Monday, July 7, 2014

“Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”

In the preface to Screwtape C.S. Lewis warned that "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." Some Christians may be guilty of such an unhealthy interest. From "Bound to Work: 3 reasons you should not try [to] bind Satan":
Spiritual warfare is real. It might not make the news; but it ought to. Paul acknowledges this in Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

But the weapons of this warfare are often somewhat misunderstood. In some church circles, for example, it is commonplace to hear pastors and their people talk of “binding Satan” or “renouncing the devil’s presence” or some such display of confidence.

Here are three reasons I believe this is misguided.

1. Satan is (most probably) not in earshot

There is a pernicious paranoia that permeates churches today: folks think Satan can hear them speak. Some people unwittingly pad Satan’s résumé to include God’s unique attributes of omniscience and omnipresence. Yes, Satan certainly is ambulant (1 Pet 5:8), but he is confined to one place at a time. He can’t read your mind, and he doesn’t perk his ears when he hears his name mentioned in your prayers. ....

2. Binding Satan is above your pay grade

Satan can be bound, just not by you. The task of binding Satan is given to an angel. (Rev 20:1-3). It’s a pretty important task, and a lot of eschatology depends in it being done properly. ....

3. God has a better idea

The Bible is not written in code. There are sections written as descriptive narrative, which record what happened in history. And there are other narrative sections written as prescriptive commands that apply to you and me.

The only instruction Christians are given about how to confront the spiritual forces of darkness is Ephesians 6. .... [read it all here]