The Deliverance Model of Spiritual Warfare -- By: Steven Fernandez

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:1 (Winter 1995)
Article: The Deliverance Model of Spiritual Warfare
Author: Steven Fernandez

The Deliverance Model of Spiritual Warfare

Steven Fernandez

A new ministry model has hit the mainstream evangelical church. It is the deliverance model of spiritual warfare. It purports to have recovered the biblical teaching that enables the church to effectively deal with Satan and his demons. I refer to it as the deliverance model because its main teaching is that many Christians are, in some degree, in bondage to Satan, and need deliverance by direct confrontation with Satan and the kingdom of darkness. It involves “taking authority” over the Devil by identifying, commanding and rebuking demons. It is based on the assumption that a true believer can be demon possessed. While this type of deliverance model has been held in some circles in the past, for the first time it is coming like a flood into many mainline evangelical churches.

There are many proponents of this theology of spiritual warfare and deliverance. Among them are Peter Wagner and Charles Kraft of Fuller Seminary, and John Wimber of the Vineyard Church, International. Perhaps the most influential is Neil Anderson, associate professor of practical theology at Talbot Theological Seminary, LaMirada, California. Dr. Anderson has written a number of books and conducts large seminars in churches across America. His books related to the subject include The Bondage Breaker and The Seduction of Our Children (Harvest House Publishers), Victory Over Darkness (Regal Books), Release from Bondage and Walking Through the Darkness (Campus Crusade for Christ; Here’s Life Publishers).

The deliverance model of spiritual warfare makes grandiose claims. In fact, Anderson’s teaching centers around what he calls “steps to freedom,” which promise instant freedom from bondage, a result that (this is the impression he gives) normal ministry up to now could not achieve.

This study intends to measure the deliverance model in light of Scripture. Its purpose is to show that, while it is well-intended, it does not lead to a balanced, biblically based,

philosophy of spiritual warfare and Christian living. It is one more example of a tendency, in American evangelicalism, away from the sufficiency of Scripture toward an experience-based theology.

I want to make two preliminary statements that may help set the stage. First, I realize that some have said they have been helped by Anderson’s teachings. I am not saying that they have not. There are some good biblical principles taught amidst the error. The reality of spiritual warfare is emphasized, and that is helpful. The possibility of satanic deception and the need to guard ourselves from it is also a key biblical ...

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