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Spiritual Warfare 2 Feature image

Spiritual Warfare – The Real Battle

Top image Spiritual Warfare Part 2

In my previous article, I wrote about the implications for Christians and the church for those who believe in and practice spiritual warfare as it is commonly presented. In this follow-up article, I want to deal with what I understand as the real nature of spiritual warfare.

Although the term itself is not found in scripture, Paul does allude to some sort of conflict between the powers of darkness and the church. For instance, in Ephesians 6:12 he wrote, ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’. Jesus also alluded to this conflict when He declared; “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). There is also Daniel’s account of a celestial being who appeared to him and told him that the ‘prince of the Persian Kingdom’ had detained him until Michael came to help him (Daniel 10:13).

There is a spiritual conflict between the forces of darkness and the church

There is no doubt that, according to the biblical testimony, demons exist, are opposed to the things of God, and take every opportunity to harass the church. Peter confirmed this when he warned us that ‘your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). However, Jesus spoke about the forces of darkness attacking the church but not overcoming her, and Paul wrote of putting on the whole armour of God ‘so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’. He concluded with the injunction to ‘stand your ground, and after you have done everything, (to) stand’ (Ephesians 6:11-13).

The devil attacks and we defend, not the other way around. Teaching that encourages us to go on the offensive with all sorts of imagined tactics does not stand on firm biblical ground.
‘Yes, but what about Jesus’s teaching on binding the strong man so we can plunder his house?’ Yes indeed, what about it – The reference is to Luke 11:21-22 (Matthew 12:29 and Mark 3:27), which reads; “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armour in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils”. Here, some Jewish teachers had just accused Jesus of being in league with the devil and driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub. Jesus’ rebuttal was that if He was part of the kingdom of darkness then why would He weaken that kingdom by driving out its citizens. To ILLUSTRATE this He used the example of a robber who would have to subdue the owner of a house before he could plunder his possessions. The point is clear; how could He, Jesus, drive out demons if He had not already overcome the householder (the devil). It is silly to use this illustration as a warrant for ‘binding strongmen’ through prayer warfare, and other extra-biblical ‘spiritual warfare’ techniques.

The real weapons we use

If we are not supposed to ‘fight the devil’ with binding strong men, breaking curses, spiritual mapping, and so on, then what are the weapons of our warfare? Well, Paul described how he fought the good fight as follows: ‘In purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…’ (2 Corinthians 6:6-7). Then in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 he expanded with: ’For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’. Now add to this the analogy he presented in Ephesians of the armour of God and we have quite a good description of the real weapons of spiritual warfare – truth, righteousness, the proclamation of the gospel, faith, salvation, and prayer. Of course, the Lord Jesus also included healing and deliverance in our arsenal.

So, we fight the devil by disciplining our minds to resist sin, by living pure lives, and by exhibiting understanding, patience, and kindness. We fight by loving, by speaking truthfully, by teaching the truth that demolishes all proud pretensions, and by proclaiming the good news of salvation in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. We wage war by exercising faith, by praying, by healing the sick, and by delivering the demonized. All of these in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This then is how I understand the nature of spiritual conflict and the real defensive weapons at our disposal.

So, the call is to go out into the world, wearing our full spiritual armour and:

  1. Refrain from sin (resist the devil and he will flee from you – James 4:7)
  2. Live a biblical life and with love
  3. Tell others about Jesus, and
  4. Exercise faith by healing sick and delivering the demonized.

All in the authority of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit!


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Media post for Truth Is the Word

The Malefic Media

Are many media people dancing on the end of strings manipulated by political masters, or are they themselves willfully misleading their audiences?

Of late, I have been waking up at 4 am and I have developed the bad habit of watching CNN as I sip my first cup of tea. For months now CNN, at that time at least, has been focusing on the USA primary election goings-on. Almost without fail Donald Trump is portrayed as a dangerous buffoon and Hillary Clinton as the only reasonable choice for president. They do this in a number of ways, but one particular airing captured the essence of it for me.

Media mind games

The host had three men on his show, two avid and very vocal Clinton advocates, and the other a member of the Trump campaign team. The Trump man went to great length to make it clear that he was an advisor to Donald on matters of policy, yet the host kept on addressing the matter of fund raising. His other two guests were allowed to interrupt and shout over him, but when he tried to interrupt he was curtly told to wait his turn. After trying to respond to a barrage of fundraising related statements he once again said something like, “I have told you repeatedly that I am a policy advisor and that I am not part of the fundraising team. I truly hope that you will eventually get to discuss matters of policy.” The host retorted with, “We will get to that shortly”… and within minutes he concluded the programme.

So, what’s going on here? It seemed to me that the host was following a predetermined script, had got the Trump man on the show under false pretenses, and was ensuring that the Hillary side came out on top.

Another example is the appalling number of clips shown which are out of the bigger context of what that person (usually Donald Trump) was actually saying. When you get access to the fuller version it becomes obvious that the media folk have put a distinct spin on the intended meaning.

In South Africa, at this time, I am witnessing a very similar lack of integrity in much of the media and I suspect that there is a political agenda driving a lot of what we see and hear.
The result of all of this is that I have come to believe that I just cannot trust what I am being told in the media and that if I want ‘truth’ I will have to dig it out myself… if I can.

In time gone by the media was regarded as the fourth societal estate. Its task was to hold the other three estates (rulers, clergy, and citizens) to account and to honestly and accurately inform the public accordingly. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case anymore.

If we want the truth then we should turn to:Who are the puppets here?

  • Jesus, for He is the Truth (John 14:6)
  • The Bible because it reveals the truth, and
  • The church because it should be the conveyor of truth.

Of course, we can’t isolate ourselves from the media, but

we certainly should evaluate everything we see and hear against the standard of The Truth.
When I was younger I might have accepted uncritically what I saw and heard, but now I think twice about what is presented to me as ‘fact’ and tend to reject a lot more than I accept. Skeptical to the point of being cynical? Perhaps… but I would rather be a cynic than a gormless puppet on the end of a politically controlled media string.

I called this little rant ‘the malefic media’ because ‘malefic’ means ‘causing harm or destruction, especially by supernatural means’. I believe that the sea of half-truths and lies in which we are all drowning has distinctly supernatural overtones.

We are in a spiritual battle for the soul of our nations and only The Truth will serve to rescue us.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.