Spiritual Warfare Definition

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Some Charismatics use the phrase 'spiritual warfare' for actions they believe fight demonic powers. This type of behavior is completely unrelated to resisting the devil spoken by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6. In this chapter Paul admonishes believers to be strong in God (verse 10). He then tells them to make sure that have on God's spiritual armor so that they can stand up against the deceptions and lies of Satan (verse 11).

12. Because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places. 13. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand (Ephesians 6:10 - 13)

The apostle Paul, in his many letters, does use references related to human warfare as symbolic of what must be done in the spiritual realm (2Corinthians 10:3 - 5, 1Timothy 1:18, etc.). He defines spiritual warfare in two parts. First, true believers have an ongoing war within themselves between their self-defeating human nature that leans toward sin and the influence of God's Holy Spirit that guides a Christian toward righteousness.

21. Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. 23. But I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members (Romans 7:21, 23, HBFV)

Paul second part of spiritual warfare is that of refuting false teachings and 'bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ' (2Corinthians 10:5).

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Charismatics, however, have a different version of what it takes to battle in the spiritual realm. For them, combating evil involves over-the-top affirmations by a religious leader, where countless audience members declare they possess the power to constrain Satan or his demons in a city. This type of strategy is sometimes referred to as "spiritual mapping."

Bill Randles, in his book enetitled "Making War in the Heavenlies: A Different Look," takes a critical view of some of the tactics used by those who engage in spiritual warfare. He reveals the steps some take to 'free' a city from the bondage of an evil entity.

According to Dick Bernal, the way to take a city is fourfold. 1. Proclaim a fast with prayer. 2. Identify the principality (e.g. the evil spiritual entity that rules) over the city. 3. Determine its (the evil spirit's) geographical location. 4. Call him or her by name.

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