THE DRAGON SLAYER: A REVIEW

I have just read twice and highlighted The Dragon Slayer: Reflections On the Saving of the World (2004, privately published, 202 pages, paper), the latest book from my eloquent friend Jim McGuiggan of Northern Ireland. As usual, McGuiggan devotes his considerable mind and poignant pen to the profound realities that matter most, this time the atonement for sin which Jesus Christ accomplished once … [Read more...]

EXORCISMS

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "What is the New Testament specifically talking about when it says that Jesus and the apostles 'drove out demons?' Does this refer to mental defects (insanity, bipolarism, etc.) or psychological or physiological problems (epilepsy, addictions, etc.)? Or does this mean real demons as in 'The Exorcist' movie? This is very hard to get my head around since I have never … [Read more...]

BINDING SATAN

A gracEmail subscriber asks: "What is your view of ministers who claim to bind Satan or chase out his demons?" * * * It depends on the person and what he or she is actually doing. The Bible does not talk about Christians "binding" Satan although it does say we are to "resist" him and that we "struggle" against him. Perhaps that is what these ministers are actually doing even though they call it … [Read more...]

DEMONS — WHAT ARE THEY?

A Christian in the South asks, "who or what are demons, of which we read in the New Testament? Alexander Campbell suggested that they were spirits of the departed dead." * * * In classical Greek literature, "demons" were deities, lesser gods in the pantheon of which Zeus was considered supreme head. In popular Greek usage several centuries before Christ, "demons" referred to ghosts, spirits of … [Read more...]

SATAN’S ORIGIN

A gracEmail subscriber asks "What did Satan do to be cast out of heaven?" * * * The Bible is somewhat sketchy on this subject. It appears from a number of references that Satan was originally a created angel who led an celestial rebellion against God resulting in their expulsion from heaven. This might be in view in 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6 and perhaps remotely even in 1 Corinthians 11:10. Many … [Read more...]

SHOCKED BY THE VOICE OF GOD

"Sure, God spoke to Noah, Isaac and Phillip," we sometimes think. "But he would never speak to me." Little wonder that when he does speak directly today, it is often a shocking experience. At my request, gracEmail subscriber Jack Outhier has reluctantly but kindly given me permission to relate his shocking encounter with the voice of God -- and the good fruit that resulted from it. (Jack's email … [Read more...]

PROPHECY: RATIONAL WORDS

After I related a modern story of Christian prophecy, a subscriber asked how often "similar situations lead to disaster," whether this does not open the door to "deceit" and if I am saying that we should be ruled by "feelings rather than by rational content." * * * Good brother, you ask how often "similar situations" lead to disaster. Not often, I would think. For consider the "situation." What … [Read more...]

PROPHECY ILLUSTRATED

"Can you give an example of ordinary Christian prophecy today?" someone asks. "What does it look like when it occurs?" * * * The long-time preaching minister at my home congregation resigned early in 1996, sending us into a search for God's replacement which lasted into 1997. About October 1996, after much prayer and diligent labor, we elders invited Rob McRay and his wife Judy of the Northtown … [Read more...]

CHURCH FATHERS & PROPHECY

The year 1918 saw the publication of Counterfeit Miracles, in which Presbyterian theologian Benjamin B. Warfield argued that supernatural prophecy stopped shortly after the New Testament was written. According to Warfield, spiritual gifts (charismata) served only to authenticate the Apostles' gospel message -- and only to people of their generation. Warfield said that the gifts ceased when the … [Read more...]

PROPHECY: SAFEGUARDS

"If we say that God speaks through prophetic words today," someone asks, "do we not open the door to every form of abuse and exploitation?" * * * Obviously this very beneficial gift can be abused or misused, as can any other gift (including, for example, uninspired preaching). Scripture therefore provides rules, caveats, safeguards and tests. Christians have always been cautioned not to believe … [Read more...]