What are we missing? In spite of our talk about taking cities for God and pulling down demonic strongholds, American culture has seriously deteriorated over the past twenty years. While we have gloried in our mega churches, our great revivals and our new apostolic church order, crosses and Christian symbols have been systematically removed from public places, prayer has been further outlawed, morality has plummeted and same-sex marriage has become the law of the land.
Something is obviously missing in our approach to spiritual warfare and our methodology for impacting a nation. I am convinced that the missing key is found in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, which reads:
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
A New Belief System Is a Must
The Greek word translated "imaginations" in this passage is logismous, from logos, and refers to a message rather than a specific word or saying. The NKJV and NIV translates logismous as "arguments" and Marshall's Greek-English Interlinear translates it as "reasonings." Logismous is, therefore, a way of thinking, a belief system or worldview.
The Greek word for "casting down" is kathairesin and is a very intense word. It means "to take down" or "demolish" or "dismantle." In Luke's account of Paul's ministry in the pagan, idolatrous city of Ephesus, it is obvious that he focused his attention on dismantling the false belief system by which Satan held the populace in his grasp.
Paul's Modus Operandi in Ephesus
Luke says that Paul spent two years "reasoning daily" in a public lecture hall known as the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9-10). The word "reasoning" in this passage is from the Greek word dialegomenos and it means to "dialogue" or "reason."
This indicates that Paul gave time and space for people to comment, challenge and ask questions about his message. He did this because he knew that if there was to be ultimate change in their lives, they would have to acquire a new way of thinking—a new worldview or belief system.
It is thus clear that a vital part of Paul's spiritual warfare arsenal was dismantling or "casting down" belief systems. That is why he would dialogue with these pagans for several hours per day, every day. It was not enough for them to come forward, repeat a prayer and fill out a card. They must be given a whole new way of thinking.
Paul did not accomplish this by attacking their beliefs, but by presenting the truth. This is made clear in Acts 19:37. Because of the impact of his daily dialogues, with many people leaving Diana and becoming followers of Christ, a huge mob gathered in a large stadium to express their opposition to Paul and his message. With things getting out of hand, the city clerk came on the scene, quieted the crowd and pointed out that Paul and his companions, "are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of your goddess" (Act 19:37b).
Interestingly, Luke makes no mention of Paul utilizing any of the modern, popular methods of spiritual warfare. There is no allusion to any demonic principalities over the city, or of Paul dealing with a Diana spirit. There is no mention of warfare intercession or of warring angels. Although these things may have occurred, Luke's account reveals that Paul focused his time and energy on imparting a new belief system.
Paul knew that the stronghold by which the Ephesians were held in bondage was a false belief system. Only a new way of thinking—a biblical way of thinking—would free them from Satan's grasp. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said in John 8:31-32, "If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
Where We Are Falling Short
This is where we are missing it in the modern charismatic movement. We do not seek to dismantle the false belief systems by which people are held in bondage. In fact, with our seeker-friendly, celebrity approach to "church," we tend to completely avoid challenging people's belief system for fear of offending them.
For example, I was very disappointed to hear a nationally known pastor dance in circles when asked by a popular TV icon if Jesus is the only way to God. Instead of challenging her worldview with truth, he dodged, swerved and avoided giving a straightforward answer to such a simple question.
I have heard other leaders decline to give an answer when asked about their views on cultural issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. It makes one wonder if they have a Christian worldview with which they are comfortable and committed. It is time for the church to arise, speak the truth in love and dismantle the false belief systems that are ruining this nation and the world.
Martin Luther Dismantled a Belief System
We just celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. In my book, The Charismatic Luther, I show how Luther boldly dismantled the belief system of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, and thereby changed the world. In later life, when asked how he, a simple monk and teacher, had been able to have such an impact when opposed by both the pope and emperor, he replied:
"I simply taught, preached, wrote God's Word; otherwise I did nothing. The Word so weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all."
The Results Could Be Staggering
Paul's commitment to truth paid off. As a result of his "reasoning daily" in the idolatrous city of Ephesus, a great exodus from Diana to Jesus occurred, so much so that it affected the economy of the city. Miracles began to occur. With their pagan worldview having been dismantled, multitudes brought their books of magic and sorcery and burned them publicly in a large bonfire. The value of the books burned amounted to about $5.5 million in modern currency.
Yes, it is time for the church in America to awaken and realize that our ultimate purpose is not to be accepted and liked by modern American culture. Our job is to dismantle the false belief systems of modern culture by preaching, singing and testifying to biblical truth. We must use every means at our disposal.
In this regard, I am reminded of John Wesley's statement about his brother, Charles, who was the hymn writer of the Methodist revival that rocked the British Isles. John said, "The best theology book available is my brother's hymnal." In other words, Charles' songs communicated powerful biblical truth and helped the masses acquire a biblical worldview.
Satan's primary weapon is deception, which is why Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would make us free. As we make a new commitment to articulating and propagating a truly Christian world-view to our generation, we could see the greatest mass movement to Christianity the world has ever seen.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, historian and biblical scholar with over 45 years of ministerial experience. His books on revival and spiritual awakening are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He presently conducts "Revive America" events throughout America by which he demonstrates how America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening and founded on a Christian worldview. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.