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Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective
 
 

Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective [Kindle Edition]

Brian Borgman , Rob Ventura

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Authors Brian Borgman is founding pastor of Grace Community Church in Minden, NV. He has written articles for The Southern Baptist Theological Journal, Reformation and Revival Journal and the Gospel Coalition. He has also written, My Heart For Thy Cause (Mentor, 2002) and Feelings and Faith (Crossway, 2009). He holds degrees from Biola University, Western Seminary and Westminster Seminary.

Rob Ventura is one of the pastors of Grace Community Baptist Church of North Providence, Rhode Island. He is a contributing author and blogger for Reformation 21 the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and co-authored A Portrait of Paul on Reformation Heritage Books (2010). He has written articles for The Founders Journal and The Journal of Modern Ministry. He was also the editor of Greg Nichols’ book on Covenant Theology (Solid Ground Christian Books). He is a graduate of Reformed Baptist Seminary SC.

Endorsements “Spiritual Warfare is thoughtful, biblical, theological, accessible, and impactful. The book is exegetical and expository without feeling like a commentary or running homily. In it, authors Borgman and Ventura make much of Christ and what He has done without negating the reality of our adversary and the real danger he presents, as well as our call to faith, righteousness, prayer, and perseverance that flows directly from our Savior’s finished work. What a timely, refreshing, encouraging, convicting, and empowering book! I can’t wait to get it in front of our people.” — Voddie Baucham Jr. serves as pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, and is author of Family Shepherds.

“In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes deliverance from bondage of sin through the work of Christ. He brings that deliverance to bear in our personal experience by the enlivening grace of God. He issues a call for us to walk in this newfound freedom, worthy of our calling in Christ, amid the dangers and challenges of this fallen world. Paul concludes his letter in practical terms for the battle we face as part of the normal course of the Christian life. It is here in Ephesians 6 that Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura meet us to orient us to the strength, weaponry, and strategy by which our Lord equips us for the battle. These pastors provide clear, concise, competent, and compelling counsel in what can be a neglected or abused topic.” — Stanley D. Gale, author of Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism

“Many voices in our day present a version of spiritual warfare in which Satan seems to hold the position of prominence—even preeminence. Christians are left to wonder what magic spell or formulaic expressions can be invoked to see their demons excised. Yet, since Christ has triumphed over all the forces of darkness, His people should grow in hope and faith as they look to Christ. Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura present one of the finest and most biblically responsible and insightful studies of spiritual warfare now available. While they account fully for the reality of Satan’s deception, cunning, and power, they give greater stress (as they ought!) to the superior and indefatigable victory and sovereign reign of Christ. Christians need the message of this book. Satan, indeed, is a real and present danger, but Christ is our real, risen, and reigning hope! Spiritual Warfare guides readers into a clear and grace-empowered understanding of these truths.” — Bruce A. Ware, professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 298 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (26 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HMEG1QO
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biblical and balanced, as promised 22 Jan 2014
By N. Pitchford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the subtitle of their book on spiritual warfare, authors Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura promise to provide a perspective that is both biblical and balanced. The prospect of a balanced approach is immediately appealing, given widespread excesses in various branches of modern Christianity on the subject; and I thought it a successful endeavor in that regard. But what I found more striking, when I dived in, was the “biblical” part of the equation. I say this by way of confession: spiritual warfare is not among my list of favorite theological topics to think about. In fact, whether it's because of the very common imbalanced perspectives a modern reader is apt to encounter, or whether it's simply because I have no military experience, and so the analogy of warfare is a little foreign to my own history, I have to admit a little distaste for the subject. However, by the time I finished the introduction alone, I had to acknowledge that this is no small theme in the New Testament, and that it has roots reaching clear back to Eden. Which means that it allows for a biblical treatment, because it is, in fact, a pervasive biblical motif. And this, further, means that such a study as this book undertakes really is necessary if we are to have a thoroughly biblical perspective on the Christian life at all.

Clearly, then, there is a need for a biblical treatment of spiritual warfare; so is this the book to fill that need? Well, a book on spiritual warfare taken primarily from Ephesians 6:10-20 immediately begs a comparison to William Gurnall's classic, The Christian in Complete Armour, which attempts the same thing. I've never heard anyone say anything bad about this classic treatment of Christian warfare, and I've heard a lot of good; nevertheless, this review will not give any sort of comparison of the two works because, as long as I'm confessing things, I have to confess that I've never read it. I've frequently thought that I should read it; but there's something daunting about it's sheer length and outdated modes of expression. So, while I can't tell anyone how it compares to the classic, I can at least surmise that a book like this one really is needed, Gurnall notwithstanding, because I can't help but think that there are others out there like me, who have never gotten up the resolve to conquer the formidable classic.

There are several things about this book that will make it useful for individual or group study. It's not intimidating, for one thing – it's brief, easy to read, uses real-life examples for application, and has a very straightforward approach: taking one element at a time, it simply explains the text of Ephesians 6:10-20, looking back to the customs of Paul's time to clarify understanding and forward to the circumstances of our time to facilitate better assimilation and application.

In addition, it makes good on its pledge to be balanced and biblical. There's nothing flashy about it. It doesn't tease out complicated tactics for binding the devil or exorcising demons. Rather, it gives the undramatic but scriptural portrayal of the hard, faithful discipline of a soldier holding his ground against spiritual forces that look a lot less like Hollywood than like the mundane troubles and temptations we're all too familiar with. I appreciate the authors' faithfulness to their statement of intent: “Our primary focus will not be Satan, but Christ, who is the Victor over all”.

In short, here is the structure of the book: the first chapter, “Be strong in the Lord,” places the warfare in the midst of the already/not yet realities ushered in by the accomplishment of the risen and reigning Christ. Spiritual warfare is, of course, a predominantly practical theme, but it's helpful to remember that this practical struggle can't be engaged effectively without understanding the doctrinal context in which the fight is waged. If this doctrinal grounding guards against rashly jumping into a struggle that's misunderstood, then the second chapter, on putting on the full armor of God, guards against the opposite temptation of passivity, or emphasizing doctrine to the exclusion of earnestly fighting. The third chapter I found particularly insightful and applicational, as it discussed the real ways Satan wages his war on Christians, with subtlety, deception, and twisting the scriptures. After a fourth chapter, providing a balanced treatment of the nature and reality of the conflict, the central portion of the book, chapters five through ten, explains each item of the Christian's armor in light of the historical function of Roman armor. These chapters briefly provide an explanation of the text of Ephesians six, and suggest practical strategies for putting the teaching to use. Chapters eleven and twelve bring up the place of prayer in the warfare, with some more insightful and applicational thought in the former chapter, especially. And the final chapter provides a “debriefing,” or concluding summary of the whole.

I think this book will find a niche and be put to good use in that niche. It's brief, which is a positive for those who do not want an exhaustive or closely reasoned study, or a technical commentary on Ephesians six. It also has several questions “for reflection and discussion” at the end of each chapter, which further adapts it to group study. And, even though it may not be as thorough as Gurnall or as detailed as an exegetical commentary, it still takes the scripture seriously, doesn't overlook any part of the passage under consideration, and gives considerable effort to practical application.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ 2 Feb 2014
By parkerj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Spiritual Warfare is a new book by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura that provides the church with a clear and helpful exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20. I own and have read parts of William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour as well as Martyn Lloyd-Jones exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20 (The Christian Soldier) and both are excellent and are hundreds of pages long. When I first heard about this book I was hoping for something shorter (124 pages) and more accessible for the church today that would also provide the sound theology and exposition found in the aforementioned books. I am pleased to say that in Spiritual Warfare Borgman & Ventura have lived up to my expectation as well as their subtitle: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective. The purpose of this book is to remind the church that we are at war.

A quick browse of Amazon.com or your local Christian bookstore will show that there is no shortage of books on spiritual warfare. Many of these books are sensational and very much extra-biblical, focusing on ideas such as "demon-possessed Christians, formulas for exorcisms, binding the devil, rebuking demons, and mapping their physical location." Sadly many Christians, in an effort to avoid such clear unbiblical teaching, have over-corrected and practically never mention spiritual warfare as something that is real and that the Christian is actively a part of. So how do we avoid the two extremes? The answer is in Ephesians 6:10-20, the basis for this book. "This classic passage gives us a biblical framework for spiritual warfare. On the one hand, it frees us from the misconception of a closed, naturalistic worldview that understates our spiritual battle. On the other hand, it provides us with a sane approach that avoids overstating it as well." A delicate balance is necessary and this is where this book is very helpful. It recognizes the reality of spiritual warfare and the need for the Christian to be equipped for battle without stepping outside the bounds of Scripture.

The most important thing to recognize in this battle is that our strength, and armor comes from the Lord. "Our first step in successfully waging spiritual warfare is recognizing our weakness and the Lord's great strength. Self-sufficiency is a killer in this battle; dependence on Christ is crucial." Spiritual Warfare walks the reader through Ephesians 6:10-20 and examines the armor of God piece by piece. The over-arching theme is that we place ourselves in God's provisions for the battle, not work up some defense in and of ourselves. Borgman and Ventura are very helpful in this area. At the end of the day we must always remember that, "Christ is higher and far superior to all powers that exist, including every demonic and spiritual power!" We must be ever alert of the battle before us and remember that our strength and victory comes in and through Christ.

I was extremely blessed by this book and would highly recommend it to all believers as a biblical and well balanced look at spiritual warfare.

I received a free copy of this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not A Unique Resource 17 Feb 2014
By Shane Lems - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
"Spiritual Warfare" by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura is a short (124 page) discussion of Ephesians 6:10-20. In this book, the authors briefly explain the armor of God in 13 short chapters. At the end of each chapter there are several discussion questions. There are also three appendices: “The Sovereignty of God and Satan,” “Can a Christian be Demon Possessed,” and “Christian, Pray for Your Pastor.” Unfortunately, the book is lacking a Scripture index.

The content of the book is straightforward, clear, and written from a conservative evangelical Baptist perspective. The authors draw on Spurgeon, D. M. Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, John MacArthur, and so forth. The book is also pastoral; the authors encourage, challenge, and exhort the reader to depend wholly upon God in the spiritual battle we all face. The authors call the readers to faith, prayer, perseverance, and confidence in Christ. There is nothing fluffy in this book and there are no rabbit trails. It is simply a layman’s commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the book for this reason: the title is a bit misleading. I thought this would be a book that discussed spiritual warfare broadly speaking, including examination and critique of unbiblical views on this topic. The title – or at least subtitle – should let readers know this is basically a commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20. It isn’t a broad discussion of spiritual warfare.

On that same note, if you have some commentaries on Ephesians, you probably won’t have to get this book. I’ve been preaching through Ephesians using various commentaries, so I found "Spiritual Warfare" to be redundant because it builds on other commentaries. If you have other evangelical commentaries on Ephesians (i.e. Boice, Bruce, O’Brien, Hughes, Chapell, Lincoln, Arnold, Stott, Lloyd-Jones, Snodgrass, etc.) you probably won’t need to purchase "Spiritual Warfare."

In summary, the content of "Spiritual Warfare" is good, biblical, and pastoral. It is a helpful study of the “armor of God” verses in Ephesians 6. But since there are many other similar resources on this section of Scripture, not everyone will need to get this book. This book is for readers who don’t have commentaries on this part of Scripture and want a simple discussion of these verses. It would also be a good resource for small groups who want to study the great topic of the armor of God. As the authors say, “In the mystery of providence, even Satan is under the control of our sovereign God and king, who is the Ruler of rulers, the God of all gods” (p. 115).

(By the way, I deducted two stars from my rating not because the content was unbiblical, but because, as I noted above, the title is misleading and because this book doesn't fill a void.)

NOTE: I received this book from CrossFocused Reviews; I was not obligated to give a positive review in exchange for the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Book on God's Armour 23 Feb 2014
By Kicker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The subject of spiritual warfare evokes a wide variety of thoughts and discussions in the Christian community. Early on in my Christian walk I was exposed to a facet of spiritual warfare that I knew very little about, and it was the "binding and loosing" of different types of demons. The surprising part of this admission is the fact that this "binding and loosing" was taking place from the pulpit of a Reformed Southern Baptist Church. As someone who was saved out of the American Catholic Church, and under the preaching of an Independent Baptist Church Pastor, my exposure to spiritual warfare was limited to the exorcisms that were portrayed by Hollywood as abnormal occurrences. Therefore, when God led me to visit the Reformed Southern Baptist Church that I previously mentioned in this review, I was completely taken aback when the Senior Pastor began "binding and loosing" demons from the pulpit.

My initial thought as I was sitting in the congregation was "Is this biblical?" I firmly recognized that I was limited in my understanding of true Christian theology, so I tried to give the Pastor the benefit of the doubt but something kept gnawing at the back of my mind. I just could not get comfortable with how the Pastor was practicing spiritual warfare. Therefore, I made a determination to study the Word of God thoroughly, and to get as many books as I could on the subject to see what other Christians had to say about spiritual warfare. I realized pretty quickly that the Bible didn't approach spiritual warfare the same way that my Pastor did, and I also realized that, outside of charismatic circles, there really wasn't a ton written on this subject. Outside of John MacArthur's How to Meet The Enemy and William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour, there really wasn't a bunch of other books by non-charismatics (at the time I was doing this study, which was almost 10 years ago). As I was reading Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura, I found myself wishing that this book would have been written 10 years ago as it would have saved me a ton of time and wasted money on other books less biblical in their approach to spiritual warfare.

Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective is not an exhaustive handling of the subject of spiritual warfare, but it is a good introduction and faithfully explains Ephesians 6:10-20. One of the great features of this book (and there are many) is the fact that Brian and Rob provide readers with the historical background of the church in Ephesus while also showing how the pre-salvation background of the members of the church played a big part in their struggles with spiritual warfare. In addition to this the authors also explain how to understand the truth of God's Word on spiritual warfare for everyday life. As Brian and Rob state on page 17:

"Since it is common for believers to deeply regret their wicked lives before Christ rescued them, it could be that their occultist pasts were haunting some converted Ephesians. Perhaps they even lived in fear of the spiritual powers with which they had been acquainted. As we come to Ephesians 6:10-20, we see that the apostle does not dismiss the realities of the powers, like a parent reassuring a child that there really is not a monster under his bed. Rather, he validates spiritual realities and equips the believers for the battle at hand."

In Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective each piece of spiritual armor is faithful unpacked for the reader. The importance of each piece by itself is shown, but also how each piece is integrated with all of the other pieces of armour that God provides for our spiritual protection as "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

While this is not an exhaustive book on the subject of spiritual warfare, Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective is a fantastic starting place for those who want to understand what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 6:10-20, and how we can daily put on Christ. As Brian and Rob say, "Since Christ is all-sufficient, everything that we need to be covered is found in Him. All truth is connected to Him (John 14:6). All righteousness has its source in Him (1 Cor. 1:30). He is the central subject of the gospel of peace, for He is our peace (Eph. 2:14)-and so on through the list (6:14-17)." I highly recommend Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective and pray the Lord uses it powerfully to help people understand spiritual warfare from the Word of God.

I received a free copy of this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 22 Feb 2014
By Alex Houston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The subtitle of this book says it all, this book truly is a biblical and balanced perspective on the subject of spiritual warfare. This is not in the vein of much of the spiritual warfare teachings that are running rampant all over evangelicalism and for that I am extremely grateful. I've seen firsthand some of the wacky, unhelpful, and damaging teachings out there, so for me this book really is a breath of fresh air and is probably the best book I have personally ever read on this important topic.

This book is basically an exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20 the famous armor of God passage, a passage that has often been the victim of poor exposition. No chance of that here, the authors do a top notch job of working through this passage, explaining each piece of spiritual armour, then showing us how to properly use each one. Each chapter thoroughly covers one piece of armour then ends with some questions for reflection and discussion, making this a great book not only for individual study but for group study as well.

The footnotes in this book are very helpful. For example in chapter 5 (the belt of truth), the authors recommended Thomas Brook's work Precious remedies against Satan's devices for a helpful treatment on resisting false teachers. So having that on my kindle, I paused to read that before continuing which really fleshed out what I was reading. I really appreciate books with helpful footnotes, these guys did a great job with that.

To sum up, everything here is rooted and grounded in the gospel, this book isn't about us and what we have to do, but about Christ has done for us through union with Him to stand against all the schemes of the devil. I was encouraged to take my eyes off myself and put them on my faithful God who has provided us all we need to wage this war. The authors here stress the foolishness of striving in our own strength and wisdom.

This book was so incredibly helpful I can't recommend it enough! I give it 5 stars, but I would give it 10 if I could. Christian soldier, read this book!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.
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