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WE ARE AT WAR!
Marsha Burns
Nov 14, 2003

Arise, Warriors! Sound the battle cry. The enemy has launched an attack against you to demoralize you with condemnation, delude you with confusion, and paralyze you with fear.

Have you forgotten how to fight? Have you forgotten that your battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of darkness? Refuse to allow yourself to be victimized by the devil's devices. Turn from pride and self-pity and give the enemy no access. It is time to awaken from this stupor, and pull down the strongholds that have been set up against you. Be strong and gain the victory.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
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We Are at War
Dr. Edward Murphy

An excerpt from, "Wrestling With Dark Angels: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Supernatural Forces in Spiritual Warfare," Regal Books © Copyright 1990 by C. Peter Wagner & F. Douglas Pennoyer, Used by permission. No Longer in Print

Introduction

A local newspaper announced the tragic fall of a world famous televangelist with the words of King David found in 2 Sam. 1:25: "How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!" (KJV). The newspaper was correct. That man, and millions like him, was a war casualty. We are at war. As to the origin of this war, all we know is what the Bible tells us. It began in the cosmic realm, evidently before the creation of man, in an angelic rebellion against the Lordship of God (Job 4:18; Matt. 25:41; 1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jud 6; Rev. 12).

How could such a rebellion occur in the presence of a God who is almighty, sovereign and all-knowing? God has not told us. All He has declared in that it was in this manner that evil was born within His universe.

For problems like this one the Scriptures have a helpful word for us. "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but he things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever" (Deut. 29:29, NASB). It is interesting, however, that demons will openly confess to their participation in such a rebellion. On more than one occasion while expelling demons from a person's life they have exclaimed, "We rebelled against God. We were deceived by our master. We are doomed! For us no provision has been made for redemption as it has for mankind. We are doomed! Doomed! We are afraid. But we will fight God and you Christians until the end. We hate Him. We hate you Jesus. We hate you!"

Of course, we do not build theology upon the confessions of lying spirits. It is interesting to note, however, that on every occasion when a demon spoke in the presence of Jesus he always told Jesus the truth. Look at the Gospel record. The experienced deliverance minister can compel evil spirits to tell the truth. I do so all the time. This is not to say that it is wise to carry on long conversations with demons. We only obtain from them the information we need to proceed wit the deliverance and then expel them to the place where Jesus wishes to send them.

What began as a cosmic rebellion soon became a cosmic-earthly rebellion. Mankind was deceived by the same master of the fallen angels, the devil (Matt. 25:41), to also rebel against the Lordship of God. The universe has never been the same since then (Gen. 3 with John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3 and Rev. 12:3 -17).

The important point to emphasize here is that everything from Gen. 3 to Rev. 20 occurs within the context of this cosmic-earthly spiritual warfare dimension of reality. I call this the spiritual warfare dimension of a biblical world view. This is present reality from God's perspective.

We are at war. That war will not end until the final judgment of evil supernaturalism (Satan and his kingdom of fallen angels, Matt. 25:41) recorded in Rev. 20. We are all involved in this warfare whether we like it or not and, whether we are aware of it or not. We need to condition ourselves, so to speak, to put on our spiritual warfare eyeglasses to correctly view present reality. Isn't this what the apostle Paul is trying to tell us in 2 Cor. 4:3-6 and Eph. 6:12?

A Threefold Description of the War

First and foremost, it is a sin war. Sin wars against us and we, in turn, must learn to war against sin. Since I am writing to Christians I will not bother to define sin. As to the cross-cultural dimensions of sin, each missionary must wrestle with that crucial question from within the context of both Scripture and local culture. That is what I have had to do. I will affirm, however, that sin — moral evil in contrast to natural evil — is not a passive something that appears where righteousness is absent. Sin is at war with righteousness. I t is like an active, dynamic, negative spiritual energy field that seeks to carry away everything with it. It will oppress, enslave and eventually destroy everything that stands in its way.

It releases sin energy, or negative force, for lack of a better word, that easily overpowers the best of men. It tempts, seduces, deceives, delights and captivates, only in time to torment, torture and finally destroy.

Perhaps the best description of the sin energy released by sin is in Heb. 12:1 "Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us." (NASB). Sin both weighs us down and entangles itself around us. The writer says that to avoid such entrapment we must learn to lay sin aside, to refuse to allow it to entangle us. In other words, if we do not learn to war against sin it will easily oppress and eventually overcome us.

We are to declare a state of war between ourselves and sin, the writer implies in verse 4: "You have not resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin" (Heb. 12:4, NASB). These are warfare words resist, strive, shed your blood, rather than being defeated by sin.

It is hard to live a holy life, the writer of Hebrews is admitting. The very atmosphere we breathe is saturated with sin. We must not give in just because everyone else is doing it. We are to resist, strive, die, if necessary, before allowing sin to entangle itself with our Christian life. We do so by fixing our eyes on Jesus, not sin (see Heb. 12:2).

Second, it is a multidimensional sin war. Sin affects us on three levels: the personal level, the social level and the supernatural level.

1. Sin is personal, it comes from within. This is the problem of the flesh. The word flesh has a variety of uses in Scripture. For the purposes of this study we use the word only in its negative moral context, to refer to our inner humanity which is always inclined toward evil, toward actions of independence from the will of God. The classic description of the inner warfare of our flesh against the indwelling Holy Spirit of God is Gal. 5:16-21.

2. Sin is social, it comes from without. This is the problem of the world. We will define the world, as does William Vine, as present human society "in alienation from and opposition to God." Perhaps the classic description of the world a the enemy of God and the children of God is found 1 John 2:15-17, (NASB): "Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever."

3. Sin is supernatural, it comes from above. This is the problem of evil supernaturalism, Satan and his kingdom of demons, principalities and powers. This is the most difficult dimension of our multidimensional sin problem to understand and learn to handle. At the same time it leads to the third and final description of the war in which we are engaged.

Third, it is a spiritual warfare sin war. That is, behind the wickedness of the flesh and the corruption of the world is the true original source of all sin, Satan. This is exactly what the apostle Paul is affirming in Eph. 2:1-3, (NASB) "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is no working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."

This spiritual warfare dimension of our sin war is the main theme of this study. To be biblically understood, however, the war in which we are engaged must be viewed, as we have been examining it, in its multidimensional nature. The flesh and the world are the channels through which evil supernaturalism oppresses and seeks to destroy the human race, both believers as well as unbelievers.

Three Levels of Spiritual Warfare

We are all to be involved in spiritual warfare on at least three levels. First, there is the objective level, reaching unbelievers with the gospel. Next is the subjective level, protecting ourselves and our families from succumbing to the demonic warfare directed against us. Finally, there is the Christian level, helping to free demonized Christians from demonization.

The Objective Offensive Level of Spiritual Warfare

The Church is not only the community of the redeemed, it is also the redeeming community. We are both commanded by our Lord and impelled by the indwelling Holy Spirit to declare the message of God's redeeming love in Jesus Christ to all peoples (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). That task is easier stated than it is accomplished. Not only do we face the overwhelming logistical complexities of such a mission and the incredible cross-cultural and cross-linguistical barriers involved; something even more tenacious challenges our best efforts.

Satan holds the nations in bondage to himself and will not easily let them go. Indeed, he will resist us each step of the way. World evangelism is spiritual warfare. The Scriptures are emphatically clear at this point. All human beings who live without the true God are in bondage to evil supernaturalism.

Jesus repeatedly called Satan the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He did not challenge the devil's boast about the kingdoms of the world, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours" (Luke 4:6-7, NASB). In His missionary commission to Paul, Jesus declared that the unredeemed must be delivered "from the dominion of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18, NASB).

The rest of the New Testament only expands this negative view of mankind's plight. The apostle Paul, after revealing the human cause of unbelief, hardened minds and veiled hearts (2 Cor. 3:14-15), describes in even greater detail the superhuman dimensions of unbelief: "And ever if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:3, 4, NASB).

As we seek to evangelize, Satan resists us (1 Thess. 2:18). He snatches away the Word sown into human hearts (Matt. 13:19). he sows tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:24). These tares are "the sons of the evil one," the Lord declares. Sonship implies commonalty of nature. Thus, even religious people, theists, who oppose the claims of our Lord are described by Jesus as children of the devil (John 8:44). Therefore, all of those we seek to bring to Christ are potentially demonized to one degree or another, most only mildly so, but some severely so. They are not all demon possessed. They are not all demonized. All are potentially demonized, however.

Fortunately, the words demon possession are gradually being eliminated from our vocabulary in referring to the demonic dimension of present reality. It is doubtful that any of the accounts of demonization revealed in Scripture are true demon possession.

Possession refers to the voluntary reception of a control spirit by a spirit medium. The spirit rides, mounts or temporarily possesses the medium for a specific purpose and time. During that time the person is in a trance-like state. The spirit probably totally controls the medium — his body, soul, mind, emotions, will and spirit at that point. When the spirit leaves, however, the medium is once again back in control of himself.

This is not the type of demonic activity described in Scripture. Thus, the traditional practice of Bible translators, in translating the various Greek expressions describing the demonized by demon possession, has produced nothing but negative results for bother the Church and the demonically afflicted.

Possession implies total ownership. Satan and his demons don't own anything in this universe except their evil. They are usurpers. God owns all. Possession also would imply unaccountability. If the demonized are totally possessed by evil spirits, then they are not responsible for their actions. They can truthfully declare "the devil made me do it." Yet, God holds all persons responsible for their actions.

Possession also conjures up the image of only the more severe types of demonization. The Gerasene demoniac of Mark 5, or the severely demonized child of Mark 9, come to mind. Such extreme cases of demonization do exist. They are the exception, however, not the norm. Most demonized persons are only mildly demonized and do not display such wild antisocial and/or self-destructive behavior. Their deliverance can usually be accomplished in a quiet, orderly manner and be carried out by any instructed godly Christian group of praying believers.

By demonization I mean that Satan, through his evil spirits, exercises direct partial control over one or more areas of the life of a human being. The exact location of these attached demons is not always as important as some believe it to be. That is, partial control can be exercised from without as well as within the victim. It is true that most demons seem to want to enter the body of their victim. Yet some demons prefer to remain attached to their victim from outside. They may be more difficult to detect in this manner. Others are able to slip in and out of the more severely demonized, almost at will. It is important to stress five facts at this point.

One, while all unbelievers live under demonic dominion, not all unbelievers are demonized.

Two, some unbelievers, however, are demonized, and should be set free from these demons when they are brought to faith in Christ.

Three, demonization can range from very severe to very mild. There are many complex factors leading to this difference in demonization which cannot be mentioned in this brief study.

Four, when dealing with potentially demonized, the typical Western, analytical, reasoned approach toward evangelism will be ineffective. Only a gospel of power will set them free.

Finally, to evangelize the demonized we must learn how to bind demonic activity from the minds of demonized unbelievers. Demons cause confusion and resistance, hindering unbelievers from understanding or responding to the gospel. We can take control over these demons, allowing the unbeliever to exercise his or her will to accept or reject Christ without direct demonic interference.

The Subjective Personal Level of Spiritual Warfare

Before developing this point, I must strongly affirm two foundational truths declared everywhere in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus in his multifaceted redemptive act once and for all totally defeated Satan and his entire kingdom of evil supernaturalism, and, the victorious Lord Jesus has delegated to all his disciples full authority over the kingdom of evil supernaturalism.

We war with foes who are not only already totally defeated by our reigning Lord; they are already forced into subjection to our shared authority with the Lord.

One of the greatest joys in an otherwise often wearisome deliverance ministry is to take this position of authority in Christ. In the case of severe demonization, part of the joy is to see demons change from a posture of threats, boasts and attempts to injure us, to that of fear of us. This soon leads to their spontaneous confession of our authority over them. Soon they will be pleased that we released them from their sufferings, and send them quickly out of their victims — anywhere, that is, except to the abyss. It is for this reason that while we are told to fear God, we are never told to fear Satan or his demons. In Christ, we are more than a match for them. While we are not told they will submit easily to our authority in Christ, we are told not to fear them. They will eventually submit (Mark 9:14-29; Matt. 17:21).

Although this is the most important side of the coin, it is only one side. The other side is that, while Satan and his demonic hosts are totally defeated, they are not dead. They are very much alive and continually active in promoting evil wherever they can find responsive hearts and/or ignorance of their schemes of deception. Thus, the title of Hal Lindsay's popular 1974 bestseller is accurate, Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth.

Contrary to popular opinion, true believers are the main objects of Satan's' subtle deceptions. The apostle Paul warns us of this reality in 2 Cor. 11:3. While spoken specifically to the Christians at Corinth, his words have universal application to all believers: "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (NASB). In the same epistle he writes, "in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor 2:11, NASB). By implication we hear him saying, if we are ignorant of Satan's schemes, he will take advantage of us.

The popular notion that is we just focus all of our attention on the Lord Jesus we can ignore the devil and his demons is thus revealed to be contrary to the teachings of Scripture.

What adversary would not be delighted if those he seeks to deceive chose to totally ignore his tactics of deception? Satan's goal is, through deception, to entice believers to sin or commit any act which quenches the Holy Spirit in their lives and/or to lessen their effectiveness in glorifying God through both personal conduct and Christian service.

His desire is to find any area of our lives to which he can attach himself (Eph. 4:27). Through his demons (Eph. 6:10-12) he seeks to find any sin handles which give him the right to influence us into actions of disobedience to God.

Satan was unsuccessful in his attempts to do so with the man Christ Jesus. He did, however, have success in the life of the apostle Peter (Luke 22:31-34). And, he continues to be successful in the lives of many believers.

Paul warned the Corinthians of the satanic dimension of sexual temptation (1 Cor. 7:5). He also expressed his fear that Satan would be successful in drawing the Thessalonian believers away from a life of obedience to God (1 Thess. 3:5). We tend to focus almost exclusively on the sins which have their origin within us, the problem of the flesh, or from without, the problem of the world.

We tend to ignore, or at least minimize, the incredible power of the sin energy released against us directly from Satan through the demons he has assigned us as individuals, churches and Christian institutions.

Ray Stedman goes so far as to affirm: "We often hear the idea that The enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh and the devil," as though these were three equally powerful enemies. But there are not three. There is only one enemy, the devil, as Paul brings out in Ephesians 6...But the channels of his...approach to men are through the world and the flesh."

This failure to understand the demonic dimension to the Christian's sin problem is perhaps the weak point, the 'Achilles' heel, in our evangelical theology of evil and temptation. We would do well to heed the apostle Peter's warning: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8, NASB). If this is true, then it must be possible for a true Christian to be devoured by the devil (1 Tim. 3:6, 7; 5:15; 2 Tim. 2:26). This statement prepares the way for the consideration of the third level of spiritual warfare.

The Christian Level of Spiritual Warfare

The Christian level of Satan's activity and demonization is the most troublesome for us to understand and/or accept. It is also the one that divides us most as Christians. Yet, it represents one of the most critical areas of ministry need facing the worldwide Church today. I call this level of spiritual warfare the Christian level because it deals with the need to bring deliverance to demonized Christians. Such afflicted believers are probably found in every local church and Christian institution.

1. The Enigma of Demonized Christians. First, a word of clarification. True believers cannot be demon possessed. Satan cannot possess or totally control children of God. Next, a word of affirmation. True believers, through unusual conditions of sin—either their own or that of others against them — can become demonized. When this occurs they need to experience deliverance from these demons. If the demonization is severe, the believer will usually need the help of others to become fully free. If it is mild demonization, any group of godly, sharing-praying believers who have received basic instruction in spiritual warfare can effect a healing (James 5:15 with 4:1-8). Often the afflicted believer can practice self-deliverance with just a little instruction in this area.

It would be helpful to state again my definition of demonization. Demonization means that Satan, through his demons, exercises direct, partial control over an area or areas of a person's life, a believer or unbeliever.

Traditionally, the Protestant Church has denied the possibility of demonized believers. While admitting that believers can be harassed, oppressed, afflicted and tempted by Satan through his demons, it has denied that demonization can occur with one who is truly a child of God.

The usual basis of this negative position is the assumption that the Holy Spirit will not or cannot dwell in the same body with demons.  Again, the issue is not always that of demonic indwelling, but more of demonic attachment. Having said this, however, it must also be stated that demons can enter the body of some sinning Christians.

The presence of the Holy Spirit does not, in itself, prevent the Christian from sinning. It can also occur the other way around. The Holy Spirit will enter the body of an individual even if there are demons dwelling there. The Holy Spirit is not afraid of the demons. Nor do they contaminate Him by their sinfulness any more than He is contaminated by the sinfulness of the believer's flesh. The Holy Spirit's presence there is the only guarantee of the new believer's final deliverance from demonization.

The negative view denying the possible demonization of some Christians is being successfully challenged on at least three essential levels: Scripture, church history and worldwide contemporary experience. The argument from Scripture is relatively simple. It follows at least two lines. There is not a single verse of Scripture which states that true believers cannot under any circumstance of sin become demonized; and, the Scripture presents both case studies of demonized believers and warnings of the possibility of such demonization. The argument from church history is even simpler. A study of the writings of the early church fathers reveals they understood that true Christians could be demonized. Because of this they created a lay order of exorcists who took new believers through deliverance after their conversion to Christ and before their public baptism.

The argument from worldwide contemporary experience with demonized believers is unanimous. This point is so crucial, I feel I must look at it in more detail in the rest of this study. I refer you to one of the most thorough, scholarly, biblical and exhaustive studies of this issue in print today, C. Fred Dickason's monumental work Demon Possession and the Christian. Dr. Dickason who is a professor of new Testament Theology at Moody Bible College, has been involved for years in an active deliverance ministry. He is a fair-minded scholar, and he presents in detail the major arguments on both sides of the issue.

His personal position, however, corresponds exactly with what I am presenting here. From Scripture, logic, church history and contemporary worldwide experience with the demonized, he supports the position that some true Christians, under unusual conditions of sin, can become demonized. One of the most valuable sections of Dickason's book deals with a great number of case studies of demonized believers that he presents. These come from the experiences of various theologians, pastors, counselors, missionaries and lay believers worldwide who work with the demonized.

I believe it would be accurate to affirm that anyone worldwide who is actually involved in a ministry of helping to deliver the demonized will agree that true believers can be demonized. It is only those who are not actively involved in such a ministry who affirm the opposite. It is also important to recognize that it is not a matter of winning a theological argument that is in question. It is a matter of ministering to afflicted believers and delivering them from their sufferings caused by the demons attached to their lives. That is, after all, all that really matters.

2. Two Explanations for the Enigma of Demonized Christians. First, they were demonized before their conversion to the Lord Jesus. What I am affirming is that all demons do not automatically leave the body of demonized unbelievers the instant they turn to Christ. This is especially true when the demonized are brought to Christ by the traditional Western world's logical-analytical approach toward evangelism already mentioned. In the case of severe demonization, even when unbelievers are brought to Christ through a gospel of power, there is still no guarantee that all of the demons attached to the victim's life will immediately release their hold on the new believer. Thus, the importance of post-conversion deliverance counseling.

I follow what I call a 45-10-45 percent deliverance procedure, with 45 percent of the time spent in pre-deliverance counseling, 45 percent of the time in post-deliverance counseling and only 10 percent of the time spent in the initial deliverance. Post-deliverance biblical counseling will usually involve ongoing deliverance. This must continue until the new convert is firmly enough established in his faith and the Word of God, prayer, spiritual warfare, warfare praying and the use of his spiritual armor to be able to live in freedom without the continued help of the counselor.

Second, the believer picked up demons after his conversion through his own sin and/or the serious sin of other committed against him. For the believer who finds it difficult to accept these possibilities biblically, I would again encourage the serious study of Dickason's book, Demon Possession and the Christian.

As to how demons may be able to attach themselves to or penetrate the life of true believers, I present figure 1 as a possibility. As figure 1 reveals, the believer would seem to have at least a threefold protection against the attacks of the enemy. They are the hedge of God (Job 1:10), the angels of God (Ps. 34:7; Zech. 3:1; Heb. 1:14) and the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16). Although all are available to all believers, nothing is automatic.

God, in His grace, however, continually protects us from many of the flaming missiles of the enemy. If this were not so, none of us would survive his relentless attacks. Most carnal Christians are also protected. Otherwise, our churches would be filled with demonized believers. In some cases, however, because of sin a demon may be able to gain a foothold in the believer's life. Satan and his evil spirits are sin personified. They thrive on sin, love sin and live sin. They exist to spread sin among God's people. Where possible, they will attach themselves to sin areas of a believer's life and work continually to increase their control over these areas. If possible they will try to gain entrance into a believer's life.

That control is only partial, however, never total. Thus, demonized believers are able to, and, are responsible to turn against the demons attached to their lives. This is one of the purposes of pre-deliverance counseling — to lead believers to confess and reject the sin in their lives and turn against Satan and his demons (Jas. 4:1-7).

If the demon succeeds in entering the body of the believer, he will usually try to draw other demons into the believer's life — and they are usually successful in doing so. Most cases of demonization in our day seem to involve multiple demonic invasion. These demons will affect the believer's inner life, disturbing his emotions, his mind, his will and his spiritual well-being. The internal spiritual warfare all believer's face will become intensified. With multiple invasion the believer's condition begins to deteriorate.

The rest of figure 1 is self-explanatory. Although it is based on a trichotomous view of the human personality, with minor changes it can be used by one who holds a dichotomous view.

The Three Levels of Protection Around Us

3. Primary Sin Areas of Demonized Christians. While the percentage of demonized believers in our churches may be low in comparison with those who are not demonized, it is much higher than most of us realize. These believers need help. They need deliverance from these binding demons. Fortunately, the demonic condition of most demonized believers is mild. Most are able to maintain a somewhat normal life. They usually realize, however, that something is wrong with them, though they seldom suspect they are suffering from demonization. Many are very sincere Christians. Many are Spirit-filled Christians. Yet they are bound by unexplainable fears, confusion, uncontrollable emotions and other disturbing phenomena. Usually certain sins dominate their lives, if not in actual, open sinful activity, at least in their thought life, their imagination or fantasies. They are often very disturbed, even obsessed, in four primary sin areas:

One — illicit sexual practices or fantasies.

Two — deep-seated anger, bitterness, hatred, rage and rebellion, often leading to destructive and/or self-destructive impulses.

Three — a sense of rejection, guilt, poor self-esteem, unworthiness and shame.

Four — strange attraction to the occult and to the spirit world, often, but not always, with a desire for illicit power over their circumstances and over other people.

Fortunately, most demonized believers do not need dramatic, spectacular, prolonged deliverance sessions. They often need only to be counseled by believers who know the spirit world and can help set them free, teaching them spiritual warfare and self-deliverance. (Jas. 4:1-8; 5:13-20).

4. Doors to Demonize Christians. For both mild and more severe forms of demonization of believers, there seem to be at least three major doors through which demons enter a human life. The first door is at birth. Some Christians were born demonized. This is often called by different names, such as generational sin, familial sin, demonic transference, demonic inheritance or the law of the inheritance or the law of the inheritance of evil.

Direct and clearly defined biblical teaching or examples of demonic transference are not found in Scripture. What is found are divine warnings that the sins of parents do have potentially devastating consequences upon their children, up to four generations (Exod. 20:5; 34:6-7; Deut. 5:5-10).

The Jews interpreted this warning in this manner, at least by the time of the divided kingdom (Jer. 31:27-30; Lam. 5:7; Ezek. 18:1-20). The negative approach of the prophets toward this law of the inheritance of evil was not to deny its reality ,but to correct its abuses. Plumtre states: "Men found in it an explanation of their sufferings which relieved their consciences. They were suffering, they said, for the sins of their fathers, not for their own." William H. Brownlee, in his commentary, Ezekiel 1-19 in the The Word Biblical Commentary, agrees, but adds another insight.

"In society, this would be a popular maxim for cautioning parents with regard to their behavior, lest they bring harm to the next generation. It is not this, however, to which Ezekiel objects, but to the perverse usage by which one infers that if past generations were as wicked as Ezekiel claims (2:3, chapter 16, 20, 23), then it will be of no use to repent in order to avert the doom he predicts. They say, in effect: "Of what use is repentance? Our fate is already sealed by the sins of the fathers." Against this Ezekiel directs a lengthy disputation."

Plumtre declares that Scriptures support both laws: "the law of heredity tendencies and punishments that fall not on the individual responsibility." This law of the inheritance of evil is not automatically binding. Neither is the opposite law that the children of godly parents will automatically love and obey the Lord (Prov. 22:6). Both reflect general principles of order within God's kingdom which, under normal circumstances, will prove to be true.

In light of the biblical principle of the law of inheritance of evil, demonic transference or inheritance would not appear unlikely. The most obvious possibility would be within the occult realm, that, parents who rebel against God and join themselves to the "no gods" of the spirit world.

Studies in non-Christian religions and occultism reveal this transference to be a fact. The experience of most, if not all, believers who are involved in deliverance ministry, including my own, would reveal this dimension of demonization to be a vivid reality.

The second door to demonize Christians is through child abuse, in at least four possible areas—sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual. Spiritual child abuse demands a further word of explanation. It can occur when a child involuntarily receives demonic psychic/occult powers that are passed down through the family line. It can also occur when a child is voluntarily subjected to a spirit ceremony with the purpose of passing demonic psychic or occult spirits into its body. It can also occur when a curse is placed on a child by a malevolent spiritual practitioner, or by an angry person operating in the spirit realm. It can occur even in jest, or when one is not fully aware of the spirit focus activated by his or her anger or curse.

Ritual spiritual child abuse is the most horrible of all. This most horrible form of child abuse usually is a combination of the above: sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse. The third door to demonize Christians is through his or her own willful sinful actions in childhood, youth or adulthood. This usually occurs in the realms of sexuality, the occult and destructive interpersonal relationships.

Sin has been the scourge of humanity since the Fall. With sin comes demons. They are drawn to sin like flies to filth. Indeed, their reason for being is to promote sin. Our age is excessively sinful. Both on a personal, national and international scale sin seems to be on a rampage. Increased demonic activity and increased sinfulness go together.

Demonic powers have come out into the open in most of the Western world, and especially in the United States. Our society seems to have been captured anew by the horrid, the brazen, sexual extremism, occultism, satanism and witchcraft.

Christians are suffering demonic harassment and oppression at an alarming rate. Many are becoming demonized and are seeking for someone to help them. Thus, it behooves us to learn the spirit world.

We must not be ignorant of Satan's schemes. We must go on the offense and challenge and dethrone the evil powers afflicting so many believers, our homes, churches and Christian institutions. We are at war!

Ed Murphy is vice president and director of the International Ministry Team of Overseas Crusades. He taught Bible and mission part-time at San Jose Bible College and trains Christian leaders in spiritual warfare throughout the world. A former missionary to Latin America, Dr. Murphy is the author of three books.

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