Theology, Spiritual Warfare and Obedience
December 2000 by Asher Intrater
Often when I use the word "theology" I use it in a derogatory sense, meaning irrelevant, religious and philosophical mental exercises that do not have bearing on the life and faith of a believer. In this case I mean it in its most positive sense: clear teaching based on the word of God that deals with relevant issues in a systematic and logical way. In the New Covenant scriptures, theology is simply well grounded biblical teaching.
This theology, or clear
biblical teaching, has an important connection to spiritual warfare. People
often associate spiritual warfare with a personal inner struggle during intercessory
prayer, and with faith proclamations against demonic angelic powers. Those are
both true, but there is another element that should be noticed here - public
teaching of the word.
This is referring more to a way of thinking, a "mindset," a system of wrong beliefs widely held within a given society. There are the thought systems of false religions, of humanism, of secular society, of philosophies and psychologies and political ideologies. Those thought systems can hold thousands, if not millions of people captive.
Those strongholds and arguments can also be popularly accepted mistakes in theology and Bible interpretation within the church. If large numbers of sincere believers are reading and being taught the Bible within a wrong theological framework, they can be deceived, weakened or brought into captivity by the enemy.
Part of our spiritual warfare is to teach the Bible correctly and publicly in such a way that it tears down those thought systems holding the people around us in bondage. The ways of thinking of this world stand in opposition to the obedience to Yeshua. Correct teaching establishes the foundation of faith and obedience.
One of the key words here is "obedience." The teachings of the Bible are not speculative and theoretical. Rather they place an immediate demand upon the hearer to come into obedience. One of the common denominators of correct teaching is that it brings us into the obedience of faith. A common denominator of false teaching is that it moves the hearer away from the obedience of faith.
Deceptive spirits will encourage theology that is non obedience oriented. Our spiritual warfare is to bring the theology and biblical teachings back toward the obedience of the Messiah that we see demonstrated on the cross.
Correct biblical teaching is therefore "corrective" of popularly accepted wrong thinking. Bible teaching that corrects deceptions is a kind of spiritual warfare on the part of the teacher. He is tearing down the vain arguments that stand against the knowledge of God. (I think of theological breakthroughs that have been given by such men as Daniel Juster, Michael Brown, Derek Prince, Kenneth Hagin, etc.)
One last word on personal thought life: When one is struggling with ungodly thoughts, those thoughts are usually connected to his feelings. How can one just capture his thoughts? How can you overcome his feelings? The answer again comes in the word "obedience." Obedience is something that is not dependent on feelings. If I am centered on obedience, I am not bothered by the fact that my feelings might be going in the opposite direction. In other words, I turn my thoughts toward obedience. I turn my thoughts from thinking that needs to be reinforced by my feelings to thoughts that are reinforced by the commitment to obey regardless of the feelings. I win in spiritual warfare as my thoughts are turned from feelings toward obedience.