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by Don Hawkins
Published by Kregel Publications, 1999
Recommended by: Greg Slade
Hawkins starts out the Preface by acknowledging his debt to C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters for the concept behind this book. Where Screwtape was portrayed as a series of letters, Flambeau, whose client is a recent convert to "the Competition", gets his advice through E-mail. Hawkins also sets out to explore the way that sin can disrupt interpersonal relationships, especially within the local church.
However, this work lacks the power of Lewis' original, as have, unfortunately, most attempts to duplicate Lewis' style with that very effective work. It seems to me that the problem lies in the attempt to copy Lewis' literary conceit, without doing the essential groundwork. Reading this work makes me realise afresh that the power in Screwtape lies in the way it reveals the mind games which go on inside of the head of the person who is being tempted. While the sins Scraptus commends (and thus Hawkins warns against) are quite real and harmful to the church, we don't really get inside the head of the person being tempted by them. Instead, we see the pain and confusion of those who are harmed by those who give into the temptations. Thus, if Screwtape reads like an inverted confession, Flambeau reads more like an inverted complaint.
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