The Invisible War by Chip Ingram
Chip Ingram is the president of Walk Thru the Bible, having replaced its founder Bruce Wilkinson. Formerly he had pastored Santa Cruz Bible Church, which is situated in a part of the country he claims is a hot-bed for demonic activity. It is out of experiences mostly at Santa Cruz that Ingram formed his views concerning spiritual warfare as presented in The Invisible War.
In many ways the book is to be commended. Ingram offers much biblical insight concerning Satan, his demons and the demonic strategy at work in the world system. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of each of the book’s four main sections, the author offers an outline which combined could serve as a syllabus for a course on demonology. If these, and other biblical teachings throughout the book, could be isolated from the rest of the information, The Invisible War would be an excellent primer for study on spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, Ingram all too regularly goes beyond the Scriptures to add experiences and philosophies of himself and others. A list of concerns would include:
• A strong belief in mystical leadings from the Lord (pp. 11, 25, 83, 121, 123, 153, 159).
• Demonic manifestations in houses, not found in Scripture (p. 31).
• Direct physical attacks by demons, not found in Scripture (p. 115).
• Demonic manipulation of our thought life, not found in Scripture (pp. 115, 116-117, 113).
• Admiration of the medieval Roman Catholic mystics (pp. 59, 165).
• A misunderstanding of the Greek word “rhema” (p. 140), leading to the view that one has to pray out loud in order to effectively combat Satan (pp. 116, 143).
• Undocumented angelic stories given for evidence of his position (pp. 155-157). The particular story cited was reported, Ingram assures us, by a “reputable periodical,” yet the name of the periodical is not given. Not impressive documentation.
• A view that demons shutter when God’s people pray, not found in Scripture (p. 160).
• The claim that New Testament Christians boldly asked God for their communities, not found in Scripture (p. 161).
• The claim that exorcism is a valid ministry today because Jesus did it and we want to be like Him (pp. 166-167). Of course, Jesus walked on water and raised the dead but few would see these as mandates for the believer today.
• An inconsistent understanding of demonic influence. After correctly indicating that “to be demonized” is the only term found in the New Testament for those who are demon-oppressed, he goes on to develop arbitrary levels of demonic influence found nowhere in the New Testament (pp. 168-172).
• A belief that exorcism will occasionally need to be practiced today (p. 181). Apparently sensitive to the oft-noted fact that the epistles never mention such need or give any instructions regarding exorcism, Ingram claims that James 4:10 “gives a full set of instructions.” He is correct, almost. James tells us to submit to God, resist the devil and so forth. But not a single word is given concerning exorcising demons (p. 168).
• The suggestion that we should expect spiritual attack at certain times in our lives, not found in Scripture (pp. 118-120).
You get the point. While there is much in The Invisible War that is supported by Scripture, it is nevertheless laced throughout with positions that cannot be supported by God’s Word.
Basically, Ingram is traveling the same trail as Mark Bubeck and Neil Anderson who both mix biblical truth with personal experience to develop faulty theologies on spiritual warfare. It is to these two false teachers that Ingram points as experts in this area (pp. 168, 182, 189). I find it interesting when Ingram rightly states that many are getting their information about demonic activities from demons directly, a faulty source (pp. 164-170), and then he turns around and supports Bubeck and Anderson who do this very thing. Quite inconsistent.
Because of the above-mentioned concerns, The Invisible War is of little if any value to the believer. For a truly biblical approach to spiritual warfare I would point you to Thomas Ice’s What the Bible Teaches About Spiritual Warfare or John MacArthur’s How to Meet the Enemy.