February 21, 2014

Getting to Know Satan

This is a book that quite simply introduces us to the devil. Who is he? Where did he come from? We learn that his main job is to destroy and undermine the goodness of God’s creation. “He defaces the image of God in human beings”. (p.23)

Mike looks at Satan’s strategies in the world today, including: attack, deception, temptation and frustration. However, he reminds us, we do well to remember that Satan is always subservient to the will of God. He can do nothing without the Lord’s permission. Satan is powerful, but limited. How then can he do bad things? Mike takes us back to Job to tackle difficult questions like this.

He then gets into demon possession in chapter 3. This is a huge issue in the schemes with huge numbers of people interested in the spiritual world of mediums, witches, etc. This is a real problem in many people’s lives (although they are too blind to see it). He has a pastoral and practical little discussion on the difference between demon possession and demon oppression. He then answers the question of how all this could relate to mental illness (a huge problem for us). He, rightly in my opinion, asserts that Christians cannot be possessed by demons. This lie is being propagated by many in extreme charismatic circles today and is particularly harmful and malicious in our kind of ministry, as we work with many vulnerable and spiritually suggestable people.

What about exorcisms? Not commanded in Scripture. What about strongholds? Territorial spirits are also very sexy in many churches (although these were questions being posed in Bible College 15 years ago). 2 Cor. 10:3–5 comes into play. We preach the gospel my friends. The true (and unsexy) answer to all of these issues. But what about Matthew 11:43–45? Handled as well. He warns us that we shouldn’t be naive when it comes to this stuff. Don’t blindly accept everything and don’t blindly reject it either. We must be sure to come to Scripture and seek to properly understand it before we base our theologies on speculative verses and accounts. In fact, Mike informs us, the majority of our spiritual warfare will be done with very ordinary means like prayer, faith, and confession.

That leaves one very important question: What do we when we come across demonic activity? The answer is what we would expect. Don’t freak out, rely on the power of Christ, and pray. I’ll leave Mike with the last word (sort of):

"Satan’s power and knowledge are limited; his doom is sure. He’s not worthy of our time, obsession, and emotions. Instead we live with both of our eyes fixed firmly in Jesus, who has delivered us from the devil’s wrath and given us a sure hope that we will one day be rid of him for ever." (p.76)

Worth a tickle this one, particularly if it is a subject you know very little about. You’re going to come up against this type of stuff in schemes. A good little primer.

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