(June 1995 – Volume 1, Issue 8)
The Bible does not recognize occult sin as a special category that has not been dealt with at the cross.
We have spent considerable space in our last two newsletters evaluating and criticizing the Spiritual Warfare Movement. In this final letter on this subject, we would like to devote the bulk of our attention to the Biblical instructions that our Lord gives us concerning our battle with Satan and his demons. But first, we would like to elaborate a little on four of the major unbiblical teachings of the SW leaders.
MAJOR UNBIBLICAL TEACHINGS:
Christians must learn to bind Satan.
This idea is based on the misinterpretation of three passages: Mt 12:29; 16:19; and 18:18. The context reveals that Mt 12:29 was an illustration of Christ’s personal power over Satan — not ours. And Mt 16:19; 18:18 are in the context of fulfilling God’s will on earth, including church discipline.
Rebuking the devil.
Believers are never instructed to rebuke the devil or his demons. The N.T. views rebuking as the sole prerogative of Jesus (Jude 9). As a matter of fact, this is a mark of false prophets (II Pet 2:4-12; Jude 8,9). Why do people rebuke the Devil then? II Pet 2:12 and Jude 10 say they do so because they do not understand what they are doing. II Pet 2:10 suggests that they do so because of arrogance.
Praying the blood.
This phrase or idea is found nowhere in the N.T. Christ’s blood delivers us from sin.
There are four reasons why this is not accurate:
1) Salvation delivers us from all sin — including occultic sins. The Bible does not recognize occult sin as a special category that has not been dealt with at the cross.
2) Ex 20:5 refers to the choice of each successive generation to follow after the sins of their ancestors. Ezek 18:10-20 says that we will each be dealt with according to our own sin.
3) Ex 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10 deals with Israel — not the church.
4) There is not one example in the Bible of a saved person being under a satanic curse which had to be “broken” by Christian exorcism or distinct confession.
BIBLICAL INSTRUCTION CONCERNING DEALING WITH DEMONS
That Satan and his demons are actively involved in attempting to destroy our lives is evident throughout Scripture. I Pet 5:8 perhaps sums up Satan’s efforts and goals better than any other place in the Bible. The big question is how are we to deal with his onslaughts. Some are teaching today that we are to rebuke or bind Satan. Others tell us that we are to cast demons out of people by claiming the blood of Christ. (The Bondage Breaker pp 69, 84-88, 107, 111). Yet in the N.T. we are never instructed or commanded to cast out or bind demons.
When it comes to Satan we are taught to play a defensive role. When Believers go on the offensive against Satan they are stepping out of their legitimate bounds by becoming involved in situations which the Lord has never intended for them. Rather than instruction concerning exorcism, binding, rebuking, etc., we are taught (in the only three places in the N.T. where instruction concerning dealing with Satan is found) to resist the Devil (I Pet 5:6-9; Jas 4:7; Eph 6:10-18).
Satan’s primary weapon is to get us to distrust God’s Word. EPHESIANS 6
Only the Eph 6 passage teaches us how to resist by putting on the armor of God. Paul as a prisoner at the time he wrote the epistle of Ephesians, observed daily the protective armor of the soldiers that guarded him. Using the armor as an illustration, Paul explained to us how we can stand firm against the schemes of the Devil. Six pieces of armor are needed to fully protect the Believer against Satan’s attacks.
1) Belt of Truth (6:14)
The belt was essential to keep the other pieces of armor in place and to secure freedom of movement by tying back the long tunic that the soldiers wore. The truth spoken of here is the objective truth of God’s Word. God wants us to be completely dominated and controlled by the truth of the Bible. It is because many Christians are not committed to the absolute truth and final authority of the Word of God that they are ineffective in their spiritual warfare. We must take II Tim 3:16, 17 and II Pet 1:3 seriously. This must be our presupposition.
2) Breastplate of Righteousness (6:14)
The vital organs of the Roman soldier were protected by his breastplate. People are in need of two types of righteousness that protects our thoughts, emotions and wills. First, there is “saving righteousness” that is given to us at the moment of conversion (Rom 4:5). This is the righteousness of Christ and is credited to us without merit on our part when we trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Secondly, there is personal righteousness which refers to the righteousness produced in our lives by the Holy Spirit. This takes place in a Believer’s life as he recognizes his sin and turns to Christ. To choose to live “rightly” is a great safeguard.
3) Shoes of the Gospel of Peace (6:15)
You will note that we are to have our feet shod with the “preparation” of the gospel of peace. This speaks of a readiness, firm footing, mobility and protection that comes from having the gospel of peace. The thing that assures us of ultimate victory against Satan is that we have peace with God (Rom 5:1,2). Therefore, we can remain steadfast and immovable because our feet are firmly grounded on our immovable relationship with God.
4) Shield of Faith (6:16)
This speaks not of “saving faith,” for these people were already saved, but of a “living faith,” a trust in the promises and the power of God. Satan’s primary weapon is to get us to distrust God’s Word. By faith in God and His Word, we are able to handle anything Satan throws our way. Only by looking away from self to God, placing our trust in Him for life, death, and eternity, relying on His Word of revelation and promise, is it possible to repel Satan’s shower of flaming missiles.
5) Helmet of Salvation (6:17)
I Thess 5:8 clarifies the meaning here. He is speaking not of becoming saved but of the “hope of salvation.” That is, we have absolute assurance of our salvation no matter how fierce the battle becomes. Were it not for the fact that in the midst of hardship and persecution the assurance of salvation dwells in our hearts we might easily give up the fight. The helmet of salvation enables us to go into battle with complete confidence, not in ourselves but in our God (Phip 1:6).
6) Sword of the Spirit (6:17)
This refers to the short dagger-like sword that was used primarily for defense — not the broad sword which was an offensive weapon. “The sword which the Christian carries is described here as the Word of God. But this is not the Greek ‘logos’ but ‘rhema’. ‘Rhema’ refers to a specific word or utterance. In spiritual warfare it is not enough to have merely a general knowledge of the Scriptures; we must also have a specific knowledge of the Scriptures and use this knowledge correctly” (A Holy Rebellion p.145). Note 6:18,19 where this armor is to be bathed in prayer.
The leadership within the SWM would claim that the above Biblical teachings on dealing with Satan are too simplistic. They would have us add to the Scriptures their experiences and “clinical evidence.” Yet this is the same error made by all who eventually go astray from God’s truth. We maintain that God has given us everything that we need to know about true spiritual warfare in the Word. Any addition from man is unnecessary and ultimately destructive.