Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

In describing Satan, the serpent, as “subtle,” God gave us a warning that all generations should heed. The devil did not waltz into the garden wearing red tights, dragging a pointy tail, sporting horns, carrying a pitchfork, and shouting, “I AM GOING TO RUIN YOU ALL, MUWAHAHAHA!” No, he simply began by asking what would, on the surface, appear to be just an innocent question. But that subtle beginning led to a denial of God’s words, then a questioning of his motives, and ultimately the fall of mankind. And the devil has never changed his penchant for subtlety. Even when he tried to tempt Christ himself, he began the temptation by urging Christ just to make himself some bread to eat. After all, what could be more “reasonable” than that?

Paul also gave warning of the devil’s subtle strategies in 2 Corinthians 11:3, writing, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

All of that, combined with what I am seeing in the world and in the church world lately, has had me pondering; what are Satan’s present-day subtle strategies? If we were able to hack into his email and find his internal memos to his demons, I suspect this is what we would find.

“Greetings, loathsome underlings,

“Please read carefully the following conclusions and decisions from our most recent C.O.N.A.R.T.I.S.T. (Council On Never Actually Really Talking In Straight Talk) meeting.

“To begin with, let us address the subject of the church, or as we like to call it, “that place.” We have had a great deal of success over the past couple of years getting people out, even people who were faithfully in for many years. But now that the pandemic is winding down, the key will be to find subtle ways to continue to keep them out. Some, of course, will stay out forever anyway, having gotten very comfortable just watching online and then transitioning to not even doing that. But for those who seemed to be inclined to get back in, there are a couple of very effective approaches to take.

“First of all, keep the specter of any possible sickness foremost in their minds. Make sure the news is always on for that purpose. Get them fixated on this life; keep their thoughts turned away from eternity and from those around them whom we are gleefully taking to hell with us. We do not care how well-equipped spiritual soldiers for Christ are as long as we can keep them from joining their ranks and making a difference. Secondly, use the embarrassment card. Constantly whisper to them that, as long as they have been out, they would be ashamed to go back now. Since their brothers and sisters love them (which is utterly hideous to us), you know that this is ludicrous. All of us do. But many of them are not thinking straight and will buy it hook, line, and sinker.

“And then let us turn our attention to social media. It has become, definitely no pun intended, a ‘godsend’ to us. For generations, we wondered how to get people, not simply to not go to church, but especially how to not even serve. And now we have our subtle yet effective answer. It is the Council’s decree that every servant of darkness encourage the usage of social media to post Christian messages, moral truths, and even, as shocking as it may sound, actual passages from the Bible.

“I can almost hear the murmurings of disapproval. Stop it at once, or you will be fed to upper-level demons for tomorrow’s breakfast.

“What you unintelligent underlings need to understand is how pitiful a substitute the posting of such things is for Christians rather than having them actually out and about serving their Christ. Why should we care if a person posts a thousand verses, so long as he does not actually behave as a faithful witness before the world who, if they saw those verses being lived out, would surely be lost to us? Let them stay home and content themselves with what they vainly imagine is a large audience hanging on everything they post. But keep them from handing out tracts, knocking on doors, teaching Sunday school classes, ministering to the homeless and hurting in the name of their Jesus, and we have won.

“The final decree of the C.O.N.A.R.T.I.S.T. meeting for the month is that all of you continue to whisper the same phrase to everyone, ‘It’s just for a little while longer.’ You see, anything, any behavior, any deviation from what people themselves have taught for decades, can be justified by that one phrase. If we posted on a billboard, ‘This is the way it is always going to be because this is what the Dark Lord wants!’ then those pesky Christians would balk at it. But by constantly telling them, today, next week, next month, next year, next decade, ‘It’s just for a little while longer,’ they will meekly go along with our desires and designs. It is the perfect salve to a guilty conscience, and rarely does anyone ever set a date and say, ‘Thus far and no farther, no matter what.’

“Now begone, and be about your business – which is to keep Christians from being about theirs.”

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Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner