Spiritual Warfare

9 Risks of Not Teaching about Spiritual Warfare

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When I first started teaching about spiritual warfare more than 20 years ago, few evangelicals were tackling this topic. More churches do now, but many are still afraid of the topic. When we don’t talk about this subject, here are some possible consequences:

  1. We ignore much of the Bible. Spiritual warfare is evident from Genesis to Revelation, and the battle culminates in a cross that is central to our faith. You almost have to intentionally ignore it to miss it when reading the Bible.
  2. We send believers into the battle unarmed. The battle’s happening whether or not we choose to address it. If we don’t teach believers about it, they’ll lose a war they don’t know exists.
  3. Some of the people we lead will fall in the battle. The time to teach about spiritual warfare is not when folks are locked in the middle of a battle; it’s before the battle heats up so they’re prepared for it.
  4. We miss the significance of discipleship. Much of discipleship is teaching believers how to wear the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-17). New believers need guidance in knowing how to walk in truth, righteousness, and faith; when we don’t teach them, we set them up for defeat.
  5. We fail to understand the battle in evangelism. Multiple times in the New Testament, Paul described lostness in terms of spiritual warfare (Eph 2:1-3; 2 Cor 4:3-4; 2 Tim 2:25-26; Col 1:13; cf. Acts 26:18). The enemy will always fight to keep lost people in his kingdom, and we need to recognize that conflict.
  6. We likely ignore warfare in our own lives. As leaders in God’s church, we wear a bullseye on our back for the enemy. To ignore that reality is really risky.
  7. We miss an opportunity to teach about the power of God. Never in the Bible is the devil outside the control of God. God is sovereign, even over Satan.
  8. We see church families lose too many battles. The enemy attacked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the quick result was a husband turning against a wife. Since that time, Satan has aimed his arrows at marriages and families.
  9. We leave someone else to teach it. Others do teach the topic, and not always with a strong biblical foundation.

Don’t ignore this topic as you teach the Word! If you need some suggested resources, check out the various posts on this site about spiritual warfare.

*This article was originally published January 2017 at chucklawless.com. 

  • Spiritual Warfare
Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

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