Operation Poison Tongue

The following parable is entirely fictional and meant only as an illustration of 2 Cor. 2:11. It is in the tradition of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.

In Lake Woebegone, there was this little church called Happy Valley Church. It wasn’t an old church with rich traditions and ties in the community. It wasn’t a large rich church compared to some of the other churches in town. But what they did not have in size and wealth they made up for in influence. They had a worldwide ministry that shook Satan’s kingdom from pole to pole, and one day the Devil was having a fit about it. He called into his office his chief of operations, Screwtape, and told him that he wanted that church destroyed at once. Screwtape replied,

“Oh Master of darkness, we have been trying to destroy that
church for three years and all our attempts have failed so far.
We tried bribing the pastor but he wouldn’t take the money.
We sent some agent babes to seduce him but he threw them out.
So, we attacked him on the radio, on the internet, and in the
newspapers, but he laughed at us. We had death threats sent
to him but he ignored them. We are at a loss how to bring him

Satan replied, “Send in special agent, Poison Tongue. When all else fails, he can get the job done!” As soon as Poison Tongue showed up, Satan outlined his scheme against Happy Valley Church and its pastor.

“Look for someone who is bitter and angry against the church or its pastor. A former disgruntled employee who was fired would be a good prospect. Have they fired anyone in the last couple of years? Ah, yes. Let me see his file. Ah ha, this guy is a real nutcase! He is a mystic who trusts in his own personal visions and dreams instead of in Scripture. He’s perfect!  Send agent Dreamer over to his apartment and give him a dream in which God (sic) calls him to spend all his time, energy, and money destroying Happy Valley Church. This idiot will think he is on a mission for God when he is really doing a mission for us. I love it. In my years of experience, mentally ill people with delusions of grandeur make wonderful agents for us.

“Let me see the file on the church. Let’s find some issue that is important enough to tear families out of the church. Let me see….

Is there a moral issue we can use? No.
Is there a theological issue we can use? No.
Are there any significant issues we can use? No.

“This will make it harder to tear the church to pieces, but in these situations I always have a backup scheme:
 We turn a non-issue into an issue.
 We turn something insignificant into something significant.
 We turn nothing into everything.

“When I cannot get a pastor accused of immorality or heresy, then I always accuse him of mishandling church money. Now, it does not matter if he is innocent. Just the accusation is all it takes. Some people are real suckers for this trick. They are so stupid that they will not even ask for proof. They are so completely gullible that they will quit the church right there and then.

“Probe the financial procedures of the church to see if there is something we can use. Do you see anything fishy? Nothing? Well, then look for something perfectly normal that many churches do everyday, but we can twist it into something for our use.

“Where do they keep the offering over Sunday night?  In a safe? That’s a shame. But where do they keep it? Ah-ha! The pastor has a safe in his home and they put it in there until it can deposited the next day! It will be hard to turn this non-issue into an issue, but if we work it right, we can turn it into a big issue for little minds.

“Now, check the records. Does anyone else on the staff have a safe? No? Then we cannot use that angle. He is the only one who can store the offering with safety.  How long has the pastor been in ministry? 40 years? Has he ever been accused of mishandling church funds? No? That’s not good for us either, but we can still twist this  Here’s how:

Step #1: Have that mentally ill mystic guy probe people in that church to find out who is an easy mark, a nimnu. Tell him not to make any accusations outright, but to veil them with slick, smooth phrases. In order to turn a non-issue into an issue he must tell people not to go to the church and ask questions. How can we do this?

Step #2: Flatter people by telling them that he is coming to them with a deep dark secret because they such spiritual people. Really butter them up. Tell them they must promise not to tell anyone the secret information they are about to be given. They have been chosen to receive this special information. They now know something that no one else knows. This will make them feel important and it will feed their pride. It will also keep them from asking the pastor or the church about the issues.

“Now, the truth is that these people were chosen because they are gullible and easily deceived. We don’t dare go to people who are discerning because they would see through our scheme at once and blow the whistle alerting the pastor that we are having secret meetings behind his back.

“But by getting people to think they must keep secret what is going on, we can gain time to deceive as many people as possible. As soon the pastor finds out, he will open the Bible and the light of Scripture will reveal our dark plans.

“So, let the idiots think that it would be gossip to reveal that they are engaged in gossip and slander. What a hoot. They will think that are doing good by keeping quiet when they actually doing evil. I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!

Step #3:  To turn a non-issue into an issue is easy if you veil it with smooth, slick phrases. Tell the nutcase to tell the ones we have chosen as easy marks that he is not accusing the church or the staff or the pastor of anything, and then go on and accuse them without using the word “accuse.” This is a good tactic. Deny what you are about to do and then do it and then deny that you did it. People are easily duped by this “rope a dope” maneuver.  Here are the slick phrases to use:

“I have a deep concern” 
“My heart is heavy with an issue” 
“I only want to help”
“I have a prayer concern”

Step #4:  Here is the way to work it. Use lies and half-truths to twist things. Have our agent ask,

“What do you think of a pastor who takes the offering home with him and
he could take money out of it and no one would know? Isn’t that an appearance
of evil.”

Now, don’t mention that it is counted before it is put into the safe and counted the next day to make use it is all there. Nothing has ever been taken. Don’t even let people know it is in a safe. Let people visualize him stuffing his pants’ pockets with the offering and when he gets home, throwing it into the air and taking what he wants.

Be prepared if some smart person responds:

Isn’t the pastor the most trustworthy person in the congregation?
We trust him with our immortal souls, don’t we?
So, why not trust him to keep the offering overnight? 
It is counted before it is put into the safe and after it comes back to be deposited.
So what is the issue?
And, anyway, he is the only one who has a safe.
Why is it wrong for the most trusted person in the church to keep the offering in a safe overnight?

If anyone responds like that, keep our agents away from them at once.

Step#5: Have our mystic agent use a stooge in the congregation to act as his representative. This stooge must be a sweet person what is gullible and who is not going to ask the pastor or the staff any questions until AFTER he has gossiped to as many people as possible. If someone he gossips to tells him to go to the pastor or the staff, have him promise to do so, but don’t let him go for a LONG time. This way he can infect as many people as possible.

“If he has to ask the pastor a question, make sure it is only a vague five-second question said at the door as the pastor is going up to the pulpit to preach. Have him mumble it for good measure, just to make sure that the pastor does not understand what our agent is saying.

“Since the pastor will be distracted by getting ready to preach, he will not understand the question and give a five-second answer that has nothing to do with the question. But by having the stooge ask a vague five-second question when the pastor is distracted by going into the pulpit to speak, he can still claim that he did go to the church for an answer but did not get one. This is a brilliant trick I developed against Moses years ago. People can be easily deceived by this tactic, and I have used it on many occasions.

Step#6: When our agents can get a family to leave the church without them asking the church any questions, put those names in our special Mega-Nimnu file under “easy marks.” We will definitely use them in the next church they attend. 

Step #7: When the pastor and the church find out what we are up to, all heaven will break loose. Have our stooge quit the church at once so he does not have to answer any questions. He has done our dirty work for us, and it is time to get out of Dodge. Tell him not to show up at church. This will avoid accountability for his actions.

Step#8: Once our stooge is safely out of the church, make sure that he has a stooge or two of his own who will remain in the church for a little while to act as his defenders. Have them speak on his behalf and follow the example of my best student, Bill Clinton: Deny! Deny! Deny! Have them claim that the stooge “meant well”; he only “wanted to help”; that he is a “nice” person; that he is “misunderstood,” etc. The usual claptrap will do.  Stooges always forget that the path to hell is paved with good intentions.

Step#9: I see that the pastor is one tough soldier of the Enemy. I bet you four souls that he will do church discipline! But don’t worry, we can make the pastor out to be the bad guy for following the Bible!

Step #10: Once church discipline is done, work on any silly emotional women in the church who will “feel” the pain of those disciplined. Whisper to them that it is “not fair” and the people’s feelings have been hurt. Make them hysterical, and we can get them to leave as well. Make sure you put their names in the Mega-Nimnu file under H for “Hysteria.”

“I am sure if you follow these steps you will be able to harm the Enemy’s work and disrupt the church. I also hear that the pastor is writing another bombshell against our theologians and philosophers. Our scheme will divert him from ever finishing his books!”

Your Most Affectionate Master of All Evil,

Satanus Magnus