[CF Devotionals] 2009-09-19 - Study on Spiritual Warfare

The Spiritual Warfare Series, Introduction

Please note: There is a lot of interest out there in demons, spirits etc., and we at CFDevotionals feel it’s vital to present Biblically sound teaching on these issues. With that in mind, we are delighted to share with you a study by our own Geoff. If you wish to respond to the author of this study, you may write him directly at GKragen@aol.com.

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” ~ Colossians 2:15

In this devotional series, we are going to talk about spiritual warfare in a manner that is practical in any area of the Christian walk. Clearly, this is intended as an overview on a very complex issue. My hope is you will want to explore the subject in greater depth on your own. I am including a suggested reading.

Finally, the debate between those who hold some type of demon-deliverance approach (which for convenience I will refer to as “deliverance”) and those holding a “classical” approach to spiritual warfare, is over a secondary issue. By this, I mean the topic is not one on which one’s salvation rises and falls. There are God-fearing believers on both sides of the issue. But how one approaches the subject is a matter of either handling scripture consistently or going beyond its teachings, and the end result of the latter is always potentially damaging.

There are two aspects to this. The first deals with an inaccurate, therefore dangerous, approach, “Deliverance.” The second session with deal with what scripture does teach about a correct way to “fight the good fight.”

When a Christian is presented with an inaccurate system of teaching, then the needed process of transformation is short-circuited. This is the primary reason that the deliverance approach is negative. It is grounded in an inaccurate use of scripture. When I say this, I recognize there is a wide spectrum of deliverance systems. They range from an extreme which sees demons under every bedpost, to a fairly conservative approach which recognizes the need for personal responsibility, the power of the Holy Spirit, the importance of Bible study, and moving beyond spiritual conflict issues to Christian service and growth.1

Powlison gives an example of the extreme:

“Some people do really see a demon behind every bush. Cynthia, a woman I counseled, once cast out demons from her toaster when it failed to work. More seriously, she and her husband Andrew had a remarkable—and remarkably destructive—way of arguing with each other. For the first five minutes they warmed up with normal person-to-person bickering. But at a certain point, when the fighting turned nasty, they shifted gears and wheeled in heavier artillery. They would bind, rebuke, and attempt to cast out demons of anger, pride, and self-righteousness from each other. In Cynthia’s words, I saw the demon looking out of his eyes, glittering and murderous. So I said, “Demon of anger, I bind your power in Jesus’ name!” then I claimed the power of Jesus’ blood as my cover from all demonic assault coming through my husband.” 2

At its most extreme deliverance teachings are very dangerous, especially for someone whose connection to reality is shaky at best. One therapist told me of a client who went to a deliverance ministry where the attempt was made to cast out a demon and the result was a psychotic break. Granted this is extreme, but any presentation of teachings that are not biblically sound cannot benefit a believer.

  1. Adapted from “Dr. Neil T. Anderson Freedom in Christ Ministries,” CRI Statement DA080, http://www.equip.org/free/DA080.htm.
  2. Powlison, David, Power Encounters–Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p. 11.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
Podcasts of Studies in Matthew can be found at www.GKragen.com