Jen Fulwiler’s recent post about spiritual attack sparked a lot of discussion, both in the comments and in other blogs. This seems like a good time then, to review a book on the subject I read recently. In fact, Jen’s 2011 post on spiritual attack is what first drew my attention to the topic.
Reclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family From Spiritual Attacks is written by Jim Logan, a counselor at Biblical Restoration MInistries. He addresses, mainly, two issues (1) the fact that spiritual attack-active demonic activity in our lives–really occurs, even to Christians in modern society, and (2) the way to combat it. I found his treatment of the first topic enlightening. His discussion of how to counter-attack, however, I find unsatisfying.
Mr. Logan addresses one of the primary questions I had about spiritual attack: how is it different from plain old temptation and sin? In short, Mr. Logan says, it isn’t:
I have seen visible manifestations of demons in my counseling experience, but these are far from the norm. . . . For the vast majority of Christians . . . spiritual warfare is another name for the battle we wage against ‘all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
The book addresses the particular areas of weakness where he, in his ministry, has seen Satan exploit people. He addresses separately the issues that men and women face. While reading his book on how spiritual attack can occur for women I thought, “Wow, is he talking to me, personally?” He has some insightful points on how Satan destroys families, not just through more obvious sins like occultism or adultery, but also through less shocking weaknesses like bitterness, anger, and anxiety:
Women struggle with a fearful spirit. That’s why they get angry . . . . A woman sees so much more than a man sees. She walks into the house, sees a crack in the wall, and knows something out to be done. Her husband, however, waits until the roof is blown off and the water is pouring in. Then he says wisely, ‘You know, honey, we ought to do something about this.’
I was particularly intrigued by the connection Mr. Logan draws between authority and vulnerability to spiritual attack. He posits that God places a “hedge of protection” between us and Satan through the authority structures He designed: a parent’s authority over a child, a father’s authority over the family, the church’s authority over families.
When the flaming missiles of Satan pass through God’s hedge of protection, they cease to be Satan’s destructive missiles and become instead the refining fire of God. . . . . When we are out of God’s will, Satan doesn’t need permission to attack us. But when we are walking in obedience and victory, we know that God has power and is protecting and refining us during tough times. Satan can’t lay a finger on us unless God allows us.
I can’t help thinking how much more protected we must be who submit to the authority, not just of a church, but of the Church.
And here is where the book left me, as a Catholic, with a lot of questions. Mr. Logan is (as far as I can discern) an Evangelical Protestant. Mr. Logan describes prayer and the quoting of Scripture as the primary tools to resist spiritual attack and to “reclaim” the areas in our life that we have surrendered to Satan through past sin. Obviously, from his experience, this can work. But surely, prayer alone is not was powerful as when combined with the Sacraments, the intercession of the Saints, and the other tools the Church gives us?
I would like to find a book written on this topic from a Catholic perspective. The Spiritual Combat Revisited, by Fr Jonathan Robinson, looks promising. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s read it or other books on this topic.
I’m joining the “What I’m Reading Wednesday” link-up today, for the first time, hosted by Jessica at Housewifespice. Thanks Jessica!!