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Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Angels & Demons

Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby willowtree » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:43 pm

psimmond wrote:I agree with Paidion. I think "the enemy" is our flesh. That part of humanity in ourself and in others that is contrary to what is good and right in Yahweh's eyes. The rest sells a lot of books and makes for good horror stories.


I would not dismiss spiritual warfare to the realm of book sales and horror stories quite as quickly as you may. The picture of putting on armor truly is for the protection of our own lives. It is to enable us to 'stand', which Paul emphasizes several times. The battle was fought and won on the cross. We are the trophy or the spoils of this battle, and this is where our involvement is critical - on whose side do we stand.

It is commonly stated that the sword is the only offensive part of this armor. I would like to argue that every part of the armor is offensive in one way or another. Truth, for example, is offensive to those lives are bound up with lies and deception. Righteousness is offensive to those who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.

We live in a culture where the manifestation of evil is not very visible or demonstrative. My brother served as a missionary in a culture in which the spirit realm was a prominent element. It was believed that spirits controlled the crops, health, security, weather, and most all of the circumstances of tribal life. The local witch doctor was a powerful man in the tribe, and the fear of displeasing the spirits was very real. The gospel of Jesus Christ is wholly effective to save and set free those who live under such oppression and bondage. The picture that Paul provides takes on a new perspective in situations like this.

My brother was also perplexed that the church's doctrinal statements of belief, prepared and formulated in our culture, were very 'weak' in terms of declaring the triumph of the cross over all the powers of evil, and that missionary appointees were inadequately schooled to deal with these kinds of issues on the mission field. Incidentally, Wycliffe bible translators were active in the area in which he worked.

Wherever in scripture Satan is shown in a poor light, he works hard to confuse the issues. We find this true of the garden of Eden, Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection, and particularly, Christ's return and judgement. It is also true of this passage of putting on the armor of God, spiritual warfare and spiritual victory. There are excesses of thought on both sides. My hope is that we can find solid ground, where we neither dismiss the reality of the issue, nor pursue it to a point of excess where the benefit of it is lost in unbiblical ritual.

Graeme

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God, who is Rich in mercy, made us Alive with Christ, Even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by GRACE you have been saved. Eph 2:4.
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby Ian » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:30 am

http://www.wycliffe.net/articles?id=1886

Steve, you`ll remember my sharing this link about Chris Lyndon from Wycliffe who lost his wife to cancer. They were Wycliffe Bible translators in Mozambique when this happened. Chris has now retreated from the mission field, and is raising his children under the British education system. I don`t know his future plans, but it`s possible he could still have been down there had this not happened.

Is it thought that such people are more prone to such catastrophies in their front line work than if they were more backseat?

This is a subject close to my heart in view of my own wife`s cancer. If I sit down and listen to the Calvinists, they`ll tell me God is directly behind everything that goes wrong, actively not just permissively.

It took me a few sentences to get to the question but I guess I`m asking you whether you think evil forces can tamper with dna and cause cancer.
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby psimmond » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:28 pm

Ian, I know your question was to Steve, but I think one's view of demons today largely depends on what you've been taught by different denominational groups. The more charismatic groups tend to see demons, Satan, "the enemy" behind many or most events in life they perceive as negative.

I don't think any credible evidence exists for demonic activity in recent history, and I suspect mobile phones and cameras are partly responsible for the growing skepticism among Christians. People today are much less likely to believe those demon/witch doctor stories that always take place in the middle of the rain forest.

I would love to see a study compare the rate of "bad things" that happen to American Christian preachers to leaders of non-Christian organizations to see if those "on the front lines" really are being attacked. My guess is American preachers actually suffer less than most, although I would guess the rates of heart attacks, strokes, etc. would be statistically the same.

And I'm sorry to hear about your wife's cancer. :cry:
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby Ian » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:13 pm

psimond, I saw your scepticism in an earlier post. Hence my asking Steve.

I have come under direct supernatural evidential attack by real supernatural beings not friendly to my soul, beings that are aware of my and my wife`s circumstances and of a past sin of mine, and have intimidatingly made it clear to me in classic "accuser of the brethren" fashion. Your post can`t convince me otherwise.

Chris` case may be as you suggest. I don`t know how he perceives it, and have not spoken to him, having lost touch. But I know mine.
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby steve » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:22 pm

In the Bible, demons are seen causing numerous physical ailments. It would be artificial to create a theory that cancer would never be caused by such attacks. Of course, the Bible nowhere suggests that all illness is caused by demons.

As for there being no credible evidence for modern demon possession, I stand by my earlier remark that this position comes from very limited experience and research. The cases of Clarita Villanueva (in Manila), of Gotliebin Dittus (in Germany), and of the anonymous 14-year-old boy (in the American Midwest) upon which the movie "The Exorcist" was loosely based, were all well-studied and verifiably witnessed cases in modern times. These victims were under the care and observation of medical doctors, religious and secular authorities, and some received international publicity in mainstream media. If you would like to read sober, analytical assessments of additional cases in modern times, I could recommend reading Demon Possession, by medical doctor and Presbyterian missionary, John Nevius, and Demon Possession, edited by John Warwick Montgomery—an anthology of papers presented at a conference on the topic, in Chicago, by psychiatrists, sociologists, missionaries, medical doctors and theologians. My bookshelf has easily a dozen or more books documenting such cases by credible researchers, and I have had occasion to be involved in the assistance to a few such cases myself.

Those who adopt an a priori skepticism about such things may get by in life as well as those who are aware of them, in some cases, but they will never understand the nature of the spiritual world in which we live, and which the Bible reveals.
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby TruthInLove » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:29 pm

I have heard it argued that if demons had the power to influence the the physical world, then this would mean demons had the power to create, a power that belongs only to God. Taking this logic even further, it could be claimed that if demons had such creative power, this would destroy the argument that the resurrection vindicated Christ's claim to be God since the appearance of His physical likeness after His death could have been the result of demonic power. I'm not sure I'd agree with those statements but I've heard them before.

What are some counter-arguments that could be put forth in response to these?
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby Ian » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:50 am

psimmonds wrote:

"I suspect mobile phones and cameras are partly responsible for the growing skepticism among Christians"

I`m not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean, people are so dazzled by the marvels of technology that they have no space left in their heads to be impressed by anything non-material? If so, yes, I`m sure some are.
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Re: Spiritual Warfare and Bible Translators

Postby psimmond » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:48 am

Hi Ian,
No, I realized after I posted that I wasn't terribly clear. What I meant is we live in an age where people are far more skeptical and demand proof rather than anecdotal evidence. When I was a kid, we would ooh and ahh over missionary newsletters that talked about crazy demonic activity performed my witchdoctors. Today, my first thought is, "I know you have a phone or camera. How come we never get pictures or videos of this demonic stuff."

When I was living in China as a missionary I had a breakdown that my missionary friends told me was demon related and they told me I had to pray in every room of the apartment to expel the demons. I believed them and attributed it to demons (for several years). Later, I had medical professionals perfectly describe what happened to me and tell me why it happened.

I also occasionally read the newsletters my Chinese missionary colleagues were sending out and I was embarrassed at the supernatural claims they were making because I knew they weren't true. They saw what they wanted to see and used "a bit" of exaggeration.

When it comes to demonic activity, people see what they believe, and they believe what they think is most reasonable. This is as it should be, but it also explains why there are so many differing views. Most people in the west view this as ancient superstition because there are no cases of demonic activity that cannot be reasonably explained as mental disorders. Believing in demonic activity is a matter of faith.

As I said earlier, I don't believe there is credible evidence of demonic activity in recent history, but I'm not interested in trying to persuade those who don't want to be persuaded.
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