More books about spiritual warfare are listed below this article about spiritual warfare.


 The Spiritual Dynamic of Disharmony

The lack of harmony in the church’s musculoskeletal system is not always of human origin. We too often fail to see in de-churched Christians, divided churches, destroyed ministers, and dissolved marriages is how the Enemy throws gasoline all over the human issues involved and creates a bonfire from twigs. 

Moeller points out that as a pastor “I could almost predict the appearance of trouble in my church according to how much progress we were making spiritually” (Moeller, Robert. Love in Action: Healing Conflict in Your Church. page 64). 

This insight would mean that any church making significant progress toward health should expect a spiritual crisis. Thus, “churches must utilize spiritual resources to deal with spiritual problems, not just in crisis, but as a regular part of their life together” (Moeller, Robert. Love in Action: Healing Conflict in Your Church. page 193).

VanVonderen asks, “Is it any wonder that our Adversary, the ‘Wolf,’ majors in destroying relationships inside the body of Christ? Is it any wonder he wants to drive people out of the church altogether?” (VanVonderen, Jeff. When God’s People Let You Down. page 39).

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached and taught greatly about these matters. In fact, Wesley went into great detail about spiritual warfare in his sermon on Ephesians 6:12, “Of Evil Angels,” and I quote,

We know that Satan and all his angels are continually warring against us, and watching over every child of man. …But, above all, he strives to damp our love of God, as he knows this is the spring of all our religion, and that, as this rises or falls, the work of God flourishes or decays in the soul. 5. Next to the love of God, there is nothing which Satan so cordially abhors as the love of our neighbor. He uses, therefore, every possible means to prevent or destroy this; to excite either private or public suspicions, animosities, resentment, quarrels; to destroy the peace of families or of nations; and to banish unity and concord from the earth. 

And this, indeed, is the triumph of his art; to embitter the poor, miserable children of men against each other, and at length urge them to do his own work, to plunge one another into the pit of destruction.6. This enemy of all righteousness is equally diligent to hinder every good word and work. If he cannot prevail upon us to do evil, he will, if possible, prevent our doing good. He endeavors to inspire those passions and tempers which are directly opposite to the fruit of the Spirit. (Works Vol. 5” 418)

After being filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, Jesus entered the wilderness. There he was tempted by the devil. Each time the devil sought to push Jesus into proving his identity or taking a short cut to his goal. The third temptation sought to push Jesus to the extreme of putting God to the test. Jesus refused to prove his identity, to take any short cuts or to misuse God’s Word. Thus, he rebuked the devil with God’s Word. Afterwards, Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Note that in the Gospels, Jesus viewed the devil, demons and angles as real and active living beings. Jesus said that the thief (the devil) “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 a) We view them as imaginary only to our harm and defeat. 

Do the Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us the Christmas story within its total spiritual framework? No. Have you ever seen Revelation 12:1-9 on a Christmas Card? Have you ever seen those verses portrayed in a Christmas scene? I doubt it. 

Christmas is the Great Invasion, as Philip Yancey calls it, “a daring raid by the ruler of the forces of good into the universe’s seat of evil!” Wow! Jesus’ birth was not just silent night with the sound of a few angels singing to some shepherds. Can we truly explain King Herod’s slaughter of the boys in Bethlehem just on the basis of his jealousy? No, Satan worked through Herod’s worldly position and the lust of his flesh for power to attempt to kill Christ.

The struggle of the church to live and minister as a healthy body of Christ is not only a human battle but also a supernatural struggle with the enemy of our souls. Revelation portrays the ancient serpent, the devil, fighting against—but failing to destroy—Christ. Knowing his time is short, the devil aims at bringing unhealthiness into the church (Rev. 12). 

VanVonderen writes about this, saying:

And now what is clear is God’s purpose for us, and Satan’s hatred for us—a hatred so strong that he would do anything to bite and devour us[KC1] . Satan lost his frontal attack—the crucifixion of Jesus. Now he would step up his guerrilla attacks-the infiltration of Christ’s body. (VanVonderen, Jeff. When God’s People Let You Down. page 25-26).

The apostle Paul called the Ephesians to put on the full armor of God in living out all that he called them to in his epistle. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-18a:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. ESV

As Paul goes on to say about spiritual warfare in II Corinthians 10:4-5:

4 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, ESV

Teaching about spiritual warfare

Pastors can teach the biblical evidence about the true nature of our struggles and the means to victory.

The Epistle to the Ephesians reminds us that our struggle to live faithfully for Jesus in our day to day lives is a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:6-10). Although not as dramatic as the movie “The Empire Strikes Back,” the spiritual forces of evil will attack any church seeking to improve spiritually.

Being faithful to the biblical teaching means that our worldview takes into account the realities of the spiritual world. Like blindfolded warriors who do not know who the enemy is, congregations can harm themselves when they lack true spiritual discernment. This self-harming happens when biblical teaching about the realities of spiritual resources in Christ and spiritual obstacles outside of Christ are absent or remain merely intellectual abstractions instead of applied personal experiences.

Unless we understand the spiritual framework of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, we will fail to see who our real enemy is. The church militant is described in Ephesians 6:1-18 and Revelation 12. Christians in mainline churches like the United Methodist Church are often not comfortable with such biblical language presenting Satan or the devil as a real person who is the source of sin, suffering, and sickness in the world and actively works against the gospel and the church.

Jesus Christ came into the world to bear our sins (I John 3:5); to defeat the works of Satan (I John 3:8); to give us eternal life (I John 5:11-12); to atone for our sins (I John 4:10); and to be the savior of the world (John 3:16; I John 4:14). At the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Looking over Jesus’ earthly ministry as a whole, the devil and his demons played a larger part in his ministry than we give attention to in our ministry.

“Though Methodism founder John Wesley talked about Satan in his sermons, the United Methodist Church has no official doctrine on the devil and the demonic.” 

(Mary Jacobs, “Does Satan really exist? Many United Methodists see evil as more subtle.” July 11, 2008. 

New link

Mary Jacobs shares several quotes from Dr. Steve Seamands in her article, “Does Satan really exist? Many United Methodist see evil as more subtle”:

Dr. Seamands recalled a doctoral student from Korea who liked to say, ‘The only Christians who don’t believe in demons are Western scholars.’

Dr. Seamands wants Methodists to heed C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, which described two “errors” in dealing with Satan: not to believe in the devil at all, or to over-believe, giving the devil more than his due. 

(Mary Jacobs, “Does Satan really exist? Many United Methodists see evil as more subtle.” July 11, 2008. 

New link

Churches often overlook the language about Satan and his demons in Martin Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;

Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;

His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:

The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,

One little word shall fell him. 

(The United Methodist Hymnal: Book of United Methodist Worship, (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989), No. 110.)

In these postmodern times, some are abandoning the old modernist mindset that abandoned the supernatural as seen in the Bible for a natural explanation of things. While Western scholars might not believe in a real devil and real demons, Mary Jacobs reported:

A significant number of Americans, however, do believe that Satan is very real. A 2007 Harris Poll showed that 62 percent of Americans believe in the devil. Among born-again Christians, that figure jumped to 92 percent, compared to 79 percent of Protestants and 73 percent of Catholics. 

(Mary Jacobs, “Does Satan really exist? Many United Methodists see evil as more subtle.” July 11, 2008. 

New link

T. J. Addington is emphatic about the need for church members to grasp this reality.

There is no greater passage on spiritual warfare and the need to live in the full power of the Holy Spirit and the Word than that of Ephesians 6:10-18. This passage gives us a small peek behind the veil of our world to see what is going on beyond our sight but in our presence in the spiritual realms.

My view is that God's people generally do not have an adequate understanding of this very real spiritual war that is taking place or the need for all of God's armor in order to fight that war. To the extent that we understand God's divine drama and the war between the forces of good and evil, to that extent we will arm ourselves for that conflict.


New Link

Scroll down the page to Thursday, July 16, 2009

Furthermore, a view of salvation that ignores the reality of being “transferred from the domain of darkness and transferred [into] the kingdom of his beloved son” (Col. 1:13) does not take the reality of the devil, demons, and sin seriously. However, the New Testament church took the devil and demons very seriously, as pointed out by Dr. Seamands:

‘Yet belief in Satan as an individual—not just an impersonal force—follows orthodox Christian tradition,’ argues Dr. Seamands, also an ordained United Methodist clergy.

‘The early church took this whole realm of angels and demons very seriously,’ Dr. Seamands said. Early baptism rites required believers to ‘renounce Satan and all his works,’ in contrast to contemporary United Methodist rites, which asks new believers to reject ‘all the forces of wickedness.’

(Mary Jacobs, “Does Satan really exist? Many United Methodists see evil as more subtle.” July 11, 2008. 

New link

Furthermore, Paul was sent to the gentiles to open their eyes and turn them from the power of Satan to God...” (Acts 26:17-18).

To teach about spiritual warfare, I recommend reading Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural by Charles Kraft, Satan and His Kingdom: What the Bible Says and How It Matters to You by Dennis McCallum, 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare by Clinton Arnold, Adventures in Spiritual Warfare by William Payne, and The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Revised) by Tom White.

Our most powerful weapon is the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God. Just having the sword of the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit is not enough to slay the dragon. First, we must allow the Holy Spirit to help us rightly handle the word of God in the face of spiritual attacks. Then, we will go forth wielding the Sword of the Spirit in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must also learn to put on and use the rest of our spiritual armor as well. 

Do we really believe what we sing in the hymn Majesty? Why do we need what one the line says “Majesty, kingdom authority, flow from his throne unto his own”? We need Jesus’ majestic grace, kingdom life, and ultimate authority to serve the True King in conflict with the enemy’s evil empire. When we really take spiritual warfare seriously as Christian Soldiers, half-hearted attempts, academic approaches or fulfilling a legalistic “ought” will vanish from our practice of spiritual disciplines.

Are we ready stand firm as a Christian Soldier? Will we resist the enemy and see him flee (James 4:7)? Are we willing with God as our helper to become the best Christian soldiers that we can be in the Lord’s army? Is the congregation, district, conference etc., that we either serve or are a member of willing with God as their helper to become the best unit of the Lord’s army that together you can be?


Much of the content of this article comes from my dissertation: “PREACHING FOR A WHOLE PERSON RESPONSE IN DEVELOPING A HEALTHY CHURCH.” Diss. Asbury Theological Seminary, 2001.

The contents are protected by copyright.


Books About Spiritual Warfare

Biblical Worldview & Spiritual Warfare


Kraft, Charles H. Confronting Powerless Christianity: Evangelicals And The Missing Dimension

Kraft, Charles. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural

Marguerite Kraft, Understanding Spiritual Power

Heiser, Michael S. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Spiritual Worldview of the Bible.

Introduction to Spiritual Warfare


Twelfree, Graham H. Jesus The Exorcist: A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus

Twelfree, Graham H. In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism among Early Christians

McCallum, Dennis. Satan And His Kingdom What the Bible Says and How It Matters To You

Bubeck, Mark. The Adversary

Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters

Koch, Kurt. Occult ABC: Exposing Occult Practices and Ideologies

Eddy, Beilby, ed.. Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views

Clinton Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare


Penn-Lewis, Jessie, Evan Roberts. War on the Saints Unabridged Edition

Spiritual Warfare Applied


Kraft, Charles. The Evangelical’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare

Murphy, Ed. The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. (Revised Edition)

Payne, William. Adventures in Spiritual Warfare

White, Tom. The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Revised Edition)

Appleby, David W. It’s Only A Demon: A Model of Christian Deliverance Revised and Expanded Second Edition

MacNutt, Francis. Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual

Koch, Kurt. Occult Bondage and Deliverance

Anderson, Neil T. The Steps to Freedom In Christ

Johnson. Dr. Mark. Spiritual Warfare for the Wounded

Kraft, Charles. Deep Wounds, Deep Healing

Congregational Spiritual Warfare


Anderson, Neil T., Charles Mylander. Setting Your Church Free

Anderson, Neil T., Charles Mylander. Extreme Church Makeover: A Biblical Plan to Help Your Church Achieve Unity and Freedom in Christ

This list has been compiled  from past spiritual warfare courses at Ashland Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary plus some from my own library.