The fact I've had this book since March 1, 2012 should offer a hint at what type of review this is going to be. Spirit Wars by Kris Vallotton is a a fairly in-depth account of the author's experiences as he's engaged in spiritual warfare. I ordered the book two years ago, but I've had a hard time going through it - but probably not for the reason most readers would suppose.
So let's get this out in the open: I believe in demonic forces around us, and I believe that we are living in a world that is at war around us at all times. And I believe we have a roll to play in that war. So my frustration with the book actually had nothing to do with the aspect of spiritual war at all. My frustration with the book - and why it's taken me two years to read through it and finally post a review - is a fundamental belief that Kris has that I'm just not willing to accept yet; it's regarding our nature as Christians. This is an area of huge debate in the Christian world, but I'm just not willing to swallow Kris' assertion (I guess he would say I don't have enough faith) that we can choose to live a life free of sin.
I get what he says about not having a sin nature that is married to the Law anymore, and I can buy the fact that we are no longer practicing sinners because John as much as tells us that in his letters. At the same time, I have great difficulty accepting the statement that we can literally go weeks without sinning. So I'm not accused of taking him out of context, here's an extended quote from pages 44-45:
This deceptive perception that born-again believers are still sinners by nature raised its ugly head awhile back when I was teaching a group about the divine nature of born-again people. I was telling the class that we are no longer sinners, but instead have become saints through the power of the cross. (editorial note: I don't have a problem with this paragraph).
To illustrate my point, I said, "There is a river that flows through our souls, and it runs toward the throne. If we don't paddle, we will end up at God's house! You have to make an effort to sin because it is no longer in your nature."
A tall young man in the middle of the room just could not take it any longer. He abruptly stood to his feet and with all the passion he could muster shouted out, "Have you ever had a day go by that you didn't sin?"
"Yes, of course I have," I shot back.
"How about a week?" he pressed, staring me right in the eyes with a stern look.
"Sure," I continued, smiling at him. "In fact, I have gone several weeks in a row without sinning."
I suppose I could get into an extended theological argument at this point, but I won't, accept to say that, at least at this point in my Christian walk, I'm not willing to accept that anyone can go for "several weeks in a row" without sinning. Sinning is more than just what we do, it is also what we don't do, and what Kris is claiming here is that he has lived - literally - a perfect life for "several weeks in a row." Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Is Kris suggesting that for several weeks in a row there he never once broke that law? He is suggesting that for several weeks he always loved his neighbor as himself and never once allowed the temptation to think more highly of himself to take root?
It's for that reason I struggle to recommend this book and will be giving it a 1/5 stars. He bases his entire work on this concept, and I just can't accept it as true (at least not yet). And if the foundation is bad, I can't recommend the builder.
For the record, I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.
If nothing else, "Spirit Wars" by Kris Vallotton will get you thinking, praying, and examining your perceptions about sin, the spiritual world, and spiritual warfare. I enjoy reading books that challenge me to really consider what I believe- and I'll say that much for "Spirit Wars" - it created a lot of points of deep, engaging discussion for my husband and I. Depending on your theological standing you may find yourself adamantly agreeing with much of what Vallotton claims - or vehemently at odds. Issues such as Valotton's claim that Christians no longer have a sin nature (43), that principalities that rule over places are based in people (182), or his assertion that Christians who have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder may actually just be incredibly discerning of the spiritual world (175) might get a hearty amen out of you_or they may cause some gnashing of the teeth - hard to say. But claims like these will get you thinking- guaranteed- and hopefully searching the Bible, talking with others, and really examining what you believe about how much the spiritual world influences you and how much you should be influencing it. A considerable portion of this book deals with the author's personal experience of depression and anxiety and how he relates these to the spiritual realm. Those who share that struggle (or live with someone who does) may find a lot of encouragement in these pages_alternatively, they might find themselves more anxious and confused - particularly if they don't take to well to the idea that Christians can be "demonized" or oppressed by evil spirits.
While I found myself raising my eyebrows every now and then, I'll still concede that overall, I gained a lot from this book. Vallotton made same excellent points about the tactics of the enemy, the difference between "captives" and "prisoners" when it comes to spiritual oppression, about unforgiveness being a root cause of much oppression in people's lives, as well as the importance of truly knowing and experiencing God's love. I would recommend this book to mature Christians who want to be challenged in their understanding of spiritual warfare, and who are comfortable with re-examining whatever doctrinal presumptions they hold to.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
This is the best book I've ever read on Spiritual Warfare; it deals with us as triune beings just as God designed us and doesn't white wash issues or talk about a "demon hiding behind every bush." He is very transparent in his sharing. His use of scripture and the way he weaves it in with his personal life and how the reader can construct a workable battle plan for the enemy offers real help. One doesn't feel lectured at or like you've just swallowed a lot of theological air that won't amount to anything. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to partner with God to obtain victory in addictions / mental health issues or just daily struggles with life.
Spirit Wars is an easy-to-read, well-written book that is part memoir and part training-manual pertaining to issues of spiritual warfare and deliverance. No doubt some readers of this book will be skeptical of the stories the author shares, wondering if such things really can happen in a post-modern society where belief in demons is often rejected as something only the uneducated believe in. However, as someone who is both educated and has had personal experiences involving someone being delivered from demonic oppression, I can tell you that the evil one is indeed at work in our world, and the author provides a powerful book to help us understand how people come to be impacted by the hidden realm around us. I greatly appreciated the author's willingness to open up about his own life and the challenges he's experiences. I also found the book to be very practical, such as how the author shares "counselling tools" or discusses how the gift of discernment operates. However, what I most appreciated about this book is that at no time does the author try to blame demonic oppression for everything that is going wrong in someone's life. Instead, he advises readers to consult with health care professionals, to take care of their physical body, and to visit counsellors trained to deal with mental health issues along with spiritual warfare. I will admit that I am still pondering many things that I read in this book, trying to discern my way through them. At the end of the day, however, I strongly recommend that readers interested in spiritual matters and the demonic realm pick up this book to learn from Kris Vallotton's own experiences and to help inform their own beliefs on such matters. Whether readers agree or disagree with what they read, this is a subject that all Christians should be aware of, and this book is a great place to start!
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
We live in the realm of two different worlds, the visible one we see with our earthly eyes and the invisible spiritual one that isn't always visible, the one we sometimes see with our spiritual eyes. God created both worlds, and He has omnipotent power over both! Whether one believes in the invisible world or not, it still exists. It's the evil entity of the invisible world that we war against in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Read the 6th chapter of Ephesians for a better understanding.)
Kris tells us his life story of bondage and torment to exemplify the two worlds clashing, and how the battle was won. It's a story that is believable and horrific. It's also believable in how his life was changed. He goes into detail about the lies, tactics and traps the devil uses, ones that everyone will go through at one time or another in their lives. His book is pertinent and relevant. Each chapter is vital to understand the battle we are in, and Kris is thorough in his teachings in each area.
Winning the invisible wars that haunt people is addressed in these chapters:
Fighting for Peace
Are You Living in a Haunted House?
Rules of Engagement
The Flesh is Weak
Treat Yourself Kindly
The Armor of God
Casting Out Demons
For the Love of God
Kris Volloton's book, Spirit Wars, is the first book I've read about Spiritual Warfare on this level since the teachings I received about seventeen years ago. I can easily say I agree with 99.99% of what is in Kris's book! It's Scriptural, forthright, and necessary for everyone's spiritual life if they want to win the invisible war and bask in God's joy, love and abundant life.
I would recommend this book for a Bible study group, a Sunday School class or personal study. Whichever way you decide, please decide to read it!
This book was provided by Jim Hart of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged for my review.