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The Invisible War 21st July, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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The church today is anaemic.

These were the words of one of my seminary professors this summer.  I have to say that this statement, along with the discussion that followed it, have haunted me since that day… because of the intesity of the Truth in that statement.

We live in the middle of a War – one that is unseen, but not unnoticed!  The Bible clearly teaches that we live admist a Spiritual War, and yet the Church, who are supposed to stand firm on the side of Truth do not know how to use the weapons we have been given.  There are huge numbers of people who call themselves Christian but who don’t know the point of their sword from it’s butt.  The church today is anaemic.  It doesn’t know the Word of God.  Do you?  Can you weild the text to fight the Enemy?  Can you parry his blows with Prayer?  Can you knock him off his feet with your Faith?

As the professor digressed and gave one of the semonettes that are worth every penny it takes to be there, he ventured onto the topic of angelology and demonology.  Because we do such a poor job of being in the Word, the Church today has a really weak (if any) understanding of angels, demons, and the person of Satan.  As I pondered what was being said I scrolled through my mental harddrive to pull out all I could think of concerning the subject and I had to stop and confess that I am weak in this area.  Who is Satan?  What was his role before he rebelled?  What are the different ranks of angels and demons?  and on and on.

As class ended I asked my professor to suggest some books to read to supplement my study of Scripture to help expand my understanding of angels and demons.  He suggested one book in particular as a starting point.  The Invisible War by Donald Grey Barnhouse has blown my mind!  My professor was even more correct than I thought, we are frightfully anaemic!

How many times have you seen or thought of Satan portrayed as the red man with horns, hoofs and trident?  How many times have you pictured the ugly tempter in the garden of Eden, sleezing over Eve enticing her to sin?  How many times have you pictured him frustrated, jumping up and down in anger at his plans being foiled?  Oh how wrong we are.

Lucifer, the morning star, the highest of the angels, most beautiful of all that God had created.  Have you ever imagined that?  The most wonderful?  most beautiful?  How different does that make the temptation of Eve appear… when God’s most wonderful, beautiful picturesque, highest appointed being approaches her to talk.  He calls upon the serpent to be his mouthpiece, his prophet, and he plans seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind.  What a different picture that is to the scary red monster deceiving her!

I will never do the book justice in trying to summerize its content in a few short paragraphs, but I have to say that it’s a “must-read” as it has given me much food for thought.  I had never really dismantled the picture of Satan society had passed down to me.  I had never stopped to examine or to ponder the various ranks of the angels and demons and the implications of that for us.  I had never examined the Scripture long enough to piece together where in the Biblical picture Satan rebelled, what his position was, how his pride got in the way of his ministry, and how blind it made him to the things he was doing.  I had never been able to grasp why God would one day allow us to judge the angels.  or how he allowed Satan to continue living after his rebellion.  The list goes on.

This is a book I will read many times again.  But I must post a word of caution.  It is a book that needs to be read with discernment.  You may not agree with everything the writer says theologically, if that be the case, then you have to ask God to illuminate the nuggest of truth that are in the pages and to confirm your views where you are correct, or give you the grace to change where you hold a wrong view.  Barnhouse feels strongly about his beliefs.  Some paragraphs I wholeheartedly agreed at and read with vigorous nodding.  Some points I drew large question marks next to because I’m not sure (becuase I need to spend more time studying God’s word) and on many occasions I read a line with a feeling or shock horror, only to open my Bible and systematically work through examples to see things that I had never noticed before.

How are you doing with this area of your understanding?  Are you happy being an anaemic Christian? or like me, do you want to know His Word, be proficient in using your weapons, and know the Enemy and his ways so that you can fight Him effectively.

I have seen the end of our story (Book of Revelation) and it is not good!  Satan will continue to sow his seeds of deception until the day he is brought down!  He will continue to keep us ignorant of who he and and what he does, because that we he is freer to tempt us away from the Truth.  Will you let him?

Father, I pray for the church, that you would continue to pour your Grace upon us leading us in the Truth.  Oh how I hate seeing an anaemic church.  Raise up godly men and women who will lead people in the pursuit of you: in a love for you, a hunger for your Word, a thirst for Prayer. and unshakeable faith.  You are still moving in the world today.  You will shall be done!  May we do our part to stand strong.

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