One of the most important topics for Christians is spiritual warfare. The Christian is engaged in a war not where nuclear bombs, stealth bombers and M-16’s are involved, but rather in a fallen world where Satan seeks to roar like a lion and keep sinners enslaved to their sin that they may continue to belong to “his kingdom”. Believers are called to wield the Word of God which pierces the hearts of sinners and transfers them from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian life is a life of warfare, fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil. As you can see, ours is a life of spiritual warfare of daily dying to sin, of ongoing repentance, and of taking up one’s armor and standing fast in the grace of God. All of these important issues are discussed in a new book Spiritual Warfare A Biblical and Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura that seeks to help the Christian understand who they are in Christ and how they are enabled through the Holy Spirit to deflect the blows of their adversary, fight sin, and live God-glorifying lives as followers of Jesus.
One of main reasons that spiritual warfare is often talked about in the wrong way is that we often talk more from our various theological traditions which are often wrong on the topic of spiritual warfare, rather than from the Scriptures. What has been needed is a resource on this topic that emphasizes the believers union with Christ with the reality of the Christians daily battle against sin as they grow in the grace of God. This is a very difficult balance to strike but one that the authors masterfully weave in Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective.
Despite being a relatively short book at only thirteen chapters and one hundred twenty-four pages to include three appendixes, Spiritual Warfare nevertheless is full of biblical truth. For example, the authors note, “Living the Christian life is not merely about mastering one truth or even a set of principles. Rather, it is learning to think and act biblically. We must be reminded of certain truths frequently so that we don’t become unbalanced or myopic in our view of the Christian life. One such truth is that we are in a war of the most serious nature, and that war is not with flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness. This vital truth ought to shape our worldview” (1). In making this statement, the authors aptly keep the focus in this book not on Satan, but on Christ, who is the victor over all.
Additionally, the authors submit that “Our ultimate victory is sure because of all that our Savior has done and will do for us when He returns. Nevertheless, we are still in a real war fighting real enemies and encountering real causalities” (15). In one of the most helpful sections of the book the authors explain the “already and not yet” of the Christian life, noting “In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul is equipping us to live between Christ’s first and second coming. He is revealing the resources we need in order to repel the assaults of the enemy while we live between these two grand stages of redemptive history. Paul understand that we Christians need further explanations and applications on what it means to be filled with strength from the Lord if we are to be good soldiers skilled in the use of arms. According to Paul, we must put on armor, train for war, and prepare for the day of battle” (15-16).
The classic view of spiritual warfare is defined by repentance, faith, and obedience. Furthermore, the classic mode of warfare of evangelism, discipleship, and personal growth follows the pattern of Jesus facing Satan in the desert. The textbooks for this approach to spiritual warfare have been Proverbs, Psalms, the way Jesus addressed moral evil, and the teaching of the New Testament epistles. Moreover, Puritan pastoral theologians wrote frequently and with great depth on spiritual warfare. As they wrote about Scripture, the devil, and human nature, they were alert to the incredible evil and deceptive strategies of Satan. At the same time, they made a heart-searching analysis of the human condition. The Puritans were not demythologized moderns, rather they lived in a spirit-filled world and were well aware of spiritual warfare. They saw the combat, snares, deceits, and schemes of Satan. Books in print from Puritans after over three hundred years include Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, John Bunyan’s works Pilgrim’s Progress and Holy War, and William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armor. Joining these chorus of voices in the classic mode is Spiritual Warfare A Biblical and Balance Perspective by Borgman and Ventura, a book that carries on the tradition of a biblically sound methodology for understanding and approaching spiritual warfare.
Ultimately, as Borgman and Ventura contend in this book, one’s view of sanctification will affect one’s view of spiritual warfare. The reality of the war for the souls of mankind is real and so are the tools of warfare the Lord has given His children. When the believer stands firm in the grace of God because of the work of Jesus on the Cross, no weapon formed against them will prosper. Satan is a defeated foe because of Christ which means as Paul says in Colossians 1, Jesus has disarmed the forces of Satan through His death, burial, and resurrection. The Gospel is good news because as Christians engage a sinful world, Christ is with them. Christians are not attacked as if they are on an island. They are attacked because of their identity with their Lord, Savior, and God. The believer can rest in the fact that as they rely on the grace of God and stand firm in His grace, that the Lord will guard and protect them. The Lord will use His children as they rely on Him because true effectiveness for Jesus and His glory rests in reliance upon the grace of God in all things.
The Christian life is a life of war. Thankfully, the authors of Spiritual Warfare know this and have sought to lay out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 6 so every Christian can be equipped to understand what this passage teaches and how to implement what it teaches into their daily lives. Spiritual Warfare is a much needed book especially given the rise of many issues which are challenging Christianity in these days. This book would be very good for the layman on up to the seminary professor. Every Christian needs to be reminded of the spiritual war going on around them and I know of no better resource that does this as well as this book. I highly recommend this book and pray as you read it that you will grab hold of who you are in Christ, the reality of the war around you, and gain a sense of urgency in sharing the Gospel with the lost and making disciples to the glory of God.
Authors: Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”