, Lord Foulgrin's Letters, is excellent. It's been a wake up call to me that the battlefield all around me is as active as ever. I feel it is a must for every Christian. I have gained so much from each of Randy Alcorn's books. Deadline was my first exposure to Mr. Alcorn's literary gift. Then, its sequel Dominion was my good fortune to read. Both were checkouts from the library, but now I am the proud owner of Deadline which I just finished reading for the second time. Would like to reread Dominion also. I am captivated by this wonderful author's descriptions of heaven. Even if they are not totally accurate as none of us will know till we've been there, he has expanded my imagination of heaven and in wonderful hope. God's Word says that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart (or imagination) of man what He has prepared for those that love Him. In other words, in our wildest, most colorful and creative imagnations, what any of us imagines is just a dim picture compared to the actuality of it. Also, God's Word says we (believers) have the mind of Christ. If this be so (and it must be if He said it), then is it not likely that some inkling of what it is like has come into the mind of our brother, Randy Alcorn. I believe so. Mr. Alcorn, please keep your heart and imagination open to Christ so He can speak to us through your work and ministry. P.S. Edge of Eternity is just a sixstar book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2000
This wonderful volume is both enlightening and vastly entertaining. A compelling work of fiction with a healthy dose of truth thrown in for good measure. If you lend it to someone, you may not get it back!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2000
Randy Alcorn has come up with another Christian book that falls clearly into the category of 'contemporary literature'. His modern day allegory Edge of Eternity combined the brilliance of Pilgrim's Progress with the readability of The Hobbit. Alcorn's newest offering, Lord Foulgrin's Letters is styled after C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. Foulgrin's frustration in mentoring a minor demon named Squaltaint makes for some excellent humor while subtly revealing our earthly vulnerabilities. For a good read and an enlightening experience I recommend Lord Foulgrin's Letters to all my friends. I am sure I will read it again and again as I have Edge of Eternity.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2000
Randy Alcorn's book is similar to the CS Lewis classic yet takes the concept of letters between demons to another level. Alcorn incorporates the story of the tempted between the letters. The letters between the demons also seem more applicable to our times than Lewis' book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an engaging novel that will make them think about spiritual matters they may have never thought of before. This book is incredible!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2000
What a creative and thought-provoking book. I eagerly await every new book by Randy Alcorn. This one affected me deeply, changing the way I think and the way I live.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2012
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Posted January 4, 2010
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Posted January 9, 2011
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Posted November 30, 2009
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