Spiritual Warfare, Borgman & Ventura

And he (Jesus) said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of  ad the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father,  Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10:17-22

Taking their lead from Scripture, particularly Ephesians 6: 10-20, the authors expound on the biblical revelation that every true (regenerated, justified, forgiven) Christian is in the midst of a raging but unseen, spiritual war involving intelligent, highly skilled, powerful beings arrayed against one another, but with a final, determinative outcome that is divinely promised, known, and certain.

Such knowledge does not necessarily lessen the felt effects in the realm of thoughts, desires, struggles, tensions, behaviors,and various physical or material impacts (up to and including death) that we see manifest in the world every day for both good and evil.

In light of the reality of this war, it is essential that believers have a firm, balanced, and growing knowledge of God and revealed truth, develop a solid dependence upon Him, and wholeheartedly cooperate with the Spirit in our ongoing sanctification (journey toward holiness) so as not to become (temporary) casualties in this very real, powerfully dynamic struggle.

Chapters with synopsis:

1. Be Strong in the Lord: The church in Ephesus, a major Roman city and a center of occultic practices, likely was well aware of the need for godly living and dependence on God for strength in the struggle with demonic powers.

2. Put On the Full Armor of God:  Every resource made available by God for this struggle must increasingly be appropriated by the church that we may withstand the assaults and stand firm in the faith.

3. The Schemes of the Devil: Don’t underestimate your opponent.  He is highly skilled with well-honed, time-tested, effective strategies to deceive individuals, distorting or denying ultimate truths, with the ultimate aim of inflicting maximum damage and harm on the church

4. The Nature of Our Conflict: Dull, unbelieving denial of supernatural realities and beings does not obviate their existence.  Their existence, power, and skills are real and daunting (humanly speaking).

5. The Belt of Truth:  Divine truth, well derived from sacred Scripture, like a belt, must be central in our lives, the truths of who God is, what He has done, is doing,and will do in the course of redemptive history and our salvation as revealed in gospel preaching and sacraments, thorough acquaintance with God’s Word, prayer, and godly living

6. The Breastplate of Righteousness: Speaks to the vital need for protection of the center of our being from the deadening, deceiving, corrupting influences of Satan, grasping the objective righteousness of Christ and need for godly living

7. The Gospel of Peace Footwear:  Military footwear speaks to the need to be confident, quick, decisive, surefooted.  The preaching of the gospel in the power of the Spirit is God’s means of reconciling his chosen ones to himself.

8. The Shield of Faith: The essential, critical role of faith focused on real but unseen realities only dimly experienced in this life.  Satanic inspired doubts in the reliability of what Scripture teaches is powerfully destructive.

9. The Helmet of Salvation: False, destructive, ungodly thoughts arise from our sinful natures and can be powerfully stimulated by demonic influences, so refusing to dwell on evil by diverting those thoughts to the reality of the various tenses of our salvation, especially its future aspect is essential.

10. The Sword of the Spirit: The word of God as an offensive and defensive weapon.

11. Warfare Prayer: 20% of the verses in Ephesians have to do with prayer, the essential ingredient for every other weapon.

12. Warfare Prayer and Proclamation: Essential prayer for the bold, courageous preaching and teaching of the gospel

13. Spiritual Warfare Debriefing: A life of struggle lived in dependence upon and in the power of the Spirit

Appendix 1: The Sovereignty of God and Satan:  God is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption, Satan a powerful but defeated created adversary allowed a certain measure of freedom.

Appendix 2: Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?:  In short, no

Appendix 3: Christian, Pray for Your Pastors: For courage, wisdom, knowledge, theological depth, love, strong marriage & family, godly passion, godliness, etc.

Pros:  Pastoral, covers basic theological truths pretty well, some very good, helpful insight.

Cons:  Theology is not the most incisive, overall pretty solid, if stolid.

The authors are Baptist pastors writing for a beginning to intermediate level audience.  For that audience a 4.5 star rating.
For seasoned Christians, perhaps a 3.5 star rating (substantially less for scholars and those with significant biblical study libraries).

I received an electronic copy of this book gratis from Cross-focused reviews in exchange for a review.

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