Monday, April 17, 2006


Between earth and heaven there is a war going on. The conflict is taking place in a realm that John Wimber referred to as “the excluded middle.” It was Wimber’s contention that evangelicals largely exclude from their thinking the realities going on in the spirit realm, preferring to focus instead on either the tangible world around us, or else the celestial world awaiting us above - heaven. But the scripture is clear that we must engage with forces in the middle we cannot see, but that are nevertheless real.

Every now and then I am reminded of just how spiritually charged our world’s atmosphere is. One reminder came at the end of a book I just finished called Presence, by Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, and Flowers. This is not a Christian book (a couple of the authors are Buddhist), but they cite some phenomena that is interesting:

A recent study has shown that random number generators (RNGs) around the world behaved in highly nonrandom ways on September 11, 2001. RNGs are computer programs that generate numbers that meet statistical conditions for randomness, required for various research applications. They are shielded from electromagnetics, telecommunications, and all other known forces that could cause systematic biases. In other words, these are computer programs that are supposed to be insulated from all external influences and are tested regularly to assure that this is so. An ongoing monitoring study of thirty-seven RNGs around the world showed the extent of the anomalous behavior on September 11. A recent report in the Foundations of Physics Letters documents an abnormally high average variance, autocorrelation (correlation among successive numbers generated by each program), and “internode” correlation (correlation among the different programs) across this global network – on average, the probability of what was observed was less than one in a thousand. Moreover, the minute-by-minute behavior of these statistics across the global network matches the chronology of the terrorist attacks, with the non-random behavior starting about 5:00 AM and peaking around 11:00 AM, Eastern (U.S.) daylight time, staying extremely deviant into the evening. In the words of the authors, the “substantial deviations from chance expectation” on September 11 have potentially “profound theoretical and practical implications.” They conclude that “it is unlikely that [known] environmental factors could cause the correlations we observe” and that, barring demonstration to the contrary, “we are obliged to confront the possibility that the measured correlations may be directly associated with some (as yet poorly understood) aspect of consciousness attendant to global events.”

In other words, if I can summarize, “some weird stuff is going on, and we don’t know what to make of it, but it seems organized, and spiritual.” I’m not quite sure what to make of this, either. But the possibility exists that during the hours surrounding the terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center there was heightened demonic activity that might account for some of the phenomena. We know that it was a dark day for humanity. We know that there is a “dark side” out there (principalities, powers, rulers of darkness) in Satan and his demons. With a biblical worldview we may be able to connect the dots on this one.

Paul gave us some instruction on how to get along in a world with spiritual conflict: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3,4). Worldly weapons in this context might include ingenuity, rhetoric, showmanship, splashiness, forwardness, charm, and charisma. Paul doesn’t use these. Instead he uses weapons that can demolish strongholds. A stronghold was a massively fortified tower that only required a few men to guard it. What does this mean in non-metaphorical language? Paul unpacks his metaphor in verse 5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

A spiritual warrior is trying to “take captive every thought.” The strongholds are between people’s ears. The picture is of a military expedition into enemy territory, an expedition so effective that every plan of the enemy is thwarted, every scheme foiled, every counter-offensive beaten. The designs and schemes of sinful men are captured by Christ and brought under a new authority. The weapons in the warrior’s hands destroy the way people think and demolish the mental structures by which they live their lives in rebellion against God. In his own words, Paul’s weapons tear down “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” This means that many who dismiss the crucified Christ with scorn come in time to embrace his lordship, cherish the cross, abandon self-promotion, and exchange it for self-denial and obedience.

That’s what the weapons do. But what are the weapons? As the conflict is essentially spiritual, so are the weapons (Ephesians 6:13-18):

-the truth of the gospel


-boldness borne of a deep grasp of the gospel


-salvation itself

-the Word of God

-vigilant prayer

Those are Paul’s powerful weapons. Spiritual ends require spiritual means.

Argue a skeptic into a corner, and you will not take his mind captive for Christ; but pray for him, proclaim the gospel to him, live out the gospel of peace before him, walk righteously by faith until he senses your ultimate allegiance and citizenship are vastly different from his own, and you may discover that the power of truth, the convicting and regenerating work of the HS, and the glories of Christ Jesus shatter his reasons and demolish his arguments until you take captive his mind and heart to make them obedient to Christ.

Fight the good fight!

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