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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

Spiritual battles are waged in the mind and in the heart.
The Intellectual Battle:
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.

The Enlightenment 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.”
1 Corinthians 1:18-26 KJV


The Spiritual Battle:
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.

Historians will 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 God.

Lenell  Stevenson
A Prayer Warrior ~ now with the Lord
“Finally, my 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;”
Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV

7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Janet! I still think this is a perfect story for Halloween time. I have been explaining to my son about what spiritual warfare is so I will have him read this article this weekend. Blessings!

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  2. Those who 'celebrate' Halloween have NO idea what fear is.....spiritual warfare can make Freddy Kruger and Jason (pardon me) wet their pants. When Heaven and Hell collide, there can be only one outcome, only one victor. At times, it seems like Hell has the upper hand in this world. But as Jesus said, "I have overcome the world".........so, we can rest assure that He will always come out the Victor!
    Great post! Sharing! :)

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  3. Thanks Carrie and Debbie. Sometimes the awareness of spiritual warfare is almost palpable. What a comfort prayer brings, knowing that we are sustained by Almighty God.

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  4. Thank you, Janet, for this valuable reminder.

    Those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. We are in the twenty-first century, and the same conflict between the power of human reason and the power of God is still raging.

    The enemy delights in the arrogance of the human intellect. There is no way a finite human mind can wrap itself around the entirety of our infinite God. But Satan keeps selling that lie.

    It's the same one he sold Eve and Adam in the Garden: God isn't big enough. You can be in charge, and this is how you do it....

    He wraps the "how you do it" in whatever wrapping paper will appeal to the person he's targeting. But it is the same lie. And it has the same results. Disaster!

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  5. Thank you for your insights, Judith. History is full of valuable lessons -- if only we would heed them.

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  6. Excellent post, Janet! I've experienced many things in the spirit realm.. so much so that sometimes it seems more real to me than our physical one. Since the beginning of time, man has always tried to exalt himself above God and use science and reason to explain away what is obviously a universe created by a loving intelligent being. But God has made Himself plain for those who seek Him.

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  7. Thanks MaryLu. Being tuned into the spiritual realm all around us sure encourages awareness and perspective.

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