As One Devil To Another by Richard Platt

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Jackie Kaulitz

Puritan Board Freshman
If Satan were going to write a "Christian book" to trick people, he could either write a book that claims to be true but subtlely actually teaches lies, or he could write a book that overtly bashes demons (causing Christians to lower their defenses) while the book subtlely actually bashed God. This book is the later. A good number of Christians discern and expect that a book that claims to teach the truth might actually be teaching a lie, but few expect a book that claims to bash evil to actually bash good also. This book is very clever, but then so is Satan. This would be one of the last books a Christian would expect to find false teachings in, exactly because it bashes demons. No one expects Satan to bash demons. But if Satan can do damage to your image of God, I'm certain he has no problem bashing demons. Besides, would an evil being like Satan really have a problem treating evil demons bad? No. If Satan were to write a book, he would write this book. And I think he did. (All lies are from Satan)

I haven't read C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, so this review is on this book alone. This book was so weird and different from any other book I have ever read, which alone is not a bad thing. As I read it, I took notes and hoped to come across interesting ideas, while watching carefully to make sure the teachings in this book were Biblical. This book only partially fulfilled my quest for interesting ideas but dangerously failed biblical accuracy because it teaches outright lies in the most subtle ways. This fictional tale strayed from biblical ideas in so many ways as to dangerously imply false ideas about the character of God. I encourage any readers to be very careful when reading this book and carefully use a LOT of discernment.

The perspective of this book is so odd and weird and I did not enjoy reading a book from the first person view of a demon. It felt blasphemous. Because the demon is the main character "good guy" and God is the "bad guy" and everything is written from the demon's perspective, the entire book is backwards: Good is bad and bad is good. This can become confusing and I even think the author confused himself in some areas, forgetting who was good and bad. In this book, God is evil (highly dangerous to ever encourage such thinking) and called "The Adversary". The problem with this demon-first-person style is that this book can easily do more damage to the character of God than any good. I would never ever ever recommend this book to a new or even teenage Christian. It could end up warping a Christian's view to think less of God or question God's goodness.

Examples of unbiblical dangerous teachings on God: Page 31, "The Adversary (God in this book) uses stealth. Despite His claptrap about honesty and fairness, He is very unscrupulous. He breaks His own rules whenever it suits Him." Woah! The Bible never claims God is "fair". "Fair" is a human concept. Just the fact that Israel and the Jews were God's people in the OT, while nearly all Gentile nations demonstrates that God is not a god of "fairness". And that is okay. Because God is not only a god of Love but of Justice. And if we start from the perspective that no human deserves anything good, then "fairness" is irrelevant. All humans have sinned and failed to worship God as He is worthy to be worshipped. We don't deserve heaven, but hell. So if God has mercy on some and not all, no wrong has been committed. The other part of this I don't like is the idea that "a demon thinks God is dishonest, unscrupulous, breaks His own rules". The Bible demonstrates that demons know who God and Jesus Christ are and know the TRUTH of who they are. Demons rebel but they are not unaware that God is good. They are not tricked. They fully know God is all powerful, all good, all honest, etc. Demons know that Jesus doesn't "play tricks" and they know that Jesus is honest. But the author, Platt, can start to make a Christian question or doubt their own God because they are reading the demon's lies about God. Sometimes Platt has the demons telling how God is good (which to them is bad) but later, the demons tell that God is bad. Did Platt forget which perspective he wanted to use or confuse himself or is this a subtle trick that most readers will not notice?

Platt subtlely plants seeds in readers. The idea of this book is this: "If the demons are against it, we Christians should be for it." So on page 19, Platt describes a scene where the demons are applauding their efforts to get all the most edifying literature and authors' works out of human hands and have intentionally pushed these writings into obscurity. So who's writings would you expect these demons tirelessly working to hide? The Bible must be on the list, right? Nope. Then at least Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards or even Jacob Arminian or John Wesley? Nope. These most famous authors don't make Platt's list of "most edifying writings." Instead, he lists two writings: "The story of Beowulf" and "the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Huh? Why? Beowulf is an epic poem about a PAGAN man named Beowulf, who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts. Sir Gawain is a romantic powem in King Arthur's day that is steeped in Celtic, Germanic, and other folklore and cultural traditions. How are fictional works more worthy than highly edifying Christian works?

Next Platt lists 8 authors by last name only. The implication is that these authors were so famous that we should recognize them by last name only. Platt works the story up to make the reader automatically assume that these authors are so worthy of our recognition and attention that demons will work tirelessly to hide them from us Christians. Who are the 8? Platt lists them "Johnson (which Johnson out of a dozen could this be?), Cowper, Spenser, Traherne, Cowley, Bunyan, Chesterton, and Williams (how many Williams' do you know?). How many names did you recognize? For me 2: John Bunyan (a worthy mention) and G.K. Chesterton (a Catholic that many non-Catholics read). Who are the other 6? And why are these guys more worthy to be listed than Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Wesley (who people actually do know by last name only) who dedicated their lives to bringing others to Christ? Per wikipedia, Thomas Traherne was a post-Reformation Catholic priest and mystic who wrote little about sin and is accused of bordering upon pantheism (or perhaps panentheism). Why should the demons hide his writings and why should Platt promote them? Edmund Spencer, Abraham Crowley, and Cowper were all English poets. Wow. I think these guys were already so obscure and unknown that the demons wouldn't have to even work to hide their works. They are already unknown to the greater Christian world, unless you specialize in poetry. I see the mention of these names and works only as a promotion of Platt's favorite writings and as having little or nothing to do with Christianity.

Other areas of disagreement:
Pg 33 "Each human is to be utterly, appallingly unique, and yet gloriously united to the Adversary" (Universalism?)
Pg 33 Teaches that "The Adversary had to submit to death by torture" "to redeem a fallen world and snatch it back from the claws to His Infernal Majesty" (God never lost the world to Satan. God was always in control. God never had to come up with a plan B. Plan A included the fall and Christ's redeeming a people for God. God did not HAVE to come up with a Plan B and die in order to "pay Satan off to let humans go", as this sentence may imply. God designed the whole redemption story from start to end before the creation of the world.)
Pg 37 Main character demon warns student demon not to touch C.S. Lewis books or "they will sear your flesh beyond recognition". (Platt is teaching a sort of superstition here. That "Christian books have power to burn/sear demons?" This is not true at all. Besides, as of recently, C.S. Lewis, who was heavily into the occult and mythologies, has come to be regarded by some as "a false Christian" after deeper analysis of Lewis' writings. It was demonstrated that Lewis' writings portray "Jesus" (Aslan the lion) leading Satanic pagan gods in drunken orgistic rituals and these pagan characters are considered "good characters" in Lewis' Narnia books. Example: The famous Satan god Pan (the goat man with an erection) is the good guy Mr. Tummnus. And the Greek dying-and-resurrecting pagan god Dionysus (a false Christ)(called Bacchus in Rome) the man-womanish male god of wine along with his wild female followers the maenads and the drunken fat man Silenus riding his donkey (mocking Christ) are all portrayed by their exact pagan names as "good guys" that Aslan lead through the forest in a wild pagan ritualistic party. Wiki or google this for more info, if you like. Wiki itself says "Silenus is a character, along with Bacchus, in the C.S. Lewis fantasy novel Prince Caspian, the second book (or fourth, depending on the order they are arranged) in The Chronicles of Narnia series." and I've checked my library Narnia books and found all this to be true. Lewis unashamedly made pagan gods that mock Jesus Christ to be "good guys" in his book.

Let me skip toward the end:
Pg 153 Platt writes "The Adversary (God) says He offers us all: Himself and life everlasting" Then Platt has the demons berate God for claiming to be good but actually being evil and dangling love before them but then not giving it to them and lastly, that God "promulgated the absurd notion that [salvation] is quite simple [but that] it is [actually] utterly beyond our understanding, this is an obvious lie. We are not stupid." (Look how ugly this makes God look. First, God does not offer Himself to demons. There is NO redemption for demons. Second, God does not say that salvation is simple. "Simple" is an easily misunderstood word. As you can see from listening to or reading Michael Horton or John MacArthur's Gospel According to Jesus, the way to salvation what many would call "hard" or "impossible" because we must die to ourselves and love God. Who loves God? No one! None seeks after the Lord. (Rom 3) When the apostles asked "Who then can be saved?" Jesus said "For man that is impossible but with God all things are possible!" (Mt 19:26, Mk 10:27, Lk 18:27). This means that man cannot save himself. Only God can save man - completely, from start to end. Even our faith and repentance are gifts from God per the Bible.)

One of the biggest problems with Platt's writings is that he has the demons question and challenge the goodness of God in humanistic terms: on the basis of fairness and love. Humans cannot help but relate with the demons' views and doubt or question God in the same way the demons do. In essence, this book throws demons and humans in the same boat. They are unloved by God and feel unloved and unfairly treated and God lies to both demons and humans claiming it is easy to be saved, when it is impossible to be saved. It makes readers feel like God is just playing a big nasty tricky game on us all and we are just pawns in His unloving game. The questions the demons ask are sometimes valid questions, but more often than not, they are loaded questions that already make false assumptions and imply false ideas about God's character. I would guess that 75%-90% or more Christians will be mislead and not catch this. I highly recommend against this book, unless you really really know what your stuff. I encourage all Christians to learn the answers to REAL unbiased questions about Christianity and God. But this book is loaded with biased tricky questions that will make many doubt or question God just because of the underlying implied assumptions built into the questions.
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Jackie Kaulitz

Puritan Board Freshman
Notice to readers: This book is written by "Richard PLATT" and not the Reformer Richard Pratt (also known as Richard L. Pratt Jr). I originally ordered this book thinking it was Richard Pratt! :p As I read it, I thought "How can a Calvinist write this? There is no way a Calvinist could write this! It's teaching an Arminian view of God!" I looked up the author and realized they are not the same guys. :p Ooops!


Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I'm glad you posted the clarification! I was becoming quite curious as to why you'd read a book you found so uncongenial.

For the record, when speaking of English literature, there is only one Johnson - Dr. Samuel Johnson. But of course including Cowley is a little idiosyncratic - especially when also excluding Sir Thomas Browne. Williams in this context is undoubtedly Charles Williams, who is certainly worth reading.

And incidentally the "deeper analysis" of Lewis' writings that some have engaged in is rather misleading. Marilynne Robinson commented very perceptively in her essay on Marguerite de Navarre when she wrote:
For at least a century we have diverted ourselves with the fact that it is possible to translate whole constellations of ideas into terms inappropriate to them. And when, thus transformed, they seem odd or foolish, we have acted as if we had exposed their true nature — in its essence the alligator was always a handbag. We have alienated ourselves from our history by systematically refusing it the kind of understanding that would make it intelligible to us, until we are no longer capable of understanding. Barth says, about theology, "[W]e need to ask ourselves how it has come about that something that did speak once will no longer speak to us. We certainly should not suppress the historical truth that it did speak once."
Unfortunately the habit of looking into texts to make them speak to our agenda (feminists are very guilty of this, but they are not the only ones) is not unknown within the Christian world. But "deep analysis" on those terms and by such methods basically means rendering a text obnoxious by transforming it into a world it was never meant to inhabit: it's a failure of literary criticism, rather than a success.
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