c) 2012' name='copyright'/>Michael DeShane Hinton: October 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spiritual Warfare

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (Acts 10:38 ESV)

The spiritual perspective of the New Testament acknowledges the existence of Satan (the devil), his works, influence, and as above, oppression.  Scripture also speaks of the existence of demons and demon possession.  The passage above indicates that Jesus took a therapeutic approach to demonic activity.  That describes the problem of evil as a contagion, the spread of spiritual diseases associated with the devil and that people may be sick in various ways as a result of his evil designs.  We see this same complex of spiritual and physical infirmity in Luke 8:1-3, where it says Jesus “cured” several women of evil spirits.  The pastoral office has been called a curate, refering to the cure of moral and spiritual illnesses.  A healing ministry, including spiritual healing, requires, therefore, compassion, along with the power that the Spirit gives to overcome evil.

Additionally, this world belongs to the devil, who offered all its riches and powers to Jesus in exchange for worship, which Jesus refused to do (Matthew 4:9/Luke 4:7).  This world is Satan’s realm and prison and asylum (1 John 5:19).  He is called the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) that “blinds the mind of unbelievers.”  This makes us all extremely vulnerable because of environmental issues that must be considered.  All around us are temptations and pitfalls.

Year ago when I worked on a difficult and dramatic counseling case with Fr. Mancini of Malvern, Arkansas, who was an official exorcist in the Roman Catholic Church, he taught me the difference between a psychiatric disorder and demon possession. Malachi Martin's HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL and M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, in PEOPLE OF THE LIE, also speak about the difference. In fact, an exorcist must eliminate all other explanations for aberrant behavior before going to work to treat a demoniac, who in the end must want and seek deliverance. One thing that Fr. Mancini said, for instance, is never to underestimate the depth of human depravity, which often looks like something from hell.

Neither can we dismiss the extent to which human ignorance affects our life, relationships, and society.  But one of the ways the devil oppresses us is by capturing and infecting our intellect with doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1), of which I will name a few:



Unitarian Universalism


The Higher Critical Method


The Social Gospel



Double Pre-destination


The Prosperity Gospel

I mention these because they are so prevalent, even in the Church, and most of them enjoy an academic reputation, especially in what Harvey Cox calls the secular city.  Some are liberal doctrines and others evangelical.  All are base-less fallacies, completely without merit in their foundational premises, according to Scripture and reason.  As with other forms of captivity one must be willing to set his mind free for God.  Jesus said, for instance, when he was noted for not having any formal education:

My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:16-18 ESV)

This blog is not about the last days but the following passage reveals how the devil works though falsehood and what might be the cure for it:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)

Paul said that we should be aware of the "wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). Where better to hide, for instance, than at the highest levels of a Church and among those that deny the devil’s existence? How better to mislead folk than to quote Scripture along with lies?  How better to further sin than to say in the most pious way that God doesn’t see us do it?  John wrote, for instance:

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. [8] Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. [9] No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. [10] By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10 ESV)

Once they gain entry and take over the thinking of an individual the *ideas* of that individual can become a doctrine of demons.  Those *ideas* are then passed on to corrupt and distract from the wholesome and saving doctrines of the Lord, which we have in the New Testament, which is the apostolic witness. No one is truly ordained of God if he or she does not abide by the apostolic witness, for the anointing does not rest on those that are heretics and apostates. But the truly ordained of God, who follow the New Testament without doubt or mental reservation, are able to take power and authority over the haunts of the devil. Demons tend to react in fairly consistent ways, with rage for instance, when challenged.  Being disembodied spirits, demons need willing persons, social systems, and institutional power to accomplish their evil designs.  So, when exposed as liars, they engage vicious forms of counter-attack, drawing upon powerful psychic, social, and institutional resources to maintain control of occupied territory, of the mind or heart or will.  Yet, behind the alien personality manifested is one for whom Christ died.

Throughout the world the Church Militant is on the march against strongholds of the devil, despoiling Satan of captives, setting them free.  The promise of Christ is this, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, which is the pillar and bulwark of truth (I Timothy 3:15).  Therefore, a refuge for us is a Church that avoids error, which preaches and teaches sound doctrine.  Individually, as soldiers and servants of God, we must love and believe the truth, and with courage follow wherever it takes us.