Let's Talk about Spiritual Warfare, part one
This blog begins a five-week series about spiritual warfare. We will define it, describe it, describe scripture’s thoughts about it, trace Christianity’s theology regarding it, see how Christians differ in their views of it based on cultural and geographic differences, and ultimately present the reasons why or why not we today should take it seriously.
How are we defining spiritual warfare? In general terms, spiritual warfare is described as: The struggle against forces of evil, including personal forces like demons.
More specifically for our purposes, throughout its history, the church has believed that malevolent beings conspire against God and humans alike to bring about death and chaos. Christians have actively sought to oppose demonic forces through public prayer and exorcisms. It is this latter definition that causes many of us pause, and consequently most of us fall into one of two camps.
C. S. Lewis makes precisely this point in his famous work, The Screwtape Letters:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
Similarly, along these same lines, Martin Luther once noted that Christians are often like a drunk trying to get on his horse. First, he falls off one side, only to fall off the other the next time. Given the stakes in this war, we cannot afford to fall off either.
Our goal, then, in this series, is to develop and maintain a biblically sound and balanced view about spiritual warfare. Do we live in fear, attributing virtually every negative event in our lives to demonic forces? Conversely, do we ignore the whole subject, effectively deciding that demonic forces don’t exist? How do we, like Goldilocks, maintain a viewpoint that is not too hot, not too cold, but “just right”, or balanced spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically. I believe that in the area of spiritual warfare, we need to get it right.
In part two we will explore what the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare and its admonitions for believers.
Part three will review how the church has viewed spiritual warfare during the past 2000 years or so, and if that view has evolved over time.
Part four will explore the various world views toward spiritual warfare that exist in the Christian world today, what accounts for those changes, and how that impacts the lives of individual believers.
Finally, part five will attempt to help us decide what the appropriate response we as Christ followers should have to the concept of spiritual warfare.
Next week we will explore Biblical texts that teach us about spiritual warfare, perhaps starting with this one:
“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.”- 1Peter 5:8,9 (HCSB)
See you next week…
 Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura, “Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective,”The Founders Journal: Be Strong in the Lord, Spring, no. 92 (2013): 6.  Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura, “Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective,”The Founders Journal: Be Strong in the Lord, Spring, no. 92 (2013): 6.