Spiritual Power and Missions: Raising the Issues
Hiebert, Paul G., International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Spiritual Power and Missions: Raising the Issues.
Edited by Edward Rommen. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1995. Pp. 163. Paperback $7.95. Much has been written in the past few years in evangelical missiological circles on the subject of spiritual power and ministries such as exorcisms, spiritual warfare, and dealing with territorial spirits, most of it by practitioners in the field. There have been few careful studies on the subject on the basis of theological or empirical analysis. This volume raises key questions that must be answered and provides a preliminary response to the critique.
In an extended chapter, Robert Priest and his associates raise critical biblical, ontological, and practical issues regarding the current movement, citing widely from the current literature in the field. They are concerned that the movement can become a form of Christian animism based on pragmatism, noting that too often practitioners in spiritual warfare do not distinguish between phenomenological realities reported by people and ontological reality as defined by a biblical worldview. Priest, raised in the Bolivian Amazon, where his parents were missionaries, and trained as an anthropologist in traditional religions, is deeply aware of persisting animistic practices in young churches around the world and of the transforming power of the Gospel that delivers people from the spirits.
In response, Charles Kraft describes his discovery of the importance of spiritual warfare in Scriptures and Christian ministry and defends his explorations in the areas of exorcism and exercising the authority Christ gives us. …