Tom: We’re picking up where we left off last week, the topic being spiritual warfare. This movement has generated a great number of unbiblical teachings and practices, which have influenced a great many in the church today. Much of it is derived from the demons themselves, as more than a few of the leaders in this movement have stated. Dave, would this be an example of “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” found in 1 Timothy:4:1?
Dave: Well, it certainly would be one example. I had, you know until this sort of thing came along, I didn’t used to think of it in that way. We know that people are going into altered states of consciousness through drugs, hypnosis, yoga – even in Christian psychology, you know, regressing them back into the past. And when you get into that state of consciousness, you definitely are open to demonic entities. And we have been getting doctrines of devils.
But here is another way. They claim to talk with these spirits, and then they command them to tell the truth, and the spirits – I think we mentioned last time – give them their modus operandi: “Oh yeah, this is how we got in,” and so forth and so on; “This is the way we operate.” So, definitely, it’s doctrines of devils.
Tom: I gave the example last week of what C. Peter Wagner, who is the author of Confronting the Powers, which, Dave, as you know, is an apologetic, basically, in defense of the Spiritual Warfare Movement. Now, Dave, I know you stated your compassion for these people and their zealousness to really combat evil, but empathy aside, isn’t this a form of divination?
Dave: Well, Tom, they do engage in various forms of divination, but the whole thing is, first, of all not biblical. I don’t find it in the Bible. Where did Paul or Peter or Jesus or anyone ever engage in spiritual mapping? Where do they give such credit to demonic entities? And then to their locations? They went out, as I recall from last week, and they found some fetishes or what not in this vacant lot.
Tom: They were buried there, supposedly, by witches. Now, how would they get that information, except from impressions from where?
Dave: The witches. I mean, from the demons that inspired the witches. So what is the point? Who cares? Who cares whether there are some occult things buried in the ground somewhere or in someone’s home or whatever? They have no power over us! They have no power unless people believe in them.
Tom: Give credence, right?
Dave: Right – if you believe in them, and this is your religion, and this is what you are following. But to imagine that you have to go out and you’ve got to pursue these objects and ferret them out and that this is what is preventing the gospel from bearing fruit in these neighborhoods, and once you do this then you have set the people free – first of all, it’s not biblical, as we said. Nobody ever engaged in this in the Bible that we know of. None of the great revivalists of history – Wesley, Whitfield, Moody, Spurgeon – you name them, the great preachers. You had great moves of God without anything like this being engaged in, both historically and in biblical times. And the idea that now we’ve got new techniques – I think we quoted C. Peter Wagner last week—these are “new techniques,” now, that God has given us, and they are going to release millions of souls! You have to ask the question, why didn’t God reveal this to us sooner? And, in fact, why didn’t the demons themselves reveal this, if this is what is going to set people free from their power? Tom, it’s a waste of time! People are spending their time, now – they’ve got a new idea, and they’re spending their time . . .
Tom: And money! We’re going to get into some of the expenses that you have to go through to pull this stuff off.
Dave: Right, traveling to strategic locations, supposedly. You know, YWAM sent a team out to the northernmost, southernmost, easternmost, and westernmost parts of the continents to “pray strategically.” I don’t find anything like this in the Bible, and it’s a delusion! Furthermore, Tom, it’s been going on for a long time. It was way back in 1989, it seems to me, that they started this in the Los Angeles area. Thirteen hundred pastors from many denominations were led by Lloyd Oglivie and Jack Hayford. And they began meeting quarterly in prayer at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church to wage spiritual warfare for what they said would be the deliverance of Los Angeles. Now, in the years that have followed, I haven’t seen the deliverance of Los Angeles. Evil only seems to have gotten worse there! You remember one pastor who was involved wrote to us, and he said, “We meet and fast and pray and bind the spirits, and as soon as we leave the meeting, they are on the loose again!”
Tom: Dave, how do you make a distinction between people coming together to pray for something, yet taking this next step of binding and commanding and taking authority? I mean, isn’t there a distinction that can be made?
Dave: Yes, there is. If we want to pray for God’s blessing and pray for revival, that’s biblical. That’s one thing. But then to think that we can somehow take control of demonic spirits in this area . . .
Whether a person is under the control of demonic spirits or not is a matter of their own will, their own beliefs! Now if you want to cast demons individually out of people, that’s one thing. That’s biblical, and we believe in that. On the other hand, Jesus himself said that when an evil spirit is cast out, if something doesn’t come in – in other words if the Holy Spirit does not indwell that person and they have not believed the gospel – you’ve wasted your time, because that spirit gets seven more spirits more wicked that itself and so forth.
Tom, these meetings in Los Angeles were called Love LA, and they were inspired by Larry Lea, and he said, “This is a day to wage nothing less that militant warfare in the spirit realm. Demonic strongholds keeping the greater Los Angeles area and our country in bondage will be pulled down.”
Charisma magazine called him the “apostle of prayer,” and it showed him in combat fatigues on the front cover. But I haven’t seen any strongholds being pulled down! You could remember back – way back in November 10, 1989. Now we’re talking about 11 years ago. This has been going on for a long time.
Tom: So we can check out what’s happened since and see if this has been effective.
Dave: Well, the Miami Arena rang with the songs, prayers, and victory shouts of about 10,000 enthusiastic Christians. They had been promised a “spiritual breakthrough” by Larry Lea. They were backed by 430 local pastors, and they were demonstrating unity that we’ve got to have, and Lea (he’s speaking to them now) and he identified specific spirits of violence, drugs, witchcraft, greed, and so forth, that he said were dominating Miami. He vowed (I’m quoting him) “These spirits will not dominate this area.” He even declared that God had shown him the strong man of greed holding back the wealth of the wicked. Wealth, which belonged to Christians, and that (and I’m quoting him again) “if we bind the strong man of greed, the wealth of the nations will be given to the church and to individual Christians.” He got this audience so excited that they joined him in wielding an imaginary sword hacking this demon of greed to pieces.
Well, I’ve been to Miami recently, and I would have to say that rather than there being any reduction in violence, drugs, and so forth, or any transfer of the wealth of the wicked to the Christians, the opposite has happened.
Tom: Dave, they’re still cleaning up dead animals from the practitioners of Santeria around the courthouses of Miami and Dade County. So, nothing has changed. Things have, at least from some perspectives, gotten worse. But let me . . .
Dave: So, Tom, so it’s a delusion and a lot of time and effort and money, as you say, has been spent on this. Why don’t we rather get out and preach the gospel?
Tom: Okay, it’s a delusion, but there is another side to this that has, I think, both of us even more concerned. There are methodologies and techniques in these practices. Now, how do these approaches to spiritual warfare, Dave, really differ from the very things that shamans and witches and those who are into sorcery – how different is it than what they are doing?
Dave: They don’t differ. It’s hocus pocus. In other words, the witch doctor, when he slits the rooster’s throat, he sprinkles the blood in a certain pattern; he mumbles a formula—bingo! Something happens in the spirit world. It’s like the rituals, the sacramental rituals, of whether it’s the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church or the Episcopalian church.
Tom: The high church of whatever denomination.
Dave: Right, you go through these rituals, and you think this has some efficacy, or has some power . . .
Tom: Yes, sacramentalism.
Dave: That’s exactly what it is. And so, they’re involved in – I call it hocus pocus, I’m sorry! They’re going through certain formulas and certain rituals, which you will not find in the Bible; which Paul, Peter, James, John, Jesus, nobody – and the great preachers down through history never engaged in this. But now they’re going to do this, and it’s very complicated and so forth, and they’ve got their prayer networks, and they are all engaged in this, and mapping – and, Tom, it’s really a tragedy. They’ve gotten off the track. They’re spending their time and effort in something – it’s like spinning your wheels and it’s not producing anything! And we’ve had 11 years now to see whether it did or not.
Tom: Dave it’s also spawning other basically false doctrines that some churches – not every church is into this obviously, but there are some churches that pick things up because they think it might be efficacious, it might have some effect, some good effect.
One practice in this movement is the breaking of generational curses. And they base it on Numbers:14:18, and there’s a similar verse in Exodus:34:7: “The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” The idea being that our forefathers were cursed in some way for something that they did, and now this curse has come down through the second, third, and fourth generation. And people – their activities and their lives are really being affected by these curses, and they have to be delivered from these things.
Dave: Yeah, I’m not sure exactly what that scripture means. Venereal disease, for example, goes down to the third and fourth and whatever generation. But to imagine, then, that I have got to somehow go back and search out my ancestors – my father came from England, so I probably have ancestors that were Druids out there at Stonehenge worshiping. My grandmother on my father’s side came from Norway, so they were probably involved in the Norse spirits. How can I ever find out, first of all, what all my ancestors were engaged in, the evils they were engaged in, whatever curses may have been put upon them and so forth? Furthermore, who says that that has any power on me today, or on anyone else?
The Bible says that “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things are passed away, all things have become new. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”
My sins have been forgiven. Christ died for my sins. Therefore, to imagine that somehow all of this past history – how about back to Adam? – is laid upon all of us? No, our iniquities were laid upon Him, upon Christ, and that includes all of this.
Tom: Well, let me step this up a little, because we’re discussing the individual curses from, let’s say, my generation or your generation and some of our forbearers. But there’s also identificational repentance. That means that not only do I have to worry about my own personal ancestors, but whatever nationality or background I came from—what sins did they do? For example, if I had – in this country, being an American, if our forefathers had slaves, if they oppressed the blacks, if they took land from the Indians (which they did), I’m accountable for that. That’s affecting our land and unless . . .
Dave: According to this theory, you’re accountable.
Tom: According to this theory, I’m accountable, and I have to . . .
Dave: And this has come down upon you in some kind of a spiritual curse that has a power over your life. This is what they say!
Tom: Exactly, so unless our country confesses these sins, either Christians stand up – we could even go back to the Crusades: we have to repent over what our, what they would call “Christians” did during the Crusades, because all of those lay a curse on me, and we’re not going to have healing, we’re not going to have deliverance, we’re not going to be fruitful unless this is done.
Dave: These were not Christians, first of all, but apparently they don’t even have to be Christians – if they were our ancestors. Tom, this is putting a burden upon us that is not in the Bible. It’s too great to bear. It’s like inner healing – going back into the past. You go back and you search out some trauma or experience back there that supposedly has some power over you, you bring in Jesus, and you’re delivered from it. Things seem to work better for awhile, but then you fall back into depression or whatever it is. So now you’re on an endless quest. Now I have to keep probing into the past, in contrast to what Paul said: “Forgetting those things that are behind, reaching forth unto that which is before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” It was never done in the Bible. It just isn’t true, Tom!
Now, it’s related to psychology, of course. It’s Freudian, in one sense.
Tom: Right, it’s like determinism.
Dave: We’ve got to go back and be delivered from these things. It gets people off the track, it gets them spinning their wheels, spending their time in unfruitful, unproductive, unbiblical techniques and complicated formulas.
Tom: Why do we keep warning of this?
Dave: Tom, let me say, we’re not trying to be critical. I mean, we’re sympathetic with these dear people. Many people have been caught up in this.
Tom: They don’t know . . .
Dave: They believe . . .
Tom: It sounds good, seems to have some effect . . .
Dave: And it can lead . . . the problem is it can lead to disappointment and disillusionment, because if you’ve put your hope in this – I mean, if I am there with Larry Lea in Miami, and I really believe this, and I’m whacking this demon into pieces with this imaginary sword, and he has identified this, and now all the Christians have cried out to bind the spirit and so forth—I put my faith in this, and then I find out it doesn’t work! Somehow, I am going to blame God. could blame God, because I’m saying, “Well, God let us down.”
No, God didn’t let us down. We took upon ourselves some idea that was not of God and that could be a trap from Satan to then cause us to lose our confidence in the Lord and in His Word. Jesus said, and that is what this program is all about – Search the Scriptures Daily – Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed. You will know the truth. The truth will set you free.” He’s calling upon people to believe the truth. He calls upon us to preach the truth. And we are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5), to beseech people to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, not through all these techniques. Have absolutely nothing to do with it!
Tom: Dave, I want to keep talking about some of these other aspects, because some people – you know, we get letters, people write to us, we track what’s going on in the church, magazines . . . our youth. We talked a couple of weeks ago about them marching around their high school, trying to claim the school for Christ.
Dave: Bearing crosses . . .
Tom: Right. Well, this is based on “Marches for Jesus.” And some people say, “Well, come on! It’s just us standing up for Christ. It’s us out there in fellowship with other believers, and we’re proclaiming Christ.”
But that’s not what the people who put that together, who are behind that – that’s not their mindset. This is spiritual warfare.
Dave: Spiritual warfare – again. I sound like a broken record, but it’s not taught in the Bible and it’s not productive. And that has been proven over the last 11 years. Charisma magazine said – and it’s referring to a group of experts now. Let me name some of them who are part of this spiritual warfare network: C. Peter Wagner, John Dawson, Cindy Jacobs, Jack Hayford, Larry Lea, Gwen Shaw, Dick Bernal, Tom White, Joy Dawson, Dick Eastman, Ed Murphy, Charles Kraft, Frank Peretti, and so forth. They formed this Spiritual Warfare Network, and C. Peter Wagner, he says God told him to take charge of this, and that this was going to have tremendous breakthroughs and so forth.
Well, Charisma magazine said, “The insights that they have [you know, that they bring to this subject of spiritual warfare] were not derived solely through Bible study [I would say not at all through Bible study] but also through personal experiences of challenging the forces of darkness.” So this is where they got it from. We quoted last week, I think it was, and let me quote it again. C. Peter Wagner says “One fundamental thesis will control, that is coming to grips with, the relatively new and at times somewhat radical ideas surrounding strategic level spiritual warfare, spiritual mapping, identification, and other such issues [listen to this], the thesis that ministry, that is, experience, precedes and produces theology, not the reverse.” And so Wimber said (John Wimber, who is, really, you would have to say, is behind this, because C. Peter Wagner said Wimber was his mentor). . .
Tom: Right, the late John Wimber.
Dave: He said, “We are cataloging all of our experiences so we can develop a theology.” No! You judge your experiences by theology and theology comes from what the Bible says!
Tom: Right, sound doctrine.
Tom: Which is not a favorite with most of these that you’ve mentioned.
Dave: It’s – you know, I hate to mention it, but, Tom its tragedy . . .
Tom: Dave, I hope our audience understands that we believe that there’s a battle going on out there, but as you said last week and we can repeat, it’s the battle for truth! The Scripture says “Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” By the way, “wiles”- the Greek word there is “methodeia,” from which we get our term, “method,” which I think is interesting. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” James:4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That’s what the Scriptures say.
Dave: The armor of God does not include any of these techniques.
Dave: And this is not aggressive attacks against Satan, but it is withstanding his attacks against us, and we do it by truth, by righteousness, by the gospel, and by the shield of faith.
Tom: Right. We are to resist steadfast in the faith. That’s what we’re encouraging.
Dave: Right. That’s all we want to get across, Tom.