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Theology, Spiritual Warfare and Obedience

written by Asher Intrater
December 15, 2000

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.

II Corinthians 10:4-5

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah.”

In bringing every thought into captivity, there is certainly the element of personal discipline to control our thought life. But here we are also talking about “casting down arguments.”

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.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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