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Fall 2000 · Vol. 29 No. 2 · pp. 191–94 

Recommended Reading

On Confronting Evil

David S. Faber and Lynn Jost

  • Anderson, Neil. The Bondage Breaker. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1990.

  • ———. Victory over the Darkness. Ventura, CA: Regal, 1990.

    These popular books are based on the somewhat controversial assumption that Christians can be oppressed by spiritual powers though they cannot be controlled by those powers. In many ways these books appear to be a Christianized version of popular psychology. Bad habits, depression, negative thoughts, and the like are attributed to the work of invisible spiritual forces. While they contain some potentially helpful therapeutic insights, they also tend to view people as victims of spiritual forces beyond their control rather than as persons responsible for their own behavior.

  • Arnold, Clinton E. Three Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997.

    Arnold provides balanced, reasoned, biblical answers to three important questions: What is spiritual warfare? Can a Christian be demon-possessed? Are we called to engage territorial spirits?

  • Boyd, Gregory. God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

    Boyd uses the concept of spiritual warfare to address the problem of evil. He argues extensively that both the OT and the NT presuppose a warfare worldview. A warfare worldview “. . . is that perspective on reality which centers on the conviction that the good and evil, fortunate or unfortunate, aspects of life are to be interpreted largely as the result of good and evil, friendly or hostile, spirits warring against each other and against us.” Boyd maintains that a warfare worldview can account for two aspects of our experience of evil for which traditional responses to evil cannot account: apparently gratuitous evil (i.e., evil that does not contribute to some greater good) and the depth of evil that we see in the world. {192}

  • Linthicum, Robert. City of God, City of Satan: A Biblical Theology of the Urban Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991.

    A practical, systematic, sociologically informed, biblical theology of the city. Informed by Wink and Brueggemann, Linthicum analyzes the godly and satanic powers at work in the city, describes God’s program for urban “advance,” and prescribes spiritual disciplines that empower ministry (including not only personal spiritual formation but also Christian community). Linthicum’s analysis of Old Testament and Pauline theology of the powers is both biblical and contemporary in scope.

  • Lowe, Chuck. Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation? A Biblical, Historical, and Missiological Critique of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare. Borough Green, Kent, GB: Mentor/OMF, 1998.

    Lowe describes and analyzes strategic-level spiritual warfare, “warfare prayer” that names and rebukes “territorial spirits” as a primary evangelism tool. Using biblical, historical, and sociological arguments, Lowe concludes that strategic-level spiritual warfare, though popular, is flawed. He calls for a return to traditional missionary methods, faithful prayer, and a passion for the glory of God and the salvation of the lost.

  • McAlpine, Thomas. Facing the Powers: What Are the Options? Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1991.

    McAlpine, director of urban evangelism for MARC, a division of World Vision International, offers a survey of four views of the powers. He compares the Reformed tradition, the Anabaptist tradition, the Third Wave tradition, and the Social Science tradition. In addition to providing a comparison of the four views, McAlpine offers some insightful criticisms of each approach.

  • Noll, Stephen F. Angels of Light, Powers of Darkness: Thinking Biblically About Angels, Satan, and Principalities. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998.

    Noll’s biblical theology incorporates biblical and deuterocanonical sources, historical and contemporary theology, and classical and modern literature. Noll concludes that angels and demons exist as intermediary powers but recognizes uncertainty about the nature of {193} angelic bodies, the immortality of demons, and whether or not angels can be known apart from revelation.

  • Wagner, Peter, ed. Engaging the Enemy: How to Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits. Ventura, CA: Regal, 1991.

    This collection of nineteen essays provides valuable insight into the theology and practice of what has come to be known as the Third Wave movement.

  • Wink, Walter. Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984.

  • ———. Unmasking the Powers: The Invisible Forces That Determine Human Existence. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1986.

  • ———. Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1992.

  • ———. The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium. New York: Doubleday, 1998.

    The Wink trilogy on the powers (first three titles above) offers a biblical theology on the spiritual realities of the principalities and powers. Wink’s tendency toward demythologizing the powers as corporate structures will disturb some readers, but it should not distract them from Wink’s strength, a careful biblical and scholarly analysis. The first work reviews the biblical terms for the powers, studies disputed passages, and interprets the powers as cosmological spiritual symbols essential for understanding reality. Wink’s second volume seeks to comprehend confusing spiritual experiences by assessing the powers—angels, demons, gods, elements, the devil. Wink’s categories of inner personal demonic, outer personal possession, and collective possession provide a perspective for understanding both the structural and the personal dimension of the demonic. The final volume describes how nonviolence offers the means to victory in the struggle with the powers. The Wink trilogy on the powers is summarized in his most recent work, The Powers That Be.

  • Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. 2d ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994 <1972>.

    In chapter 8, “Christ and Power,” Yoder describes the powers as structures created by God that have rebelled and fallen yet continue {194} to be used by God for good. Building on the work of Hendrikus Berkhof (Christ and the Powers), Yoder calls the church to proclaim Christ’s victory over the powers, to resist the exercise of power in an oppressive way, and to be a conscience and a servant within human society.

David Faber is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Lynn Jost is Associate Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas.

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