While it's true that some Christians wrongly ignore the reality of spiritual warfare, it's also true that others tend to fixate on it. For this latter group, every difficulty in life–a broken dishwasher, a bout with the flu, or a computer virus–is attributed to demonic activity. One of the dangers of this kind of thinking is that it blinds us to the bigger picture. Spiritual warfare is a worldwide phenomenon.
The spiritual warfare I'm talking about is the conflict between true and false beliefs. It touches every human in every part of the world, and while it may not be as glamorous to talk about as demonic encounters, it is much more deadly. Here’s how the apostle Paul talks about this conflict:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Notice the warfare imagery in these verses: “waging war” . . . “weapons of our warfare” . . . “destroy strongholds” . . . “destroy arguments” . . . “take every thought captive.” Needless to say, dealing with false beliefs is not a game.
The Battle is Real
The battle for truth is real, and it has eternal consequences. In the passage above, Paul was dealing with false apostles who questioned his apostolic credentials. However, Paul’s words apply to all beliefs that oppose the gospel. False beliefs come in different shapes and sizes, though none are quite as influential as the world’s major religions. Tragically, there are (literally) billions of people who are drawn to religions that oppose the gospel of Christ.
To be fair, not all religions outside of Christianity oppose Christ violently, nor do their followers necessarily realize that they are even part of a war. However, beliefs that are “raised against the knowledge of God” (5) are at war—spiritual war—with the truth. And honestly, as we read the daily headlines, it’s easy to feel like we’re on the losing side of this war.
The Victory is Secure
Thankfully, the outcome of the battle between truth and error is not in doubt. Christ has conquered through his death and resurrection, so the victory is secure. Through Him believers are now “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Still, while we wait for Christ to return and end this conflict, Satan continues to fight, which is why we are called to put on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). Rather than guns and bombs, our weapons include prayer and the Word of God; our motivation is a love for God and compassion for our neighbors. We want followers of other religions to know Christ.
Given what’s at stake in this battle, we need to be prepared. This upcoming Secret Church, “A Global Gospel in a World of Religions,” is aimed at equipping believers for this conflict between the gospel of Christ and the religions of the world. The goal is not simply to win arguments, but more importantly to be prepared to share the gospel with Hindus, Muslims, animists, atheists, and followers of all other religions. We don’t have to be a world religions expert, but we can more effectively engage people when we know that they believe.
Are you equipped to deal with false religions?
-- To learn more about being a part of Secret Church 16, "A Global Gospel in a World of Religions," go here.