Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beyond Superstition

from Francis Frangipane's facebook Sunday Nov. 23
Last weekend Francis Frangipane posted a few paragraphs on facebook that were adapted from his book The Three Battlegrounds. Those paragraphs are reproduced at the bottom of this blogpost, or you can try clicking here to see the original.

I have followed and liked many brief quotations from his works, and I think I heard him speak once at a conference, but I never read one of his books until this week when I ordered The Three Battlegrounds online, decided I didn't have time to read it; so ended up getting the audio book too.

After listening, I have to say that, aside from a few things in the last part that I can't completely accept as "real" -- at least in as much as I've studied so far, the book is a helpful eye opener to the unseen spiritual truth that we live in in this world. Let me know you're interested and I'd love to loan you the book or share a chapter or two with you of the audio.

page from The Three Battlegrounds
Yesterday I played a bit of chapter 4 for my "retired pastor" father-in-law while asking him about the seminary studies he had experienced back in the 1950s. Chapter 4 of The Three Battlegrounds begins with this paragraph:
"There are satanic strongholds over countries and communities and there are strongholds which influence churches and individuals. Wherever a stronghold exists, it is demonically induced pattern of thinking. Specifically, it is a "house made of thoughts" which has become a dwelling place for satanic activity."
After sharing that paragraph and a few more, I asked my father-in-law if he had heard any teaching about "spiritual warfare" while in seminary? He hadn't. Neither did I in the 80s. We heard a bit about the devil, but there was doubt whether any such being existed. We had formal liturgies and ceremonies that included words about "renouncing" or "rejecting" the devil and "all his works and all his ways," but the only spiritual battles we believed in were (1) personal things like whether or not we would give temptation to sin and decisions about living for self or for God-and-others, or (2) what we would do about larger moral or political issues in the world. The idea that there were actual spiritual beings that could exercise power in or through or over us wasn't something that we took seriously--unless we were in conversation with believers in Africa or other supposedly less sophisticated or enlightened areas of the world. We thought we were beyond superstitions like that.

What Francis Frangipane does in his book is to help those of us who have ignored or laughed at these spiritual realities to understand that there are connections between those things and the physical, emotional and intellectual realms that we have always paid attention to. He does this in part through reminding us of the many teachings of Jesus that have seemed "strange" and mysterious to intellectuals and scholars, teachings about spiritual beings (angels & fallen angels) and other teachings of scripture where these spiritual realities are connected with our patterns of thinking, specifically with truths and untruths (lies). If I understand Francis correctly, he believes that the Bible--including Jesus himself--teaches that those spiritual beings find a "place to live" in those true or false thinking patterns--in persistent beliefs that are true or false, and that they fortify them into strong fortresses of true or false ideas that we end up holding dear.

I've just scratched the surface in this little blogpost. I've tried to write these things as clearly as I am able, but I'm sure more revisions will be needed. And I will hopefully write more about this important topic later. Let's pray, and study the scriptures, so our minds will be transformed, so we believe the truth of God and reject any lies that give the devil a place to live--in our thoughts.

Francis Frangipane's facebook post of November 23, 6:41 a.m.

THE THREE BATTLEGROUNDS is a book about spiritual warfare. Before I proceed, however, I have two concerns. The first is our need for wisdom. There is an old European proverb worth heeding. It reads: "Age and treachery will always defeat youth and zeal." Before we engage in spiritual warfare, we should know this about Satan: he is an ancient and extremely treacherous foe. On the other hand, the strength of most Christians lies primarily in idealism and untested fervor. It is not long, usually five to ten years in the ministry, and most zeal has waned. Without warning the minister’s call has deteriorated from a walk of vision to a mere job.
     What occurred was that zeal, by itself, challenged the treachery of hell and lost. The brightness of youthful dreams dimmed under the dark cloud of relentless satanic assault. Under the weight of growing frustrations and discouragement, compromise increased, and with it came iniquity and spiritual bondage.
     Yet the real villain was not sin but ignorance. We put the devil in a doctrinal box and expected him to stay there. He did not. He undermined relationships, and our love grew cautious. He resisted us in prayer, and our faith turned weak. Disillusionment set in. After spending much time with struggling pastors, I have seen a common trend in most: They failed to discern the assault of the devil. They stood unprotected against an ancient treacherous foe.
     Jesus prepared His disciples for everything, including spiritual warfare. They watched Him cast out demons; they clearly knew the devil was real. In fact, He sent them forth to also deliver people from demons. But before He sent them out, He charged them to become wise "as serpents" yet innocent and harmless "as doves" (Matt. 10:16). This fusion of divine wisdom and Christlike innocence is the taproot of all spiritual victory. Indeed, we can defeat the enemy, but wisdom must precede warfare and virtue must come before victory.
     Consequently, the goal of this book is to train the church in wisdom and call the church to innocence. We will not disregard what we have previously learned; we will still live by faith. But we must learn the ways of God, which means we must think with wisdom. And we must be pure of heart, that we may see God and gain discernment. Indeed, it is the lack of discernment that has left us vulnerable to satanic attack.
     Of my second concern, let me say that there are no shortcuts to successful warfare, only ways to make it longer and more perilous. One way of peril is to enter battle blinded by presumption. When it comes to waging war effectively, consider carefulness to be the essence of victory.
     Whatever lofty spiritual plane you imagine that you are on, remember: Adam was in Paradise when he fell. Before your increased knowledge and religious experiences make you overly self-confident, recall that Solomon wrote three books of Scripture; he actually gazed upon the glory of God, yet he fell. Yes, even in your deepest worship of the Almighty, do not forget in long ages past Lucifer himself was once in Heaven pouring out praise to God.
     We each know of many who have fallen. Jesus warned that the love of many would grow cold. Do not presume it cannot happen to you. Our enemy has been deceiving mankind for thousands of years. Our experience, on the other hand, spans but a brief moment. It is wisdom to recognize that we do not know all there is to know concerning warfare.
     Therefore, be bold but never brash or arrogant in your prayer life. Use your spiritual authority administratively, compassionately, but never presumptuously. Multitudes of well-meaning but ignorant Christians have approached the field of spiritual battle with flippant attitudes and have suffered greatly for it. Study several books and seek confirmation from the Lord for your strategies. As it is written, "Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance" (Prov. 20:18).
      Thus, our purpose here is to help equip you for battle in three primary areas of battlegrounds: the mind, the church and the heavenly places. There are other fields or subcategories of spiritual warfare; however, these are where most of us will face conflict.
     One last note. A few of you will be instrumental in actually saving your cities. Our prayer is that these chapters will help guide and equip you for that goal. The promise of the Spirit speaks thus: "There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom" (Eccl. 9:14-15).
     While many are predicting the destruction of our nation and the collapse of our cities, they have not considered the power of Christ in you. But remember: "Wisdom is better than strength . . . Wisdom is better than weapons of war" (Eccl. 9:16, 18).
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds available at


1 comment:

  1. Spiritual warfare has existed by many descriptions since the Fall of Man, and it remains today and will continue until the Lord returns. Many Christians take this very seriously as it affects themselves personally and the relationships and communities in which they live, but others are more in tune with worldly pursuits and the whole idea is alien to them.