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Adrift
11-16-2014, 09:47 AM
I don't think its universally true, and there are certain areas within Christianity where its not true at all, but it seems like a lot of people get skittish when the subject of the Devil comes up. Has anyone else noticed that or am I just imagining things?

For instance, in apologetics, very rarely do I hear people talk about Satan and his effect on this world system, especially in regards to issues like the Problem of Evil. Now, I don't think that Satan has to be referenced when dealing with the Problem of Evil, and in fact, I can see why people would find it unnecessary to refer to him at all, but its interesting to me that his role in producing or influencing the evil that is done in this world is rarely mentioned at all when the issue is discussed.

We're all aware of that famous quote by C.S. Lewis,


There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

And to be blunt, in my experience, this divide often seems to fall in line with, I don't know, the intellectual acuity(?) of a particular church. I'm familiar with some churches where members could recite whole books from the Bible through memorization, but a deeper understanding of the text, especially in relation to the original languages or historical context is little evidenced. These same places often avoided deeper theological discussions which they seem to consider ivory tower-ish, and impractical in the real world application of Christianity. And a real world application does seem to be their main focus; Basically, bringing the Bible to the people (the common man on the street) in a simple to understand and relatable way. These churches seem to like to talk about Satan and demons a lot.

On the other hand, I'm familiar with other churches that are steeped in an intellectual appreciation for doctrine and dogma and whatnot. They often have a strong focus on tradition, church history, and theology. These churches seem to (in my opinion) almost avoid talking about Satan and demons. As though they were side concerns that Christians shouldn't spend hardly any time focusing on.

What are your thoughts?

Paprika
11-16-2014, 10:02 AM
And to be blunt, in my experience, this divide often seems to fall in line with, I don't know, the intellectual acuity(?) of a particular church.
I am interested if you see any correlation between the attitude towards discussion about Satan and his effects and the attitude towards discussion about the Spirit and its effects.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 10:07 AM
I am interested if you see any correlation between the attitude towards discussion about Satan and his effects and the attitude towards discussion about the Spirit and its effects.

Yeah, I think I could say that I see that correlation, but of course, its entirely anecdotal. Non uh...intellectual (?) Christians seem much more...spiritual, I guess, than their book wormy brethren. :smile:

Obsidian
11-16-2014, 10:47 AM
Ever since I first read C.S. Lewis's statement about being a "magician," I've always felt that he was wrong. Being interested in demons is not whatsoever the same as being a magician. That's like saying Jesus was a sorcerer because he cast them out.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 10:52 AM
Ever since I first read C.S. Lewis's statement about being a "magician," I've always felt that he was wrong. Being interested in demons is not whatsoever the same as being a magician. That's like saying Jesus was a sorcerer because he cast them out.

I think "magician" is just a literary turn of phrase (The Screwtape Letters is a work of fiction after all). All those who don't believe in the devil are not materialists either.

Obsidian
11-16-2014, 11:15 AM
Well, I also meant to argue that being highly interested in demons is not wrong, and not any sort of error. Ignoring them, on the other hand, is error. So C.S. Lewis's entire point was incorrect.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 11:19 AM
Well, I also meant to argue that being highly interested in demons is not wrong, and not any sort of error. Ignoring them, on the other hand, is error. So C.S. Lewis's entire point was incorrect.

Well Lewis said "excessive and unhealthy interest", not highly interested. Have you ever met someone who wouldn't stop talking about Satan where they basically saw Satan in just about every shadow? I have. I found it to be excessive and unhealthy.

Spartacus
11-16-2014, 11:34 AM
Justice Scalia had an interesting exchange in an interview on this general topic: http://nymag.com/news/features/antonin-scalia-2013-10/index3.html

Bold is interviewer; regular text is Scalia.


[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.

Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

No.
It’s because he’s smart.

So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the *Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.

Well, you’re saying the Devil is *persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.

Right.
What happened to him?

He just got wilier.
He got wilier.

Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.

seanD
11-16-2014, 12:07 PM
Good thread Adrift. To answer the question: without a doubt! My impression is that Christians have no problem with Satan engaging in the affairs of ancient man as illustrated in scripture. The problem is correlating Satan with our modern world today. It's too embarrassing of a subject because it gets a lot of scorn and ridicule today. I sometimes think that the eschatological belief that Satan is locked up is a way to solve that problem for modern Christians.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 12:29 PM
Good thread Adrift. To answer the question: without a doubt! My impression is that Christians have no problem with Satan engaging in the affairs of ancient man as illustrated in scripture. The problem is correlating Satan with our modern world today. It's too embarrassing of a subject because it gets a lot of scorn and ridicule today. I sometimes think that the eschatological belief that Satan is locked up is a way to solve that problem for modern Christians.

How common do you think that eschatological belief is though? I suppose most Evangelical Protestant Christians probably don't share that belief. I'm uncertain about other strains of Protestant Christianity, or the RCC and Orthodox Christians.

Oh, also, why do you think some Christians may find it embarrassing? I have a few ideas myself, but I'm interested in what others think.

seanD
11-16-2014, 12:51 PM
How common do you think that eschatological belief is though? I suppose most Evangelical Protestant Christians probably don't share that belief. I'm uncertain about other strains of Protestant Christianity, or the RCC and Orthodox Christians.

Oh, also, why do you think some Christians may find it embarrassing? I have a few ideas myself, but I'm interested in what others think.

Do be honest with you, almost every Christian I've encountered about the subject on this particular board has that belief. Maybe the Christians that don't hold that belief just don't talk about it much here. I also have a tendency to think that Tweb is a general representation of Christian belief throughout the world. Maybe I need to stop that.

To your second question; I think it's because "the Devil" has been so caricatured in such ridiculous ways in our culture that it's hard for anyone to get past those stereotypes when discussing Satan.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 01:36 PM
Do be honest with you, almost every Christian I've encountered about the subject on this particular board has that belief. Maybe the Christians that don't hold that belief just don't talk about it much here. I also have a tendency to think that Tweb is a general representation of Christian belief throughout the world. Maybe I need to stop that.

Well, this website was founded by members who advocated Preterism (if I'm remembering correctly, that's one of the reasons they were banned or left thelogyonline.com to begin with), so that would explain why that particular eschatological view may be popular here.


To your second question; I think it's because "the Devil" has been so caricatured in such ridiculous ways in our culture that it's hard for anyone to get past those stereotypes when discussing Satan.

Hmm, yeah. Good point. The reason I think it may be embarrassing to some Christians is because,

1.) In this post-modern, post-New Atheist world, belief in God can be a controversial subject. Add to that the belief that Jesus is the "way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." you're dealing with a pretty exclusivist ideology which makes a lot of people uncomfortable. You might still get away with a nice discussion about God and Jesus, but throwing the Holy Spirit, angels, demons, and devils into the mix is just a step too far.

2.) Biblical descriptions of demonic activity like possession are now viewed through the lens of modern medicine as mental illness. So what once was attributed to demons is now attributed to psychiatric episodes. That isn't to say that mental illness doesn't exist, I believe it does, its just that its not uncommon to read interpretations of the Gerasene demoniac suffering from schizophrenia or what have you. So Christians are embarrassed to mention possession because it makes them look like superstitious kooks.

Obsidian
11-16-2014, 02:18 PM
I think the bulk of mental illness (if not all of it) is caused by sin and/or demons.

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 02:24 PM
I'm not afraid to talk about the devil - I just don't find many opportunities where it's necessary. I'd much rather talk about Jesus. :shrug:

Jedidiah
11-16-2014, 02:32 PM
I don't think its universally true, and there are certain areas within Christianity where its not true at all, but it seems like a lot of people get skittish when the subject of the Devil comes up. Has anyone else noticed that or am I just imagining things?[\quote]

I think that a dichotomy does exist among churches. My view may be a little different. One error is to ignore Satan altogether (even though they may believe he exists), and the other is to ascribe too much to him.

Satan is not the source of all evil or sin. He did incite it in Adam and Eve. But, as Paul says, You once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh” (Eph. 2:2–3a). The spirit of Satan is at work in those who reject Christ, but we are all subject to other aspects. The world, the flesh and the devil, suggests to me that much more of our problems - particularly as believers - is wanting what the world offers, and wanting to satisfy the desires of the flesh. Satan is the least of those three areas, especially among Christians.

Jedidiah
11-16-2014, 02:37 PM
I think the bulk of mental illness (if not all of it) is caused by sin and/or demons.

Sin in the world is the cause of all the ills we suffer from. If you mean that sinning causes mental illness I disagree. I am not sure how much emphasis to put on the work of demons. They certainly exist, but beyond that I will not comment.

Jedidiah
11-16-2014, 02:38 PM
I'm not afraid to talk about the devil - I just don't find many opportunities where it's necessary. I'd much rather talk about Jesus. :shrug:

I think that it is seldom useful to talk about the devil when sharing Christ.

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 02:42 PM
I think sometimes the devil gets too much credit --- some of the sin we do is because we WANT to do it, not because "the devil made me do it". I like to focus on the fact that Christ has set us free from the POWER of sin, and we can choose NOT to sin, for we are not slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jedidiah
11-16-2014, 02:44 PM
I think sometimes the devil gets too much credit --- some of the sin we do is because we WANT to do it, not because "the devil made me do it". I like to focus on the fact that Christ has set us free from the POWER of sin, and we can choose NOT to sin, for we are not slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You said it much better than I did, brother.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 02:55 PM
I'm not afraid to talk about the devil - I just don't find many opportunities where it's necessary. I'd much rather talk about Jesus. :shrug:

But didn't Jesus interact with devils and Satan himself? I can't imagine talking about Jesus without talking about the temptation in the desert, or how he saw Satan fall like a flash of lightning from heaven, or how through his death He destroyed "the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). I don't think its necessary to discuss Satan all the time, and in fact, I think there are some churches that do nothing but talk about Satan (especially as part of some hellfire and brimstone message) but in certain circles, even when Christians talk to other Christians, a lot times there seems to be a certain understanding that "we don't talk about that". Have you noticed that at all? Its okay if you haven't. Like I said, I think it largely depends on the circles you find yourself in.

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 03:00 PM
But didn't Jesus interact with devils and Satan himself?

Sure, but, for instance, in the entire "upper room discourse" (John Chapters 13-17) there's precious little focus on satan (with the obvious exception of the Judas incident) and WAY more focus on the "vertical dualism" of God coming down in the form of Christ, going back up to His Father, Jesus and the Father being One, etc....


I can't imagine talking about Jesus without talking about the temptation in the desert, or how he saw Satan fall like a flash of lightning from heaven, or how through his death He destroyed "the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). I don't think its necessary to discuss Satan all the time, and in fact, I think there are some churches that do nothing but talk about Satan (especially as part of some hellfire and brimstone message) but in certain circles, even when Christians talk to other Christians, a lot times there seems to be a certain understanding that "we don't talk about that".

I noticed we don't talk much about foot washing. :smile:


Have you noticed that at all? Its okay if you haven't. Like I said, I think it largely depends on the circles you find yourself in.

I think that's probably true, and, being the Pastor, I generally set the tone, I guess, of the discussion, and what it's about.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 03:03 PM
I think sometimes the devil gets too much credit --- some of the sin we do is because we WANT to do it, not because "the devil made me do it". I like to focus on the fact that Christ has set us free from the POWER of sin, and we can choose NOT to sin, for we are not slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But we're also told,


Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Is there not maybe a middle way between giving the devil too much credit and not giving him enough?

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 03:07 PM
But we're also told,

Yes, we are to dress for combat! :smile:


Is there not maybe a middle way between giving the devil too much credit and not giving him enough?

OK, this may seem a bit silly, but I don't have diplomatic relations with Satan. Jesus fights my battles for me, and all I need to do is dress for battle and report for duty. In contending with the devil.... well, let Jude say it...

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
It's a good subject, Adrift, and I always enjoy interacting with you.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 03:16 PM
Yes, we are to dress for combat! :smile:



OK, this may seem a bit silly, but I don't have diplomatic relations with Satan. Jesus fights my battles for me, and all I need to do is dress for battle and report for duty. In contending with the devil.... well, let Jude say it...

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

We dress for battle, but we also carry a sword :wink: When I was in the military I didn't put on armor so that I could sit behind a wall and let someone else do my fighting. Ephesians says that this is "our struggle" not just Jesus' struggle.


It's a good subject, Adrift, and I always enjoy interacting with you.

You too CP! :smile:

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 03:50 PM
We dress for battle, but we also carry a sword :wink:

And shield!


When I was in the military I didn't put on armor so that I could sit behind a wall and let someone else do my fighting. Ephesians says that this is "our struggle" not just Jesus' struggle.

Well, yeah, but we could play Bible battle all day:

15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle [is] not yours, but God's.

I think we certainly need to be prepared for battle, but not everything we do is "battle". Jesus said they'll know we are His disciples by our love, not our warfare.

Maybe "a season for everything".


You too CP! :smile:

:thumb:

Adrift
11-16-2014, 04:01 PM
And shield!



Well, yeah, but we could play Bible battle all day:

15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle [is] not yours, but God's.

I wonder if the Old Testament saints were equipped in the same those in Christ are thanks to the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Old Testament prophets who had the spirit for a time.


I think we certainly need to be prepared for battle, but not everything we do is "battle". Jesus said they'll know we are His disciples by our love, not our warfare.

That's why I believe maybe there's a middle way.


Maybe "a season for everything".

:yes:

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 04:05 PM
I wonder if the Old Testament saints were equipped in the same those in Christ are thanks to the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Old Testament prophets who had the spirit for a time.

Or COURAGE! :smile: Like when Joshua faced off "the man with the sword" and demanded to know if he was friend or foe, and found himself face to face with "the Captain of the Hosts of the Army of the Lord".

Joshua, son of Nun, meet Y'shua, Son of God! :smile:


That's why I believe maybe there's a middle way.

But you're allowing me to take your thread off topic. Perhaps we should stop chasing this rabbit and go back to the bush out from under which he ran! :idea:

Thoughtful Monk
11-16-2014, 04:11 PM
I am interested if you see any correlation between the attitude towards discussion about Satan and his effects and the attitude towards discussion about the Spirit and its effects.

Their probably is a correlation. If you not inclined to believe their is a spiritual aspect, you'll deny both sides exists.

I'm wondering if their is a correlation between discussing Satan and discussing sin and its impact on the world.

Adrift
11-16-2014, 04:12 PM
Or COURAGE! :smile: Like when Joshua faced off "the man with the sword" and demanded to know if he was friend or foe, and found himself face to face with "the Captain of the Hosts of the Army of the Lord".

Joshua, son of Nun, meet Y'shua, Son of God! :smile:



But you're allowing me to take your thread off topic. Perhaps we should stop chasing this rabbit and go back to the bush out from under which he ran! :idea:

I think we're still close to the topic. Maybe this rabbit trail puts a light on another reason why Satan is rarely discussed among Christians. Maybe the church spent so much time talking about him, especially in hellfire and brimstone type teachings, that people were turned off by it, and the church swung in the opposite direction.

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 04:16 PM
I think we're still close to the topic. Maybe this rabbit trail puts a light on another reason why Satan is rarely discussed among Christians. Maybe the church spent so much time talking about him, especially in hellfire and brimstone type teachings, that people were turned off by it, and the church swung in the opposite direction.

That's entirely possible -- but it also made me think (that's always dangerous).... I would rather people come to Jesus because of who He is, than run from the Devil because of fear or for "fire insurance".

Adrift
11-16-2014, 04:20 PM
That's entirely possible -- but it also made me think (that's always dangerous).... I would rather people come to Jesus because of who He is, than run from the Devil because of fear or for "fire insurance".

Absolutely! Just so you know, I didn't create this thread to argue that people need to be afraid of the Devil, but was simply curious if people are afraid to talk about the Devil. :smile:

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 04:24 PM
Absolutely! Just so you know, I didn't create this thread to argue that people need to be afraid of the Devil, but was simply curious if people are afraid to talk about the Devil. :smile:

Yeah, absolutely understood! So, for the record, I'm not so much "afraid" to talk about the Devil, I just don't see much value in it. And you may have hit on something --- when I was a kid, there were SO MANY sermons on hellfire and damnation and it seemed the emphasis was on "not going to Hell" more than "following the Christ". :shrug:

Thoughtful Monk
11-16-2014, 04:45 PM
That's entirely possible -- but it also made me think (that's always dangerous).... I would rather people come to Jesus because of who He is, than run from the Devil because of fear or for "fire insurance".

I agree that it is better to come from a love of Jesus than fear of the Devil. On the other hand, I've heard testimonies from both starting points and in the end, both are saved.

Cow Poke
11-16-2014, 04:49 PM
I agree that it is better to come from a love of Jesus than fear of the Devil. On the other hand, I've heard testimonies from both starting points and in the end, both are saved.

Yeah, that's where the guidance of the Holy Spirit is invaluable. :thumb:

But I can't help but think "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me".....

seanD
11-17-2014, 12:28 PM
I wonder what Christians think about 2 Thess 2:9-12 in relation to the OP. I've noticed some saying that Satan gets too much credit for the problems in the world, but that passage about those that are deluded by Satan seems pretty broad and wide-sweeping. It also makes you wonder, if we assume he's limited in power, how he's capable of such a broad and wide-sweeping reach on humanity.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 12:43 PM
I wonder what Christians think about 2 Thess 2:9-12 in relation to the OP.

I think, like other Scripture, it needs to be taken in the overall context of the rest of Scripture.


I've noticed some saying that Satan gets too much credit for the problems in the world, but that passage about those that are deluded by Satan seems pretty broad and wide-sweeping. It also makes you wonder, if we assume he's limited in power, how he's capable of such a broad and wide-sweeping reach on humanity.

Well, he IS limited in power -- and time. He's a "short timer", to use unofficial military jargon.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Paprika
11-17-2014, 12:46 PM
2.) Biblical descriptions of demonic activity like possession are now viewed through the lens of modern medicine as mental illness. So what once was attributed to demons is now attributed to psychiatric episodes. That isn't to say that mental illness doesn't exist, I believe it does, its just that its not uncommon to read interpretations of the Gerasene demoniac suffering from schizophrenia or what have you. So Christians are embarrassed to mention possession because it makes them look like superstitious kooks.
You may be interested in Walter Wink's trilogy on Powers:


“Every Power tends to have a visible pole, an outer form – be it a church, a nation, and economy – and an invisible pole, an inner spirit or driving force that animates, legitimates, and regulates its physical manifestation in the world. Neither pole is the cause of the other. Both come into existence together and cease to exist together”

“To put the thesis of these three volumes in its simplest form: The Powers are good. The Powers are fallen. The Powers must be redeemed. These three statement must be held together, for each, by itself, is not only untrue but downright mischievous. We cannot affirm governments or universities or businesses to be good unless at the same time we recognize that they are fallen. We cannot face their malignant intractability and oppressiveness unless we remember that they are simultaneously a part of God’s good creation. And reflection on their creation and fall will appear only to legitimate these Powers and blast hope for change unless we assert at the same time that these Powers can and must be redeemed”
It sounds most fascinating, but sadly I have yet to read it.

Paprika
11-17-2014, 12:52 PM
I think, like other Scripture, it needs to be taken in the overall context of the rest of Scripture.



Well, he IS limited in power -- and time. He's a "short timer", to use unofficial military jargon.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
I doubt there'd be "woe to the inhabiters of the earth" if the devil wasn't capable of causing great damage.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 12:53 PM
I doubt there'd be "woe to the inhabiters of the earth" if the devil wasn't capable of causing great damage.

Why SURE he's capable of causing great damage -- but that's still limited to whatever God allows. We can spend so much time focusing on what the Devil can and can't do that we fail to fulfill the great commission. :shrug:

seanD
11-17-2014, 01:06 PM
Why SURE he's capable of causing great damage -- but that's still limited to whatever God allows. We can spend so much time focusing on what the Devil can and can't do that we fail to fulfill the great commission. :shrug:

And 2 Thess 2 indicates that God allows a deluding force from Satan to deceive all those that refuse the truth. That's not only a pretty powerful delusion but, as I said, a wide reaching one. That passage also seems to imply that wickedness is a direct result of being deceived.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 01:07 PM
And 2 Thess 2 indicates that God allows a deluding force from Satan to deceive all those that refuse the truth. That's not only a pretty powerful delusion but, as I said, a wide-reaching one. That passage also seems to imply that wickedness is a direct result of being deceived.

Nobody's disputing that, Sean.... but do you want to spend all your time worrying about that? Don't you trust in God to protect, guide and defend you? Are you doing your part to disciple the nations?

Paprika
11-17-2014, 01:08 PM
Why SURE he's capable of causing great damage -- but that's still limited to whatever God allows. We can spend so much time focusing on what the Devil can and can't do that we fail to fulfill the great commission. :shrug:
And we can spend too little time focusing on what he does such that his attacks limit and disrupt efforts to fulfill the Commission.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 01:10 PM
And we can spend too little time focusing on what he does such that his attacks limit and disrupt efforts to fulfill the Commission.

And I think you'd prefer to argue with the devil than obey the Savior*.




*being factious -- my mom used to tell me that very thing during my relatively short lived rebellion. :smug:

seanD
11-17-2014, 01:13 PM
Nobody's disputing that, Sean.... but do you want to spend all your time worrying about that? Don't you trust in God to protect, guide and defend you? Are you doing your part to disciple the nations?

This is a false dichotomy. And yes, previous posts indicate that that was in dispute which is why I pointed it out. It also would be another possible reason Christians are reluctant to discuss Satan, because they oversimplify or underestimate his potency.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 01:15 PM
This is a false dichotomy.

Of course it is.... this is part of my whole point!


And yes, previous posts indicate that that was in dispute which is why I pointed it out. It also would be another possible reason Christians are reluctant to discuss Satan, because they oversimplify or underestimate his potency.

Are you a soul winner, Sean? Do you actively win people to Christ? Do you disciple anybody?

seanD
11-17-2014, 01:33 PM
What does that have to do with the OP or the topic of the thread?

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 01:35 PM
What does that have to do with the OP or the topic of the thread?

Touched a nerve, eh?

seanD
11-17-2014, 01:41 PM
And we can spend too little time focusing on what he does such that his attacks limit and disrupt efforts to fulfill the Commission.

To know thy enemy is one of the greatest defenses in combat.

Adrift
11-17-2014, 01:43 PM
We can be both Soul Winners and routinely kick some Devil butt. Sometimes a good butt-kicking is what helps us win the souls. :smug:

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 01:47 PM
We can be both Soul Winners and routinely kick some Devil butt. Sometimes a good butt-kicking is what helps us win the souls. :smug:

Agreed -- my concern is with those who are more focused on the Devil than on the winning of souls.

Adrift
11-17-2014, 01:55 PM
Agreed -- my concern is with those who are more focused on the Devil than on the winning of souls.

Roger that.

Truthseeker
11-17-2014, 04:30 PM
Do you disciple anybody?Is that a verb? Or perchance you meant "discipline." I guess you meant, "Make anyone a disciple," though that doesn't seem right.

Cow Poke
11-17-2014, 04:35 PM
Is that a verb?

Yes, "to make disciples". Probably not technically, but it's frequently used in Christian circles.


Or perchance you meant "discipline."

No, I meant disciple as a verb.


I guess you meant, "Make anyone a disciple," though that doesn't seem right.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...
But it really doesn't surprise me that people (including many Christians) are unfamiliar with that term. :sad:

Jedidiah
11-17-2014, 05:31 PM
Truthseeker, to disciple also includes teaching and encouraging new believers, not just telling.

One Bad Pig
11-17-2014, 08:37 PM
I don't think its universally true, and there are certain areas within Christianity where its not true at all, but it seems like a lot of people get skittish when the subject of the Devil comes up. Has anyone else noticed that or am I just imagining things?

For instance, in apologetics, very rarely do I hear people talk about Satan and his effect on this world system, especially in regards to issues like the Problem of Evil. Now, I don't think that Satan has to be referenced when dealing with the Problem of Evil, and in fact, I can see why people would find it unnecessary to refer to him at all, but its interesting to me that his role in producing or influencing the evil that is done in this world is rarely mentioned at all when the issue is discussed.

We're all aware of that famous quote by C.S. Lewis,



And to be blunt, in my experience, this divide often seems to fall in line with, I don't know, the intellectual acuity(?) of a particular church. I'm familiar with some churches where members could recite whole books from the Bible through memorization, but a deeper understanding of the text, especially in relation to the original languages or historical context is little evidenced. These same places often avoided deeper theological discussions which they seem to consider ivory tower-ish, and impractical in the real world application of Christianity. And a real world application does seem to be their main focus; Basically, bringing the Bible to the people (the common man on the street) in a simple to understand and relatable way. These churches seem to like to talk about Satan and demons a lot.

On the other hand, I'm familiar with other churches that are steeped in an intellectual appreciation for doctrine and dogma and whatnot. They often have a strong focus on tradition, church history, and theology. These churches seem to (in my opinion) almost avoid talking about Satan and demons. As though they were side concerns that Christians shouldn't spend hardly any time focusing on.

What are your thoughts?
One of the things I've come to appreciate about Orthodoxy is its balance. The devil is taken seriously - exorcisms are an integral part of the standard baptismal service - but the adversary is not something that is focused on. Our own fallen nature is usually more than sufficient to cause us to trip up.

An illustration I heard recently: there was a demon at a tavern, just hanging out bored, while across town there was a widow praying with a legion of demons attempting to distract her.

Adrift
11-17-2014, 09:33 PM
One of the things I've come to appreciate about Orthodoxy is its balance. The devil is taken seriously - exorcisms are an integral part of the standard baptismal service - but the adversary is not something that is focused on. Our own fallen nature is usually more than sufficient to cause us to trip up.

Can you explain the exorcisms at baptismal services? Is there an attempt to drive out demons from people before or as they're getting baptized?


An illustration I heard recently: there was a demon at a tavern, just hanging out bored, while across town there was a widow praying with a legion of demons attempting to distract her.

I don't get it. Why would a demon hang out at a tavern bored? Seems like they'd be continuously active if there really is a spiritual struggle in this world. And it sounds like the widow praying is doing some battling of her own if she's praying and they're attempting to distract her. I'm probably taking it too literal though...

Kelp(p)
11-17-2014, 09:53 PM
The exorcism just consists of the person turning and spitting on the floor, when prompted, as a rejection of Satan. Then the priest blesses them, telling all demons to leave in the name of Christ. The person is also anointed with oil beforehand.

This stands in contrast to the Anglican service which cut out the renunciation of Satan from their service book decades ago (not trying to throw rocks at anybody, just pointing out the difference).

Paprika
11-17-2014, 09:57 PM
Touched a nerve, eh?
:ahem:
One does wonder if you'll ever tire of such childishness.

Paprika
11-17-2014, 09:58 PM
To know thy enemy is one of the greatest defenses in combat.
Precisely. It isn't just merely about trying to delimit his capabilities, but taking stock of what he has done, is doing, and can be expected to do; where is his strongholds, what are his current strategies, and so on.

Adrift
11-17-2014, 10:13 PM
The exorcism just consists of the person turning and spitting on the floor, when prompted, as a rejection of Satan. Then the priest blesses them, telling all demons to leave in the name of Christ. The person is also anointed with oil beforehand.

Hmm. That's pretty cool. I like that.

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 04:34 AM
The exorcism just consists of the person turning and spitting on the floor, when prompted, as a rejection of Satan. Then the priest blesses them, telling all demons to leave in the name of Christ. The person is also anointed with oil beforehand.

This stands in contrast to the Anglican service which cut out the renunciation of Satan from their service book decades ago (not trying to throw rocks at anybody, just pointing out the difference).

Perhaps the person who had to clean up the spit from the floor was an Anglican. :smile:

One Bad Pig
11-18-2014, 08:32 AM
The exorcism just consists of the person turning and spitting on the floor, when prompted, as a rejection of Satan. Then the priest blesses them, telling all demons to leave in the name of Christ. The person is also anointed with oil beforehand.

Sort of. There are three prayers at the beginning of the service essentially telling the devil and his minions to get lost. Facing west, the candidate renounces Satan three times, then spits on him. The candidate then turns east (toward the altar and in the traditional direction of prayer), promises to serve Christ three times, then recites the Creed. All this takes place in the narthex; the candidate then proceeds into the nave for the rest of the ceremony.

One Bad Pig
11-18-2014, 08:35 AM
I don't get it. Why would a demon hang out at a tavern bored? Seems like they'd be continuously active if there really is a spiritual struggle in this world. And it sounds like the widow praying is doing some battling of her own if she's praying and they're attempting to distract her. I'm probably taking it too literal though...
The demon in the tavern is bored because it doesn't need to do anything; the people there are defeating themselves. You have characterized the other part of the story accurately.

seanD
11-18-2014, 10:05 AM
Precisely. It isn't just merely about trying to delimit his capabilities, but taking stock of what he has done, is doing, and can be expected to do; where is his strongholds, what are his current strategies, and so on.

And I would think 2 Thess 2:9-12 and Ephesians 6:12 would especially be part of making effective disciples.

Paprika
11-18-2014, 12:34 PM
And I would think 2 Thess 2:9-12 and Ephesians 6:12 would especially be part of making effective disciples.
:yes:

We wrestle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Paul through his letter encouraged and taught the Ephesian church how to stand against the devil and the powers, the shepherds must now also do the same or risk danger to the flock.

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 01:02 PM
And I would think 2 Thess 2:9-12 and Ephesians 6:12 would especially be part of making effective disciples.

So, are you DOING that? Are you making effective disciples?

seanD
11-18-2014, 01:17 PM
So, are you DOING that? Are you making effective disciples?

Probably not over the internet where this discussion is taking place, so I don't see how it's relevant to the discussion here.

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 01:26 PM
Probably not over the internet where this discussion is taking place, so I don't see how it's relevant to the discussion here.

Because there seems to be a whole lot of people who seem to know what OTHERS should be doing, but when asked what THEY are doing, they hide behind goofy nonsense like "I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion here".

If you were giving advice on carpentry, would it be fair to ask you if you've done carpentry in real life? Plumbing? Baking?

Between this nonsense "how is that relevant here" and hiding behind "credentialism"... or "the Bible says not to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing".....

Why don't you just be honest, Sean... you don't know the FIRST THING about "making disciples" in real life, but you'll spout off about it "on the internet". :rant:

seanD
11-18-2014, 01:58 PM
Because there seems to be a whole lot of people who seem to know what OTHERS should be doing, but when asked what THEY are doing, they hide behind goofy nonsense like "I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion here".

If you were giving advice on carpentry, would it be fair to ask you if you've done carpentry in real life? Plumbing? Baking?

Between this nonsense "how is that relevant here" and hiding behind "credentialism"... or "the Bible says not to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing".....

Why don't you just be honest, Sean... you don't know the FIRST THING about "making disciples" in real life, but you'll spout off about it "on the internet". :rant:

Ah, so this is a pulling rank type of thing -- you disciple more than I do, therefore I should just shut up about the subject. But I'm not sure where I stepped on your toes or where I showed any more "credentialism" than anyone else. I was just engaging in the discussion of whether or not Christians are reluctant about the subject of the devil. I believe they definitely are and I added another point to the discussion; that they oftentimes downplay his involvement in contrast to what scripture clearly points out about his power and reach. However, others shared the same view I did, so I don't understand why you took it personal with just me.

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 02:00 PM
Ah, so this is a pulling rank type of thing -- you disciple more than I do, therefore I should just shut up about the subject.

:lolo:


But I'm not sure where I stepped on your toes in regards to "credentialism."

That was somebody else, and it wasn't "stepping on my toes" --- it was nonsense.


I was just engaging in the discussion of whether or not Christians are reluctant about the subject of the devil. I believe they definitely are and I added another caveat to the discussion; that they oftentimes downplay his involvement in contrast to what scripture clearly points out about his power and reach. However, others shared the same view I did, so I don't understand why you took it personal with just me.

I asked a simple question, Sean, which you seem "reluctant" to answer. :shrug:

You had advice about making "effective disciples"....


And I would think 2 Thess 2:9-12 and Ephesians 6:12 would especially be part of making effective disciples.

I think it's legitimate to ask what you really know about that in real life.

seanD
11-18-2014, 02:15 PM
:lolo:



That was somebody else, and it wasn't "stepping on my toes" --- it was nonsense.



I asked a simple question, Sean, which you seem "reluctant" to answer. :shrug:

You had advice about making "effective disciples"....



I think it's legitimate to ask what you really know about that in real life.

I didn't answer the question because a) I rarely talk about things I do outside the internet in the real world and b) because I didn't see it as relevant to the discussion. You were hounding me about making disciples before I even said anything about "effective disciples." Tell you what, you ignore my posts and I'll ignore your posts.

Scrawly
11-18-2014, 02:28 PM
I think one of the devil's modus operandi is to turn the brethren against one another. :wink:

"so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2Cor. 2:11).

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 02:37 PM
I didn't answer the question because a) I rarely talk about things I do outside the internet in the real world and b) because I didn't see it as relevant to the discussion. You were hounding me about making disciples before I even said anything about "effective disciples." Tell you what, you ignore my posts and I'll ignore your posts.

Hounding you? :huh:

I would think that anybody who actually WAS involved in discipling would LOVE to discuss it, rather than get all defensive about it, Sean.

Do you not believe that "the great commission" (or whatever you might want to call it) was a general instruction to all Christ followers? Or you think, perhaps, that's only something that applied to those who were standing there when Jesus "commissioned" them?

What "eternal value" is there in talking ABOUT discipleship, and not actually being INVOLVED in it?

I just don't understand why so many Christians seem afraid (reluctant?) to talk about it. What good is "talking about the devil" if we aren't ALSO talking about accepting Christ as Savior, or following him in Baptism, or growing in Christ as disciples? You will be known by your "fruit".... Matthew 7 warns about judging, but it also talks about inspecting fruit.

It is simply astounding to me that so many Christians....


Yeah, I'm wasting my time. :shrug:

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 02:41 PM
I think one of the devil's modus operandi is to turn the brethren against one another. :wink:

"so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2Cor. 2:11).

There's a context to that. That phrase didn't happen in a vacuum....
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Scrawly
11-18-2014, 03:20 PM
There's a context to that. That phrase didn't happen in a vacuum....
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Sure and I think my application is a valid one. I think one of the schemes of the devil is to divide the brethren against one another. That's all I'm saying and I used a verse that I think has modern day application.

Cow Poke
11-18-2014, 04:18 PM
Sure and I think my application is a valid one. I think one of the schemes of the devil is divide the brethren against one another. That's all I'm saying and I used a verse that I think has modern day application.

No argument whatsoever. :thumb:

Adrift
11-18-2014, 04:36 PM
I just don't understand why so many Christians seem afraid (reluctant?) to talk about it. What good is "talking about the devil" if we aren't ALSO talking about accepting Christ as Savior, or following him in Baptism, or growing in Christ as disciples? You will be known by your "fruit".... Matthew 7 warns about judging, but it also talks about inspecting fruit.

It is simply astounding to me that so many Christians....


Yeah, I'm wasting my time. :shrug:

CP, I'm probably missing something, and I hope I don't add to your frustration here, but I don't know if I follow why you think the two topics (Soul Winning and talking about Satan) are so intrinsically tied together? Or is that your view?

It seems to me that Christians have absolutely no problem whatsoever at all talking about accepting Christ as Savior or about growing in him, but (and I don't know, maybe our personal experiences divide here) talking about Satan is sometimes very touchy stuff (as maybe evident here).

What is it about the subject that bothers some Christians so much? Is it the idea that if we give Satan attention we grant him power in some people's lives? Is it maybe about what we discussed before where he's so often associated with fire and brimstone teaching that makes people want to put the topic at arm's length?

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally with you that Evangelism is the Prime Directive if ever there were one. But, you know, I think there's enough room in Christian dialog, that we don't have to limit ourselves to only talking about the subject of Evangelism.

Reading what you're writing in this thread, I almost can't help but hear the Pastor in you saying something like, "Stop worrying about Satan and all that goofy stuff, there's people hurting out there, and that's what's truly important!" :smile:

I've won souls to Christ, and I want to win more souls to Christ. I think topics like this, and so many of the other topics we read on websites like this can be healthy in that regard. We can certainly get caught up in just "talking" about it and not doing it, and I'll be honest with you, I'm rusty. Its been too long since I've led someone to Christ (that I know of). I'll take the reproof, because I need to get my butt in gear.

Paprika
11-18-2014, 10:11 PM
Touched a nerve, eh?:ahem:
One does wonder if you'll ever tire of such childishness.
Apparently not.

Cow Poke
11-19-2014, 04:10 AM
CP, I'm probably missing something, and I hope I don't add to your frustration here, but I don't know if I follow why you think the two topics (Soul Winning and talking about Satan) are so intrinsically tied together? Or is that your view?

It seems to me that Christians have absolutely no problem whatsoever at all talking about accepting Christ as Savior or about growing in him, but (and I don't know, maybe our personal experiences divide here) talking about Satan is sometimes very touchy stuff (as maybe evident here).

What is it about the subject that bothers some Christians so much? Is it the idea that if we give Satan attention we grant him power in some people's lives? Is it maybe about what we discussed before where he's so often associated with fire and brimstone teaching that makes people want to put the topic at arm's length?

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally with you that Evangelism is the Prime Directive if ever there were one. But, you know, I think there's enough room in Christian dialog, that we don't have to limit ourselves to only talking about the subject of Evangelism.

Reading what you're writing in this thread, I almost can't help but hear the Pastor in you saying something like, "Stop worrying about Satan and all that goofy stuff, there's people hurting out there, and that's what's truly important!" :smile:

I've won souls to Christ, and I want to win more souls to Christ. I think topics like this, and so many of the other topics we read on websites like this can be healthy in that regard. We can certainly get caught up in just "talking" about it and not doing it, and I'll be honest with you, I'm rusty. Its been too long since I've led someone to Christ (that I know of). I'll take the reproof, because I need to get my butt in gear.

I give up on this, Adrift. :shrug:

Cow Poke
11-19-2014, 04:11 AM
Apparently not.

Oh, the Iron E! :glare:

Adrift
11-19-2014, 04:58 AM
I give up on this, Adrift. :shrug:

Okay. That's fine. :smile:

rogue06
11-19-2014, 05:16 AM
Oh, the Iron E! :glare:
https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7541192192/h88D7740B/



Okay, okay. Sheesh. I told you that I'd bring it right back -- unlike the circular saw you borrowed and didn't return for five months, three days and sixteen hours (but who's counting)

Revvy1337
12-17-2014, 12:32 PM
Haha. I've heard stories of churches where Satan or Devil is the same as a curse word.