Wherever I can, I like to write articles out of current experiences, and if it were not for a recent conversation with a congregation member, I would not have thought that the subject of Spiritual Warfare was still relevant.
In 2010 I wrote on the armour of God and in 2016 on the weapons of our warfare. Therefore, in this article, I want to cite just two examples of what usually goes under the heading of spiritual warfare and then discuss the implications for us.
Binding and loosing, in its spiritual warfare context, is the practice of binding demons, and even the devil himself, from interfering in earthly matters. These matters range from national politics, through church life, to personal afflictions. I wrote about this in 2012 and so I won’t deal with it again here.
Breaking generational curses is the practice of freeing someone from the sins of his or her parents or grandparents. I preached on this in 2013 and you can listen HERE if you like.
Of course, many other beliefs and practices march under the spiritual warfare banner, but they all have similar implications for us as Christians – they cast aspersions on the sufficiency of scripture and on sound biblical interpretation, they distract us from real ministry, and they focus us on unbiblical and specialist ministries.
Aspersions on the sufficiency of scripture and biblical interpretation
When Jesus sent His disciples out as ambassadors, He did not instruct them to first bind any powers and principalities in each town they visited. His command to them was simply; “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (Matthew 10:7-8). Later, when the early church evangelised the world, they followed the same injunction. There is no record in the book of Acts of the Apostles conducting ‘spiritual mapping’ to determine the names of territorial demons controlling an area. There is no mention of prayer meetings designed to bind the identified spiritual powers before evangelising the area. There is no evidence or even inference, that generational curses had to be broken before salvation, healing or deliverance could occur.
So here is the thing – did the Lord Jesus forget to mention these vitally important practices, or did the Holy Spirit neglect to inspire the biblical authors to record Jesus’ and the Apostles’ teaching in this regard? If so then the Bible is insufficient and untrustworthy! Of course, some claim that Jesus did teach binding and losing in Matthew 12:29 and 16:19. Yet when you read these texts in their biblical and cultural context it is obvious that they have nothing whatsoever to do with ‘spiritual warfare’. To believe in and practice these elements of modern-day spiritual warfare is to deny the sufficiency of scripture and to ignore sound biblical interpretation.
Distractions from real ministry
If real ministry to the church and the world consists of such things preaching and teaching biblical truth, pointing people to Jesus and presenting the way of salvation, healing, and casting out demons from the afflicted, then anything else is a distraction. Holding prayer meetings to bind the devil until there is ‘an open heaven’ before evangelising is a pseudo ministry, a distraction, and a waste of valuable time and resources. It is as worthless as holding a prayer meeting to pray about whether or not to have a prayer meeting!
Focus on unbiblical and specialised ministries
When someone suspects that a friend is suffering from some form of demonic influence, they usually call in someone with a ‘deliverance ministry’. Do we find such a ministry in scripture? No. We are all enjoined to cast out demons when we encounter them. Why then do we need an ‘expert’ to do what we are all supposed to do naturally in the power of the Holy Spirit and under the authority of the Lord Jesus? Well, who else has the checklist of symptoms of generational sins? Who else has read the books and been on the training courses? Who else has a special anointing to cast out demons? Where on earth (or under the earth) did we get such notions!
Sometimes the degree of demonic control is so strong that the afflicted person cannot deal with it in isolation. In which case, any mature believer can assist and minister in Jesus name. We don’t need, so-called, deliverance ministries any more than we need spiritual mapping workshops!
Perhaps it is appropriate to end this short article with the words I used to conclude my sermon on generational curses:
‘Perhaps now is the time you need to repent and say “Sorry Lord that I believed all that silly stuff” Or perhaps now is the time to say:
“Thank you Lord that I don’t have to suffer for the idolatrous actions of my ancestors”. “Thank you Jesus that you have set me free from the past… I am a new creation in you… Hallelujah!”’