The Foreword to my book on Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Clint Arnold
There are a lot of books out there on spiritual warfare, but none are quite like this. I have been looking for one “go to” book that I could recommend to people on this important topic and this will be it.
Sam Storms approaches spiritual warfare with the heart of a pastor, the skill of a biblical exegete, a sensitivity to the work of the Spirit, and the wisdom of a leader who has had significant experience in this arena. The result is a book that is truly well-balanced on this theme and very helpful.
Many of us know Sam as a biblical and theological scholar. I first became personally acquainted with Sam when we both served on the executive committee of the Evangelical Theological Society. He served as President of that scholarly society in 2017 and was elected to that role because of widespread recognition of his past scholarly contributions. Sam has written a number of books on a wide array of topics, but all of his work reflects scholarship done in the service of the church. All this to say that Sam approaches this topic with a great deal of scholarly credibility. Throughout this book, Sam provides a careful, yet concise, explanation of the key biblical texts related to spiritual warfare. Whereas many volumes on spiritual warfare are heavy on stories, practices, and traditions, this book starts with the Bible and reveals the meaning and relevance of what the Scripture says.
But many will know Sam as pastor. He has served in a pastoral role for forty-six years. For the past twelve years, he has served as Lead Pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. It is abundantly clear throughout this volume that Sam brings with him the compassion of a shepherd who is concerned about taking care of his flock. He wants his sheep to experience a pastoral touch that will bring healing to their wounds and release from the claws of the enemy.
Sam also writes this book with the conviction that God can powerfully and mercifully intervene into peoples’ lives today to bring healing and deliverance through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is evident in many of the personal stories sprinkled throughout the book from people who have been touched by the prayer ministry of Bridgeway Church. I personally worry that too many Christians and churches put up a stop sign (or a yield sign) when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit. Because of past excesses and sometimes crazy stuff attributed to the Holy Spirit, many believers have perhaps grown too cautious about embracing the work of the Spirit. But if we believe in the reality of the work of the enemy, we need to believe in the work of the Spirit of God. Spiritual warfare can only be done in the power of the Spirit since we are not able to stand against the enemy in our own strength.
The prevailing naturalistic worldview in which many of us were educated in our K-12 years and beyond has profoundly influenced our ability to accept and understand the nature of the spirit realm. Yet if we accept the authority of the Bible, we must reckon with the fact that theme of the demonic is present from Genesis to Revelation. But for many Christians, the demonic is not a functional part of their worldview. This book will help us grapple with what the Bible teaches on the topic and will show that we are not setting aside our intellect and rationality to accept this aspect of biblical teaching.
I appreciate Sam’s emphasis on the fact that believers are not automatically immune to attack from the demonic realm. There are too many Christians who think that a force field descended around them when they became a Christian and the evil one cannot harm them in any way. That is a dangerous position to hold. Sam shows that we have the power and authority in the Lord Jesus Christ deal with demonic attack and intrusion, but that this must be appropriated in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
In the twenty or so years that I taught a course on spiritual warfare at my Christian university, I always stressed the need for developing a prayer ministry in the context of the local church. Having a team of people who are knowledgeable about spiritual warfare, care for people, and are attune to the work of the Spirit is sorely needed in our churches. Sam has helped to develop and equip such a team at his church. And, as the stories in this volume demonstrate, the ministry is helping many people.
This book is a great starting point as a resource for equipping such a team in your church. It is also a great guide for someone wanting an overall orientation to what spiritual warfare is all about. I am grateful that Sam Storms had the vision for writing this book. I pray that the Lord uses it to strengthen, heal, and help his church. To God be the glory.
Clinton E. Arnold
Dean and Professor of New Testament
Talbot School of Theology (Biola University)