We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Real Spiritual Warfare

I have read a lot by Hank Hanegraaff over the years and a lot of it is good apologetics material. However, I must also point out his approval of Roman Catholicism and his preterist eschatology , both of which I believe are unbiblical. While I think his first volume of The Bible Answer Book was very good except for a few minor points, his second volume is not as good due to his eschatology.

All this being said as a prelude, I want to recommend another small book of Hank’s that I first bought six years ago and continue to buy for giving out. The title of the book is, The Covering, and the theme is proper, biblical spiritual warfare. The purpose is to counter the unbiblical stuff that has been taught for the past couple of decades especially. This book has only 124 pages in a 5” X 7” format.

In his introduction, Hank tells us that “the Puritan passion for exercising spiritual disciplines in order to become like Christ has given way to the quick fix of exorcising demons.” He then gives examples of those who are practicing this superstitious, Hollywood-type of “deliverance,” such as Bob Larson, Don Basham, Derek Prince and Neil Anderson.

Hanegraaff gives a good quote from anthropologist Michael Cuneo: “Whatever one’s personal problem - depression, anxiety, substance addiction, or even a runaway sexual appetite - there are exorcism ministries available today that will happily claim expertise for dealing with it. With the significant bonus, moreover, that one is not, for the most part, held personally responsible for the problem. Indwelling demons are mainly to blame, and getting rid of them is the key to moral and psychological redemption.” That is a good summation of the problem.

Hanegraaff points out that, “Subjective experiences are notoriously unreliable. Thus, they must always be tested in light of the objective truths of Scripture. … Sexual spirits, devils that bite, and faddish formulas for freedom are but the fleeting fancy of pop culture and pagan superstition.”

In Chapter one Hank reminds us that, “in order for demons to possess believers, they would first have to bind the one who occupies them - namely God himself!” And that, of course, is impossible. He says that, “the notion that a demon can bite, scrawl on a fogged-up bathroom mirror, or sexually violate a human being has more in common with Greek mythology than a Christian worldview.”

The remainder of the book is an exposition of Ephesians 6:12-18. The following quotes are some highlights:

“Spiritual warfare is waged against invisible beings that personify the extremities of evil. And their weapons are spiritual, not physical. While they cannot bite us physically, violate us sexually, or cause us to levitate, they can tempt us to cheat, steal, and lie. …though the devil cannot directly interact with us physically, he does have access to our minds. He cannot read our minds, but he can influence our thoughts. … the whole of Scripture informs us that spiritual warfare is the battle for the mind.”

“To neglect discipleship and spiritual disciplines for deliverance and sensual distractions is to give birth to an unholy church. … Unless and until a convert becomes a slave to righteousness, there is no need for the forces of darkness to be alarmed.”

“In all the ways Satan sought to pillage Job, he never petitioned God to possess his body.”

“Following the example of the Bereans (see Acts 17:11), we must make sure that what human teachers teach is in line with what Scripture has already taught.”

“The key to supernatural protection in the invisible war is not found in exorcising demons, but in exercising spiritual disciplines. Ultimately, only as we ‘put on the full armor of God’ can we take our ‘stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11).”

I found this book to be very enlightening, and an excellent resource to counter those who are deceiving believers with “deliverance” ministries.

4 comments:

Marie said...

Glenn, this is good stuff! I think I'm going to link to this on my eating disorder blog - a lot of my readers are charismatic and are into this sort of thing, judging from the e-mails I get. I touch on this (why "deliverance ministries" are unbiblical and to beware) in my book, but don't go into nearly as much depth. Good supplemental info.

BTW, Hanegraaf's "Counterfeit Revival" was excellent, too.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

"Counterfeit Revival" is an excellent book. The first book I ever read by Hank was "Christianity in Crisis," and then I started getting the Christian Research Journal. But after a few year, I wasn't happy with their ecumenical direction, and the preterist teachings, so I dropped that after about 8 years or so.

Ray said...

I think you should consider how in Acts (i think chapter 7), they tried to cast out a demon, and because they weren't really walking with Jesus, the demon responded that he didn't know them, and physically beat the tar out of them, to where they left bloodied and naked.

Not to argue with you, but it's important not to get too indoctrinated with an opinion and thus close yourself off to what really may be truth...

Humbly,
Ray P

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Ray,

I don't understand your point. Could you explain what you meant, including your last comment?