These are tumultuous times to be a christian. They are uncertain in the evolving landscape, be it politics, economics, spirituality, relationships - I mean the NBA may not even happen this season. [OK well that is not that big of a deal!]
From a father's vista, I am loving the fresh and sustained emphasis on theology. To see the emerging voices in the body of Christ, being so intentional and focused in their quest for such intimate knowledge, is delightful. Added to this, is the pursuance to walk in a "Word / Spirit" journey, that just grows in healthy balance and Spirit led lives. I am loving this. To have a low-grade word ingredient but a high value encounter quotient is dangerous indeed. These new 'Word / Spirit' chasers are humble, honest and real - quite beautiful actually.
However, a number of us have voiced interest in the fact that 'spiritual warfare' theology and practice has taken a back seat in recent times. A subject that had such a high profile in previous decades, has surprisingly been pushed to the side as pulpits have moved more and more from exclusively topical subject matter to expository preaching. Whilst I love this, this great and noble package of truth has been neglected.
May I suggest we revisit this conversation with a clear canvas?
- For those who experienced an excess, may we be bold enough to get before the Father and allow him to remove these excesses from our hearts, so we can once again enter the conversation with a clean slate.
- To those who view this subject with a certain fear, may we in turn be such students of the word, that we find the full God freedom that comes from engaging in the truth.
- To those who simply want to stick our heads in the ground and pretend it does not exist, the enemy does not call a truce. He is committed to his quest for our destruction and our white flags do not produce a cease fire. He will come at an 'opportune time'.
- To those who want the truth of our conversation without the religious subculture that it has dragged behind, I can only agree whole-heartedly. Unfortunately, the greatest 'protectors of this flame' have brought with them the passion for combat [that is good] but carried it with highly religious 'christian-speak' that is unhelpful and very distracting from the true truth [that is very bad]. Can we find the truth in her beauty without the foibles of a religious sub-culture?
These days , especially in the arena of Christian leadership as well as practicing the priesthood, we dearly need to add to our theological toolboxes [ that already carry the glue of a gospel-centered, Jesus honoring task], the hammers, pliers and other tools of -
- the reality of spiritual combat,
- the discerning of spirits,
- the authority of the believer,
- deliverance from demons,
- setting at liberty those who are captive,
- dealing with curses,
- the power of the name of Jesus,
- personal and corporate prayer,
- the impact of fasting,
- the punch of praise.
- the role of prophecy,
- the word... and so on.