Grace Bible Church

4000 E. Collins Rd.   P.O. Box #3762   Gillette, WY  82717   (307) 686-1516


- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -






Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming

Pastor Daryl Hilbert




A.    We know from Scripture that Satan exists and has set up a counterfeit program. He attacks God’s creation (Gen 3:1), God’s Word (Gen 3:1, 4), God’s character (Gen 3:5), God’s truth (1Ti 4:1-5; 2Co 11:14), God’s Christ (2Th 2:9-11), and God’s children (Rev 12:10; 1Pe 5:8).

B.    We also know from Scripture that Satan uses the help of fallen angels who follow him (Rev 12:4; Mat 12:24-26).

C.    We are also taught that there is a spiritual battle waging and the believer is the battlefield and somehow takes part (Eph 6:12).

D.    Many pertinent questions must be answered; but answered biblically.

1.     What can we ascertain about the extent of spiritual warfare?

2.     How then does the believer stand in spiritual warfare?

3.     What aggressive role, if any, does the believer play in spiritual warfare?

4.     Is the contemporary Spiritual Warfare Movement biblically correct?

5.     Are we at the mercy of Satan and his minions unless the leaders of the Spiritual Warfare Movement intervene for us?

E.    Clearly, the believer must face a battle of spiritual warfare.

1.     The believer is indeed engaged in spiritual warfare because Paul, in writing the church in Ephesus writes, “our” struggle (6:12).

2.     The word for “struggle” is the Greek word, pálê, which according to the, Wuest's Word Studies From The Greek New Testament means,


Paul uses a Greek athletic term. Thayer defines as follows: “a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to press and hold down his prostrate antagonist, namely, hold him down with his hand upon his neck.” When we consider that the loser in a Greek wrestling contest had his eyes gouged out with resulting blindness for the rest of his days, we can form some conception of the Ephesian Greek’s reaction to Paul’s illustration. The Christian’s wrestling against the powers of darkness is no less desperate and fateful.


3.     Therefore, the believer is engaged in hand to hand combat with the forces of darkness so to speak, though they are not physical but spiritual forces.

4.     Many make the mistake of focusing only on the human agent or circumstance giving little or no thought to the unseen spiritual forces. On the other hand, there are many who believe that everything, no matter how insignificant, is caused by spiritual warfare. Both can be a hindrance to the believer’s warfare.


There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight (Lewis, C. S., The Screwtape Letters, p. 3).


5.     So what then is the believer’s part? How does the believer combat these spiritual enemies and in what arenas? Should believers take Frank Peretti’s fictional novel, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness as a theological guideline for spiritual warfare? Are we to fight packs of demons in towns, governments, education systems, and churches? Or as some advocates of today’s Spiritual Warfare Movement maintain, are we to seek, confront, bind, cast out demons associated with specific cities and neighborhoods in “territorial warfare?” Before looking at Eph 6:10-17; we will look at the history, elements, and practices of the Spiritual Warfare Movement.




A.    There is an oddity about what we term as, “movements.” They seem to begin as mere whispers of individuals or groups. But the next thing you know, they are full-fledged “movements.” One such movement is the Spiritual Warfare Movement (SWM).

B.    When you look at all factors involved, you can understand why the Spiritual Warfare Movement has become such a dominant movement. There was a time when mainstream Christianity challenged every experience with the Scriptures. Even though there were splinter movements and unpopular groups that were more experiential than biblical, they were not taken seriously. However, these movements were joined by other movements who either accepted their experiences or tolerated them. In time, the Pentecostal Movement, Church Growth Movement, Ecumenical Movement, and today’s contemporary Evangelical Movement have merged in to one dominant movement.

C.    The history of the SWM is quite adequately explained by one of it own proponents, C. Peter Wagner.


1.     It was born out of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movement.


To go further back in the historical context, the holiness movement of the late 1800s and the Pentecostal movement of the early 1900s laid foundations for personal righteousness on one hand and ministry with supernatural signs and wonders on the other. Both of these have continued to play major roles in preparing the church … I believe we will see increasing emphasis on both holiness and power ministries in the years to come. (Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy).


2.     It grew through the Church Growth Movement.


The Church Growth Movement, which I represent, has been blessed by God and has been used to stimulate fundamental changes both in local church ministry and in world evangelization. The movement began in 1955, and for the first 25 years or so under the inspiration of its founder, Donald McGavran, worked on developing the radical new technological aspects of church growth and evangelism, which have been so widely acclaimed. (Wagner, C. Peter, “The Real Battle is Spiritual,” and excerpt from Warfare Prayer).


3.     It was nurtured by the Vineyard Movement.


Around 1980, I began sensing from God that I needed to concentrate on the spiritual dimensions of church growth. Because of my close friendship with John Wimber [founding pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship], who at the time was being called "Mr. Signs and Wonders" by some, I knew that power evangelism would be the first item on my new agenda. I also sensed that after this, prayer would be my next agenda item although, I must admit, at the time I had no clue how prayer might relate to effective evangelism. (Wagner, C. Peter, “The Real Battle is Spiritual,” and excerpt from Warfare Prayer).


4.     It was joined by the Ecumenical Movement.


In the spring of 1989, I began learning about another spiritual dimension relating to evangelism: personal prophecy. I will not go into detail here how individuals such s John Wimber , Cindy Jacobs and Paul Cain helped open this new area of understanding to me except that at the beginning I was somewhat skeptical, but I now believe that the prophetic is a valid and significant ministry in these days.


… I will not relate prophecy in detail here, but the item of the living parable in Manila was a prophetic application of Ecclesiastes 4:12 to my ministry: "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." Dick said he felt god was calling me to serve as a catalyst to help bring together three cords that He desired to weave into a pattern to accomplish His purposes in the years to come. The three cords are the conservative evangelicals, the charismatics and the conscientious liberals. (Wagner, C. Peter, “The Real Battle is Spiritual,” and excerpt from Warfare Prayer).


5.     It was enlarged by Territorial Proponents.


Previous to Lausanne II in Manila there had not been much discussion about how territorial spirits could influence world evangelization even among Pentecostals and charismatics, to say nothing about evangelicals. Although the subject was not part of the overall design of the program committee, five of the workshops at Manila dealt with territorial spirits and strategic-level spiritual intercession. Those who addressed the issue were Omar Cabrera and Edgardo Silvoso of Argentina, Rita Cabezas of Costa Rica, and Tom White and I from the United States. The interest in these workshops exceeded expectations, and I sensed before we left that God wanted me to take some leadership in further research on the subject.

Some in the group are moving ahead on this. John Dawson's excellent book, Taking Our Cities for God (Creation House) is the first analytical and instructional book we have on warfare prayer. Dick Bernal's books such as Storming Hell's Brazen Gates (Jubilee Christian Center) and Come Down Dark Prince (Companion Press) share actual field ministries of warfare prayer. My book, Engaging the Enemy (Regal Books), brings together writings on the subject by 18 Christian leaders such as Tom White, Dick Bernal, Larry Lea, Jack Hayford, John Dawson, Edgardo Silvoso of the Spiritual Warfare Network, Michael Green, Paul Yonggi Cho, Timothy Warner, Oscar Cullmann and others. Cindy Jacob's Possessing the Gates of the Enemy (Chosen Books) is the practical textbook on how we actually do the intercession. The important concept of "spiritual mapping" (see chapter 8) is introduced in George Otis, Jr.'s, The Last of the Giants (Chosen Books).
(Wagner, C. Peter, “The Real Battle is Spiritual,” and excerpt from Warfare Prayer).


6.     It is promoted by C. Peter Wagner.


C. Peter Wagner even goes so far as to say that in engaging territorial spirits as part of our ministry of setting people free to respond to the gospel we have introduced a "spiritual technology" which will bring the greatest power boost in the mission of the church since William Carey's started the Protestant missions movement at the end of the 18th century. Wagner is not alone in advocating strategic level spiritual warfare prayer against territorial spirits as the single most important strategy we can utilize in reaching the unreached, though he is the most commonly cited authority on the topic. (A. Scott Moreau, “Gaining Perspective on Territorial Spirits”)


D.    Mere whispers have been replaced by loud dogmatic teaching. However, this is not teaching from the Scriptures, but teaching from false teachers who believe they have been called by God to pioneer a movement, that even the apostle Paul evidently was not aware of.




A.    A characteristic of this movement is to use common evangelical terms, but with different meanings. This is a sly way of getting others to put down their guard to introduce new teaching. Words like “evangelism,” “intercessory prayer,” and “warfare” are key words in the Spiritual Warfare Movement.

B.    However, “evangelism” really means “power evangelism,” the accompaniment of signs and miracles as a demonstration of God’s power. “Intercessory prayer” is the SWM’s lingo for waging warfare prayer. “Warfare” is the strategy of spiritual mapping territorial spirits.

C.    There is not only a new wave of terms, but a new wave of Christians called the, “Third Wave.” The Third Wave describes an ecumenical group emerging among Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Evangelicals.

D.    The following elements are found in the Third Wave Spiritual Warfare Movement.


1.     Third Wave (term coined by Peter Wagner)


The Third Wave is a new moving of the Holy Spirit among evangelicals who for one reason or another have chosen not to identify with either the Pentecostals or the Charismatics. Its roots go back a little further but I see it as mainly a movement beginning in the 1980's and gathering momentum through the closing years of the 20th century. I see the Third Wave as distinct from, but at the same time, very similar to the first and second waves. They have to be similar because it is the same Spirit of God who is doing the work. The major variation comes in the understanding of the meaning of "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" and the role of tongues in authenticating this. I myself, for example, would rather not have people call me a Charismatic, I do not consider myself a Charismatic, I am simply an Evangelical Congregationalist who is open to the Holy Spirit working through me and my church in any way He chooses. (Wagner, C. Peter, The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, pg. 15)


2.     Power Evangelism


Power Evangelism is a form of evangelism which relies primarily on the supernatural power and gifts of the Holy Spirit for its effectiveness. Although most Christians would believe that a person is brought to faith primarily through the action of God in the person of the Holy Spirit, in this form of evangelism supernatural events such as healings, words of knowledge and speaking in tongues are a demonstration of the power, and therefore the reality, of God. (wikipedia.org)


It is a spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, empowered presentation of the gospel. Power evangelism is preceded and undergirded by demonstrations of God’s presence, and frequently results in groups of people being saved. Signs and wonders do not save, only Jesus and his substitutionary work on the cross saves. Through these encounters people experience the presence and power of God. Usually this takes the form of words of knowledge…healing, prophecy, and deliverance from evil spirits. In power evangelism, resistance to the gospel is overcome by the demonstration of God’s power, and receptivity to Christ’s claims is usually very high (Wimber, Power Evangelism, p. 78,79).


3.     Warfare Prayer (aka. “Intercessory Prayer”)


It seems reasonable to assume that those of us, like me, who come from traditional evangelical wing of the church would do well to be open to learn from our charismatic brothers and sisters. The most fundamental lesson, as I see it, is that they have a more advanced understanding that the real battle for evangelization is spiritual. Signs and wonders, deliverance from demonic powers, miraculous healings, sustained and enthusiastic worship, prophecies and warfare prayer are seen by many of them as the normal outworking of Christianity…The manifestation of this spiritual power in bringing large numbers of people to Jesus Christ speaks for itself. We need only observe what God is doing in the world today to realize that the effectiveness of our evangelistic efforts depends to a great degree on the outcome of the spiritual battles in the heavenly places…
The Scriptures indicate that our chief weapon for engaging the enemy in this battle is warfare prayer.
(Wagner, C. Peter, “The Real Battle is Spiritual,” and excerpt from Warfare Prayer).


4.     Prayer Walking


Spying out the land is essential when warring for a city...Christians should walk or drive every major freeway, avenue, and road of their cities, praying and coming against demonic strongholds over every neighborhood... Even if you don't see instant results, keep the trumpets blowing.. Always remember, God is not slack concerning His promise; the walls will come down! (Engaging the Enemy: How to Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits - C. Peter Wagner, Ventura,CA; Regal , p. 98)


5.     Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare - Territorial Spirits


To see how spiritual mapping fits into the whole evangelistic design, allow me to summarize Ed Silvoso’s six steps for taking a city... [Step] 4. Infiltrate Satan's perimeter. Launch the 'air attack' of specific and strategic intercessory prayer through hundreds of thousands of prayer houses (prayer cells), having the objective of weakening Satan's control over the unsaved, claiming instead a favorable disposition to the gospel. At the same time begin to plant embryonic churches ('lighthouses') in anticipation of an abundant harvest. [Step] 5. Attack and destroy Satan's perimeter. Begin the 'frontal assault.' Launch the spiritual takeover of the city, confronting, binding and casting down the spiritual powers ruling over the region... Disciple new believers through the established lighthouses. (compiled by Sandy Simpson & Mike Oppenheimer, "C. Peter Wagner - Quotes & Notes." Excerpt is from Victor Lorenzo's "Evangelizing a City Dedicated to Darkness," a chapter in C. Peter Wagner's book, "Breaking Strongholds in Your City" (Regal Books, Ventura, CA, 1993). The parenthetical comments are in the original.)


6.     Wagner’s Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare - Territorial Spirits


Ground Level: Person-to-person, praying for each other's personal needs.  Occult Level: deals with demonic forces released through activities related to Satanism, witchcraft, astrology and many other forms of structured occultism. Strategic-Level or Cosmic-Level: To bind and bring down spiritual principalities and powers that rule over governments." (C. Peter Wagner, Confronting the Powers, pp.21-22) 




A.    Along with the elements, there are numerous unbiblical practices by the Spiritual Warfare Movement. These practices stem from either a faulty theology or a misapplication of Scripture.

B.    Most of their ideas revolve around the false assumption that believers have the authority to bind and rebuke Satan. They attempt to assert authority, that even angelic beings do not use.

C.    The following are unbiblical practices used by the Spiritual Warfare Movement.


1.     Binding Satan


A little later on, Jesus repeats His teaching on binding and loosing, and adds, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them' (Mt. 18:20). This seems to be a delegated authority which common believers would be expected to use today. (Wagner, “Spiritual Warfare,” Global Harvest Ministries website)


a)    The passages used by the SWM to support binding demons either have nothing to do with demons or are misinterpreted.

b)    Mat 16:19 and 18:18 have nothing to do with demons. Rather, they specifically speak of the authority of the twelve disciples to exercise church discipline.

c)     Mat 12:29 was Jesus’ explanation to the Pharisees why He did not cast out demons by the power of Beelzebel. In addition, it was not an instruction to His disciples on binding demons.

d)    Therefore, there are no Scriptures instructing us to bind Satan or his demons.


This idea is based on the misinterpretation of three passages: Mt 12:29; 16:19; and 18:18. The context reveals that Mt 12:29 was an illustration of Christ's personal power over Satan — not ours. And Mt 16:19; 18:18 are in the context of fulfilling God's will on earth, including church discipline. (Gilley, “Spiritual Warfare” - Part 3)


Well, that whole thing about binding Satan to me is a lot of hocus pocus that I don’t understand to begin with. They keep talking about binding Satan, I don’t even understand what that means? That isn't even in the Scripture. The only time Satan is bound is in the thousand year millennium, and the Lord is going to do that [Rev 20:2]. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t know who invented that. (Bible Bulletin Board, "MacArthur's Questions and Answers" by: Tony Capoccia)


2.     Rebuking The Devil


When an evil spirit, disease, or evil person is rebuked in the Name of Christ Jesus, it is as if the rebuke comes from the Lord Himself. The scripture says that the Name of Jesus IS the Word of God. Therefore, when Satan or a demonic spirit is rebuked in the Name of Christ Jesus, you are essentially throwing the whole Word of God against them. (Zumpano, Bern, “Spiritual Warfare Prayers”)


a)    In above article, Dr. Zumpano instructed a co-worker to keep rebuking the demon until it was so tormented that it would just leave.

b)    The Scriptures never instruct the believer to rebuke the devil. Michael the archangel defaulted to the Lord’s rebuke of Satan (Jud 9).

c)     In addition, the Scriptures tell us that only the foolish and arrogant revile angelic beings (2Pe 2:10).


Believers are never instructed to rebuke the devil or his demons. The N.T. views rebuking as the sole prerogative of Jesus (Jude 9). As a matter of fact, this is a mark of false prophets (II Pet 2:4-12; Jude 8,9). Why do people rebuke the Devil then? II Pet 2:12 and Jude 10 say they do so because they do not understand what they are doing. II Pet 2:10 suggests that they do so because of arrogance. (Gilley, “Spiritual Warfare” - Part 3)


Now if Michael, who is super angel, who is the champion of all angels, who can handle Satan, you just read revelation 12 and you’ll see Michael can handle Satan, he can handle not only Satan but the whole of the demon host. But the point [in Jude 9]… that is being made is not that Satan is a match for Michael, but that Michael recognized the fearfulness of dealing with the devil, and it’s a warning to the believer to stay away from those things, which are the manifestation of the devil. (Bible Bulletin Board, "MacArthur's Questions and Answers" by: Tony Capoccia)


3.     Pleading The Blood


Satan hates nothing more than to be reminded of the blood of Jesus. The cross is an embarrassment to him. Every soul saved by the blood of Jesus is a further embarrassment to him. Satan cannot stand his ground against the blood of Jesus…In one of the instances I had bound the demons before they had made any noise and was gathering a small team to minister to the woman. One of the team members somewhat routinely claimed the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Just the mention of the blood totally changed the situation from relative quiet into shrieks and screams 'NOT THE BLOOD! NOT THE BLOOD!' While claiming and applying the blood of Christ must not be regarded as some magic formula, it certainly must be recognized as a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare. (Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy)


a)    The only references to the “blood of the Lamb” are found in the book of Revelation.

b)    Rev 7:14 infers the real meaning of the blood of the Lamb which is the cleansing of sin as in 1Pe 1:19.

c)     In addition, Rev 12:11 speaks of overcoming the devil, but overcoming him “because of” or “on account of” (dià with accusative, not “through”) the blood of the Lamb. In other words, on account of Christ’s blood cleansing believers’ sins, they have overcome the devil by being rescued from the dominion of darkness at salvation.

d)    So then, pleading the blood is a pseudo-magical formula that does nothing that Christ has not already accomplished by the work on the cross.


This phrase or idea is found nowhere in the N.T. Christ's blood delivers us from sin. (Gilley, “Spiritual Warfare” - Part 3)


4.     Power Formula: In The Name of Jesus


There are several biblical references which point to the importance of Jesus' name. Mark quotes Jesus as saying that we cast out demons in Jesus' name (Mk. 16:17). John quotes Jesus as saying, 'If you ask anything in My name I will do it' (Jn. 14:14). Paul says that God gave Jesus the name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9), just to mention a few examples…When Jesus invites us to use His name, He transfers divine authority. It is an awesome weapon, but caution is needed…The name of Jesus is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare and it wields tremendous authority, but only if we use it according to His will. (Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy)


By personal experience which God has allowed, I know that the power of evil spirits is real and can have direct influence in the life of a Christian.  I could cite a growing number of personal experiences to verify this, but I will choose only the most dramatic.  Once a month my Sunday School class [Congregational Church], the 120 Fellowship, comes to our house for a night of intercession.  One of those nights two people who have the gift of discernment of spirits sensed something wrong in the house, especially in our bedroom.  So they went upstairs and prayed against the evil they felt was there.

Not long afterward, in the middle of one night when I was away, my wife, Doris, woke up with a terrible fear.  Her heart was pounding.  She opened her eyes to see a luminous green outline of some being in the corner of the room.  She could see a pair of eyes, also luminous green.  She recognized at once that it was a demon and rebuked it in the name of Jesus, commanding it to leave the house.  It moved a few feet to the right, then back again, then disappeared.  Doris went back to bed and slept soundly the rest of the night in complete peace.

The next episode occurred after two members of my Sunday School class, who have a powerful ministry of healing and deliverance, were talking to Doris.  She mentioned the green spirit.  They immediately suggested that they go to our house and check it out.  Because my wife and I were both at work, they got the house key from her and went to our home.

They got out of their car and opened the gate to a small courtyard in front of the house, but they could not go any farther.  Some powerful force was resisting them.  So instead of going to the front door, they entered the garage.  They reported later that on a scale of 1–10 the evil power in the garage was about 9.  There was such a tremendous energy that they could actually smell the evil.  (They had smelled something similar before, so it was not a new experience).  They found the smelly demon and cast it out. (Wagner, “Third Wave” from “Christian Life”)


As a believer, you have a right to make commands in the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding God to a certain extent because it is His Word (Copeland, Our Covenant with God, KCP Publications, 1987, p. 32).


a)    The phrase “in the name of Jesus” is not a formula that sends demons scurrying. The meaning of the phrase signifies the sphere of Jesus’ authority and command.

b)    In other words, when someone is baptized in the name of Jesus, it means that they are being baptized in obedience to the authority and command of Jesus (Act 10:48). When Paul cast a demon out of the slave girl (in the name of Jesus), it was done in accordance with the authority and command of Jesus. The demon left because of Paul’s special ability as a designated apostle of Jesus Christ (Mar 3:15; 2Co 12:12).


5.     Receiving a Word (Rhema)


Pentecostal theologians have made the helpful suggestion of distinguishing the logos word of God from the rhema word of God...The rhema is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books of the Bible. Although it will never contradict the written word of God, it is something we seek directly from the Father. For example, we want to buy a home and we pray, 'God, is this the one?' or we look for a job and pray, "God, please show me if it is your will that I accept his offer.' We pray believing that He will give us the answer. What are commonly (though questionably) referred to as 'words of knowledge' also fall into the rhema category. (Wagner, C. Peter, Engaging the Enemy, pg. 15-16)


The use of the written word of God, the scriptures, is a powerful weapon of warfare as we see in the temptation of Jesus. As a response to all three attacks of the devil, Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures and the devil could not resist…But there is also a spoken word of God, a rhema, which I will explain in more detail later one. At this point I simply want to indicate that hearing a fresh, spoken word of God is an important part of using the sword of the Spirit. (Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy)


How do we know if a rhema word is valid? How do we know that what we are hearing is not just our own imagination or, worse, something generated by the world, the flesh, or the devil?... Spiritual gifts, such as the gift of prophecy or the gift of discernment of spirits come into the picture at this point. They are extremely helpful. So are experience and Christian maturity and holiness and personal intimacy with God. These go a long way in providing assurance to an individual such as the woman who had the word about he intestinal disease. (Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy)


Then in 1983, John Wimber received a rhema word from God that the root cause of my headaches had been a demon and that I was to drive it out myself rather than ask someone else to do it for me. I obeyed. I cast out the demon in the name of Jesus, and I have not suffered any such headaches since that day (Wagner, Confronting the Powers).


a)    Charles Farah, in an attempt to give biblical credibility to mysticism and experience noted the two different Greek words, for “word.” The two words are lógos and rhêma.

b)    Lógos, Farah claimed, becomes rhêma when it speaks to you. Farah’s idea of speaks does not mean teach or become insightful, but infers that the Holy Spirit takes any message of the N.T., whether in context or not, and prophecies a healing or manifestation to you.

c)     First, the Bible never promotes itself as some a sort of wee gee board. God’s will has to do with the understanding and wisdom of the Scriptures (Eph 5:17 “foolish” - áphrōn - lit. “without mind”).

d)    Secondly, lógos usually denotes the corporate or entire body of a writing (Heb 4:12; 1Jo 2:14), whereas rhêma denotes a particular word or phrase in the lógos (Mat 4:4; Eph 6:17).

e)     Rhêma may be practical and applicable, but is anything but mystical and experiential.


6.     Inherited Curses


The Word of God hints that when demonic powers get their hooks into a person’s life, a problem of a transfer to succeeding generations is created. These fallen angels can control a human person only as long as that person lives. When he dies, the demonic powers continue to live. Seeking to continue their mission for Satan, they look to the most direct claim for their next work: this seems to be the deceased person’s children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Thus demonization becomes a generational problem. (Mark Bubeck, The Rise of Fallen Angels, pg. 45)


a)    When it comes to ancestral curses, once again, the SWM has misinterpreted the Scriptures in Exo 20:5.

b)    We would all agree that sin can have an influencing affect to the third and fourth generation. But influence is completely different from a “curse.” The next verse shows that such influence is stopped when faith in God is exercised. At that point, God shows lovingkindness, not cursing.

c)     Furthermore, Eze 18:20 teaches that each individual will bear his own punishment and not the punishment of an ancestor.


    There are [three] reasons why this is not accurate:

1) Salvation delivers us from all sin — including occultic sins. The Bible does not recognize occult sin as a special category that has not been dealt with at the cross.

2) Ex 20:5 refers to the choice of each successive generation to follow after the sins of their ancestors. Ezek 18:10-20 says that we will each be dealt with according to our own sin.

3) Ex 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10 deals with Israel — not the church. (Gilley, “Spiritual Warfare” - Part 3)


It seems clear from the passage that the basis of God’s judgment or blessings are based upon the choice of each successive generation’s decision to follow after the sins of their ancestors. Thus, the mode of transmission of the sins is not because the children are under a curse from sin committed by the parent. Instead, the sin is conveyed through the child learning the sin patterns from his parents and choosing generation after generation to persist in them. A mystical or curse transmission is not taught or implied from the text! Ezekiel 18:2-20 says that God curses each Israelite individual for his own sins and not specifically because of something that their fathers have done ... In fact there is not one example in the entire Bible of a saved person being under a satanic curse, which had to be ‘broken’ by Christian exorcism or distinct confession. (Thomas Ice, Biblical Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 2, March-April 1992, “An Examination of False Spiritual Warfare Cliches,” pg. 5.)


7.     Raising the Dead


I too now believe that dead people are literally being raised in the world today. As soon as I say that, some ask if I believe if it is normative? I doubt if it would be normative in any local situation but it probably is normative in terms of the universal Body of Christ. Even though it is an extremely uncommon event I would not be surprised if it were happening several times a year. ( C. Peter Wagner, as cited in Charismatic Chaos - Part 5, Does God do Miracles Today?, Copyright 1991, by John F. MacArthur, Jr.,)


Now, with the supposed large number of people being raised from the dead, you would imagine that somebody could manage to come up with one who could give testimony to the validity. But not one modern occurrence of raising the dead can be verified. You say, "What about Oral Roberts' claim the he has raised many people?" Well, he was challenged to produce the names and addresses of the people he raised and he balked. Later he recalled only one incident more than 20 years before when he had supposedly raised a dead child in front of 10,000 witnesses. "During a healing service," he recalled, "A mother in the audience jumped up and shouted, 'My baby is dead!'" Roberts said he, "prayed over the child and it jerked, it jerked in my hand." Roberts conceded that neither that child nor others he said he had brought to life had been pronounced clinically dead. "I understand," he hedged, "there is a difference in a person dying and not breathing and a person being clinically dead." (MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, Ch 5)


8.     New Apostolic Age


 I believe that the government of the church is finally coming into place and that is what the Scripture teaches in Eph. 2, that the foundation of the church is apostles and prophets. Previous to this decade of the 80's and the 90's we practically ignored prophets and apostles and now we’re seeing, what I believe is a major reason.  We’re going to new levels in prayer. We’re going to new levels in the spiritual. We’re going to new levels in healing and miracles. We’re going to new levels in deliverance of demonic deliverance. And so this is the new era we are going into and I don't know if it is coincidental or what, but its just as we are moving into the new millennium.” (C. Peter Wagner, CBN interview Jan. 3, 2000)


a)    This view is in keeping with the Charismatic theology called, “Dominion Theology.” Dominion Theology espouses that believers are to take power over Satan and his demons and exercise dominion over the institutions of the world infiltrated by demons. Such dominion is exercised through binding demons, pleading the blood, and engaging in spiritual territorial strategy. This theology is the heart of the Spiritual Warfare Movement. It should be because they are made up of the same individuals and groups.

b)    In addition, the Third Wave resurgence of the office of apostle is unbiblical because one of the criteria for being an apostle was having both seen and been commissioned by the resurrected Christ (1Co 9:1). Do these new apostles claim to have seen and been commissioned by the risen Lord? They may claim it, but they do so in a dangerous and fallible manner that proves they are not apostles (cp. Deu 18:22).




A.    The End Justifies the Means


1.     How does a movement digress down the wrong path? It venerates experience over the Bible, it reinterprets the Scriptures, and it embraces an ends-justifies-the-means philosophy.


“we ought to see clearly that the end does justify the means. What else possibly could justify the means? If the method I am using accomplishes the goal I am aiming at, it is for that reason a good method. If, on the other hand, my method is not accomplishing the goal, how can I be justified in continuing to use it?”

(C. Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Grow - Seven Vital Signs Of A Healthy Church, pg. 137)


2.     To be fair, Wagner does include a “proviso” in his ends-justifies-the-means comment, which states that we cannot compromise doctrine or ethics. The problem is the movement is already reinterpreting doctrine and taking experience over truth. Therefore, their ends are justified by their unbiblical means. John MacArthur comments on Wagner’s proviso,


Biblical correctness is the only framework by which we must evaluate all ministry methods. Any end-justifies-the-means philosophy of ministry inevitably will compromise doctrine, despite any proviso to the contrary. If we make effectiveness the gauge of right and wrong, how can that fail to color our doctrine? Ultimately the pragmatist’s notion of truth is shaped by what seems effective, not by the objective revelation of Scripture. (MacArthur, J., Ashamed of the Gospel : When the Church Becomes Like the World, electronic edition)


B.    The Necessity of a Loop-hole


1.     It is not surprising that the proponents of SWM make outlandish claims of deliverance such as bringing down the Berlin Wall, deposing Manuel Noriega, and lowering the crime rate in Los Angeles, etc.


10 million Japanese will come to Christ by the year 2000; it helped to bring down the Berlin Wall and opened Albania to the gospel; it deposed dictator Manuel Noriega; it lowered the crime rate in Los Angeles and broke the power of demons over Japan (C. Peter Wagner, Breaking Strongholds in Your City, 1993, p.25)


2.     But what is surprising is the fact that the proponents of the SWM deem it necessary to provide a loop-hole when things don’t work.


It Doesn't Always Work!

Almost any of us who can tell stories like the two I have told above can tell even more stories in which binding and loosing have not accomplished the desired results. Why is this?

There must be many reasons, and I do not profess to know them all. It does seem to me, however, that there may be both external and internal reasons for failure.

Externally, it is very simple. Satan obstructs the process. We are told that he 'walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' (1 Peter 5:8). Obviously he is not omnipresent, so he obstructs us from accurately discerning the will of God through demons of different ranks. The higher the rank of the evil spirit, the more spiritual power is needed to bind it. Unfortunately many who shout in churches or in rallies on television, 'I bind you, Satan!' are operating on such a low level of spiritual power tat they are not accomplishing much more than making noise. While we are assured that Satan is ultimately defeated, we run a great risk when we underestimate his cunnings and power. Nevertheless, when we find that we are impotent in binding and loosing, we do well to search for a possible cause in the spirit world.

Internally, it is quite possible that those of us who are attempting to do spiritual warfare are not properly submitted to the lordship of Christ. His authority and power flow through us only when we maintain an intimate relationship with Him. To the degree that we are not living holy lives we can expect a reduction in spiritual power. It is all too easy for any of us to revert to using carnal, rather than spiritual, weapons in our lives and ministries. When we do, binding and loosing has little effect.
(Wagner, C. Peter, “Spiritual Warfare,” and excerpt from Engaging the Enemy).


71 percent of the people I have prayed for over the last two years are still sick to some degree after the prayer is over. . . . I don’t think this is strange. . . . I have heard John Wimber [another advocate] say on occasion, “More people I pray for are not healed than are” (C. Peter Wagner, How to Have a Healing Ministry, p. 257).


3.     I cannot help notice that a 71 percent failure rate is poor odds for pragmatists and those who suggest the end justifies the means. Obviously, there are ways to get around serious objections. I guess that is why they call them loop-holes.


C.    Christ Has Defeated the Devil and His Demons


1.     I am thankful that believers do not have to depend upon the present day SWM for victory in Christ and victory over the devil. Believers can rely upon the writings of Paul and other Scriptures to understand spiritual warfare.

2.     Paul never once refers to spiritual mapping, binding demons, mystical rhema, and inherited curses.

3.     Victory over the devil comes from the finished work of Christ and admonitions to put on the armor of God.

4.     As for Christ’s victory over Satan, the Scriptures tell us that:

a)    Christ has destroyed the works of the devil (1Jo 3:8). Though Satan is still active, his ultimate purposes will never be accomplished and his demise is guaranteed (Rev 20:10).

b)    Christ has rendered the devil powerless from overcoming the believer (Heb 2:14).

c)     Satan has already been judged (Joh 16:11) and defeated (Joh 12:31).

d)    Christ has prayed for believers to be kept from the evil one (Joh 17:15).

e)     Christ still intercedes for the believer (cp. Luk 22:31; Rom 8:34).

5.     Though Christ has defeated Satan and the war has been won, Scripture tells us that the spiritual battle will rage on. However, Scripture also instructs the believer that his part is to put on the armor of God and stand firm. The remainder of this study will concentrate on the believer’s armor (Eph 6:10-18).




A.    The Believer’s Struggle in Spiritual Warfare (12)


1.     The believer is indeed engaged in spiritual warfare. Paul writes to the Ephesian church about “our” (the believer’s) struggle.

2.     The word for “struggle” is the Greek word, pálê, which according to the Wuest's Word Studies From The Greek New Testament says,


Paul uses a Greek athletic term. Thayer defines as follows: “a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to press and hold down his prostrate antagonist, namely, hold him down with his hand upon his neck.” When we consider that the loser in a Greek wrestling contest had his eyes gouged out with resulting blindness for the rest of his days, we can form some conception of the Ephesian Greek’s reaction to Paul’s illustration. The Christian’s wrestling against the powers of darkness is no less desperate and fateful.


3.     Therefore, the believer is engaged in hand to hand combat with the forces of darkness, which are not physical but spiritual.

4.     Many make the mistake of focusing only on the human agent or circumstance giving little or no thought to the unseen spiritual forces. On the other hand, there are many who believe that everything, no matter how insignificant, is caused by spiritual warfare. Both can be a hindrance to the believer’s warfare.


B.    The Believer’s Enemies in Spiritual Warfare (12)


1.     Eph 6:12 informs the believer what or who his enemies are. In fact, a chain of command is given to describe the hierarchy of enemies in the spiritual realm.

a)    First, there are “rulers” (archế) who have a chief position to inferior spirits. They are the preeminent commanders in Satan’s army.

b)    There are “powers” (exousía) who are the evil “authorities” of the unseen world. Apparently, there are demons who answer to them.

c)     Then there are the “world forces of this darkness.” “World forces” (kosmokrátōr) would suggest strong regimes in this world’s dark affairs.

d)    Finally, there are “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” These are hordes of evil spirit beings (pneumatikós) of the kingdom in the air (Eph 2:2).

2.     If nothing else, believers are made aware of the high-ranking organized onslaught of spiritual beings under the revolting command of Satan. Their enemy is Christ and those who are followers of Christ.

3.     Yet, nowhere is the believer instructed to seek out demonic territories, bind demons, or break generational curses. However, the believer is not left without instruction concerning spiritual warfare. That instruction is given in Eph 6:10-17.


C.    The Believer’s Strength in Spiritual Warfare (10)


1.     Paul reserves the end (“finally” loipós) of his letter to instruct the Ephesians about spiritual warfare.

2.     He does not instruct them to rely on their own strength but on the strength (from endunamóō - Eng - “dynamite” - dynamic power) of the Lord. It is an imperative and they are to, “keep on being strong in the Lord.”

3.     Two other synonyms are used to describe the Lord’s dynamic power. “Strength” (krátos) refers to the impact of God’s power (Eph 1:19). “Might” (ischús) implies strength that is inherent to God.

4.     The believer relies upon the inherent, dynamic, and all-sufficient power of the Lord for the battle in spiritual warfare.

5.     The believer stands in God’s strength in order to stand firm against the devil. The believer is able to do so with the armor of God.


D.    The Believer’s Armor in Spiritual Warfare (11, 13)


1.     The believer is commanded to “put on” (endúō - to clothe or dress) the armor of God (11) in order to stand firm.

a)    It is an imperative for the believer and not an option. It is in the middle voice and is the believer’s responsibility to put on the armor. It is in the aorist tense and is to be done once and for all. Some have taught that the believer daily is to put on each piece of the armor through prayer. But there is never a time when the believer is to be without his armor. It is to be on and kept on.

b)    “Armor” (panoplía - “full armor”) is the full protective battle gear of the Roman soldier. Each piece protects a vital area of the soldier’s body so that, though he may be wounded, he can escape death.

c)     Each piece of the armor of God will prevent the believer from falling and defeated by Satan.

d)    The believer’s main objective is to “stand firm.” “Stand” (hístemi - to stand, hold one’s ground, be established), is used three times in these verses (11, 13, 14).

e)     The believer is to stand firm against the “schemes” (methodeía - trickery, crafty, cunning, deception) of the devil. The devil’s schemes include false teaching (Eph 4:14; 2Co 11:14) and any tactic that would cause the believer to fall into sin (1Ti 3:7; 2Co 2:11).

2.     The believer is commanded to take up the armor of God in order to resist the devil (13).

a)    The believer is commanded a second time (“take up”) with an aorist imperative, which means that the armor is taken up, put on, and never taken off. The believer must always be on guard and always in uniform.

b)    In addition to standing firm, the believer is also to “resist” (anthístemi - oppose, refuse to yield; From the same root as “stand”, therefore, to withstand or stand one’s ground). Therefore, the Scriptures are explicit in teaching the believer’s responsibility. It is not to be on the offensive toward the devil, but through the Lord’s power, withstand the devil’s attacks.

c)     A similar admonition is given in James 4:7. The believer is to “resist” (same word) the devil. He is to stand his ground and withstand the enemy’s onslaught. Scripture tells us that the result will be that the devil will flee from us.

d)    However, in James 4:7, the first step is to submit to God. The believer cannot attempt to resist the devil without first submitting to God. “Submit” (hupotássō) means to arrange oneself under the authority of another. The believer is to place himself, his thoughts, words, and actions under the direction of the Word of God. Then he can resist the devil.

e)     In Ephesians 6:13, the believer not only is to resist the devil, but resist in the “evil day.” The “evil day” could refer to the evil, which exists in our day and age. On the other hand, it could possibly be a day when Satan himself visits a particular believer.


E.    The Believer’s Individual Pieces of Armor in Spiritual Warfare (14-17)


1.     The Belt of Truth


a)    The letter to the Ephesian is one of Paul’s Prison Epistles. A Roman soldier was assigned to Paul (Eph 6:20). As Paul views the pieces of the soldier’s armor, he sees a spiritual analogy of the believer’s spiritual weapons (Isa 59:17). There are six pieces in all: a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword.

b)    The soldier’s loose fitting tunic was wrapped with a belt when he wanted to be ready for battle. He would also be able to hang his sword from his belt.

c)     The loins are that part of the body, which allows the soldier to stand. So in a sense, God is telling Christian soldiers to be girded in such a way that they are able to stand firm. This is the third usage of the word “stand” in these passages. Here it is an aorist imperative suggesting that it is mandatory that the believer take his stand once and for all.

d)    Furthermore, the Christian soldier is girded with truth. Truth in doctrine is necessary in the Christian so that the believer will not fall into false teaching.

e)     However, here, “truth” (alếtheia without the article) is subjective and practical truth as in “truthfulness.” Honest integrity is necessary so that the believer’s testimony will not be hindered.

f)     The believer is to “stand in truthfulness.” Lying is one of the temptations that Satan uses to cause believers to fall. In doing, they discredit the Gospel.

(1)   In Pr 6:16-19, there are seven things that the Lord hates. “Shedding innocent blood”…”devising wicked plans”…”running to evil” are mentioned. However, “lying” is mentioned right along side of these.

(2)   In fact it is mentioned again in the form of bearing “false witness” (Pr 6:19).

(3)   Why does God hate lying? The reason is that God is a God of truth. He desires that man have complete trust in His truth (Rom 3:4).

(4)   As new creatures in Christ, we are to lay aside the old self with it practices, including lying (Col 2:9).

g)     If we are not people of truth, the rest of the armor and sword can become unhinged and Satan can gain a foothold. Unless we practice the truth, we cannot use the sword of the Spirit (Word of Truth).


2.     The Breastplate of Righteousness


a)    The breastplate was made of metal plates and chains. It covered the body from neck to waist and protected the soldier’s vital organs. He could survive, being wounded in other places on his body. But without a breastplate, a wound to that area was usually fatal.

b)    The believer is to stand in his righteous standing in Christ (Justification cp. 2Co 5:21). If an individual does not have Christ’s righteousness, then he never stood at all.

c)     Righteousness also describes the believer’s behavior (Eph 4:24). The Holy Spirit works in and through the believer to live righteously by God’s righteous standard (Rom 8:4).

d)    Satan can defeat a believer when his conscience is wounded by unrighteous deeds. Therefore, James appeals to our conscience to do the right thing (Jas 4:17). Believers are to have a clear conscience in obedience to authorities (Eph 6:1 cp. Rom 13:1-5 cp. 1Pe 2:14-15). Even when the believer must suffer for doing the right course of action he is to remain faithful (1Pe 2:20).

e)     If we are not people of righteousness, then we will be defeated in a vital area of our spiritual lives. In addition, we will not be able to communicate God’s vital message of Justification.



3.     The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace


a)    The soles of the Roman soldier’s shoes were pleated with hobnails in order to gain solid footing. A soldier’s armor only protected him as long as he was in a standing position. If a soldier fell down, he was in an extremely vulnerable position.

b)    The believer has been exhorted three times to “stand” in these verses. When a Christian soldier falls down, it has immense spiritual consequences. Standing is the primary action in our spiritual warfare.

c)     The believer is to have his feet prepared with the Gospel of peace (eirếnê). This first suggests that the believer must be fully aware of his peace with God through Christ (Rom 5:1).

d)    But the believer must also be prepared to stand and share the Gospel with the lost (Isa 52:7 cp. Rom 10:15). Satan was defeated by the cross, and when a person trusts in Christ, they are delivered from the “dominion of darkness” (Col 1:13).

e)     Believers are not only soldiers of God’s peace, but ambassadors of God’s peace (2Co 5:18-20).


4.     The Shield of Faith


a)    Paul instructs the Ephesian church to add more armor to these pieces. Now they are to add the “shield of faith.”

b)    The shield that they were to have was the Roman thureós. A thureós was a large oblong shield with four corners. It differed from the small circular shield called an aspís (Lat. Clypeus). It measured aprox. four and a half feet by two and a half feet. The smaller shields were for offensive maneuverability while the larger shields were primarily for defensive strategy. It is interesting that Paul chose to illustrate the defensive shield for the believer’s spiritual warfare. The Roman soldiers lined up shield to shield to protect themselves and the archers behind them.

c)     The believer’s shield is his faith. “Faith” (pístis) comes from the Greek root peíthō, which means to be persuaded or have confidence. The believer’s faith is not a blind leap; rather it is confidence that has been persuaded by the Word of God (Rom 10:17; Heb 11:1). It is faith in God’s truth that extinguishes the devil’s fiery arrows.

d)    The shields were made of thick wood and covered with metal or treated leather. Both of the outside coverings were designed to extinguish flaming arrows.

e)     It tells us that the evil one shoots flaming arrows at the believer. The word “flame” comes from the Greek word puróō, which means to set on fire or burn. Much like the arrows with burning pitch, these arrows burn and continue to burn (perfect participle). They could be doubts, blasphemies, misgivings, disappointments, discouragements, half-truths, and all-out lies from the evil one.

f)     When we believe Satan’s false teaching and lies, his arrows are able to penetrate. However, it is knowledge of God’s Word and faith in God’s Word that can extinguish all of these (Pr 30:5-6).

(1)   What is God’s battle plan? Not a so-called power encounter. Not zapping the demons on the road. It is simply this: Consistently trusting and applying what you know to be true about God to the issues of life. If you don’t trust God, you don’t know Him well enough. The more you know God—through studying His Word, meditating on His majestic person, and praying to Him—the more you will trust Him. If you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and believe He is who He claims to be, and that all His promises are true, you will stand in the place of greatest blessing. When the flaming missiles come, grab your shield by trusting God implicitly. There’s no reason to lose the battle, for “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us”  (Rom. 8:37). (MacArthur, J., How to Meet the Enemy)


5.     The Helmet of Salvation


a)    The next piece of armament mentioned is the “helmet of salvation.” The Roman soldier’s helmet was made of solid-cast metal or leather with patches of metal. The helmet would protect the head from arrows and broadswords.

b)    The meaning of the helmet of salvation applies specifically to the mind. The believer’s battle is first in the mind (2Co 11:3). It is sad but many Christians take an anti-intellectual position toward Christianity.

c)     The Scriptures have much to say about the battle of the mind.

(1)   Preparation for action is in the mind (1Pe 1:13).

(2)   The mind can be defiled (Tit 1:15).

(3)   The mind is to be set on heavenly things (Col 3:2).

(4)   The spirit of the mind is to be renewed (Eph 4:23).

d)    Another area that Satan can attack the mind is in assurance of salvation. The doctrine of Security teaches that God keeps those He saves (Rom 8:38-39). The doctrine of Assurance is when a believer is fully convinced of God’s promises of security. Assurance of salvation is not a feeling, rather it being assured by Scripture when a person has trusted in Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins (1Jn 5:11-13). Scripture also gives evidences that are to be in a true believer’s life (1Jn 3:9; 5:18). It is difficult for any believer to be assured of his salvation while living in sin and disobedience. If Satan is able to cause a believer to doubt his salvation, then the believer will not be able to go forward in the Christian life.

e)     The believer has his mind protected when his mind is set on heavenly things, when he has assurance of salvation, and when he has confidence of his future home in glory.

f)     The believer is able to deal and cope with anything Satan can hurl at him because no suffering is worthy to be compared to the believer’s future glory (Rom 8:17-18).


6.     The Sword of the Spirit


a)    Paul gives the last piece of his battle protection and it is the, “sword of the spirit.” Paul also gives the interpretation of his metaphor that the sword is the Word of God.

b)    The Greek word for “sword” is máchaira and refers to the soldier’s short sword or dagger used for hand-to-hand combat. The larger broadsword, which is not mentioned here, is the rhomphaía.

c)     The believer must be intimately acquainted with the Word of God. Otherwise, he will not be able to use it effectively in spiritual warfare. Satan may be able to defeat a believer but he cannot defeat God or His Word. For this reason, Paul admonished the believer to be “strong in the Lord” and carry His Sword.

d)    The Word of God is sharper than any man-made sword (Heb 4:12). It is able to defeat demons and change the heart of man.

e)     Jesus used the sword of the Spirit to ward off Satan’s temptations in Mt 4:4ff. It was not a matter of quoting any verse(s), but specific verses (rhema) opposing Satan’s lies.

f)     John writes in 1Jn 2:14 that believers are strong through the Word and are able to overcome the evil one.

g)     One of Satan’s lies is being promoted in the Spiritual Warfare Movement. It is the lie that God’s Word is not powerful enough in and of itself to defeat Satan. Another lie is that the Word of God does not give believers all the instruction they need to engage in spiritual battle. Instead, believers must be instructed by the proponents of the Spiritual Warfare Movement. In all reality, the Scriptures do tell the believer he has everything he needs for spiritual life and godliness through the precious promises in God’s Word (2Pe 1:3-4). This include the believer’s spiritual armor which is to be worn in spiritual warfare.



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