An article from a few years back, but one worth bringing to the forefront once again. Emphasis are mine.
Paul and Drew have both graciously shared a part of their spiritual journey with us. For myself, the area of the fringe that I became most involved with was spiritual warfare. For a season in my ministry I became deeply immersed in this teaching. I declared things in the heavenlies, attempted to discern the demons over my city, drove around my city claiming it for Jesus, anointed the chairs in our sanctuary on a regular basis, and bound Satan daily. I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that really got in to this whole experience. I felt very important and very powerful. Even today, when discussing some of the things that I used to do, I have a strong feeling of power rise up in my body. It was very exciting. Until one day a very simple question refused to let go of me. “When did anyone in the Bible do this?”
That was the question that started me on an investigation of this teaching. Today I am confident that not only is this teaching not Biblical, it is actually occultic in nature. I don’t make that statement lightly. I have studied and written on the subjects of the New Age, Wicca and even tribal religion. The modern teaching on spiritual warfare has more in common with these practices than anything that can be found in the pages of the New Testament (that book that is supposed to teach us, among other things, how the church is to operate).
I should hasten to say that this is not an exclusively Charismatic issue. Evangelical writers like Neal Anderson and Mark Bubeck (incidentally one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to talk to) have done much damage to the body of Christ in this area. Bubeck’s books even include prayers for the Holy Spirit to search your blood stream, gastro-intestinal organs and other body systems for demons. (i.e. the demon of cholitis and I am not joking.)
Space will only allow for a small number of examples but perhaps these will cause readers to dig even further to determine if these teachings are truly from the Lord.
1. Manipulation of spiritual forces: One of the underlying assumptions of the occultic worldview is that all of life is connected by a spiritual force. The practice of magick is based on attempts to manipulate this force in order for the practitioner to create their own reality. Modern Word Faith teachers and spiritual warfare teachers unknowlingly have bought into the same mindset. For Word Faith teachers the monistic force is faith itself. Kenneth Copeland has frequently stated that faith is a force that even God uses to accomplish His purposes. David Yonggi Cho has stated that this force can even be used by non-believers which is why Buddhist monks sometimes get results. Many of the modern prophets have stated the same thing about the New Age. For many in the spiritual warfare community the force is more personal in the form of angels, demons and the Holy Spirit. While this may seem more biblical the fact remains that much of their efforts are aimed at manipulating these beings to their own ends.
It is out of this foundational belief that many other ancillary beliefs and practices arise. For instance words are seen as extremely powerful. Once again, in Word Faith circles, words are the containers of the force. What I confess I possess. If I say that I am going bald I will get more baldness. But if I confess that I have a full head of hair then that is what I will receive. This is what leads teachers like Marylin Hickey to teach us to, “Say to your wallet. Why you big fat wallet. You’re so full of money.” Of course, apparently it doesn’t work for her because she has to keep asking for donations. Similarly prophetic teachers like Victoria Boyson and Mike Bickle teach that when we criticize someone we are releasing and activating Satanic activity upon them and if we bless them we are releasing Holy Spirit activity.
This authority that is supposedly in words then leads to the increasingly popular binding and loosing and warfare in the heavenlies teachings. In this practice Satan and his forces are actually addressed and commanded in prayer. Their “strongholds” over cities are pulled down. Their strategies are foiled. They must leave the region. Authority is claimed by the Church and the Spirit is loosed.
Now, I hate to spoil the party. But is this really what Jesus was teaching in Matt. 16 when He said that whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven? The answer is a decided “no”. Before discussing what binding and loosing really means, the evidence that modern spiritual warfare teachers cannot be correct in what they are teaching is easy to detect from the New Testament. The fact is simply this, NOWHERE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS SATAN EVER ADDRESSED IN PRAYER. Prayer is made to God. We do not have one single example of anyone in the New Testament ever engaging in this type of prayer. The only time that Satan or a demon is ever addressed by a believer is when they are being cast out of an individual. The historical fact is that binding and loosing were rabbinical terms that the apostles would have been familiar with that had to do with forbidding and permitting certain practices and which speaks to the apostle’s authority in laying the foundation for the practices of the church.
Christians are spending too much time shouting at the devil. And can someone please tell me, “What is the statute of limitations on binding the devil?” He seems to continually get loose! How long does it take to bind a demon and clear the heavenlies? This stuff has been going on over KC for over twenty years and yet 2005 was one of the worst years in our history for murder.
2. Ritual Magick. In the occult worldview, rituals can be performed in the physical that have ramifications in the spiritual. So a pin stuck in a voodoo doll can cause spiritual forces to work against an individual that can result in bodily injury. One of the most disturbing segments of the film, “Jesus Camp” was to see a teacher hand a hammer to children and tell them to go to the front and smash cups labelled “abortion”, “homosexuality” etc. etc. and by commanding the heavenlies and smashing the cups things would be broken in the spirit realm. Much of the same thing can be seen in many of the practices of anointing. Rebecca Brown teaches people to anoint the doors and windows of their homes so that demons don’t have any points of access to their homes.
3. Power Centers. In the occultic mindset, certain grounds are sacred. They may be possessed by either good or evil spirits. Some of these power centers may be taboo to all but the most highly initiated or they may be places to gather for worship because the power is strong. We have seen over the last two decades a number of these power centers emerge and diminish, Toronto, Pensacola, Smithton, etc. etc. Additionally, the modern teaching of spiritual portals by prophets like John Paul Jackson, Kathie Walters, Paul Keith Davis and many more has more in common with the occult than the bible despite the way they butcher the story of Jacob’s Ladder to try and make it fit.
4. The Devil Made Me Do It. The occultic world is all about spirits. Animism is all about spirits. Spirits are responsible for everything. Spirits must be placated. While it is certainly true that the Western mind tends to ignore the spiritual dimension and tends almost toward Deism, the modern spiritual warfare teachings are certainly an over-correction. If it rains on a church picnic it is the devil’s fault. Every sin is evidence of a “stronghold” that must be pulled down. The problem is that this silver bullet approach to holiness keeps the individual from dealing with what is often the true source of the problem, a carnal, rebellious heart.
5. Shamanism. In the occult the shaman is the expert in the things of the spirit. He has visions of the spirit world and brings back information to the followers. Many of today’s so-called prophets are nothing more than shamen. People flock to them to hear of their visits to the otherworld and to act on the information that they bring back. This has opened a literal pandora’s box of new practices. What is particularly disturbing in the spiritual warfare scenario is that many of these practices were supposedly learned by interviewing demons!!!! Bubeck says that when we interview a demon we should ask, “Will this information stand as truth before the throne of God?” For some reason Bubeck believes that a demon can’t lie if you ask him in that way. But why would we ever seek to learn about the things of the Spirit from a liar and the father of lies?
Remember the question that I said started it all for me. “When did anyone in the Bible ever do this?” It’s a good question. It’s worth pondering the next time you are thinking about jumping into a new thing.
Redeemed Hippie: Especially interesting was number 5 on Shamanism. We have this today with the likes of Bob Jones, Tod Bentley, Patricia King and a host of others who are more than glad to share their experiences of what they are allowed to see in the so-called spirit realm and bring it back to anyone who will listen. Sadly, many do listen and in doing so are being caught up in an occult revival of lies, delusions and manipulations.