Is there any category of book that goes more wrong more often than books on spiritual warfare? There can't be too many. Few subjects are more important to the life and well-being of the Christian, but I fear few topics receive worse treatment. Novel interpretations abound, as do outright unbiblical ones.
Into the fray step Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura with their new book Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective. Borgman is pastor of Grace Community Church in Minden, NV while Ventura pastor's Grace Community Baptist Church of North Providence, RI, and together they attempt to strike a position that is both biblical and balanced. They succeed well, which is no easy feat. C.S. Lewis aptly caught the challenge when he said, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."
The second half of Ephesians 6 is the clearest biblical description of spiritual warfare as well as the most detailed description of the manner in which we are to fight this war. Here Paul describes a Roman soldier, looking at each part of the soldier's armor and weaponry, and drawing a parallel to the Christian life. Spiritual Warfare is, at heart, a detailed but reader-friendly examination of this text and the armor it describes.
As Christians, we need the whole armor because our enemy is a relentless foe. If Satan cannot wound us in one place, he will target another: if not the head, then the heart; if not the conscience, then the emotions. Since Satan attacks us in a variety of ways, God provides a variety of defenses sufficient to withstand any assault he might throw at us. In Christ, God grants us all that we need to protect us from head to toe.
Through the book's 128 pages, they move briskly from the belt of truth to the breastplate of righteousness to the shoes of the gospel and on from there. In each case they stay within the bounds of Scripture, never embellishing and never pursuing an original and unconventional interpretation. In an area where so many feel the desire for novelty, these authors look back more than forward-they look to God's Word and from there to the historical record of the church, often quoting Puritans or other godly authors from days gone by.
Spiritual Warfare is a steady, reasonable, balanced and biblical look at the reality that we are engaged in a life-long, age-long battle with dark spiritual forces. And it is a detailed examination of the means we have been given to wage this war. This is a subject that every Christian reader should attend to on a regular basis, and the reader will not do a whole lot better than this. I'm glad to recommend it.
The book is available through Reformation Heritage Books.
Tim Challies is a pioneer in the Christian blogosphere, having one of the most widely read and recognized Christian blogs anywhere. He is also editor of Discerning Reader, a site dedicated to offering discerning reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. A self-employed web designer, Tim lives with his family on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario.
Visit Tim's website at www.challies.com.