Question for JerusalemBlade

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by BobVigneault, May 31, 2007.

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  1. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Dear Steve,
    I so appreciate your writings and responses. I appreciate the fact that your geographical location gives you a very different perspective on matters within the church. I have a question regarding some encouragement you gave Raj in another thread. You said:

    I have come up against considerable 'demonic' attack in the past. The pastor of the church I was attending came with a team and they tried to 'deliver' us from the attack. I think they did more harm than good. Looking back from a reformed vantage point (beginning with God's sovereignty) I've concluded that we were wrong in trying to directly engage the 'demons'. You quote Luke 10:19,20, but I would say that Jesus was speaking exclusively to the 72. This was a historical incident and being incidental not a portion of scripture that we should use to build a doctrine of spiritual warfare.

    I am quite aware that Satan's workers are more overt (not that there was anything subtle in what my family witnessed), in more animistic cultures but I am not convinced that direct engagement is prescribed in scripture. Most of what passes for 'deliverance ministry' is based on the experiences of the 'deliverers'. What do you think? :think:
  2. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Bob!

    This is quite a topic, but I “bit it off” so it’s only fair I “chew it”! I’ll try to keep my response reasonable in length.

    As in many spiritual and doctrinal things there is great imbalance in the spiritual warfare arena. On the one hand there is what is called “the spiritual warfare movement”, and on the other the conservative (I should probably say Reformed) “classic” approach to spiritual warfare.

    The former is exemplified by such as Frank Hammond’s Pigs In The Parlor, Don Basham’s Deliver Us From Evil, Benny Hinn, as well as the more conservative Merrill Unger of DTS, and many other non-Charismatics. There is a "Christian" here in my city who operates according to the Pigs In The Parlor schema and seeks to promote sanctification through exorcism. “I will cast out the spirit of smoking (or anger, lust, etc).”

    The latter approach, the “classic”, is seen in such as David Powlison (of CCEF) and his book, Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare (Baker 1995), and Frederick S. Leahy in his, Satan Cast Out: A Study in Biblical Demonology (Banner of Truth 1975).

    Powlison rightly points out in his excellent book that we find deliverance from moral evil through repentance, receptive faith, and active obedience, and not through exorcism, as the root of the evil is moral – is our own and not an outside agent, as a demon – and so must be dealt with by ourselves seeking the grace of God to aid us.

    To my knowledge this subject of spiritual warfare is not directly addressed in either the Westminster Standards or the 3FU.

    Leahy makes clear that the most powerful mode of warfare against the kingdom of darkness is the open proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, and of the kingdom of God. This is true. What is the praying against evil spirits in a locality compared to this? I do see no problem of announcing to the demonic world in one’s prayers the victory of Christ, nor do I see a problem of praying against demons who are deceiving or oppressing an individual, and at the same time asking the Lord for light and repentance for that person. To the person I would address his moral responsibility to repent and believe.

    The 60’s counter-culture brought a new dimension of demonic activity into the world (degree-wise, at any rate) through its use of sorcerous potions and occult practice. In Hindu lands certain devotees use hashish and grass to project themselves into the spirit-world to make contact with spirit-entities (which we know as demons).

    In highly advanced metropolises – the one I know best is NYC – there are groups such as the Santeria and other voodoo cults, as well as covens that practice serious witchcraft, and guru-led groups who connect deeply with demons who energize their spiritual activities, often with significant manifestations of power.

    Again, against such the most powerful warfare is simply the proclamation of Christ, His Person, His work, His power, love – the attributes of His deity….the victorious establishment of the Kingdom of God in various areas through the planting of churches.

    In the things I said to Raj on the other thread, these are my thoughts: the woman “attacked” by a spirit should be counseled by the pastor or a mature saint to discern what was going on. Was there some continued involvement in the occult? A demon cannot rightly attack a believer except through ignorance – deception – or through some sin which gives ground to their operation. The “deliverance” needed here is proper discipleship.

    I do not believe that, as per Luke 10:19, 20, this word is only for the 72 – as though after those days the spirits are no longer subject unto us? The mode of warfare is different after the crucifixion and resurrection; as the Lord said, “…now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (Jn 12:31). And yet, we may well run across individuals who either a) consciously and deliberately traffic with demons and so have their power operating through them (gurus are one class, Satanists, witches, and warlocks another) and it bodes us well to know that there is no demon operating through any human agent who may have the mastery over us; and b) those who are deceived and greatly oppressed or even possessed by a spirit. Not too many of the latter running around in the West – most of them are in psych wards under heavy medications (“chemical restraints”) or in shock therapy. In primitive countries one may see more of them. And the spirits – operating in whichever class – are even in these days subject unto us. I walk in this confidence. The Spirit of the great God dwelleth in me.

    Raj, the church your wife’s family is in needs to be taught of the mighty power that Christ the Lord is unto His church – indeed, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” (Psalm 46:5) And they need to be taught that to walk in godly trust and obedience is to be in the “strong tower… of the name of the Lord” and they are safe in Him (Proverbs 18:10).

    The church of God – that is, we bands of pilgrims who journey through the wilderness of this world en route to the City of God – may look weak and miserable to the world, but the might and wisdom of our King is in our midst. I will be praying that the church you speak of will realize this.

    Bob, as I don’t know the specs of your former situation, I can’t say much. It is true that “deliverance teams” can wreak much damage. But if psychic (or physical) phenomena were happening around me I would fast, and pray, and would have no reluctance to “directly engage” whatever was behind it. But I would not come in “guns blazing” – I would watch, and pray. As David with the giant, aggression is just fine in certain situations.

    Hope this clarifies somewhat.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  3. matthew11v25

    matthew11v25 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Since I am fairly unfamiliar with these issues, could you possibly expound on your comment above? i.e. What about a Job and Satan situation?

    I understand that there are questions surrounding "can demons read our thoughts or only see our actions?" which scripture does not seem to address explicitly, but I am curious to learn more about the role demons may have in a believer's walk.

  4. matthew11v25

    matthew11v25 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I will check out Gurnel. I have never heard of Neil Anderson but I do remember being taught that if demons are around you shout out "be gone in Jesus name!!!". Is this what you meant Trevor?

    Please explain more if you can on the inability of demons to read minds...

  5. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Well put, Trevor. Ephesians 6 gives a lot of help on this. We are told to stand, not charge, and rely upon the protection of God: being surrounded by truth, standing on the gospel, relying on God's actual Word, and praying.

    There are no formulas or rituals for direct engagement here. God is able and we are to trust him, not our own magic skill.
  6. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    This is an excellent post!

    Steve, would you mind if I edited it a bit and posted it on one of my blogs?
  7. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Mr. Rafalsky!

    I know people that are caught up in this. No one takes responsibility for sin. It is alsways a demon's fault.
  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    JD, I would not mind at all.

    Thanks, Ken.


    You know, Ephesians 6, with its sword and wrestling imagery certainly does suggest "direct engagement." About "casting a demon out of oneself," I would agree that is weird; rather one should renounce whatever sin led one into alignment with the will of satan, repent unto God, seek restoration with Him, and walk in trusting obedience.

    Extrication from a long bondage under deception (see below) may take conscious renunciation, resistance to the devil (does not resistance indicate "direct engagement"?), and living according to the Word, and not sensations, etc.



    Responding to your post #3:

    I think the best book – besides the two above I mentioned, by Powlison and Leahy – is War On The Saints, by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts. It was written after the 1904 Revival in Wales, and pertains primarily to deceiving spirits utilizing a) passivity, and b) wrong thinking in order to influence humans. JPL & ER were Calvinistic Methodists (as Martyn Lloyd Jones).

    Many are put off by this book as Mrs. Penn-Lewis (the main writer) says in it that believers may be “possessed”. However, when one understands her use of the word to mean “under the effective control of” rather than “owned and utterly occupied by” it is easier to swallow. I have some caveats about the book, but later for them.

    Let me give some examples: there is currently (it was especially big 10 years ago, but still is large) a movement variously called, The Toronto Blessing, The Holy Laughter Movement, The Pensacola Revival, The Renewal, etc etc. In this counterfeit form of Christian spirituality there are actual demons who impersonate the Holy Spirit, giving (often bizarre) manifestations of psychic power and “presence”. Genuine believers – often Charismatics, but not always – who buy into this take into themselves a spirit which is not of God, but definitely a spirit. Some part of their being is being controlled by a demon. This is a type of possession. To see them is to know there is something amiss, and that what one is witnessing is not merely “of the flesh.”

    If in combat with a man, I get him in a hand and arm hold so that he cannot move, or I can bring him to his knees if I wish, to all intents and purposes I “possess” that man’s arm, I have “effective control” over it, even though I do not “possess” the man. One could also say, “functional control.”

    There are those, who being deceived about the means of guidance by God, allow “phenomena” of sensations or “lights” or “presence” to indicate God giving them directions, and when once allowed “in” more and more ground is sought. To deny the possibility of deception because one is protected by God is, a) to be heedless of the warnings in Scripture about being deceived, and b) to be most vulnerable to it. Penn-Lewis’ Chapter 6 goes into this.

    You folks here at PB perhaps think all believers are as doctrinally sound, psychologically mature, and spiritually discerning as we Reformed folks! But perchance some of you know that there are some wild and wooly scenes in the Christian camp across the land, and across the world, where genuine believers are subjected to bizarre and heterodox influences.

    To briefly bring up another area (and then I must go, and not return till next week, as I need to devote myself to sermon preparation): some of us from the 60’s (“Woodstock”) generation who became genuine believers in the Lord Jesus fell under such inadequate teaching that we backslid for a while (some for a long while). And some reverted temporarily to psychedelic drugs, such as acid, mushrooms, peyote, etc. These are high-powered sorcerous potions, which bring one directly into the spiritual realm apart from the Spirit of God. We, as well as our non-Christian peers, witnessed and experienced many things in the spirit-world. The realm of psychedelia was as bad as, nay worse than, the demon-worshipping lands of Africa, Brazil, etc. We were a nation of sorcerers. Little has been told of it from a Christian perspective. I can think of one book, by Randall N. Baer, Inside The New Age Nightmare (ISBN: 0910311587). He was a prominent New Age leader and teacher, who was converted. He has gone to be with the Lord.

    More later.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Mr. Rafalsky,

    You mentioned the Wales Revival. I haven't studied this but can it be compared to the Azusa St. Revival? Or was Azusa St. more like the Toronto Blessing?

    And the 60s movement you spoke of, was that the 'Jesus Movement'? Or the 'Third Wave'? What about Jesus People? Were they wrapped up in the things you speak of?

    Are halucenegenic drugs normally used in satanic practices?
  10. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

  11. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    JD, that’s a nice job!


    The revival in Wales 1904-5 was comprised to a large extent of Calvinistic Methodists – no Charismatics among them – although there were phenomena that one might find in the Charismatic-Pentecostal circles. In the book she speaks against “tongues,” saying that certain occult/mystical groups also practice this. Azusa was in 1907, and I believe was related to the Wales’ revival, as some later involved in Azusa had visited Wales to see what was going on. One of my caveats about War On The Saints is Penn-Lewis’ view of “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” as a second-blessing type thing, which I understand Lloyd-Jones also held to. She was not pentecostal.

    One of the strong criticisms, from a sympathetic commentator (in The Welch Revival of 1904, by Eifion Evans; pub. by Evangelical Press of Wales; ISBN: 1850490376), is that, although there was indeed an outpouring of God’s Spirit, there was much emotionalism and a scarcity of Biblical exposition in preaching and teaching. Despite Penn-Lewis’ aberrant view of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (which is not much seen in the book – she mistook a genuine visitation of the Lord, such as Jonathan and Sarah Edwards knew, for a bHS), she discerned, along with the Revival’s chief evangelist, Evan Roberts, deceiving spirits taking advantage of an ill-taught people. Edwards saw much the same; at Azusa there were few checks, and we have the Charismatic situation of today!

    From a Pentecostal close to the sources:

    A wiki article with some historical notes, which tie Wales & Azusa St. together:

    The Toronto Experience (it is no blessing!) was based upon this Pentecostal foundation, but is an extreme form of it, which even some Charismatics disown. When I was investigating it in 1995, a Charismatic elder-friend of mine helped pay for publishing a paper I had written against it (another dear friend of mine, a Messianic Jewish pastor, was one of the two men who brought it into our area, and we discussed it long), to protect the various churches in the Ulster County (NY) area, seeing as the TE folks were bent on exporting it to all the congregations! It was, and is, a travesty. And not subtle!

    The 60s movement I spoke of was simply the counterculture / Woodstock generation. Into the midst of that the Lord Jesus waded rescuing a large number of His elect from the strong delusions thereof.

    The Jesus People, among others, did come out of that rescue.

    Hallucinogens – or sorcerous potions, among which I include marijuana and hashish, along with psilocybin mushrooms and peyote – are often used (as I hear, not ever having been a part of such) in various occult activities, from Satanism, to shamanism and across the spectrum of false and dark spiritualities. Even in the 60s, Tim Leary, the first evangelist of LSD, proclaimed it a gateway substance – he called it a sacrament – to divine enlightenment. That was the sell. It was a lie, and multitudes of us perished in the darkness thereof.

    There is a “grandchild” movement of the 60s hippies, often around university towns, often peopled by technologically adept youths, lovers of wilderness and off-trail backpacking, who partake of these drugs. Pockets of precious souls being lured into depths. I think of the American South, Midwest, and West especially. I know such things are distasteful to many, but from thence I came, and these are my people. When I speak of these things in my writings – and speak I do! – it is to reach out to such as one who has been there, and has found the true Enlightenment in the presence and word of Christ Jesus.

    I have not a great surplus of patience for those Christians who in their misbegotten sense of “liberty” promote the “moderate” use of marijuana and other drugs. Grass is a gateway drug to more potent sorceries, and sometimes adequately potent in itself, to propel souls into regions whose depths sometimes brook no return. I set myself against such proselytizers of destruction for the sake of people I love. For these latter say, “If the Christians approve, it cannot be wrong.” And go to their doom.

    I have a book I hope to finish, A Great And Terrible Love, which tells the story of this generation, and our God. It’s not a pretty book – I have sometimes called it the book of terrors and joys – for there are depths therein that are shunned in polite conversation. If it is His will I complete it, He will give me the time and heart to do so.

    When writing on another site about literary criticism vis-à-vis the Kingdom of God, considering the works of poet Kenneth Patchen – particularly his apocalyptic-type poems, “The Lions of Fire Shall Have their Hunting” and “A Vision for the People of America” – I state I see this strain of writing as in a sense prophetic:

    When Patchen warns about/heralds the “poets of death” and the “lions of fire” I realize he cries out just as did the blood of Abel, crying for justice, for vengeance, and not as the blood of the Lamb, for pardon, reconciliation, and acceptance before the court of Heaven. He only knew the former. So, yes, there are indeed the poets of death, who are lions of fire pouring forth judgment – reflecting the disapproval of the Almighty – into the collective consciousness of humankind. An aspect of this judgment is awareness of the human condition. Being called sinners makes no sense to us anymore; we have denied the basis of authority from which such a term makes any sense. But to be called zombies, the living dead, strikes a chord in our hearts, for we know it is so (unless we have been deceived into thinking reincarnation and eventual illumination the truth, more on which later). And when the Holy Spirit so convicts us of being in this ontologic state before the presence of Him who is life – and that eternal life – we will either love Him or rage against Him with the bitterness of the devil himself.

    I think the issues of the gospel in these days will not primarily be in moral terms, but ontological; not in terms of sin and in need of forgiveness, but as being dead and in need of life. How else speak to postmodern man and woman who thinks him- and herself beyond good and evil? To those whose consciences have been seared against all moral constraint, to those who are so sophisticated that they are immune to the old ways of talking of salvation? The understanding of sin will come, but in the presence of life which saves from death, and the holiness that is its essence.

    So the poets of death, pitiless and mighty as lions roaring with fiery breath against the refuges of lies, do indeed appear. But they are also poets of life, emissaries from the land of Heaven, with good news for the damned: the Fountain of eternal life has been opened, and its living waters flow into the regions of the walking dead, that whosoever thirsts, and will, may come and take these waters of life freely, being transformed from monsters into archetypal new beings. Is this fiction? Not on your life.​

    It is true I am a ruling elder in a reformed church – a teaching elder by “battlefield commission” – and I do this for love of the Gospel, Christ’s Kingdom, and souls, but equally I am a poet and writer of the Lord with a commission, I believe, to publish forth the vision of a great and terrible love.

    Pardon my speaking so much of myself, please. I am what I am by the grace of God.

    I consider the book a weapon in the spiritual warfare.

  12. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If the above seems a little far out, let me posit a defense. I hold with Calvin that the Lord is sovereign in all of life. And His kingdom is to be established in every realm. Literature is one such realm. As it stands, the enemies of God have taken the field in the world of letters – yes, there are some excellent poets and writers who are believers out there – but the poet laureates and editors of the world marginalize God’s children into the “religious” category and generally dismiss them with condescension and contempt.

    I will not be so marginalized. And I do have a song to sing, a story to tell. But it is not a religious story; if you haven’t noticed, I am not a religious person. What I write of is a devastation in the human condition that swallows up Eliot’s Wasteland in the depths of the Abyss in the human heart. It is a horror story, at least it in its beginning. And I intend to take the field with the telling of it. This is one example, a critical reflection:

    The burden of Art, especially Poetry, is the establishment — and defense — of Human reality.

    The story I tell of the horror all about, and within many of us, is an antidote to the hype and jive both our culture and we live by. Hear it again: those without the life of God in Christ are the living dead; we project into fiction and myth the figure of the zombie, as though he (and she) were other than we. But the truth is the one without Christ is this walking horror; what he now is does not yet appear, but in the regions of the damned it will be visible, a despised cousin to the demons. The vampire and werewolves are progeny of the zombie, so named according to their feeding habits on the souls of others: subtle drainers of their vitality, or raging devourers of it. Do not be deceived by the glorious and pleasurable skin-coverings of the monsters, for underneath they give (witting or unwitting) fealty to the demon prince who owns them and is their life: self-for-self life.

    We have been invaded by creatures far worse than Sigourney's aliens of modern film; nay, “invaded” does not tell it: impregnated by and transformed into kin of the very demon brood who lurk throughout the pits of Hell. Kafka told a child's tale with his Metamorphosis, and the condition we are in is no tale, no fiction. We have inherited this monstrous nature from our parents, and they from theirs, way back. This is the reality of the “civilization” we inhabit. And this is part of the vision I will proclaim. Some may deny and resist it, but the Lord has given me eloquence, and power greater than the sorcerers and wizards of old (and the gainsayers of today), power to strip the veil of appearances, revealing what is, on earth, in Hell, and in Heaven. (And I am not unique in this, all His poets have this Spirit and power.) The last line of the story “HORROR ON APOKALYPSE FIELD” reads thus:

    Perhaps the greatest horror of Monster World is the pretense we are not monsters, but happy human beings!

    One must start with a true telling of the human condition, and then in the face of such desperate need, the stage is set for a Savior to walk in. The thing about the world of letters, is that it is vulnerable to authenticity of spirit in a tale well told.

    I didn’t mean for this aspect of my career to spill over into PB. Sometimes it’s hard for poets to hold their tongues.

    Pertaining to the world of letters, I think of Jeremiah: “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (20:9)
  13. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for your responses, Mr. Rafalsky! I fear that I have hijacked the thread and I apologize to Mr. V!

    A beautiful statement. As a struggling musician, I empathize with your burden. The human condition is a story that needs to be told, and needs to be told honestly.

    Watching the unsaved human condition in action is so horrifying that you can't look away. I remember reading the 'Rabbit' books by Updike and not being able to put them down! Its like watiching a plane crash on t.v. You can't change the channel.
  14. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    A member of our church gave me this book and i am very much in disagreement with much that is in it. I'm going to try to sit down and talk with the individual who gave it to me. Any suggestions on the kinds of things i should bring up to him?
  15. Raj

    Raj Puritan Board Sophomore

    God's method some time different!


    Althogh we generally command/Pray for the evil spirit to come out or leave the person in Jesus name but some time God uses no "fixed formula".

    As a new believer (1993) I did not know how to pray for casting out the devil or demon. We worshipped one family god, whom we offered a **** and some sweet bread every year. I had heard about his stories from our parents that he exits.
    One day one of my aunt got sick, and finally in the night she spoke that like in a male voice, demanding the 'offerings' promised to him. It was 11pm, the family did not have money to buy the ****. There were about 20 people listening to her.
    I also heard her speaking and went there in curiosity to see and ask something. I took my Bible with me and and asked her (the demon possesed), what is in my hands? The lady said, you are my child, you keep qiet. But I persisted and said I am not your child, I belong to God, but what is in my hands? the lady seemed to be trembling on this question, she had been bold until now, asking the family to offer her but now she began to shook her hands and finally joined them in submission, kind of bowing down. she said, I want to go ....give me the way to go out, So we asked people to move from the way and the demon left and the lady (my aunt), became like dead, tired, she went to sleep), Then I said to all the family members, see the power of God and Bible.
    So I thanked God in my heart, I did not say a prayer of thanks in public. I had no idea.
    The point I'm making here is, some time, in new situaitons God uses all kind of mehtod to do miracle. His ways are great! So some time no particular method.
    I have enjoyed Neil Anderson' books Victory over the darknes, The bondage breaker, I believe in Satans' downfall by Michael Green, and The Adversary by B. Mark.
  16. Raj

    Raj Puritan Board Sophomore

    culture full of stories

    Brother! Praise God for the story! Why these things happen more in India/Nepal and Indonesia, from our context simple reasoin is, we worship uncountable dieties. Whatever comes to our way. It is all supernatural and mostly not out of reverence but due to fear we worship them. We, from our childhood hear the stories of demon possession and our dieties entering in humans and speaking/ dancing.
    Our culture is full of stories and thingsl like that. You know for this reason, I never want to watch any horror movies or book. I hate them. So we have more chances to these 'demons' to disturb lives.
    It is not only true with the tribals and Hindus but with Muslims too.

    Yes, in tribal areas it is more and more. When I went to some tribal areas in our country and Nepal, I observed that every night they do worship, drink/ dance, offer sacrifices, invite people in the celebration. This is part of their life. When they honor thier dieties, it is ok, when they dont or if they forget, they face troubles.
    Missionaries going to these areas for sharing gospel must be ready for spiritual warfare. But we should remember that God is our strength and refuge. Christ is the one who took initiative to fight the evil and we are HIs followers, with HIS promises.
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