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Age: Over 65
4 Stars Out Of 5
Good pastoral tool
October 18, 2012
Age: Over 65
Ray Stedman's Spiritual Warfare is a tremendously encouraging book. A masterful job of covering the subject spiritual warfare from a thoroughly biblical perspective.
One of the important aspects of this books is that it starts with the most important step in the battle against demonic forces; the new life in Christ. Stedman makes sure that we know that without being new creatures "in Christ" the battle will be lost before it starts. Fighting these battles without God's help through the power of the Holy Spirit is simply "rearranging the difficulties of life"
Stedman makes it clear that there has to be a balanced perspective when it comes to not only spiritual warfare, but demon possession as well. His assessment is right on when he says that many Christians give Satan too much credit by feeling that they have to "bind" Satan or bind his forces by "speaking against the darkness" in situations where that is simply not warranted.
He correctly points out that while there was heightened demonic activity during our Lord's time on earth that was stirred up by His presence, much of that demonic influence was diminished in the book in the book of Acts. The majority of attacks of the devil against Christians now come as indirect attacks or "schemes". That is why the Apostle Paul in his letters focused on those indirect attacks of the enemy which come largely through "the world" and "the flesh".
Stedman explains that Satan often attacks through the more basic of these two channels "the flesh", with his "silken, subtle, suggestive schemes". The "flesh"simply representing our sinful nature, the nature that is ours by simply being fallen humans.
Then of course, there is "the world" which the expression that describes all "flesh-centered" individuals who make up the human race, who exert that "tremendous pressure of the majority upon the minority to conform, adjust, keep in step with, and go along with the crowd."
Stedman seems to get dangerously close to saying that Satan can get into our minds in his discussion of the body, soul, and spirt, but did not actually say that. The reading of our minds and the planting of thoughts in it is an attribute of an Omnipotent God. Satan as a created being does not have that power.
One of the best sections in the book is the explanation of the power of using the "rhema", the spoken Word of God as opposed the "logos" Word of God. Stedman makes the careful distinction that when Ephesians 6:17 says "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" that it means the "rhema" or "spoken" word of God, not "logos" which speaks of the Bible in a broad or general sense.
When the word "rhema" is used, it means the direct spoken word of God as it addresses a very specific situation, as opposed to the broad use of the Word of God. Rhema addresses a very specific area of need or sin. Stedman rightly points out that the devil has declared war on the Word of God because he knows it's power. We are to use the Word of God as an offensive weapon to proclaim the truth.
This is an excellent volume and a great pastoral tool. Not only should it be read by veteran soldiers of the battle, but new recruits as well. It will help them be secure in their faith as they "stand".
I read this entire book on-line today for free...however, I was so impressed, changed and moved by the deep truths that set me free from the bondage of thinking that our warfare in Christ was more Active, when indeed it is Passive/Active..meaning, Christ in us and we stand. I have to buy several copies of this to give to friends of mine who I know this will help them too. I highly recommend this book. It is well done, rooted and ground in truth and understanding. It is liberating indeed.