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Friday, October 26, 2012
Janet Grunst Posts on A Case of Spiritual Warfare in the Eighteenth Century
The earth we
inhabit not only has a physical dimension that we see, but also an unseen
spiritual one, where warfare is waged daily. This awareness of the spiritual
battle going on around us has helped me to better understand the world and the
part we play, or are played, in it. Looking at historical or current events,
and studying human behavior from a spiritual perspective can be very
“enlightening”― my segue to the eighteenth century.
I believe it’s no
accident or coincidence that two competing worldviews, “The Age of
Enlightenment” and “The Great Awakening”, the unseen spiritual conflict, took
place during the same period.
“That your faith
should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1
Corinthians 2:5 KJV
are waged in the mind and in the heart.
The Age of
Enlightenment, or The Age of Reason, was a philosophical and cultural movement
of intellectuals in the eighteenth century stressing the importance of human
reasoning over blind faith and obedience to prevailing religious beliefs. It
promoted a critical reappraisal of existing ideas and social institutions.
exalted human reason and celebrated science, advanced logic over absolute
truth, challenged orthodox Christianity, and extolled cultural relativism. Its
champions were Voltaire, Rousseau, John Locke and even Thomas Jefferson and
Benjamin Franklin were somewhat influenced by the movement. The Enlightenment
brought about many changes, some good, others debatable.
“For the preaching
of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it
is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise?
where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made
foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world
by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save
them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after
wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and
unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness
of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
The Great Awakening
refers to several periods of religious revival in the eighteenth century. These
eras brought about increased interest in faith and religious freedom,
repentance and redemption, revival and evangelism. Some who influenced these
movements were John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, and Jonathan Edwards.
This period saw the
initiation of new religious movements as well as denominations, advocacy for a
free press, and the development of democratic concepts that eventually led to
our American Revolution.
Many people of
faith discovered that religion was more than in intellectual pursuit, but one
that was changing hearts and attitudes. While the Enlightenment advocated
stratified social orders, the Bible taught that the value of mankind is God
given and not determined by class.
find valid reasons for each movement, and both of these events had an enduring
and powerful impact on our culture. Studying history from an intellectual
perspective is fascinating and important, if for no other reason, history tends
to repeat itself, and we would be wise to learn from those who have gone before
us. Evaluating history from a spiritual vantage point is equally interesting,
and I believe increases our awareness of the presence, power, and provision of
Lenell Stevenson A Prayer Warrior ~ now with the Lord
brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the
devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour
of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having
on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of
the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall
be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying
always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”