The term SPIRITUAL WARFARE is used in certain Charismatic circles to denote activities believed to be directly challenging evil supernatural entities. This has nothing to do with the kind of scriptural concept spoken of by the apostle Paul, in which he admonished individual believers to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11) so that they may resist the temptations of the Devil:
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . . " (Ephesians 6:11-17, NKJV)
Paul does indeed use the symbolism of warfare in a number of places. But the modern Charismatic version is different. It does not consist of prayer and Bible study and the like. Rather, it involves such things as bombastic verbal affirmations by evangelists, joined by the voices of thousands in their audience, that they have the power to "bind the Devil" within a city and restrain the power of his evil accomplices in the supernatural world. A common strategy of these types of ministries is called "spiritual mapping."
Bill Randles, in a highly critical look at the movement, describes such mapping:
"Spiritual mapping involves researching the secular and religious history of a city to determine the names and characteristics of "ruling spirits" over the area. In spiritual warfare knowing the name of the strongman is a must. If you are really right on, you can actually determine the address; the geographical location of the spirit! According to Dick Bernal, the way to take a city is fourfold. 1. Proclaim a fast with prayer. 2. Identify the principality over the city. 3. Determine its geographical location. 4. Call him/her by name. Bernal also tells us that God revealed to him the name of the principality over his city. 'In prayer, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that the title of the ruling principality over our area is "Self." ' " (Bill Randles, Making War in the Heavenlies: A Different Look, p. 13.)
Many grandiose claims have been made for the results of these efforts, but it is difficult to find any substantiation for such claims.