Advertisements
Book Reviews

Microview: “Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views” edited by James Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy

usw-beilbyeddyUnderstanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views is one of the most diverse presentations of views on a topic in a book of this sort I have read. I went into reading this pretty much blind to what positions existed, so take this as perspective from someone with some theological training, but no specific background in this area.

The work starts with an introduction that does a great job introducing questions of primary importance in discussions of spiritual warfare. Walter Wink’s (alongside Gareth Higgins and Michael Hardin) view is presented first and might best be summarized as: Satan is equal to (and reducible to) human institutions of evil and suffering; he is neither personal nor is he the enemy of God but rather God’s servant–showing people their evil. We fight Satan by fighting institutionalized evil.

David Powlison’s “Classical” view is that spiritual warfare is essentially living like Christ and fighting temptation and sin. Satan is a real person and tempts us. Evils are combated through prayer and a call to repentance. Gregory Boyd’s “Ground-Level Deliverance model” argues for both a Christlike life but also for active warfare against demonic powers and Satan (who are personal and ontologically extant) on an individual level. C. Peter Wagner and Rebecca Greenwood’s “Strategic Level Deliverance model” is committed to finding and rooting out demonic activity in local and even national levels, including making “spiritual maps” to find where areas of demonic activity might be found and trying to identify the specific demons behind various activity.

From the above, it may seem like these views are radically diverse. You’d be correct to think so. James Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy did a fantastic job putting together this volume with such diverse views. Questions of orthodoxy at times arise (particularly in regard to Wink’s perspective), but this makes it clear how much divergence there is related to this specific issue. The responses to the different views are each insightful and provide more material of interest to pursue.

It’s rare that I’ve had a book be this interesting and engaging throughout. I highly recommend this volume for anyone with even a remote interest in the topic of spiritual warfare.

The Good

+Excellent diversity of views never feels like you’re reading rehashed material
+Clearly defines several key terms
+Superb introductory material prepares readers to understand some key questions on issue
+Author responses insightful and given just enough space to make serious points
+Cool cover
+Excellent indices

The Bad

-Could have given even more space to responses
-Not enough interaction on exegetical questions
-No rejoinders for authors to responses

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)

Source

James Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, eds., Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).

Advertisements

About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

9 thoughts on “Microview: “Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views” edited by James Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy

  1. Interesting! I typically don’t like any “Views” book because of space limitation as you pointed out

    Posted by SLIMJIM | December 20, 2014, 3:44 AM
  2. Oh, man! I thought you were going to give us the lowdown on your view. It would be interesting to see how someone with your training and education would understand or interpret spiritual warfare.

    Posted by Joshua | January 13, 2015, 8:40 PM
    • Well I honestly know little enough about the topic so I would definitely not claim to have any training or education in this area, but from this book I’d say my view most closely aligns with Greg Boyd’s (which surprises me because I disagree with Boyd on several other topics). Specifically, I think that there are real spiritual forces with which we must do battle, but that these instances are fairly limited and that a dose of skepticism is not necessarily unwarranted. However, I think it is highly problematic to simply dismiss reports of possession and the like as impossible as well. I don’t see warrant biblically for thinking they won’t continue to occur.

      But yes, this is all from someone who hasn’t thought terribly much on the topic. I am definitely willing to admit I don’t know much about it.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 13, 2015, 8:59 PM
      • As always, I appreciate your honesty.

        I’ve seen some people go WAY overboard on the spiritual warfare, even attributing headaches to demonic attacks. But miraculous healing and exorcisms from conditions science and medicine determined as mental illnesses makes me think that it is something to be aware of here. (And, being a huge music fan, the Satanic nature of the music industry is legendary.)

        Posted by Joshua | January 13, 2015, 11:37 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: My 2014 Reading- A list and some reflections | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - January 28, 2015

  2. Pingback: Sunday Quote!- Spiritual Warfare and Mapping the Land? | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - February 1, 2015

  3. Pingback: Enter [Science] Fictional Messiah – “Wind and Shadow” and “Daystar” by Kathy Tyers | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - March 23, 2015

  4. Pingback: Really Recommended Posts 5/8/15- Sola Scriptura, National Day of Prayer, and more! | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - May 8, 2015

  5. Pingback: A World of Darkness and War- “Eisenhorn” by Dan Abnett | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - September 2, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisements

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,340 other followers

Archives

Like me on Facebook: Always Have a Reason
%d bloggers like this: