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The Universal Experience of the “Spiritual”

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Humans have from prehistoric times generally assumed the reality of spirits who transcend our physical existence. Outside of post-Enlightenment western intellectual culture the belief in spirits is almost universal. Whether conceptualized as spirits of nature or as power animals (as in primordial cultures), as helpful malã’ika or malicious Jinn (Islam)…

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Angels and Spirits in a Secular World

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This week, we’ve been thinking about why we should believe in a spiritual realm in a world shaped by secular thought. One argument that supports the belief that spirits are real is the oldest, most venerable, and most popular argument for this belief in the western intellectual tradition. In essence…

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Jesus and the Reality of Spiritual Warfare

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In yesterday’s post, we discussed how challenging it can be to believe in the reality of a spiritual realm in the modern world. Today, let’s look at how Jesus’ ministry relates to this spiritual reality. While Jesus and his followers of course believed that God was the ultimate Lord over…

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4 Reasons to Believe in a Spiritual Realm

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For the last century, a large number of theologians and church leaders have claimed that the biblical view of spiritual warfare—where there is an actual realm where angels and demons exist—is no longer believable. The influential German scholar, Rudolf Bultmann famously wrote, “It is impossible to use electric light and…

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Warfare Worldview: A Basic Definition

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The warfare worldview is based on the conviction that our world is engaged in a cosmic war between a myriad of agents, both human and angelic, that have aligned themselves with either God or Satan. We believe this worldview best reflects the response to evil depicted throughout the Bible. For…

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The Victory is Already Won, But Not Yet

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Christ came “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), to disarm “the rulers and authorities” (Col 2:15), and to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb 2:14). The result of this victory is that he is seated on his rightful…

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The Earth is a Spiritual Battlefield

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The early Church Fathers uniformly believed that angels, like humans, were created free and given a sphere of influence and responsibility over creation. As with humans, angels could use this influence for good, as God intended, or they could choose to use it for evil. They understood that this is…

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Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?

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One of the strangest episodes recorded in the Gospels is Jesus cursing a fig tree because he was hungry and it didn’t have any figs (Mk 11:12-14; Mt 21:18-19). It’s the only destructive miracle found in the New Testament. What’s particularly puzzling is that Mark tells us the reason the…

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When to Do Spiritual Warfare

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If the world is engulfed in spiritual warfare, how do we know when we’re confronting a demon that requires deliverance prayer, or simply confronting a “natural” by-product of the fallen world that requires medical or therapeutic attention? A few years ago, a man from my church called me saying that…

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Are you Afraid of Demons?

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I remember learning about germs in fourth grade. We were told our world was saturated with tiny invisible creatures that can infect wounds and make us sick. I immediately stopped sharing already-chewed gum with other kids, stop using my sister’s toothbrush and started washing my hands after going to the…

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The Demonic Affects Us All!

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Many contemporary Western Christians think we only engage in spiritual warfare when we encounter somebody who is exhibiting bizarre, demonically-inspired behavior, such as the demonized people Jesus confronted in the Gospels. Since most Western Christians rarely hear about, let alone personally encounter, such people, the concept of spiritual warfare plays…

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Do Angels and Demons Really Exist?

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While the supremacy of God is never qualified in the Bible, this supremacy is not strictly autocratic. Other “gods” or spiritual entities like angels and demons are not mere puppets of the God of the Bible. Rather, they appear to be personal beings who not only take orders but also…

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4 Reasons to Wake Up to the Warfare Worldview

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Image by postbear via Flickr A view of the world that grounds the problem of evil in spiritual warfare is not one that many modern people find easy to accept. To many contemporaries, the notion is preposterous that real, semi-autonomous, self-determining, and invisible spirits exist that can and do influence…

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What Happened on the Cross?

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Since the time of Anselm (11th century), and especially since the Reformation in the 16th century, the tendency of the Western church has been to focus almost all of its attention on the anthropological dimension of the atonement, usually to the neglect of the cosmic dimension that is central to…

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Spiritual Warfare: What is it?

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The Kingdom is “not of this world,” and neither is its warfare. Jews had always believed that God confronted spiritual opposition in carrying out his will on earth. In the Old Testament, these evil forces were usually depicted as cosmic monsters and hostile waters that threatened the earth. For a…

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“Natural” Evil? 7 Arguments Implicating Satan

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Image by Jmos® via Flickr We believe that God is the Creator of nature, but nature simply does not seem to point to a God of love. Parasites, viruses, bacteria, diseases and cancer kill millions and torment millions more, humans and animals alike. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides and volcanoes do…

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Our Real Battle is NOT with ISIS or any Other “Enemy”

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There’s an old African proverb that says, “When Elephants fight, the grass suffers.” It expresses the important truth that when agents who have a domain of authority go awry, everything under their authority suffers. The “principalities and the powers” were given tremendous authority over creation. In western Christian culture, these…

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The Warfare We Have Inherited

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Image by Chris Sardegna Jesus’ miracles over nature, as well as his healings, exorcisms and especially his resurrection, were definite acts of war that accomplished and demonstrated his victory over Satan. These acts routed demonic forces and thereby established the kingdom of God in people’s lives and in nature. But…

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The Reality of Satan and the Spiritual Realm

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Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr A theme that underlies Jesus’ entire ministry is the apocalyptic assumption that creation has been seized by a cosmic force and that God is now battling this force to rescue it. Jesus understood himself to be the one in whom this battle was to…

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Living Into the Future

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Why didn’t God create a “perfect world”? Here’s Greg’s response to that question. See more at The Work of the People….

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