Transcript from the Let Us Reason program on spiritual warfare
With Mike Oppenheimer and Guest pastor Steve Mitchell
(Mike) Welcome Steve
(Steve) Thank you very much. It's good to be here.
(Mike) Now what I'd like to do is start off with a quote from Charisma Magazine. You can open it in any given month and see all these different advertisements, many different things going on. But this one advertisement, a number of years ago, really just says it all for what we're talking about today. It's about evangelist Wayne Parks, and it says he's coming out and the devil is running. In an ad, with conference pictures showing the speakers and in bold letters it says, "Holy Spirit Explosion. Come and join these men of divine destiny as we wage holy war against the kingdom of darkness. God says it's time to sound the trumpet of battle and take Miami back from the clutches of the devil"
Now, maybe you've heard about spiritual mapping, territorial spirits, and things like that. This is a new technique considered a must-do for taking your city for God. Spiritual mapping involves researching the secular and religious history of a city to determine the names and the characteristics of the ruling spirits over that area. You locate any or all statues that represent forms of paganism. You locate areas of crime, abortion, any type of sin. Researchers discern the history of the problems in those locations that have allowed satanic powers to have the legal right to oppress the people. People who are intercessors keep written records of the discoveries and numerous other things, whether they be sicknesses, the statistics on sicknesses, death rates, such things as that. Once all this is known the intercessors begin to pray against the demons of the specific evils and sins that are influencing that city. They believe intercession can tear down these strongholds.
Now, here's the problem. What happens when we find out that people are sick from a pesticide in the water, or some other physical malady? Do we disregard it and say it was all done by demons, and then enter into spiritual warfare?
Now, in spiritual warfare, knowing the name of the strong man is the must. If you are tuned in you can actually determine the address, the geographical location of the spirit. Advocates of spiritual warfare have the idea they can take the city with a fourfold task; proclaim a fast with prayer, identify the principality over the city, determine its geographical location, and call him or her by name. They do this through the use of discernment, words of knowledge, seeing and hearing in the Spirit either by visions, a dream or wisdom. They then utilize this supernaturally conveyed knowledge. In so doing, they depend on the rhema, which means receiving valid knowledge about the invisible world by hearing directly from God, hearing the voice of God, as He communicates His thoughts directly to us as individuals concerning what we should do in spiritual warfare. This is rhema doctrine in contrast to the logos, or written word; the Bible. Now, one of the main men in this is Peter Wagner, who states that both forms of the word of God are valid sources of knowledge and both should be used as God directs us to confront the enemy in spiritual warfare. This rhema doctrine is becoming the prominent one in their evangelical teaching and is superseding the logos. So, essentially it denies the sufficiency of Scripture.
(Steve) That's exactly right, and I'd like to just share an example of what we're talking about here in a more tangible way so that we can get hold of this idea of spiritual mapping. This is from an article in Discipleship Journal. It's actually an article that does not promote this type of spiritual, . . .strategic, informed intercession is what they like to call it, spiritual mapping. Mr. Wagner and other proponents used a story in there about a pastor to validate their methods. By the way, John Dawson, George Otis Jr., and Cindy Jacobs, if you know any of these authors, are all part of what is called the spiritual warfare network. It's a group of people who have gotten together, put together their teachings, written them down, and published them, so that everybody can have access to this new, I'd like to say, new theology, new techniques.
And the problem is there was a story in there about a pastor of a church located in the desert. He prayed, and through a word of knowledge and prophetic visions some of his people had, determined that there was a spirit called Tanutz. This spirit was keeping the entire town where this church was located in complete bondage, thereby, of course, in their theology, preventing, keeping the city in spiritual darkness. He said he saw a vision of a bear skin that was stretched really tight over the town. The ends of this skin where the bear's feet would have been were big claws and they were dug into the ground and there was a spinal cord, like a spine going over the back of this bear skin. And words were revealed, of course by God, allegedly, to the pastor and his people, that this thing needed to be broken. The back needed to be broken. So by prayer, intercession and prayer marches, and that type of things, they were able to go in there and destroy this giant demonic bear skin that was basically giving the town an evil bear hug, not allowing anybody to come to Christ. This is the type of things that we're talking about today.
If you'd like to know a little bit about things closer to home, I don't know if many of you have heard of Daniel Kekawa. I had the privilege of talking to him on the phone the other day from the Big Island. He is, if any of you don't him, maybe his name rings a bell, the author of Perpetuated In Righteousness. He has been on this show before, and Mike has talked to him. Anyway, I asked him, I said, "Well, what exactly is this spiritual mapping? What connection does it have maybe to the people of Hawaii?" And uniquely, he says, "Hawaii is a place where they researched, you know, where all the human sacrifices were done, all the sacred Heiaus." He found out that they were in direct alignment with other sacred sites across the world where innocent blood had been shed. Deuteronomy 28 refers to things of that nature, defiling the land and curses brought on the people because of their disobedience. Much of what has happened to the Hawaiian people, much of what has happened to this world and these cities, and the reason that we're not seeing people come to Christ, in his opinion, is because the land is defiled.
He goes as far as to say that El Nino is the repercussion of a demonic stronghold that hasn't been broken. So what they do is go to these sacred sites, have communion there and then bind the strong man. They pray over and break the power of darkness. Now, I'm all for strategic praying, I really am. I believe in praying that the Lord's will be done in specific situations. I believe that's what strategic praying is. But I don't, I think it's a waste of time to go to geographical locations and, so-called, "take them for the Lord," because, where is a city that has been, so-called "taken for God?" And in fact we see examples of the opposite.
(Mike) Well, the point is that you have to be present in that very area to pull down the stronghold when our prayer is to be to God, not against these demons or addressing them specifically, and I see that as the problem. I find this to be a very unhealthy entertainment in looking after, going after these things that we're not even supposed to know, because God is fighting our war. We don't fight it ourselves. We exalt the Lord, we present the Gospel, but what we're talking about here, and what we hear over and over again is a pre-evangelism, a preparation for people to break the strongholds that hold people, so that they can be freed to hear the Gospel. The problem is you don't see anything like this written in Scripture. And there are numerous examples where Paul and the Apostles went into cities; but they did no such things, just presented the Gospel, and people got saved. Why? Because the truth is what breaks the powers of darkness, so that people see falsehood next to the truth and they make a decision to follow the Lord.
(Steve) Right, and I think that we'll look at some passages. I mean, the bottom line here is that we are Christians. We follow what Jesus Christ has taught us to do, how to properly pray, how to properly approach Him. We need to look at what the Bible says about it, definitely. Daniel 10, we all know the passage, or many of us know the passage, affirms that there was some sort of an evil prince entity over Persia and Greece who fought with Michael and Gabriel for twenty-one days.
(Mike) This is the passage that they all use to validate this whole new methodology.
(Steve) That's right. And while the Bible does affirm in this case that there was some sort of a demonic dignitary over an area, it does not say anything throughout all of its pages about fighting that being. You gotta understand that the Bible never calls us to war against these beings. In fact some go as far to say the harlot of Revelation 17, which we know in apocalyptic literature as a symbolic thing, they'll say that's the demon spirit of Mystery Babylon. Or they'll refer to Ephesians 6:12, where Paul lists the powers. They'll use that as validation, you see, talking about territorial spirits. Actually, when we see demonism in the Bible, any talk of spiritual warfare, spirits of that nature, it's always dealing with individuals. Jesus dealt with demonized individuals. He didn't go into a town and address the evil spirit over Jerusalem that was causing the unbelief of the Jewish leaders. That was something they were accountable for, responsible for. He did deal with demonic possession on many accounts, but He did not go into a town and bind it so that His word would take root.
(Mike) It's on an individual basis. Neither of us deny that there are what might be deemed as territorial spirits, but I would add that we know only as much as what is revealed about these matters in Scripture, and we shouldn't go beyond it. And again, Deuteronomy 29:29 specifically says, "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." So, in other words, God's revelation is in the Scripture for us on these kinds of matters. What we need to know is there already. But when we have spiritual warfare proponents who teach that over every city and every area or country there is a principality or power, and we're to bring it down, I have to submit to you that this is beyond Scripture. To believe in their existence is one thing, but what to do about them is another. And, again, God did not tell us to go out and bring down the strongholds over cities. Now, when you talk about Daniel 10, the text implies a territorial spirit, but what we find is that when the angel came down and bound it, Daniel had no idea this was going on.
(Steve) That's the key there, Mike.
(Mike) He wasn't praying specifically about what revelation was giving him already so he could understand these things.
(Steve) He wasn't praying to determine the name of the spirit so that he could strategically bind that spirit in order to remain in contact with the Lord.
(Mike) And so when the prince of Persia was displaced, he was merely replaced by the prince of Greece, which was an even worse spirit, and Daniel doesn't pray against that one either. Now there are many people who are deceived into a Persian or Greek philosophy who do these kinds of things. Now when this prince was unseated and the vacuum quickly filled by another strongman, let's think about this. Could it be perhaps that when people bind a strongman in the powerful name of Jesus, a worse spirit could come along? Well, let's look at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, where for years, since the late eighties and early nineties, lots of these warfare conferences have been going on. Maybe some of you remember way back when Larry Lea was gathering together a prayer army of 300,000 people to do all this, and they were going directly against these principalities. Are they any better off now or are they worse? Well, I think we could say nothing has changed, if anything, many places have gotten worse off. The cleansing of demonic activity has not taken place. So all these claims are nonsense.
Now we do find that Jesus teaches about unclean spirits, and when they're driven out, the house is clean. But if it's not filled up with the Holy Spirit, seven worse spirits come back. So it's really something to consider when going into this warfare idea and actually thinking that you're driving out the demonic influences in these areas that are preventing the people from getting saved, becoming Christians and walking in the Christian light.
Now, is it up to us to cleanse the heavenlies, or is it in God's control? God has called Satan the prince of this world. He has allowed Satan to blind the eyes of those who do not believe. God has created all things, including the heavenlies, the angels, both good and bad, and He is in control of them, and He has a plan to deal with the fallen spiritual rulers. The plan does not involve the Church doing spiritual warfare to help God out. He doesn't need help in this way. The believer's attitude toward principalities and powers is to be one of respect, even if they are our enemies. We are not to be aggressive, like militant warriors, and run around trying to pull them down, curse them, bind them and supposedly throw them into the pit of Hell. We don't have that power. And I'm sorry to say that even though we do have a certain amount of power, we don't have all authority. Jesus does.
(Steve) Yes, that's exactly the issue, I think, at the forefront of this discussion. Binding the devil is an idea that is very popular. I pray with a lot of people and have sat through many prayers where the devil has been bound. Time and time again, over the lives of the individuals praying, over my life, over, you know, certain situations, we bind the devil from this, we bind the devil from that, and, like, I love how Arnold Fruchtenbaum puts it where he goes, "Well if he's being bound so much," and Arnold says this in a much more graceful way, "who's the idiot who continues to release him?" Because if it really worked, if it was in our power to do that, and Jesus said all authority had been given to Him. Do you see what I mean? And nowhere did Jesus . . . When is Satan going to be bound biblically?
(Mike) Well, it's in the millennium.
(Mike) And even then it's temporary, because he's let out after the thousand years to test the children again. But the point is that Jesus sends an angel to bind him. He never gives that power to the Church to bind him or his whole kingdom. Now there is a certain way where we can resist him in our own lives as individuals, and we have that authority to do so. But to bind him over cities and to set people free for this pre-evangelism so people can get saved is simply not Biblical.
Now I'd like to share a quote. I'm going to play a recording so people can get an idea about this militancy, but first I want to share this quote from Benny Hinn who shares his testimony. He says that, "Whenever I come into a city, the demons over that city flee, crying, 'The man of God is coming. The man of God is coming.' " Well, obviously he seems to think that he's as powerful as Jesus, and he even says here, on the Praise The Lord network, "Now I'm going to read one Scripture and then I'm going to preach, and the devil's going to drop dead." Well,. . .
(Steve) We're still waiting.
(Mike) We're still waiting. Even if he has a minor heart rhythm, I'd like to see that one.
(Steve) This reminds me of the June 9th prophecy of a couple of years ago, given on the Trinity Broadcast Network, when evil would be ripped and removed from the world. I think all of us, anybody who's been a conscious thinking individual in the last couple of years can see that evil has indeed not been ripped from this world. In fact, in many cases things are worse. And evil has not diminished one iota since that prophecy was given. And I also think it's foolish to think that we can have an impact on the level of actually dethroning Satan. That's not our calling. That's not what we do. Peter talks about it in Peter 5:8-9. He says, "Your adversary the devil roams to and fro like a roaring lion." He doesn't mention. . .why didn't he bind the roaring lion? We wouldn't have to deal with it if it really worked.
(Mike) The idea today that we hear from many of the TV preachers who are supposedly powerful, anointed men is that the Church is going to rise up militantly, be winners. We are going to take over and Christianize the world. We are not going out in the rapture wimpy or defeated. We're going to win everything back. All the money of the world is going to be put back into our laps. We're going to have everything that the devil has stolen.
The problem with that is this is clearly linked to what is called the latter rain teaching, where people say that God is pouring out His Spirit out upon all flesh, and we're going to see these tremendous signs and wonders happening today. Now, the Bible does teach that, but what exactly does it mean? When people teach these things you don't want to get too far ahead of what is really happening, saying that it is happening already and the Church is going to take over the world.
There are numerous problems with this kind of theology. Let me just give you another quote so you get an idea of what these people are actually saying. Rod Parsley says, "Point your finger under the nose of the devil when you come to take back what rightfully belongs to you." Well, how much should we take back, Pastor Rod? Let me tell you how much you're supposed to take back, every place the sole of your footsteps touch the earth the fullness thereof is the Lord's. Now, the problem with this is that it is the Lord's. He hasn't given it to us yet. Let's look at this- he gives it to us- we co-rule and reign when He comes back on the earth. Something is missing here. It is Christ's coming back that is missing. So it seems like the Church is going to Christianize, to take over the world without Christ being here. So we don't have to wait for Him. We'll do it by His power, supposedly. And you hear all these stories about He will raise up the Church on the third day, the Glory of God will fill up His temple and all these kinds of ideas. Well, you could spiritualize passages to mean many different things.
Now it is true God is going to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh in the last days, but there are other Scriptures that come into play with all this as well. So we need to take all of the Scriptures that speak on these certain subjects and look at them carefully before we make a decision and say, "This is that," as Peter did. What I'd like to do is just play a recording of Rod Parsley and you can hear for yourself what he is teaching, about how the Church is going to be, there's going to be a revolution. We're going to be very militant, and everything is coming our way. . .
(Recording of Rod Parsley) You want to know one of the greatest things that's going to happen in the year 2000? We're about to see the Church rise up with the revelation that only this generation has ever been given of God's word concerning high finances in the Kingdom of God, and we are just about to see the greatest transfer of wealth out of the hand of the wicked into the hand of the just. This kingdom was never meant to indulge triflers. You say something like that will never happen. Yes, it will. We're going to be in the driver's seat before he splits the eastern sky, and the time is ticking down. It's getting close to the last inning and we're out to bat. It's our ball. It's our field. It's our bat, and our Daddy is the umpire.
(Mike) That's inspiring. You could hear everybody cheering in the background.
(Steve) One thing about Rod Parsley, when you watch this man speak, he has a very good command of the English language. He rallies people behind his cause. The problem is when we look at the content of what he is getting people so excited about, so fascinated with, and even sometimes, dare I say, the elegance with which he states the mandates that he feels for the Church in the year 2000. So many people overlook what he is actually saying there.
And it's frightening, because one of the things that I'd like to comment on is in the book of Jude. Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, the brother of James. He wrote to the people of his day, as well as, I think, a very relevant, relevant reminder to us on this issue of spiritual warfare. Starting in verse 8, these are the characteristics of a false teacher. He says, "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority," and a very important part here, "and speak evil of dignitaries." Or, you can translate that "glorious ones." Most commentators and theologians would say that that is a reference to an arrogance on the part of the false teacher when he's speaking about spiritual principalities, demonic beings. We know that because of the context of verse nine, "Yet, Michael the archangel, when he was contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him," the devil, "a reviling accusation, but he said, 'The Lord rebuke you!' "
We see here Michael the archangel, a more powerful being on the spiritual level than a regular, mere man. But even he would not dare, it says, to revile the devil, to accuse the devil. And the sad and frightening thing about Mr. Parsley and many others like him on Trinity Broadcast Network and just in general in a lot of other churches today is this idea that you can walk up to the devil, you can demand things from him, you can poke your finger under his nose, they say, threaten him, say that he's going to drop dead, when you can read a certain verse of Scripture, "And when you come to town," and there's an arrogance that accompanies that. And it's so clear in Scripture that that is an earmark, or a defining point of the false teachers of Jude's day. And he is warning, "Look, these guys are not to be followed." He says later that they are ". . .spots in your love feasts. . .wandering stars, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." Now, am I passing judgment on Mr. Parsley and saying that he fits every criteria of a false teacher and therefore will end up that way? No, I'm not. I don't know his heart, me being another man. I'm not going to pass that judgment.
(Mike) I'm sure they all have good intentions.
(Steve) Yes. But I'm going to say that it is very, very dangerous to walk that line where you think for one moment that you have the right or the authority to revile these dignitaries or these glorious ones, including a fallen glorious one like Satan.
(Mike) Well even in Second Peter 2:10 it says basically the same thing as Jude that you just quoted, ".... and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, . . ." It's not a good place to be to put yourself in a position where you think you can rail against God's enemies like that and think that you have control over them.
You often find that people will call up and speak these words, saying, "I break the power of cancer off your body. I curse this sickness." This all goes together in this spiritual warfare aspect where they are able to speak things into existence, you know, and bind or loose what is happening. Now binding and loosening, we might get into this in the second part of the program, has nothing to do with fighting the devil and spiritual warfare. It has nothing to do with that. It has much to do with church discipline, or as we see what happened with Peter, in opening up the gates of salvation in the book of Acts. But what people have done is use these words out of their biblical context and made a whole new doctrine. It's very true when they say this is newly discovered, because it is. Nowhere in Church history or in the Bible do we find this being taught.
(Steve) That's exactly right, and I just want to encourage anyone listening right now, all you Christians out there who are seeking to have that close walk with the Lord. There is so much that the Bible says about the proper way to do spiritual battle if you will. It says a lot about resisting the Devil, resisting his tactics, standing firm against him. And that's vastly different than bringing accusations to him, looking into the TV screen and serving sentence on him for your own authority. I think it's so dangerous. In fact we’re told in Ephesians 6 that God's Word is our power, the weapons of our warfare, God's armor, and that we need to put on the whole armor of God. In I John 5:4-5, it says, "For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."
Christ promised in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have trials; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Our overcomer, and the one with the authority, He has defeated Satan on the cross, but the ultimate authority to bind him, and, of course, to sentence him to Hell forever, is Jesus Christ.
(Mike) Right, and the point is in Colossians 2:14-15. He has defeated him on the cross. He made a public spectacle of principalities and powers. It's not put in our hands to do that. He did it already, and that's almost two thousand years ago.
Now, you're listening to the Let Us Reason program.
(Mike) As you're saying that, it comes to mind there's a lot of deception involved in this. You know, years ago I attended a number of what you might call exorcisms in a Christian church.
(Steve) Deliverance services.
(Mike) Deliverance services. And it was through the one who wrote the book, Pigs In The Parlor, the Hammonds, and through Richard Ing over here, who has written a number of books on this subject. I watched some very strange things happen. I once saw a girl worshipping the Lord, and when the deliverance service started, she turned around and punched a guy in the face. Now the question is can Christians have demons that can take them completely out of control of what they're doing, all of a sudden, when someone starts speaking these certain words? Something to really consider when you have all these methodologies that are being promoted inside the Church. In this book, and also in another book, by Bill Subritsky, I couldn't find in my library. I tore everything apart, I just couldn't find it, but they have everything listed under categories: What demon is what? What do they do? How you are to go after the head demon, and if you get the head demon, the rest of them, I guess, hold on to his tail as he gets pulled out. . .
(Steve) And usually they exit through the mouth, is one very popular. .
(Mike) And of course you end up bringing along a barf bag because of all this that's happening.
(Steve) I think that brings us to, I like how it kind of worked here. This is a very big topic in spiritual warfare. This was the second one that we were going to really deal with today. That was, there was an individual named Bob Larson, do you want to comment on him, Mike?
(Mike) Bob Larson, over the years, has been involved in apologetic and occult evangelism. But, I would say that maybe over the last eight, maybe nine years, he's really turned his attention to deliverance ministry, deliverance on air. He now sells videotapes of deliverances. You can watch them on TV doing his deliverance services in the Christian church. Now, you really wonder when you look at these people, how well grounded they are in Scripture. Are they really walking a Christian life if they have this kind of demon in them that he is supposedly taking out? Now, I would propose that much of this is just an influence on people, convincing them that what has gone wrong in their life is from a demonic source. The mind can be convinced in many different ways and actually act out what people think is supposed to happen when then time comes.
And so you'll see him doing this extended dialog with the demon, asking all kinds of questions, basically where he lives, what made him come into this person. I mean, it's absolutely absurd what goes on, but yet this is being promoted. He has written a number of books and it's become popular again.
(Steve) I'd like to talk a little bit about Bob Larson. As a teenager, it's been a couple of years now, I used to listen to a show that he had here on 1380 AM, and it would be a talk show for an hour, a call-in thing, on a variety of topics. As the time went on, it became really apparent that his calling in Christian ministry, his passion for apologetics really, really went towards demonic things, Satanism. He wrote a couple of book, Satanism, The Seduction of America's Youth. He has written a couple of novels called Dead Air and Abbaddon. Through the years they have been critiqued by many people as Christian porn because of the descriptions that they have of Satanic ritual abuse that are utterly graphic. To read those books, you know it really paints images in your mind. And he claims that they were composites of real-life cases.
There have been tons and tons of people who allegedly were going through this memory regression therapy to recover memories of being sexually abused and ritually abused in the cults by parents and doctors and high standing public officials that were really Satanic high priests. And Bob Larson has had his finger in a lot of those cases. He's become known as a supporter for pretty much anybody who's gonna come forward and say, "I was ritually abused," or "I was in a cult and I was told to have babies to sacrifice to Satan." Here's a notable thing; you can get this on Bob and Gretchen Pasantino's website by contacting CRI's website. They have little critiques of some of Bob Larson's things. He is involved with, there's a man named Paul Ingram, who's sitting in prison because it has been determined that his little girl, through some of these really questionable techniques, was ritually abused by her father in a Satanic way. Here, although evidence was given to the contrary to Bob Larson and his ministries, they championed this little girl's cause and now this man is in prison, when the evidence is clearly shown that he had no part in this kind of practice.
So real people are getting hurt by this theology. I'd like to say there's so much. Bob has a program on television now, and when I heard him a couple years ago for the first time, he had a caller on his radio show who apparently spoke in four or five different voices, and he would carry, like Mike was saying, an ongoing dialog with these demonic spirits. To see his show now is absolutely shocking. To see him bring people up during church services and most, many of these people claim to be Christians, you know, yet having demons control them. It has the whole thing. It has the spitting and the foaming and the weird voices, the angry attacks towards Bob, and yet here's Bob with a microphone, showboating, doing sort of a Vaudeville act, for lack of a better word, with these demon-possessed people. He puts his banter on display, talking to the demons, and saying, "Who else is in there with you?" And bringing all these different creatures to the front. Oddly enough, almost every single demon is, actually, you can find their names in I Peter 4:1-4, as works of the flesh. It's not specific entities in other words, because that takes away the responsibility for our own lives. In other words, if you're having a problem with lust and the wickedness of our flesh, then you could just say, "Well, I have a demon of lust. I need to go get delivered from this demon of lust." And that way you're not, you're not accountable for your sin. The Bible clearly says that's present within you, to be something you struggle with.
(Mike) Almost all the listings of these so-called demons in the categories that they have in these books are listed in Galatians 5 as works of the flesh. A number of years ago a very wise pastor told me that because I was getting involved in these things, going to these conferences, that I was getting enamored by seeing this supposed power display and watching all this firsthand, and I was going "Wow! This is so real." But no, it was a deception and it is all works of the flesh. Now, can the enemy use our weakness of our flesh? Yes, he can. But you know what? The enemy can be nowhere in sight and we could still be struggling in the weakness of our flesh. And we all have certain weaknesses that we need to control and overcome and bring into submission to Christ. And that is the bottom line, surrendering all, our whole being to Christ, so that he can live out His life through us, that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in the things of God. I think it's dangerous and unhealthy to study the names of these demons and their characteristics and start having conversations with them. First of all, where does the New Testament direct us to learn the names of the demons? Even in the Mark 5 passage He didn't ask the name of all the demons who said, "We're Legion." In other words we're an army of them, we're a whole bunch of them. And that's all He needed to know.
(Steve) And incidentally, Jesus had dozens of encounters with demonized persons and nowhere, not once, with the exception of Mark 5, where we have the name of a corporate group that's in this one man, do we see Jesus having ongoing conversations with demonic beings. And we don't see Him trying to interview them, to find out what they're feeling, or how many, you know, all these things. They were, just with a word exorcised. And in fact, according to the Rabbinnic tradition, the Jewish way, of exorcism, back in those days, which was highly ineffective in many cases, was to determine who the demon was, how to get in there, what sin of your past opened the door for this to come and invade you. So when Jesus comes on the scene and with a word, or with a touch, brings complete deliverance, immediate, from His power and authority, it of course caused many waves. But what we see today from Bob Larson, he makes it one of his calls. He says he feels called by God to put the forces of darkness on display, to the ridicule of the people of God. In other words, what he wants to do is have these demons come forward, and then if you watch him do this on this television program, it's an act. People are laughing, because he's joking with the demons, he's insulting them. He's bringing them forward and making them more. He's provoking them, "Yeah? You think you're tough? Ahh, have this or that!"
(Mike) It's shock entertainment.
(Steve) I'd like to say Colossians 2, and then I'll let you speak, Mike. Verses thirteen to fifteen say this, "And you, being dead in your trespasses and of the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Verse fifteen, Jesus Christ being spoken of here, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."
Bob, that's not your place. Your place is not to make a public spectacle of demonic beings. And yet that is exactly what we see him doing, what he says he is called by God to do.
(Mike) The question is, is the cross sufficient enough? What Christ did, is that enough to deliver us? Do we submit ourselves to the cross? Remember He said to deny oneself, pick up your cross and follow him. That is the point Jesus is making. If we do that we are not going to be harassed the way these people are claiming. Yes, we can get, you know, demon activity in our lives. But the thing is we are to resist, submit to God, and the demon has to flee. That's what God has promised. It is an absolute promise by Scripture, and if we stand on that promise, we shouldn't have a problem.
(Steve) He does not call us to be ghostbusters, as it were. I really want to emphasize that to any young people listening to be very, very careful of this area of demonology and the study of Satanic beings. I believe the Bible equips us with the information we need to know. But nowhere does it say go on a rampage against the kingdom of darkness. Don't seek to find demon possessed people and exorcise them. Don't seek out manifestations like this, because you're playing with a dangerous, dangerous element that only Jesus Christ has authority over and we really need to go under the shelter of his wings in these areas.
(Mike) hmm. Now, again, where do we see this in the New Testament? Nowhere. So, let's not go after things where we're not being told in the New Testament.
Now, I've heard a lot of stories about the revivals that are going on all over the world specifically because people have . . .Omar Cabrero call us and his demonic forces in private and in . . .have repeated binding for all this to be done. . .and spiritual warfare. . .an old grandma praying near our house. It's prideful. It's happened over there. The fatal flaw is this type of thinking that appeals to many is that it worked. Something happened, so therefore what they did made it happen. This is plain pragmatism; if it works, it must be right. Argentina is having revival because God sovereignly moved into that country and their hour of visitation has come. We can thank God for that, but let's not attribute it to unbiblical methods.
(Steve) In Second Corinthians, Paul reminds them, don't boast beyond proper limits, and I think that's a really important thing to keep in mind here. It's not a result of your strategic battle in the heavenlies as a person against the powers of darkness and of your binding strongmen. It is a result…coming to the Gospel.
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