Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare is a Biblical concept, but nowadays some Christians teach and practice it in ways that are extra-biblical and/or unbiblical.

This is especially true of teachers and preachers who consider themselves to be modern-day apostles and prophets — and who are usually part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
– Source: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5offsite NIV

In Ephesians 6:10-20, he describes the spiritual armor, introducing it as follows:

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

– Source: Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV

Some Christians approach this issue incorrectly, either placing too much emphasis on it, or adding extra-Biblical teachings and practices.

Many adherents of the Word-Faith Movement — as well as many people that were into the renewal and revival movements that were popular a few years ago — are, for various reasons, enamored with the concept of spiritual warfare.

Inspired by – and often using the terminology of – Frank Perretti‘s fiction, legends like King Arthur’s Roundtable, and movies such as Braveheart, they “rebuke demons,” “bind Satan,” and “take control of cities and situations.”

C. Peter Wagner, head of Global Harvest Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colo., is in the vanguard of the movement. He defines three levels of spiritual warfare: “Ground-level” involves casting demons out of individuals; “occult-level warfare” involves more organized “powers of darkness” [They target here New Age thought, Tibetan Buddhism, Freemasonry, etc.]; and “strategic-level warfare” directly “confronts ‘territorial spirits’ assigned by Satan to coordinate activities over a geographical area.”
– Source: Targeting cities with ‘spiritual mapping,’ prayer Christian Science Monitor, Sep. 23, 1999

Often Christians Christians involved in these type of extra-Biblical activities utter judgmental prophecies – frequently aimed at America.

Storms, earthquakes and other acts of nature are said to be part of God’s judgment.

In the renewal and revival movements, where “civil war between Christians” has been prophesied, spiritual warfare also is aimed at other Christians (see the Golden Sword).

As in the Word-Faith movement, this type of spiritual warfare reveals a hunger for power and authority. But any level of power and authority thus obtained comes from an occult source, just as the ‘words,’ ‘dreams’ and ‘prophecies’ come from an occult sources.

This is not to say that all ‘words from the Lord,’ ‘dreams’ or ‘prophecies’ are illegitimate. However, any and all such information should be tested to see whether or not it lines up to the Bible. On this, see our article on spiritual discernment.

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This post was last updated: Mar. 26, 2014