satan

The Problem with “Individual” Religion

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The Christian faith has been deeply wounded by the individualism paraded by capitalistic society. Everything around us urges Christians to seek self-help and improve their personal lives. This has formed a church culture based on will-power and self-realization apart from Christ.

Pragmatism has trumped biblical truth.

The belief that Christianity is ONLY an individual decision made at the beckoning of a preacher or “spiritual experience” has been prominent in Western Christianity for centuries.

Nathan O. Hatch describes the religious attitude of the early 19th century, “Christians should shun all institutions, soon to topple around them, and allow the Spirit to work within. It was the disappearance of the church and the unmediated operation of the Spirit upon the individual soul that would mark the advent of the millennium.”

The dangerous thing about false teaching is that it is almost true. This attitude has been practiced by evangelicals for hundreds of years… to our own ruin. Let’s break this statement down and discern what is actually true:

CLAIM: Christian should shun all institutions.
TRUTH: Some institutions are evil. The institution of slavery, the practice of chauvinism, and a variety of other institutional abuse should be shunned. This does NOT mean ALL institutions should be rejected… even the institution of government has been established by God (Romans 13:1). An institution is simply an organization that is established for a specific purpose. Many religious leaders encourage Christians to “shun” the church in pursuit of purely seeking Jesus. This sounds spiritual… really it’s demonic (we’ll get to that in a second).

CLAIM: Christians should allow the Spirit to work within.
TRUTH: Yes, Christians SHOULD allow the Spirit to work within. Nevertheless, Christians should also allow the Spirit to work outside of them as well. The Holy Spirit often speaks through human mediums – pastors, authority figures, parents, friends, small groups – just to name a few. The Holy Spirit does not wait for a Christian to seek a mystical experience before speaking… the Spirit of God is constantly communicating with us; the real question is whether or not we are listening.

CLAIM: The Church is going to disappear.
TRUTH: This is what makes the belief so dangerous. Jesus is clear that not even Hell can overcome HIS Church (Matthew 16:18). The United States will cease to exist. Your job which you sacrifice countless hours and anxiety to will cease to exist. Yet the Church will outlast EVERYTHING!

Jesus Christ established the church and it will exist into eternity. This does not mean the church is perfect! Rather, we should believe in the Reformation principle of “Semper Reformanda” or ALWAYS REFORMING! You cannot reform the church by rejecting it; you can only reform the church by faithfully discerning whether the present practices align with Scripture.

Friends, there really is an enemy and he wants to destroy your soul. He cloaks demonic teaching in the veil of religion in order to distort the true faith delivered to the saints. Christianity is not an individual faith. It is vital to have a group of people around you – the local church – to support you in this tremendous pilgrimage.

There is no such thing as a lone-wolf Christian.

If you try to live the Christian life on your own, you will be torn apart by Satan. He prowls around like a lion looking for arrogant evangelicals to devour. Lions pounce on those separated from the pack; there is no living faith apart from being involved in a church.

Do YOU agree or disagree? Let me know by leaving a comment!

The Invisible War

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If you are a Christian, you are enlisted into an invisible war. When it comes to warfare, we need to develop tactics in order to be successful in the various skirmishes we will encounter each day. In order to better equip you for this, we will be spending time over the next few weeks to discuss spiritual warfare.

One of the most insightful passages on spiritual warfare was written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20. In the beginning of this section, Paul briefs us on the type of enemies we are facing –

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12

Specifically, I see three principles in this passage:

1. We are in a battle.
Many people believe the lie that when one becomes a Christian, life gets easier. The opposite is true the majority of the time. When you claim the name of Christ, there is a beast – his name is Satan – who wants to utterly crush you. His goal is to destroy every ounce of faith that resides within your soul. If you refuse to fight against this enemy, you will be thrown into ruin and torment.

2. The war is invisible.
The cohort of demons we fight against are entirely “other”. They rule over the unseen world which is all around us. Although we cannot see the physical appearance of our enemies, the effects of their warfare are visible in the destruction of churches and Christians around the world. They are fallen angels which have been cast down from the throne room of God to wreak havoc on the earth for a limited amount of time.

3. The enemy is incredibly powerful.
If we attempt to wage this warfare in our own strength, we will be utterly demolished by the great power of our enemies. As fallen angels, these evil spirits wield immense power to crush mankind. Those who foolishly rise up against the demonic world without the power and presence of Christ are destined to be annihilated by the mighty powers which rule the unseen world.


Over the next few weeks, we will be tackling the following questions:

  • How do we successfully wage war against this enemy?
  • What kind of weapons are available to us since the enemy is invisible?
  • What are specific tactics we can use to wage war offensively?
  • How exactly does the enemy fight against us? What weapons do they use?

My prayer is that this series would strengthen your faith, equip you for battle, and enable you to persevere in the midst of brutal, spiritual attacks against your faith.

Enjoy the post? Be sure to check out Part 2 – The Battle for Your Mind.