Discover the transformative insights of Spiritual Warfare by Karl I. Payne. Read this review for a paradigm-shifting perspective on spiritual battles.
The Book in Three Sentences
Evangelicals tend to relegate demonic activity as either “oppression” or “possession,” but a third category must be a part of the conversation: demonization. Author Karl Payne argues that while a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon, they can be both oppressed and demonized. Oppression is sporadic temptation by demons in a Christian’s life to sin; demonization is on-going inner torment by demons in a Christian’s life to destroy them.
My Favorite Quotes from Spiritual Warfare
Read below my favorite quotes from Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Karl I. Payne. Page numbers are included at the beginning, and topics are included as hashtags.
- Page 36: Most of the time, demons would rather systematically deceive people in relative silence than draw attention to themselves. If their presence and opposition become too overt, someone might get suspicious and actually try to get help. #deception
- P. 61 The relevant question is not whether or not the things of this world can look good, but whether or not they are worth the price tag that goes along with them. #worldly
- P. 95: There is a third category regarding possible spiritual conflict that a growing number of Evangelical leaders and writers have openly discussed. Men like the late Merrill Unger, Mark Bubeck, Ed Murphy, Fred Dickason, Charles Swindoll, and Neil Anderson use terms like demonization, invasion, and infestation while speaking and writing about real demonic problems troubling genuine believers. Their message, while including concerns about the reality of oppression (fiery arrows) and possession (total demonic domination and control), focuses on the degree of control demons can exercise over Christians who are foolish enough to willingly allow demonic spirits to gain control over areas of their lives that the Holy Spirit should control. #demonization
- P. 97: If it is not my desire to submit every room of my house to God, then I consciously or unconsciously have hung out a sign to demons reading “Vacancy Rooms Available.” #sanctification
- P. 98: Is it possible for demonic spirits to oppress a Christian? Yes, Christians are the favorite target of demonic archers. We are, after all, their enemies. Scripture does not promise us complete freedom from flaming darts in this life. What Scripture does promise is that our shield of faith will extinguish them. Is it possible for a Christian to experience demonization, invasion, or infestation? Yes it is. Demonic spirits can, to varying degrees, control Christians. Scripture allows it, and experience confirms it. Is a demonized Christian still a Christian? Yes, again. All Christians have received God’s guarantee that we belong to Him, the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, and the promise that he will never leave or forsake us. A true Christian can, therefore, never be totally, completely, or absolutely controlled or dominated by demons. #demonization
- P. 109: The good news is that when we keep short accounts with God regarding our sin, Satan doesn’t have the time or opportunity to chip holes in our lives or body armor. #topos
- P. 110: Is the person here because he is ready to volitionally submit his entire life to the Lordship of Christ, or is he here because someone made him seek help against as will? #will
- P. 111: But what about the person playing games? My consistent experience is that demons will not voluntarily leave individuals who are unwilling to fully submit every area of their lives to God. I have spent many frustrating hours working with double-minded or weak-willed Christians who want relief from demonic bondage but who are unwilling to deal honestly with the issues that opened the doors in the first place. It is as though they want to say no to Satan, but they are still unwilling to say yes to God. Straddling the line may work well for politicians more concerned with re-election than with doing what is right, but it is not possible to straddle the line of obedience to God with demons. If a person is not actively resisting demonic activity, he is both inviting it and ultimately allowing it to continue. #sanctification
- P. 111: During our first meeting, I typically give an individual a lesson and assignment on substitutive thinking. Win in your head, and you will win in your life. Losing your head, and it is only a matter of time before you will be losing in life. #mind
- P. 113: The bottom line seems that the more dedicated and consistent a Christian is, the more that person must face the enemies, fiery arrows. #spiritualwarfare
- P. 114: Christian should live life as victors, not victims. #victors
- P. 121: It doesn’t matter how much ground a person has given up as long as he is willing to yield his whole life to Christ’s lordship. Freedom in Christ is a choice—and so is demonic bondage. #freedom
- P. 126: Vocational and lay Christian leaders. Need to learn how to work with this issue like any other responsibility. #discipleship
- P. 140: The Holy Spirit longs to completely fill and control every believer. When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill and control our entire lives, it is as though we have hung out a sign for passing demons to read that says “No Vacancy.” #sanctification
- P. 143: The goal, or at least my goal, is for each person I work with to understand that because of their authority in the Lord Jesus Christ, they no longer need me or anyone else to guide them through this process. #authority
- P. 154: What do houses, lights, landlords, owners, and renters have to do with a question about demonization and Christians? Plenty! As Christians, our lives represent houses (or lights) that should shine brightly in the night to contrast with the darkness surrounding us (Philippians 2:14-15). We are supposed to provide the good news of safety and shelter for weary strangers who are lost in the night and looking for help. There is a direct correlation between the number of brightly lit rooms in our house and the number of needy individuals who will seek and find help there. #glorification
- P. 156: If it is true, that God will not share space with evil or a demon, and how can God be involved with His creation? #grace
- P. 175: Oppression is always external in nature whereas demonization is something different and far more severe in nature. Christians struggling with demonic oppression experience seasons of relief. The battles of demonized Christians are daily and often feel like they never let up for more than a very short period of time. #demonization
- P. 177: The job of an oppressing demon is to solicit the believer to sin. The job of a demon that has invaded, infested, or demonized a Christian is to destroy that person. #demonization
- P. 178: I have learned the long and hard way that it’s better to pray and wait for people who want help rather than aggressively pursue individuals inconvenienced by the results of their sin but unwilling to turn their backs on it. #will
- P. 183: But playing with sin is to a demon blood in the water is to a shark. #spiritualwarfare
- P. 217: I will usually respond by asking, “If I was not a Christian, and asked you how I could become a Christian, what would you tell me?” If someone can walk me through the gospel and it is clear they have responded to it, I will assume they just did not understand my first question. However, if the response I receive to my question is a blank stare or meandering God talk, I am going to assume they are not Christians, and their greatest need at this point in time is salvation, not deliverance. #Christian
- P. 230: In other words, if the person is a habitual liar, they do not have to detail all of the lies they have told. They just need to write down that lying represents an ongoing battle for them. If they are a drug addict, I do not care what their drug of choice is, just that they are addicted to drugs, etc. The person who demands that a counselee share all of the sordid details of their sin is either doing so out of ignorance or curiosity. It is not necessary, which is usually welcomed information for someone assuming they are going to have to share every humiliating aspect of their life with me before deliverance can take place. #confession
- P. 257: Perfectionists seem to have a particularly difficult time dealing with demons and [the demons’] habitual lies. #perfectionism
- P. 267: It’s time we began living like victors in this world rather than as victims. #spiritualwarfare
- P. 268: One of my spiritual mentors used to tell his classes that we must be diligent in our study to make certain we are not relativizing absolutes or absolutizing relatives. #biblicalstudies
- Published in Alexandria, VA, by Republic Book Publishers (2020 [original 2011])
- Purchase here on Amazon for the best price.
- Author bio (from Amazon listing): Dr. Karl Payne received his Masters of Divinity (1980) and Doctorate of Ministry (1996) from Western Seminary, Portland. For over 40 years, Payne has trained people through his discipleship and apologetic materials. He serves as the Pastor of Leadership Development at Antioch Bible Church, is the Founder of the Transferable Cross Training Foundation, and served as the chaplain for the Seattle Seahawks from 1994-2015.
My Big Remaining Question
Karl Payne argues for deliverance sessions for those who are demonized. While I think this is helpful and valid, why do we not find this type of deliverance session in Scripture? Instead, it appears we find from Jesus and others direct exorcisms without going through a laborious, relational, back-and-forth process. This is my outstanding question to the author.
My Opinion about Spiritual Warfare
This was a challenging, paradigm-shifting book for me, but I’m thrilled and so thankful I read it. I highly recommend it to staff, lay leaders, and any Christians who are spiritually stuck. This might help you on the pathway toward embracing freedom in Christ.