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Spirit Wars: Winning the Invisible Battle…
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Spirit Wars: Winning the Invisible Battle Against Sin and the Enemy

by Kris Vallotton

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As I am reflecting on the nature of sin this season, I thought it would be worthwhile to read a book from a Charismatic/Pentecostal perspective. This book talks about the invisible battle we face as we seek to live holy lives. As someone who’s diabolic imagination has been set aflame by Screwtape Letters I accept the world that Kris Vallotton describes in Spirit Wars: Winning the invisible Battle Against Sin and the Enemy. I have attended charismatic churches and been around when people were praying over others for demonic deliverance. A lot of these ‘deliverances’ seem more psychosomatic than real, in the same way that divine healing can sometimes be attributed to the placebo effect. Still I have seen enough, and have thoughtful friends with enough discernment that I know that some of it is real and there is a real spiritual battle being fought. Therefore a book helping Christians better wage this war makes sense to me.

And Kris Vallotton does not disappoint. He shares from his own experience of demonic oppression, physical depression (or in his case a hormonal issue), experience in praying with people and his reading of scripture. He argues that for those who are in Christ, victory over sin and the powers is not only possible, it is the norm (explaining at one point that he can go several weeks without sin). Vallotton does not discount that there could be psychological causes for struggles and advocates that those struggling with long term depression or anxiety see a physician, get a proper diagnosis and medication. He also avoids the spirit-flesh dualism of some Pentecostal preachers by urging that physical, emotional and spiritual causes for our struggle are intermingled inside the human person and cannot be easily separated.

I don’t endorse everything that Vallotton says here. He oversimplifies at some points and takes fanciful leaps. I would question his interpretation of the Bible. People who self-describe as prophets (as Vallotton does) often take an imaginative approach in biblical exegesis, which provides keen insights as well as abysmal errors. So I affirm some of what he says but have serious questions about other portions of this book. For example, he uses Nehemiah and Joshua as exemplars of how we can resist “the enemy” and carry out the task that God gives us. This spiritualizes and allegorizes the biblical history of the Old Testament, which is legitimate to a point, but Vallotton’s approach means an uncritical view of both Nehemiah and Joshua. Contrary to leadership and popular accounts, the hero of the books of Joshua and Nehemiah are not the men the book is named for, but Yahweh himself. Joshua and Nehemiah do some things well and also make horrid missteps along the way ( i.e. Joshua is told to be strong and courageous, but instead sends spies and sits on his hands for several chapters, fails to call on God; Nehemiah ends with the sending away of foreign wives). I think if Vallotton was attentive to the ways these leaders failed, his insights for spiritual warfare would be more incisive.

Also, Vallotton makes errors in his interpretation of passages by drawing distinctions that are not in the text. He makes the common error of drawing a strong distinction between spirit and soul (within the human person), but the biblical material neither supports this nor warrants it. Likewise, he distinguishes terms (such as a distinction between prisoner and captive in Isaiah 61:1) which betray an amateur understanding of Hebrew poetics and parallelism.

I think this book is more useful as describing one person’s experience of the spiritual battle and his personal insights into the nature of it. When it comes to Biblical interpretation I do not think Vallotton is a trustworthy guide though he does provide and interesting window on individual texts. I would recommend this book to the discerning charismatic Christian who can separate the good from the bad, truth from error. While I have my reservations about parts of this book (some of which I failed to mention here), I will likely refer back to sections.

Thank you to Chosen books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for this fair and honest review. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've been familiar with spiritual warfare for many years and have read books about it by many authors. "Spirit Wars" had some good information, but I was uncomfortble with some of the author's assertions (like when he claimed he could go a full week without sinning even once). This book looks at the personal responsibility and authority of an individual Christian, which is an important truth for Christians to know. We are not all the same, so Vallotton's book may be an important book for some -- but not for me.
  Bandings | Oct 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I think this was a well-written book with a great topic. Kris Vallotton offers some great spiritual insight into winning the war against sin and temptation. While I may not be in 100% agreement theologically with everything that is in the book, I still think it is a worthwhile read.
  ambrithill | May 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I absolutely loved the book. It appears to be the author's personal experience, but it's an eye opener into the spiritual realm. Whether or not, it's completely accurate - I'm not going to judge that, but it was a great reminder that we are not alone in this world. For Christians, we are in an ongoing battle. I recommend this book to Christians who are interested in learning more about the spiritual realm. ( )
  BrookeYvonne | Apr 26, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As its title suggests, Kris Vallotton’s “Spirit Wars” is about warfare in the spiritual realm. Yet, as the author indicates (p. 179), the scope of this book primarily involves the personal level. More precisely, it focuses strictly on those facets of personal spiritual warfare that see its manifestations in demonic bondage and control.

Take it as a whole it is difficult to pinpoint the genre of this book. It is part autobiographic or personal testimony, part analytic in terms of how the warfare is fought. Oftentimes it carries a whiff of that of self-help literature; or maybe it is more correctly to be regarded as a teaching manual, to be used in the author’s associated Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

The book is a straight-forward read although one must endure the copious clichés such as “The world is looking for something worth dying for so that they have something really worth living for” (p. 203). Sometimes, Vallotton’s writing style can lapse to a point where his main argument is obscured (see paragraph titled “The Child Is a Warrior”, p. 164-165).

The purpose of this review predominantly focuses on critiquing “Spirit Wars” as a book. There is no intention to evaluate the claims of its subject matter or the methods proposed in waging spiritual warfare due to limitation of space. It is also because, as the author asserts, what is written “has come out of his own personal experience” (p. 179) and to a large extent subjective. In the book, Vallotton make references to quite a few Bible passages such as those in Nehemiah and Joshua to support his thesis. He attempts to draw lessons from these Biblical characters in exposing the evil schemes of the devil and how believers can overcome by imitating the tactics of these characters. Some of Vallotton’s exegesis, however, is faulty at best. Any serious student of Pauline theology would not equate Paul’s loaded term “flesh” with man’s physical body. (p. 40). In another instance, Vallotton’s way in elaborating the term “metron” in 2 Cor. 10:13 to suggest a physical sphere surrounding a person is decidedly mushy. (p. 173)

If Vallotton set out to write this book as a personal testimony, he rounds it off well with the last chapter in an endearing story about the author himself and his grandfather. As a training manual, however, one can hardly see how much better equipped the reader is to win the spirit wars after reading these pages. On the other hand, one must be cautious not to miss the spiritual forest for the trees when attempts like “Spirit Wars” concentrate on certain aspects that are easily formed into caricature.

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The reviewer received this book under LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. This review was written under no coercion or benefit whatsoever.
  Laurence.Lai | Apr 6, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800794931, Paperback)

Leading Charismatic Pastor Offers a Bold New Strategy for Spiritual Warfare

Kris Vallotton, a pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California, and the cofounder of its School of Supernatural Ministry, knows his way around the spiritual battlefield. For years he was tormented by a host of demonic assaults, though he didn't know the problems were spiritual. Confused, overwhelmed, he actually contemplated suicide--until the Lord delivered him.

Since that time, Kris has spent his life spreading a message of hope and freedom. He's helped people all over the world recognize the devil's stealth attacks and taught them to overcome. Weaving time-tested spiritual warfare tactics with biblical understanding, Kris offers Christians a bold new battle plan, showing how even those in the most devastating of personal battles can be victorious.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

You know the battle is raging--but are you fighting the right enemy? Just as enemies fought Joshua in the Promised Land, and Nehemiah faced opposition as he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, our enemy will fight us as we approach the spiritual terrain God has promised us. Most Christians retreat at the first sign of conflict because they fail to recognize the true nature of the battle. But you can prevail in freedom and joy. Sharing his deeply personal story of demonic bondage, torment and ultimate deliverance, pastor and bestselling author Kris Vallotton turns the idea of spiritual warfare as we know it on its head. He reveals the diabolical lies and strategies of the enemy--attacks and traps so subtle and deceptive that we may find our souls and hearts imprisoned without even knowing it. No more! Now you can win the invisible battle against sin and the enemy. Victory is within your grasp. Will you take hold?… (more)

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