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Spiritual Warfare

Many Christians today are losing the battle in spiritual warfare because they lack an adequate knowledge of God's Word. This ignorance has led some people into occult practices that are cleverly disguised as 'neutral' self help techniques. Others have one foot in the world and the other foot in the Bible; thus compromised, they cannot understand why biblical principles never seem to work for them. Defeat is commonplace because their lives are not established on truly biblical principles but rather on the shifting foundation of human experience.

As we have surveyed much of the contemporary literature written for Christians, we have discovered an extremely wide range of ideas, many of which are mutually contradictory. Both the issues and the solutions differ widely. We have read many fine-sounding discussions on spiritual warfare that did not have a biblical basis. Some people teach that christians can be demon possessed whereas others teach that they cannot. On the other hand, if one view is true, then Christians must live one way and the solutions to the problems must lie in one direction. If the other view is true, then the problems and solutions offered by the first view are irrelevant. How can we find our way out of this maze and find timeless truth on which we can base our lives?

We believe that the Bible is our highest authority, and only God has sufficient, infinite knowledge and understanding of both our enemies and our human nature to inform us accurately about spiritual conflict and what to do about it. The Christian must always be like the men and women of Berea who received the highest praise from the apostle Paul because they did not simply take his word but searched the Scriptures daily to verify his teaching (Acts 17:11).

The Real Source of Truth

Many of the errors that have crept into the church, some of which have become very popular, are based on misunderstandings and misintepretation of Scripture. Sometimes this happens because the writers have not taken into account the original languages of the Bible or have misused them. Therefore, it is important that we occassionally refer to the original Greek and Hebrew wording of Scripture to interpret more accurately God's Word.

At other times, error creeps in because we rely on interpretations of experiences or personal testimony that might not be consistent with Scripture, especially in the area of Satan and demons and what they can do to Christians. Testimonies of missionaries working among pagan tribes where demonic activity abound are used to support a particular line of teaching. How should these stories be evaluated, especially since some of these occurrences are used to support one position and others are used to support a contradictory position? Is appealing to these types of experiences a valid means to find truth?

Before we can ever hope to have victory over the sin and evil that are part of our universe, we must first understand the role of God's Word. Much of what is taught today contains testimonies of personal experience or the experience of other people. We must find out how we are to regard such testimony, and we must continually seek to determine a true, biblical approach to spiritual warfare. Failure to do so is one reason that so many believers are impotent in the warfare. They have either lost the sure foundation of the Word of God or severely weakened it by relying upon intepretations of experiences that run contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches.

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