Friday, November 03, 2006

Recognize the Enemy

“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.” -Ephesians 6:12

Fuller Theological Seminary use to have a class that dealt with “signs and wonders.” The class was taught by John Wimber and C. Peter Wagner for the School of World Missions. The class was only offered once each year. The class was always full. The class was controversial. The class was designed to prepare folks on the mission field to deal with the spiritual forces that would be encountered. The class also focused on the gifts of the Holy Spirit—including the “spooky” gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophecy, heal, etc. It was a powerful class! The class was hated by the faculty in the School of Theology. The class was ultimately discontinued at Fuller because of the faculty in the School of Theology!

Every church and pastor WILL encounter “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The question is whether the pastor or church will recognize the enemy and be prepared to battle the enemy.

Our church lost a family due to our dealings with demonic forces. This family had a “Presbyterian” background. They just could not deal with demons and supernatural spiritual forces. They feared for their children. They left.

It is my belief that most Presbyterians are very uneasy about the topic of demons, Satan and spiritual forces of evil. They don’t want to think about it, talk about it or experience it. They want to feel comfortable at church—and the topic of demons makes them feel uncomfortable. This is a shame!

I was very fortunate in that my first encounter with a demon possessed person was when I was still in high school. I played the guitar for a jail ministry in Ellensburg, Washington. Every Sunday afternoon we had a team down at the jail to minister and care for those who were behind bars. One day we encountered the strangest person I had ever met. One minute he was quoting scripture and the next he was damming God, Christ and us. There were only three of us there that day—two high school students and a leader. The leader immediately recognized that the man was demon possessed. We left the jail because we were not prepared, or equipped, to deal with that type of ministry situation. A few days later a team went down (it did not include either of us high school students) after they had spent time with prayer and fasting. The demons were cast out of Harley—the transformation was immediate and powerful. Harley was a changed man. He pled guilty to selling drugs (he knew there were consequences for his actions) and went to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla. Harley became involved in the prison ministry and started a Christian newsletter. He was later stabbed by another inmate because of his faith.

The next year while at a Presbyterian-related college I met a person who had been demon possessed. The previous year several of the faculty recognized the Greg has demon possessed. There was no college chaplain at that time. The faculty members brought together people from their various churches to pray, fast and deal with the demons. The demons were cast out and Greg was a changed man.

Back to my previous assertion, I believe that most Presbyterians have not been prepared to deal with demons and spiritual forces of evil. The PCUSA has very little to offer in the way to training or resources to prepare pastors and churches for these types of spiritual encounters. Therefore, many turn to other sources—some good, some not so good. We do not need to see a demon behind every rock. Every person who is a little “strange” is not demon possessed. Our lack of training in this area leads to fear. We need to break free from our silence on this important part of the Christian ministry.

Check back on Monday for more on this topic!

4 Comments:

At 4:32 PM , Blogger Dave Moody said...

Great post. The transforming grace of Jesus is such an amazing thing. Look forward to Monday.

 
At 7:46 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

Thank you so much for continuing this very neglected, certainly timely, and important topic.

I believe that in our "modern times" many denomincations downplay the existence of demons and their work, if not pooh poohing their existencee altogether. And this is exactly what Satan wants. It is, without question, real. And a true danger for us all.

On the flip side of this, I also believe that our church downplays if not denies the force of the Holy Spirit in our world that also "seems" to defy the laws of physics and reason. I put quotes around seems because, arrogant creatures that we are, we tend to dismiss that which we cannot explain.

 
At 11:49 AM , Blogger Toby Brown said...

It's the Enlightenment!

We bought into the argument that there are no spiritual presences in the world and that God and the angels are but from another world and in another world.

We bought into the lie that all is 'natural' and readily explainable by reason and science.

So....is that the biggest victory that the Enemy has pulled off in recent memory, namely convincing the world that he does not exist?

 
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