les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura - a Book Review

One of the good things about the "reformed resurgence" (whatever THAT is) is the emergence of books with serious theological content and background but which directly address issues under wide discussion in the "evangelical scene" (whatever THAT is). Issues like "Spiritual Warfare".

Until recently spiritual warfare would be addressed either by gothic novels with warring angels and demons named with hebrew transliterations from the KJV, or by the whole territorial spirits thing, or by books that relied heavily on anecdotes often coming from the jungles of the 10:40 window or by the more serious-minded volumes that deserved a wide readership and didn't get it. It's a pity, because many Christians are left in confusion and spiritual warfare gets the blame for a lot of our own errors and mistakes, which means we don't grow as Christians.

Enter Borgman and Ventura with "Spiritual Warfare". When I opened this book I didn't at all expect what I got, but I was pleasantly surprised. What you get is a serious, meticulous, careful exegesis of Ephesians 6 : 10 - 20. They lean for support on a long list of good authors and use good quotes to add savour and nourishment.

I don't always agree with everything they say. A bit more nuance here and there would not go amiss. For example, is anger really "one such sin", "a consuming, destructive vice"? But hey, if it's a choice between clarity and nuance give me clarity every time. We've all seen situations where there's so much nuance that's all you have left...

One other thing - the authors point out the corporate nature of Paul's exhortations, but they could have done more with this. For example, surely one of the most famous uses of the Roman shield was when the soldiers crowded together and lifted the shields above their heads enabling all the fiery darts to rain down on them with impunity while they advanced towards besieged city walls. "Testudo!" Soldiers, even armed soldiers, are actually very vulnerable when alone.

But really this is a very helpful book. I don't know if it's the book to give to the member of your flock who's seeing Ahasuerus perched on the video-projector or who wants to shoot prayer arrows into the road where the church building is built. You might need some other book for them. But for your church member who wants to battle on and to stand firm, it's a good one.

Oh, and for the final chapter on praying for pastors, "Thanks guys!"

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Warfare-Biblical-Balanced-Perspective-ebook/dp/B00HMEG1QO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393228287&sr=8-1&keywords=spiritual+warfare+borgman+ventura

1 comment:

Emmanuel said...

I think the church member who sees Ahasuerus perched on the video-projector seriously need a doctor.