Tom: The content for this week’s program is taken from chapter 24 of Dave Hunt’s book Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church. Our discussion will center on spiritual warfare, which is a legitimate biblical endeavor. However, as you will learn, if you’re not already aware, it’s taken some rather bizarre distortions in its applications among Christians today. Dave, it seems that most of what we’ve addressed in this series involves a legitimate doctrine, or teaching, of the Scriptures perverted to such an extreme that it has become a tool of the adversary rather than the blessing God intended. Faith, for example; prayer, we’ve talked about; who Jesus is, His salvation, and so forth. Now, spiritual warfare—first of all, is spiritual warfare a true biblical endeavor?
Dave: I don’t believe the term is found in the Bible—“spiritual warfare.” Ephesians 6 does say “For we wrestle not again flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” So I suppose you could call that spiritual warfare. The next question, however, is what do we mean? How do we wrestle against these demonic powers? Well, Paul says put on the whole armor of God, and none of it is offensive . . .
Dave: . . . Right. None of it is offensive. He says, “. . . that you may be able to withstand in the evil . . . ” —not take the offensive against, but “withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and the helmet of salvation, the preparation of the gospel, your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” It doesn’t say anything about shooting darts back at them. The battle is really a battle in the mind and in the heart. It’s a battle of the faith. And 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of those that believe not.” Now, I don’t believe that you can combat that blinding by some prayer or binding Satan or binding spirits. But you can only combat with the gospel. It’s the truth that sets people free. It’s not some ritualistic . . . or some technique that we adopt.
Tom: Right. You know, James:4:7 lays it out very simply, very clearly: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Dave: It doesn’t say I can go after him and chase him.
Tom: No, we have the same with 1 Peter:5:8-9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” So there we have it—resist – and we are to resist through the content of faith.
Dave: Yes, Tom probably many of our listeners don’t realize exactly what we are saying or the context. We are talking about some new idea. Spiritual warfare is a new idea. I don’t find it in the Bible. In fact, here is C. Peter Wagner of Fuller Theological Seminary, and he says Lausanne II . . . (I was at Lausanne I in 1974) . . .
Tom: Which was a missions conference.
Dave: Right, I attended it in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974. It was sponsored by Billy Graham, and you had Christian leaders from all over the world. It was the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.
Lausanne II was held in Manila, I believe. It was, you could say, a follow-up. There had been a number of follow-ups. So, C. Peter Wagner is saying “Lausanne II was the seedbed for the subsequent development of the spiritual warfare network. While in Manila, the Lord spoke to me [this is what God said to him] ‘I want you to take leadership in the area of territorial spirits.’” And he goes on and says, “I became the coordinator of the International Spiritual Warfare Network.” Now, I don’t know Tom, when you want to get to territorial spirits . . .
Tom: Well, we’re going to go through all of these, but for our listening audience there are a number of aspects, which is what you’re getting at, Dave – ingredients that make up what C. Peter Wagner calls “Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare.”
Dave: This is something new – entirely new, Tom.
Tom: Right, and it’s what they say. That God is using latter-day technology and these things didn’t go before – we have no basis for it, because the time wasn’t ready for it, in effect. But they involved things like territorial spirits, spiritual mapping, tearing down strongholds . . .
Dave: Well, spiritual mapping – what is that? I remember being in Santiago, Chile, when one of the leaders of this movement was in a Piper Cub flying over the city radioing down to earth. He was identifying the spirits that were in control of certain areas, certain parts of the city. So by doing “spiritual mapping,” you indentify who these spirits are, and then you “bind” them, and . . .
Tom: Well, that’s the claim.
Dave: Right, well then that sets people free in this particular area. Now I notice that Paul never did that. Jesus never did it. It is not a biblical teaching at all, but anyway . . .
Tom: These methodologies are numerous: tearing down strongholds, identification repentance, prayer walking, prayer journeys, prayer expeditions. Now, Dave it seems that at the heart of this – we’re going to talk about probably each one, just so people, you know, they don’t all come together, and some churches get involved in maybe one aspect or another. So we want to cover as many of these things as we can, but at the heart of it, really, is hearing from God. In weeks past, we’ve talked about the contemplative movement – the idea that we develop techniques for hearing from God directly. Now . . .
Dave: We didn’t develop them – they developed them.
Tom: Right, foundational to this is the idea that God not only speaks through His Word, which they would call the logos, but He also speaks on the basis of rhema. That is you’re going to hear from God directly, not through the written word and . . .
Dave: Tom, can I just interrupt?
Tom: Yes, sure.
Dave: I think way back in 1950, maybe it was slightly later than that, the Assemblies of God did a white paper on this idea of rhema. Of course, Kenneth Hagin’s school is called The Rhema School of the Bible in Tulsa. The Assemblies of God themselves in their white paper said there is no difference between rhema and logos. That you might find some differences that seem to be in the Bible, but when you put it all together, basically it’s talking about God’s Word.
Tom: Dave, these terms, for anyone who wants to check it out in a concordance—these terms are used interchangeably. There really is no difference.
Dave: Right, but they have made a BIG difference between them, and that has become the foundation for the theology.
Tom: Right, because you move, now, from basic doctrine – God’s written Word – to experiential information that you are hearing from God . . .
Dave: Right, you are getting a rhema word from God, they would say.
Tom: Right, so that’s really at the heart of this.
Dave: Well, Tom, let me just give you another quote here from C. Peter Wagner. Well, he’s introducing a book he edited titled: Breaking Strongholds in Your City: How to Use Spiritual Mapping to Make Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective, and Targeted. Now listen to what he says: “This book uncovers the wiles of the devil and exposes the prayer targets that will force the enemy to release millions of unsaved souls now held captive. I am excited God has given us a marvelous new tool for effective spiritual warfare.”
Just a little common sense – where did this new tool come from? If it’s a new tool, then Paul didn’t use it, Jesus didn’t use it, the church didn’t use it for 1,900 years. Now we’ve got a new tool. It came from somewhere – this is what you’re saying. They got a rhema word about this, apparently. Furthermore, “finally it’s going to force the enemy to release millions of unsaved souls.” Now I thought it was the gospel that that sets people free, and each one that hears the gospel, they have the option of believing it or not believing it. But now we’ve got a new tool and we’re going to set people free, unsaved people, to believe the gospel. Why didn’t God give us this tool before? If that’s how it works, why didn’t we know about this?
Tom: But Dave, they would say because the technology was not there.
Dave: What technology?
Tom: Well, let me give you an example.
Dave: All right.
Tom: All right, he writes as an example of this: “It begins by breaking the city down into neighborhoods, manageable geographical areas. In Medellín, Colombia, they have designated 255 neighborhoods. Each one is mapped in detail, showing each lot, what buildings are on the lot, what color house, and the name of the family or families who live there. The maps are distributed to prayer groups in the city, in other parts of the country, and in other countries. If at least three prayer groups report spiritual impressions [there’s the experiential part] spiritual impressions, about a particular household or place, trained workers go right in and solicit specific prayer requests for that house. Prayer groups outside the city keep in touch through fax machines and computer modems.
In Medellín, one of the participating prayer groups was a Baptist General Conference church in the United States. Even though they had no tradition of receiving prophetic words from the Lord, one day, the group heard clearly that there was something wrong with a certain vacant lot in the neighborhood they were praying for. They faxed the information to Medellín. A ministry team visited the lot and found five occult objects cursed and buried by witches to control the neighborhood. They were destroyed, and the gospel flowed freely.” What do you think?
Dave: Well, Tom, you know, on the one hand I have great sympathy for these dear people. They are so earnest, so sincere, and they really think they are accomplishing something. Unfortunately, they’ve gotten themselves caught up in spending their time and effort on a project that I don’t find in the Word of God. If this is really effective – you know, it’s like Christian psychology. If Christian psychology has anything to offer, then we would have to say that the church was without it for 1,900 years. If these spiritual warfare techniques that they’re spending so much time on have anything to offer, then the church was without them for 1900 years. Jesus didn’t teach them, Paul didn’t teach or practice them . . .
Tom: . . . or practice them. Right, there’s no examples . . .
Dave: . . . in the early church. So now, what are we basing this upon? Well, back to this “rhema word.” Now, we’ve got a “word from God,” we’ve got impressions, we have subjective feelings, the people have, that have now become the basis of truth, apparently.
Tom: Which they interpret as being from God.
Tom: But with no support scripturally.
Dave: Tom, how many years ago was it now, ten years or so, that John Dawson wrote his book: Taking Your Cities for God, this is the title of the book—Taking Our Cities for God: How to Break Spiritual Strongholds. Pastor Jack Hayford said, “This is a book of Holy Spirit insight into the toughest problems we face on this planet today.” C. Peter Wagner, again, called it “the most important book on the subject ever written.”
Now, John Dawson writes in the book, “The demonic strongholds that bind our urban populations [this is what you’re talking about – they’ve mapped this out now] have power, but we can over throw them. This section lays out a five-fold approach to bringing down our city’s strongholds. Now, Pastor Jack Hayford has had a number of seminars in his Church on the Way titled “Taking Your City for God.” This has been going on for years. I don’t know of any city that they’ve taken for God. In fact, evil seems to get worse: drug addiction, pornography, homosexuality, and so forth – all of these things are on the rise. I don’t know of a city they’ve taken for God.
Furthermore, it isn’t biblical. Jesus didn’t take any cities for God; Paul didn’t take any cities for God – never told us that we were to do this. So, again, unfortunately, they are spending their time and effort on something that isn’t biblical and will not be productive.
Tom: Well, so it’s futile in that sense, but it can be worse because now you are giving credence to methodologies and techniques – rituals, in effect – that are . . . I mean, that is the game plan of the adversary!
Dave: Let me give you another quote from Wagner. I’m sorry I am interrupting you – and then, carry on, Tom, but we don’t rehearse this ahead of time, so – and I don’t even know what you are going to say next!
Tom: Neither do I Dave, but that’s all right.
Dave: [laughing] Okay, but maybe that makes it interesting. But here’s Peter Wagner again, and this is very significant in relation to what you’ve been saying: “One fundamental . . . ” (he’s talking about spiritual warfare now). “One fundamental thesis will control this discussion of us coming to grips with some of the relatively new and, at times, somewhat radical ideas surrounding strategic level spiritual warfare, spiritual mapping, identification repentance, and other such issues – the thesis that ministry, that is, experience, precedes and produces theology, not the reverse.”
Now the man is very boldly, blatantly, stating—where do these ideas come from? Let me tell you he says, “We are not taking them from the Bible.” This is not based upon biblical teaching, but it is based upon our experience. And what we have experienced, then we will interpret the Bible in light of this experience. And part of the experience is, Tom, they have conversations, supposedly, with demonic entities. And they ask: “How did you get in? What is your modus operandi? How do you operate? and so forth and so on. And then, on the basis of what these lying spirits have said . . .
Tom: You see, the delusion is even if you are commanding the spirit, it’s not going to lie you because you’ve taken authority over it. I mean, talk about delusion!
Dave: I think spirits lie, but I think a lot of it . . . well, I have a friend, and they were part of a secular rock group—very successful—and they became Christians. And they told me they had the experience with some of these people of—I think each of them had, oh, I don’t know, a dozen or two dozen demons cast out of them, and these things spoke with audible voices, and so forth. This was after they became Christians. And then they told me that looking back on this experience, they felt that they had really been hypnotized! There weren’t demons in them at all, but they had been hypnotized into sort of role-playing to please those who were telling them that there were demons and so forth.
So I am not even sure whether they are actually talking to demons, but if they are, they are lying, deceiving spirits. And now we are going to base our ideas on how to combat them from what they tell us! That doesn’t make sense.
Tom: Well, Dave, that goes back to sort of the foundational teaching from this perspective. And that is that Christians do have and can have – that is, they can have demons!
Dave: This is what they say – not what the Bible says.
Tom: Right. Well, and there’s a host of Christian writers that have, you know, a fairly large ministry or are well known throughout Christianity, and they would promote the idea that a Christian can be demonized.
Dave: They don’t get it from the Bible. They get it from . . .
Tom: And they admit that!
Dave: Right, they get it from experience. After all, they’ve talked to these demons and so forth.
Tom: And the analogy is that just as a psychotherapist, a clinical psychologist, arrives at information through dialoging with individuals, through his experience with the individual, that’s the same basis that they have for coming up with their doctrines.
Dave: Right. I’m sorry, Tom, I interrupted you back there, if you can remember where you were.
Tom: Dave, we’ll go from point to point. You know, there’s so much in this. Going back to spiritual mapping – this is a technique, a methodology, that’s really gained a lot of popularity. George Otis, Jr.- he’s one of the big names in this.
Tell me about Spiritual Mapping. They say it’s based on the idea of the prince of Persia, the . . .
Dave: Yeah, if you went to the . . . if they try to get some justification from the Bible, then they go back to Daniel, where Daniel has been praying for three weeks, and the angel Gabriel comes, and he says that he was delayed because the Prince of Persia “withstood me for three weeks.”
So, that supposedly means that there was a demonic being who was the Prince of Persia, who was controlling Persia. And the way you could get Persians saved would be to bind this spirit.
It doesn’t say that at all! Daniel wasn’t praying for Persia. Daniel didn’t have Persia in mind at all. What Daniel wanted to know was what would happen in the last days, and the angel Gabriel was sent to reveal this to him. So the warfare was between Gabriel and some demonic entity, apparently of some power. We don’t understand that, but there is a warfare going on in the spiritual realm that you read of, for example, in Revelation 12.There is war in heaven, Satan and his angels fought against Michael and his angels and so forth. But there’s nothing about binding. It doesn’t say that Gabriel bound this demon. It doesn’t say that to do so would deliver Persia. Persia, in fact, was never delivered from demonic delusions, even to this day. So you couldn’t possibly get this whole idea of spiritual warfare from that teaching.
Tom: The methodology involves going into the history books, looking back at what went on in a certain area, what they might find with regard to spiritual involvement, whether there were witches or shamans or whatever involved in a certain territory. And then, as you said, binding those spirits because the belief is that those spirits are preventing the flow of the gospel.
Dave: Tom, we offer an excellent video, I think it is (maybe you can remember the name of it) of missionaries in the South Pacific who went into a tribe (really, a demonic tribe). They didn’t bind any spirits, they didn’t engage in any of this, and they had tremendous success through the Word of God and through the gospel. You remember that tape?
Tom: Right, Dave you are right. This is a video tape produced by New Tribes, and it’s called Delivered from the Power of Darkness, and if somebody’s interested in that, they can call the 800 number . . . we have that. We also have lots of materials . . . you know, sometimes, Dave, we forget we have great resource materials for these things that we just touch upon, and if people are interested in more information with regard to some of the things that we talk about, they ought to contact us, and then Gary will have some information for them later.
Dave: Tom, what we’re trying to say—I guess our time is up—is we need to go by the Word of God. This is God’s Word, this is the guide. It is a “lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path,” and when you come up with “new”—this is something “new,” they themselves say it—that ought to be a red flag right away. If it’s new, how come Paul didn’t know about it? Why didn’t the Holy Spirit reveal it sooner? Why isn’t it clearly taught in the Word of God, and why don’t we have the doctrine and the practice of it there? So we just urge people to get back to the Word of God.
Dave: Let’s go by this.
Tom: Absolutely, and if they’re buying into anything, and they don’t check it out,the dangers that could be ahead—it’s not just a matter of exercise in futility here or there and using your energies that are not going to bear fruit, but you could be lead into heavy occultism.
Dave: Become obsessed with demonic entities that you think you’re battling, when in fact you’ve lost the battle against them because they’re taking up all your time and they’ve deluded you with their lies.