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Some Christians engage in 'spiritual warfare', including binding evil thoughts, sending fire to the enemy's camp, binding and loosing and breaking darkness. Are these biblical?
Thank you for your question regarding binding, loosing and other elements of 'spiritual warfare'.
While it would not be right to dismiss some things in the church simply because we do not understand them, it is also good to question whether we should fully embrace them. The Bible tells us that we should test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and this includes practices that we see in the church.
It would seem that the best practice principle on such matters is to look at the Bible and see what the disciples and early Christians did. The Bible is there to guide us and help us in our walk with Christ; so read it and learn from it!
We do see instructions to take control of our thinking. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This instruction though seems like it is to individuals to exercise on themselves, rather than on other people.
Although we do not see evidence of 'sending fire to the camp of evil spirits' there is an understanding that we are in a spiritual battle and therefore we must be prepared. To ignore that satan and demons are active, even if they do not have authority, would give him an opportunity to work openly.
Paul writes that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Paul goes on to write about the armour of God, arming ourselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and God's word. I encourage you to pursue these things in your walk with God.
However, there is also the other side of the argument that we must be cautious about such spiritual involvement. The Bible tells us that some evil spirits are more powerful than others (Mark 9:29) and can strike back at the ignorant or unprepared (Acts 19:15). It is also possible that throwing ourselves into spiritual warfare when we are unprepared may actually damage us. Let's make sure that we are prepared first, and then, with God's leading, engage in spiritual battles.
I would also give caution to any church that concentrates on some issues more than the gospel. Believing in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead is central to the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-11). If a church is concentrating largely or solely on spiritual things, but not on Christ, then I would raise your concerns with the leadership.
In summary, it is possible that the encounters you are seeing in church are God-ordained, but our first place for examples should be the scriptures, which are there to show us matters of doctrine and practice. While it is true that we are in spiritual warfare, let's remind ourselves that we must be prepared and led by God to engage in such action. A church's first importance should be the gospel, so we should share our concern with leaders if the gospel is being undermined or ignored.
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