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Fall 2000 · Vol. 29 No. 2 · pp. 125–41 

Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare in Historical Retrospect

Gerald Ediger

Spiritual warfare has been a subject of increasing concern among Christians and especially Evangelicals during the past decade. These concerns have given rise to a variety of expressions, such as the “Statement on Spiritual Warfare” issued by The Intercession Working Group of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in 1993, 1 and a book by Clinton E. Arnold, Three Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare in 1997. 2 This essay addresses one dimension of such concern, namely, the degree to which spiritual warfare, and especially strategic-level spiritual warfare (SLSW), is a recent innovation without a longer-standing provenance in the history of Christianity.

A consistent linkage of overt, deliberate, and aggressive confrontation against the demonic with considerations of territory, human spiritual bondage, and evangelism is evident across the Christian era.

Proponents of SLSW are sensitive to the charge that they are engaging in dangerous invention, delving into occult spheres in a manner unsanctioned by the larger Christian tradition. 3 Some critics, friendly to spiritual warfare as a whole, nevertheless have serious reservations about SLSW, including the degree to which it is to be found as an historic practice of the Christian Church. 4 Without engaging the debate as to the appropriateness or the efficacy of spiritual warfare in general or SLSW in particular, the present discussion addresses the question of the historical provenance of spiritual warfare, especially SLSW, and this particularly in the modern period. {126}

THE APPROACH TAKEN BY THIS ESSAY

Two suppositions lie in the background of this essay. One of the factors highlighted by the Lausanne “Statement on Spiritual Warfare” in accounting for the contemporary prominence of the issue is the growing credence being extended to Christians of the non-Western world in matters related to missiology and considerations of cosmology and worldview. 5 An example of such growing credibility is the work of missiologist Paul Hiebert in describing the middle sphere of created spirits which secularized, Western Christians have excluded from their cosmological framework. 6 The present essay assumes the ontological reality of Hiebert’s middle sphere.

Secondly, historian Jeffrey Burton Russell sees denial of the demonic, and by extension of Hiebert’s middle sphere as well, by many in the modern West as a form of “chronocentrism,” a prejudice attributing superior status to the worldview of one’s own time as compared to worldviews traceable to other periods of history. 7 Here, the tendency toward chronocentrism is resisted.

The following exposition recognizes that spiritual warfare in various forms has been an enduring dimension of Christian thought and practice up to the beginning of modern Christianity, and suggests that it has persisted through the modern period. What some might consider to be a new fundamentalist Christian demonology 8 is more probably a recent reappropriation of beliefs and attitudes that have continued despite the supposed disenchantment of nature and history 9 and the widely-assumed secularization of Western culture as a consequence of the Enlightenment. 10 More particularly, it will become evident that at least one dimension of SLSW, the explicit linkage of spiritual warfare to territorial dimensions, is also evident in a series of instances in the Christian past. Within the terms of reference of their own worldview and cosmology, it is not unusual for Christians to think of spiritual warfare in geographical terms.

TYPES OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE

It remains to place strategic-level spiritual warfare into the larger framework of spiritual warfare as a whole. The published use of the term “spiritual warfare” as such can be traced back at least to 1970 when Michael Harper, a leader of the British charismatic renewal, wrote a book with that title. For Harper, spiritual warfare was a part of the charismatic renewal from its beginning in the 1960s. 11 Spiritual warfare activity can be characterized on a continuum encompassing at least four dimensions graduated from the more personal to the more corporate. Thus, at one end of the continuum lies the maintenance of personal {127} spiritual disciplines in overcoming Satan. 12 Extending beyond the individual, the ministries of exorcism and deliverance have been offered by clergy and congregations since the early church. 13

Moving outside the visible parameters of the institutional church, more public and increasingly corporate expressions such as processions, prayer walking, and praise marching have seen a more recent resurgence. 14 At the further end of the continuum, however, is strategic-level spiritual warfare, a form that overtly links the cosmic and spiritual dimensions with the historical, territorial, socio-economic, and political dimensions of cities and nations. 15

Within a more contemporary frame, C. Peter Wagner describes a continuum of warfare prayer developed by his International Spiritual Warfare Network. 16 For Wagner, spiritual warfare is distinguished according to the nature and ranking of the demonic beings being confronted. “Ground-level spiritual warfare” refers to the ministries of deliverance and exorcism. Secondly, “occult-level spiritual warfare” seeks to confront an order of demonic beings that Wagner says are especially manifest in activities such as Satanism, Freemasonry, and shamanism. Finally, “strategic-level spiritual warfare” aims to locate, identify, and remove beings at the top of the demonic hierarchy. Thus, according to Wagner, SLSW

describes confrontation with high-ranking principalities and powers such as Paul writes about in Ephesians 6:12. These enemy forces are frequently called “territorial spirits” because they attempt to keep large numbers of humans networked through cities, nations, neighborhoods, people groups, religious allegiance, industries or any other form of human society in spiritual captivity. 17

For many Christians, the idea of historic demonic strongholds exerting occult domination over geographically defined communities seems to verge on the bizarre and the paranoid. Other Christians are convinced that spiritual warfare is indispensable to the urgent work of evangelization and community transformation.

THE GLOBAL MARCH FOR JESUS

These divergent perspectives on spiritual warfare are illuminated by an episode in the early days of Global March for Jesus. The first large scale March for Jesus was held in the City of London in May of 1987. Prior to the March, a woman named Barbara Pymm reported being given a vision of two angels, swords raised and crossed over the city, “waiting {128} for us to give the word to release them and their armies to fight against the principalities and powers over London.” 18 Such a vision, imbuing the planned March with cosmic and, at the same time, specifically local significance, was entirely consistent with the intent of its organizers. According to Roger Forster, one of the four main leaders,

The objective of the City march is a bold proclamation of Christ in areas that have significance as seats of power. Our togetherness, worship, praise and proclamation of Jesus’ name—the word of our witness—are instruments in the priestly warfare against Satan’s rule. With these instruments we want to have influence and have input into the heart of our nation which is the City. 19

By 1990 the success of March for Jesus had placed spiritual warfare on the agenda of the secular and religious press in Britain. The September 9 edition of The Sunday Times (London) featured an article titled “Evangelicals fall out over demon-buster,” illustrating the controversial nature of spiritual warfare among British Evangelicals. March organizer Gerald Coates gladly attributed the London stock market crash of autumn 1987 to the March and its resultant judgment of God upon greedy financial institutions.

Against such a claim, parish vicar and member of the Church of England Evangelical Council, Michael Saward, protested that an extremist view of demonology “[lay] at the heart of the official march theology” and that the marches were “exercises in widespread corporate exorcism.” Rev. Graham Gray, advisor on deliverance ministry in the diocese of York, however, considered the March for Jesus to be avoiding “the nitty-gritty of spiritual warfare” while “escaping into worship, praise and marching.”

Finally, David Tomlinson, leader of “Holy Joe’s,” a London church being conducted in a nightclub, was reportedly concerned with the “triumphalism inherent in recent marches,” and worried that the March was susceptible to a dualism which considered the church as “all-good” and the world as totally “horrible.” 20 In fact, the notice in the secular press only reflected a widespread and equally controversial furor in the British religious press focusing on similar themes.

FURTHER CRITICISM

The concern and confusion that accompanied the British debate over the teaching and practice of spiritual warfare is consistent with a pattern {129} evident on both sides of the Atlantic. As Clinton Arnold writes, “Foundational to spiritual warfare is a belief in evil spirits and a desire to get the upper hand on them before they get it on us. For many people, this is all a little too weird to take seriously.” 21

While Arnold considers spiritual warfare, including strategic-level spiritual warfare, not at all weird, it is at the SLSW end of the continuum that Arnold registers his objections. Arnold accepts the existence of territorial spirits and surveys contemporary activities and assumptions employed in engaging such powers. However, he concludes that “although God has given us the responsibility of exercising our authority in Christ over unclean spirits that afflict individuals, there is no biblical evidence that God has given us responsibility to bind, expel, or thwart the territorial rulers.” 22

Another cornerstone of Arnold’s argument is that he finds little or no historical precedent in the early church for contemporary Christians to be engaging territorial spirits in spiritual combat. 23 One might conclude, then, that in contrast to other more personal and individual dimensions of spiritual warfare, the linkage of spiritual warfare to strategic and territorial considerations is a contemporary innovation.

It remains to be seen whether a more detailed historical investigation will support such a conclusion.

EARLY CHRISTIAN PRACTICE

A number of scholars have demonstrated that evidence of spiritual warfare in its more public and corporate aspects can be discerned in the thought and practices of Christians beginning in the early church. Writing the history of the devil, Russell notes the persistence of Christian exorcism until the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century introduced what in the modern period has become a generally assumed cessationism. 24

Arnold takes care to place his discussion of each of his three questions about spiritual warfare into the context of the early church. 25 From an Anabaptist perspective, Dennis Martin has similarly documented how Christians resisted the devil in the patristic, medieval, and Reformation phases of Western Christianity. 26 Yale historian, Ramsay MacMullen, has rejected chronocentrism and has taken seriously patristic accounts of what now are termed “power encounters” 27 as a credible factor in understanding the Christianization of the Roman Empire prior to 400. 28

The present analysis accepts that various forms of spiritual warfare, including exorcism and public demonstrations, have been practiced throughout the Christian era up to Reformation times. Less attention has {130} been given, however, to documenting the persistence of a “warfare worldview” through the modern period to contemporary times. 29 This is particularly true of strategic-level spiritual warfare.

WAGNER’S FIVE EXAMPLES

The proponents of strategic-level spiritual warfare are well aware of those who would accuse them of innovation and take pains to counter the charge. Thus, C. Peter Wagner devotes a chapter in Confronting the Powers to historical examples of strategic-level spiritual warfare. 30 Wagner gleans from secondary sources, such as Ramsay MacMullen and Kenneth Scott Latourette, five examples that appear to him as historical instances of strategic-level spiritual warfare from the first eight centuries of Western Christian history. These examples come not from patristic and medieval discourses on theology but from the lives of the saints, sources generally ignored by modern historiography because of their supposed mythic and legendary elements. When we consult the primary documents from which Wagner’s examples derive, it is evident that in the self-understanding of their original authors there existed attitudes and beliefs that are congruent with those being advocated by contemporary proponents of SLSW.

In the apocryphal Acts of John, for example, the apostle confronts the temple of Artemus in Ephesus with the prayer, “O God that art God above all that are called gods, at whose name every idol fleeth and every evil spirit and every unclean power; now also by the flight of the evil spirit here at thy name, even of him that deceiveth this great multitude, show thou thy mercy in this place, for they have been made to err,” at which the altar of Artemus split, and half of the temple itself fell down. 31

Gregory Thaumaturgus, the Wonderworker, (d. 260) supplies an example of a power encounter with demons. Forced by a storm to spend the night in a pagan temple that served as a seat of demonic powers, Gregory “purified the air with the figure of the Cross [and] spent the entire night in prayer and singing hymns according to his usual custom. In this way [Gregory] transformed the place into a temple of prayer which had been profaned by unclean sacrifices and images.” 32

Martin of Tours (d. 397) led in the evangelization of the pagan countryside of Gaul. On one occasion he engaged in a contest centered on a pine tree which served as the locus of spiritual power for the local population. Upon Martin’s insistence that the tree be destroyed, the pagan priest and his supporters offered to cut the tree down themselves if only Martin would submit to being bound in the place toward which the already leaning tree was sure to fall. Martin, {131}

trusting in the Lord, and waiting courageously, when now the falling pine had uttered its expiring crash, while it was now falling, while it was just rushing upon him, simply holding up his hand against it, he put in its way the sign of salvation. Then, indeed, after the manner of a spinning-top, it swept round to the opposite side. 33

St. Benedict (d. 540) is well-known for establishing his monastery on Monte Cassino and writing the Benedictine monastic rule. Gregory I, in his account of Benedict’s life, describes Monte Cassino as a pagan stronghold dedicated to Apollo and other pagan powers. Benedict

beat in pieces the idol, overthrew the altar, set fire to the woods, and in the temple of Apollo, he built the oratory of St. Martin, and where the altar of the same Apollo was, he made an oratory of St. John: and by his continual preaching, he brought the people dwelling in those parts to embrace the faith of Christ.

His actions produced, in Gregory’s account, a series of confrontations involving Benedict “against whom willingly did [Satan] make war, but, against his will, did he give him [that is, Benedict] occasion of many notable victories.” 34

Wagner’s fifth example is the account of Boniface (d. 754) and the Saxon oak of Thor. Pursuing the Christianization of the people of Hesse, Boniface was challenged by the persistence of some in their pagan and occult practices. He confronted this challenge by undertaking, against strong opposition, the destruction of a tree dedicated as a seat of Thor.

And when [Boniface] had cut into the trunk a little way, a breeze sent by God stirred overhead, and suddenly the branchtop of the tree was broken off, and the oak in all its huge bulk fell to the ground. And it was broken into four huge sections without any effort of the brethren who stood by. When the pagans who had cursed did see this, they left off cursing and, believing, blessed God. 35

ASSESSMENT OF EARLY CHRISTIAN EXAMPLES

Several observations are pertinent. The primary literature from which Wagner’s sources draw these examples is replete with reports that appear to conform to all three scales of spiritual warfare as conceived by {132} Wagner and the Spiritual Warfare Network. The five highlighted here are of particular interest because they bear a stronger resemblance to the strategic variety of spiritual warfare. Thus, all five are grounded in some literal, physical location where a prominent demonic being has claimed and exercised control over the local population. That is, the focus is on a demonic “stronghold.” A consistent outcome of the five power encounters with such demonic rulers is the liberation of the people over whom these powers hold sway, and the greater freedom of these persons to be Christianized.

When the examples Wagner uses are put into their longer-term historical and cultural context, these “power encounters” are seen to occur on the cusp of confrontation between the cosmic powers and pagan culture on the one hand, and the Christian God, as represented by the emissaries of the Church, and Christian culture, on the other. The landmarks delineating the frontier of engagement between these forces are not merely discernible in the hearts and minds of the humans involved, but equally in the geographical territory they inhabit.

This suggests that during the approximately one thousand years of European Christianization, the outskirts of Christendom were thought to be demarcated by coordinates denoting not only territorial and political realities but also by cosmic and spiritual realities. 36 The worldview of Christendom in at least the first millennium included strong elements of sacred history and sacred geography.

Those who would reject the tenets of SLSW in a contemporary context regard them as inconsistent with the dominant worldview of the secular West. In the twentieth century, social scientists and historians have debated the theory of secularization, attempting to understand the interaction and relative significance of the “this worldly” and the material, as over against the “other worldly” or the religious. 37

The thesis that modes of thought and the attitudes of the Enlightenment have progressively displaced the authority and credence of the religious and the spiritual through the process of modernization has, however, been under attack since the 1960s. Thus, former proponent of secularization, Peter L. Berger, has most recently edited a book titled The Desecularization of the World, arguing that “the world today is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever,” and that “the whole body of literature by historians and social scientists loosely labeled ‘secularization theory’ is essentially mistaken.” 38

Berger allows two highly significant exceptions, however, one regional and the other global. 39 Western Europe does indeed seem to conform to the tenets of secularization theory, and on a wider scale, Berger {133} posits the existence of “an international subculture composed of people with Western-type higher education, especially in the humanities and social sciences, that is indeed secularized. This subculture is the principal ‘carrier’ of progressive, Enlightened beliefs and values” and “control[s] the institutions that provide the ‘official’ definitions of reality.” 40

MARTIN LUTHER

The persistence of spiritual warfare as a notion of belief and as a principle of action in the modern period, especially among those outside the intelligentsia and the circles of official power, would seem to support Berger’s thesis. Furthermore, the linkage of spiritual warfare to territorial considerations can also be discerned, at least in some rudimentary fashion. Jeffrey Burton Russell has documented the persistence and development of modern ideas about the devil since the Reformation. 41 More specifically, the idea of cosmic war on both the spiritual and the physical plane can be recovered from Luther himself. In the judgment of Heiko Oberman, for Luther

Christ and Satan wage cosmic war for mastery over Church and world. No one can evade involvement in this struggle. Even for the believer there is no refuge—neither monastery nor the seclusion of the wilderness offer him a chance for escape. The Devil is the omnipresent threat, and exactly for this reason the faithful need the proper weapons for survival. 42

With this, one certainly should not claim Luther as an advocate or practitioner of SLSW. At the same time, Luther’s Table Talk companions heard the reformer speak as if he and the Devil were in a continual struggle. 43 The element of spiritual warfare was not absent from Luther’s worldview.

JOHN BUNYAN

A mid-nineteenth-century edition of a 1682 allegory by the Puritan dissenter, John Bunyan, offers a further example of the persistence of such worldview elements. The category of cosmic spiritual warfare in a territorial dimension is plain in Bunyan’s very title: The Holy War Made by King Shaddai upon Dia Bolus, for the Regaining of the Metropolis of the World; or The Losing and Taking of the Town of Mansoul. 44 Written in the familiar style of The Pilgrim’s Progress, even a cursory survey of the book reveals terms and attendant concepts that are remarkably {134} congruent with contemporary strategic-level spiritual warfare literature, including the idea of strongholds, gates of the city through which evil enters, a distinct departure of the city from allegiance to God, and a triumphal eviction of the powers of evil. 45 While Bunyan is writing imaginative pious literature, he makes extensive use of a connection between the idea of spiritual warfare and territoriality.

From the perspective of the nineteenth century, the unnamed author of the preface and Bunyan’s biography in the 1859 edition clearly continues to understand Bunyan in terms also congruent with contemporary spiritual warfare:

In the Holy War the same subject [as that of Pilgrim’s Progress] is treated in a military manner. The fall and recovery of man are represented by two remarkable revolutions in the town of Mansoul.

The human soul is figuratively considered as a beautiful and prosperous town, seduced from its obedience to Shaddai, its builder and governor, by the stratagems of Diabolus, his inveterate enemy; but the town, after a tedious war, is again recovered by the victorious arms of the King’s son.

This military view of the subject is strictly consonant with the sacred Scriptures, which represent the Christian life as warfare, Christ as a captain, the believer as a soldier of Jesus Christ, the preaching of the Gospel as the weapons of the holy war, and the graces of the Spirit as so many parts of the heavenly armor. 46

Such a comment could have come as easily from the keyboard of a charismatic spiritual warrior of the twenty-first century as from the pious pen of a nineteenth-century editor.

FROM THE SALVATION ARMY TO THE MARCH FOR JESUS

Admittedly, Bunyan is writing an allegory in which the territorial dimension is located on the interior landscape of human spiritual experience. At the same time, records of the early activities of the Salvation Army depict scenarios that constitute a literal, if unconscious, enactment of Bunyan’s Holy War. Two examples selected from the front page of the April 10, 1860, edition of The War Cry and Official Gazette of the Salvation Army (London) will suffice. From the town of Burnley, under the heading “The Devil’s Throne,” a Salvationist identified only as R. M. writes: {135}

The Army at Burnley are continually missioning the darkest and vilest parts of the town. The mobs hurl stones, rotten eggs, sticks, old bones, and all kinds of rubbish, but can never break the ranks. Captain Presser has been struck severely on the chest by a large stone. I think Burnley is the Devil’s throne. [signed] R. M. 47

On the same page, Captain Happy Eliza reports on an “Attack on Marylebone”:

We had a blessed opening attack in the morning. . . . In the evening the Theatre was packed to overflowing. Sister Thompson and myself and others spoke, and amidst all the row and rabble, God’s Spirit strove mightily, and six more people sought and found our Saviour. We were upheld by the ladies and gentlemen of higher birth, all wishing us God’s speed. We mean to conquer Marylebone and bring it low at Jesus’ feet. The Salisbury Hallelujah Brass Band assisted us in the attack bravely. The singing and the music, I believe, made a lasting impression upon the hearts of the people. The cry of our souls is, “Lord, save Marylebone sinners.” Yours, fighting to conquer, Captain Happy Eliza. 48

Here one finds the distinct juxtaposition, if not the conflation, of two battlefields: the interior arena of human hearts, and the bricks and mortar reality of towns understood to be in the domain of the Evil One. No interest or preoccupation with demonic beings other than the “devil” is indicated in early Salvation Army writings, but the practice of aggressive military-style tactics with strategic considerations expressed in terms of actual physical geography abound in a manner that qualifies the early Salvation Army as a determined practitioner of territorial spiritual warfare.

Writing in 1991, Graham Kendrick, script and songwriter for the March for Jesus, draws directly upon a similar example from the Salvation Army to validate historically the intent and program of the March for Jesus. After citing an 1869 episode reported in the Salvation Army paper, The East London Evangelist, Kendrick makes explicit applications to the March for Jesus. The goals of such “praise, prayer and witness processions” are “spiritual warfare,” “joyful public witness,” and the “expression of Christian unity.” The March represents a “dynamic” that “could be a key to a great spiritual breakthrough for the church. {136} “That dynamic is the strong, public declaration and celebration of truth. Satan’s kingdom is built upon his lies and deceptions, but the truth that Jesus declared, when proclaimed with faith, is the very power that sets free those blinded by untruth.” 49

JOHN DAWSON AND COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION

The “dynamic” to which Kendrick refers is clearly demonstrated in John Dawson’s Taking Our Cities for God. 50 Dawson, the director of Youth with a Mission in Los Angeles, presents a program for community transformation that incorporates the dimensions of sacred history and geography into spiritual warfare. Through more conventional avenues of research as well as prophetic revelation, Dawson believes that one is able to discern the moments in the history of a city when the demonic has been able to establish itself in a specific urban jurisdiction. Dawson furthermore maintains that each city has its own unique sacred history and has been established by God for a particular divine purpose. It is the task of spiritual warriors to confront the demonic powers that have subverted this sacred history and take action leading to the freeing of the city to fulfill its divine destiny. 51

The results being claimed for such forms of spiritual warfare are now being disseminated throughout the charismatic world in a 1999 video produced by The Sentinel Group, the spiritual mapping and warfare agency led by George Otis, Jr. The video, titled “Transformations: A Documentary,” presents four widely dispersed examples of “community transformation” in Cali, Colombia; Kiambu, Kenya; Hemet, California, and Almolonga, Guatemala. 52 All three dimensions of spiritual warfare as understood by Wagner, that is, ground-level, occult-level and strategic-level, appear to have been practiced in aid of these community transformations. The proportions of the transformation being claimed for these communities border on the millennial and the eschatological, including the vanquishing of demonic agencies in Kiambu and Hemet, the reduction of Cali’s murder rate, and the profound enrichment of Almolonga’s peasant economy as a result, in part, of an astounding increase of agricultural productivity.

CONCLUSION

When one traces the trajectory of the examples cited in this essay, it would appear that the methods, sophistication, and claims of late twentieth-century SLSW are considerably more developed, but no less mythic, than those elicited from the annals of early and medieval Christianity. A consistent linkage of overt, deliberate, and aggressive confrontation {137} against the demonic with considerations of territory, human spiritual bondage, and evangelism seems to be evident. While contemporary practices and claims seem to be more extravagant, they are nonetheless consistent with incipient forms of SLSW to be found in the earlier history of Christianity.

It remains to examine the intersection of this tradition with the developments in secularization theory; here only one observation may be made. The dynamic of spiritual warfare as a public vehicle of witness and a public demonstration of cosmic confrontation has been carried by Christians who are found, for the most part, outside the ordered ministry of the traditional church, and outside the politically correct channels of the Western church and society. They are, therefore, outside the elite cadre identified by Berger as those who fix the canon of Enlightened reality.

Those within Western Christianity and its nonindigenized forms globally, who either fail to recognize contemporary forms of spiritual warfare as authentic developments rooted in the historic dimensions of Christian faith and life, or categorically reject such expressions as innovative and misguided aberrations, should take into account the longer-term historical provenance of spiritual warfare in its various forms. At the root of the debate concerning spiritual warfare, as with other aspects of contemporary signs and wonders, are the issues of worldview, epistemology, and one’s concepts of “reality” and “Reality.” 53 To the extent that such critics deny the validity of spiritual warfare and the needs it addresses, such critics have indeed become, at least in this dimension, secularized.

Recognition of the legitimate provenance of spiritual warfare, including incipient forms of strategic-level spiritual warfare, in the historical Christian tradition, however, does not obviate the pressing need for the application of critical discernment and acute pastoral judgment in the teaching and practice of this dimension of Christian spirituality. A glance at the abuses perpetrated by the Church in the name of various forms of spiritual warfare is more than sufficient to underscore the need for continued study, debate, and, above all, caution and circumspection in the exercise of such ministries.

Those segments of the Western church that persist in ignoring or denying the longer-term historical significance of spiritual warfare, and in excluding any recognition, validation, and practice of such ministries from their circles, should beware of unwitting complicity in the excesses of spiritual warfare when it is practiced beyond the embrace of the disciplined and discerning Christian congregation. {138}

NOTES

  1. The Intercession Working Group of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, “Statement on Spiritual Warfare,” accessed 9 June 2000; available from Internet.
  2. Clinton E. Arnold, Three Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, Three Crucial Questions Series, eds. Grant R. Osborne and Richard J. Jones (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997), 17.
  3. C. Peter Wagner, Confronting the Powers: How the New Testament Church Experienced the Power of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare, The Prayer Warrior Series (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1996), 91-92.
  4. Arnold, 173.
  5. The Intercession Working Group of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.
  6. Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1994), 189-201.
  7. Jeffrey Burton Russell, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984), 304.
  8. See chapter five, “Spiritual Warfare: The Case of the Philippines,” in Steve Brouwer, Paul Gifford, and Susan D. Rose, Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism (New York: Routledge, 1996), 75-103.
  9. For the roots of this notion see Max Weber’s 1918 speech at Munich University, “Science as Vocation,” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, trans., ed., and introd. by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 155-56.
  10. See W. S. F. Pickering, “Secularization,” in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought, 1st ed., 1993.
  11. Michael Harper, Spiritual Warfare (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1970), 11-12.
  12. See Michael Green, I Believe in Satan’s Downfall (London: Hodder and Staughton, 1981), 220-54, and Thomas B. White, The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1990).
  13. See Martin Israel, Exorcism: The Removal of Evil Influences (London: SPCK, 1997), and Michael Perry, ed., Deliverance: Psychic Disturbances and Occult Involvement, 2d ed. (London: SPCK, 1996).
  14. See Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick, Prayer-walking: Praying on Site with Insight, with a foreword by John Dawson (Orlando, FL: Creation House, 1991), and Graham Kendrick, Public Praise: {139} Celebrating Jesus on the Streets of the World, with a foreword by John Dawson (Orlando, FL: Creation House, 1992).
  15. See Arnold, 143-99; John Dawson, Taking Our Cities for God: How to Break Spiritual Strongholds, with a foreword by Jack Hayford (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1989); George Otis, Jr. The Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Linger Where It Does? (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen, 1997); Rudy Pohl, Sins of Our Nation: How Our Past Has Poisoned Our Present: A Concise History of Inter-group Conflict and Wounding in Canada (Ottawa, ON: Peacemakers Canada, 1998); C. Peter Wagner, Warfare Prayer: Strategies for Combating the Rulers of Darkness (Crowborough: Monarch, 1992) and Confronting the Powers: How the New Testament Church Experienced the Power of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare, The Prayer Warrior Series (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1996); C. Peter Wagner, ed., Territorial Spirits: Insights on Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare from Nineteen Christian Leaders, with a foreword by Roger Forster (Chichester: Sovereign World, 1991); idem, Breaking Strongholds: How to Use Spiritual Mapping to Make Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective and Targeted, The Prayer Warrior Series (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1993).
  16. Wagner, Confronting the Powers, 20-22.
  17. Ibid., 22.
  18. Graham Kendrick, et al., March for Jesus: The How and Why of Public Praise (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 1992), 31.
  19. Ibid. 35.
  20. The Sunday Times (London), 9 September 1990.
  21. Arnold, 17.
  22. Ibid., 197.
  23. Ibid., 157-59.
  24. Jeffrey Burton Russell, Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986), 91.
  25. Arnold, 60-2, 107-12, 169-73.
  26. Dennis Martin, “Resisting the Devil in the Patristic, Medieval, and Reformation Church,” in Essays on Spiritual Bondage and Deliverance, Occasional Papers no. 11, ed. Willard M. Swartley (Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1988), 46-71.
  27. John Wimber with Kevin Springer, Power Evangelism (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986), 15-31.
  28. Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100-400 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984), 9, 27.
  29. This is the term used by Gregory A. Boyd in God at War: The Bible {140} and Spiritual Conflict (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997), 11.
  30. Wagner, Confronting the Powers, 91-118.
  31. “Acts of John” in The Apocryphal New Testament, trans. and with notes by M. R. James (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924), para. 41, accessed 21 June 2000; available from Internet.
  32. Gregory of Nyssa, “The Life of Gregory the Wonderworker” prepared by Gunter Heil, in Gregorii Nysseni Sermones, Pars 2, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990), 3-57, para. J.20 and J.21, accessed 21 June 2000; available from Internet.
  33. Sulpitius Severus, “On the Life of St. Martin” translated and with notes by Alexander Roberts, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 2d ser., vol. 11 (New York: n.p., 1894), chap. 13, accessed 21 June 2000; available from Internet.
  34. Gregory I, “The Second Book of the Dialogues, containing the Life and Miracles of St. Benedict (Bennet) of Nursia,” in The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, Surnamed Dialogus and the Great, Pope of Rome and the First of That Name, trans. “P. W.,” Paris, 1608, ed. Edmund G. Gardner, 1911, and the Saint Pachomius Library, 1995, chap. 8, accessed 21 June 2000; Internet.
  35. Willibald, “Life of Boniface,” in Readings in European History, vol. 1 (Boston: Ginn, 1904), 106-7, accessed 21 June 2000; Internet.
  36. C. Arnold Snyder provides a readily accessible description of this worldview in chap. 1, “The Late Medieval Context,” in Anabaptist History and Theology: Revised Student Edition (Kitchener, ON: Pandora, 1997). Hiebert’s more anthropological presentation of such a worldview may also provide a helpful context; see Anthropological Reflections, 196-99. See also Dennis Martin, “Resisting the Devil,” 46.
  37. Pickering, “Secularization.”
  38. Peter L. Berger, ed. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 2.
  39. Ibid., 9-11.
  40. Ibid., 10.
  41. Russell, Mephistopheles. {141}
  42. Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, trans. Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 104.
  43. Luther’s Works, gen. ed. Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54, Table Talk, ed. trans. Theodore G. Tappert (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967), 78, 279-80.
  44. John Bunyan, The Holy War (New York: Derby and Jackson, 1859).
  45. Ibid., passim.
  46. “Preface,” in The Holy War, John Bunyan, v.
  47. The War Cry and Official Gazette of the Salvation Army (London), 10 April 1860.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Graham Kendrick, Make Way—Public Praise: Handbook and Street Songs From: Shine, Jesus, Shine; A Carnival of Praise; The Gift and the Cross (Eastbourne: Kingsway Music, 1991), 9.
  50. Dawson, Taking Our Cities for God.
  51. Ibid.; see Dawson’s chapters “Looking at History with Discernment,” 79-88, and “The History of God’s People/Covenants,” 89-97.
  52. The Sentinel Group, Transformations: A Documentary, video, 58 min., (Global Net Productions, 1999).
  53. See Charles H. Kraft, Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural, foreword Clark H. Pinnock (Ann Arbor, MI: Vine, 1989), 14-22. For a more sophisticated and extended discussion and defense of critical realism see Paul G. Hiebert’s Missiological Implications of Epistemological Shifts: Affirming Truth in a Modern/Postmodern World, Christian Mission and Modern Culture, ed. Alan Neely, H. Wayne Pipkin and Wilbert R. Shenk (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1999).
Gerald Ediger is Assistant Professor of Christian History and Spirituality at Concord College, Canadian Mennonite University, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a member of the McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church.

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