Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"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
"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.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
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.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 starsWriting books on fishing or firefighting does not make a person a fisherman or a firefighter.8 Mar. 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
I read this book anticipating an exceptional book on spiritual warfare after reading the title, “A Biblical and Balanced Perspective”. I saw that approximately fifty people had submitted glowing reviews in just over one month, which is remarkable, and typically means the book is either worth reading or someone has a very active and creative promotion team sending out a lot of free review copies in exchange for reviews.
Maybe my expectations were too high for this book after reading reviews of it. Although the title says it presents a biblical and balanced perspective on the subject of spiritual warfare, it does not examine competing perspectives on the subject of spiritual warfare. How is it therefore possible for the authors to compare the biblical basis of competing positions or the balance or lack of balance of these positions when they do not examine any view other than their own? The title seems misleading.
On page two of this book the authors explain their basic presupposition on the subject of spiritual warfare regarding what they believe it means to hold an extremist view. Naturalists do not believe in the supernatural, so their view is extreme on one side of the coin. Theists who believe in the possibility of Christians being demon-possessed and formulas for exorcisms, binding the devil, and rebuking demons are extremists on the other side of the coin. Since the authors are neither naturalists nor theists who believe Christians can be demonized or delivered, their position, by their own definition, must represent the balanced middle on this subject.
Defining extremism in this fashion seems simplistic and self-serving. They beg the question they are supposedly examining in a “biblical and balanced” fashion by defining spiritual warfare in such a way that the conclusion of their study has already been determined by their supposition. This type of examination typically impresses no one other than the writers and those who already agree with their perspective. In other words, they assume their conclusion in their premise, which is a faulty way to argue or make a case that is usually exposed as fallacious in a first year logic class.
The focus of this book is not an examination on competing views on spiritual warfare. Rather, it is limited primarily to defining and describing Roman body armor as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-20, and speculating how this armor relates to a believer’s ability and responsibility to stand in the midst of spiritual attack.
What it fails to address at any meaningful level is how a believer is to actually distinguish between all three aspects of spiritual warfare as outlined in the Bible; attacks from the world, the flesh and the devil, and even importantly, how to respond to these attacks. Learning how to consistently win battles with the world, the flesh and the devil in spiritual warfare goes beyond learning how to define Roman body armor and a reminder to pray. The actual scope and focus of the material addressed by these authors seems too narrow to adequately address perspectives on the subject of spiritual warfare, which is what the title of this book states it is going to address. It does not.
This book represents little more than a cliff notes overview of John Mac Arthur’s perspective on spiritual warfare and William Gurnall’s work on Roman body armor. As such, the material and conclusions it promotes are neither new nor unique. That Mac Arthur’s position on spiritual warfare represents one competing perspective on this subject is true. That his position represents the biblically balanced gold standard on the subject among equally educated, biblical, balanced and literate Christian leaders and writers is nonsense. This material is dated and repetitive.
One can only hope that the writers of this book do not truly believe that the only biblical and balanced perspective on the subject of spiritual warfare is their own or that Christians who disagree with their perspective are extremists. This not only seems arrogant, it is naive.
As a resource for understanding spiritual warfare this book was a disappointment. It reads more like a seminary class project or a series of sermons on an academic subject than the overflow of gut wrenching first hand insights gained and gleaned from helping individuals caught in the clutches of demonic bondage.
I was left wondering if either of these authors have actually ever worked with demonized individuals inside or outside their respective, subjective, ministries and thinking? Writing about fishing or fighting fires does not make a person either a fisherman or firefighter, even if they have the title mailed to them.
Bottom line: This book will give you an overview understanding of spiritual armor. What it will not give you is any type of meaningful understanding of how to identify or differentiate between attacks from the world, the flesh and the devil.
The vast majority of the five star reviews for this book, thus far, have come from individuals who received free copies of the book in exchange for their reviews. It should come as no surprise that free copies are usually given to people who the author’s and their publisher believe will contribute superlative reviews. If you want to read one more book promoting the view often associated with the Grace Community fellowships on this subject, this certainly qualifies as one more clone. If your goal is to actually get help or learn how to help Christians and non-Christians caught in the clutches of spiritual warfare, pick up a book or two written by Charles Swindoll, Clinton Arnold, Fred Dickason, Mark Bubeck, Neil Anderson, Karl Payne, Marcus Warner or Tim Warner; all Christian men who are solidly evangelical and orthodox in their Christian faith, but who have also actually worked with demonized people rather than just speculated about the subject.
I purchased this book with my own money. I did not receive a free copy in exchange for this review.
5.0 out of 5 starsA faithful, accessible, and powerful exposition of Ephesians 6:10-201 April 2014
Kevin P. Halloran
- Published on Amazon.com
Many Christians are satisfied living in defeat.
They know of the victory found in Christ but for some reason think it is beyond their grasp and beyond God’s power to actually experience it. And so, they continue to struggle with sin, temptations, discouragement, and a lack of power in their spiritual lives, unaware that they are fully able to make things change with God’s help.
How can these Christians bridge the gap between defeat and victory in their lives?
Knowing and using the spiritual resources and weapons available is how defeated Christians can gain victory. Paul describes believers’ spiritual weapons and armor in Ephesians 6:10-20, which is the “full armor of God” passage.
Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective unpacks and applies Paul’s words in Ephesians 6, seeking to avoid both extremes of spiritual warfare talk (denying the reality of the enemy or “seeing a demon behind every bush”). Thirteen 7 or 8 page chapters walk through Ephesians 6:10-20 and make it a quick and powerful read.
This is by no means the first book to seek to clearly explain and apply this passage, but the expositional format helpfully discusses the topic of spiritual warfare, which is one often littered with extra-biblical applications/tactics or a flat-out denial of Scriptural truth.
This book keeps its focus on Scripture, avoiding the temptations to head down rabbit trails or shift the focus to personal experience, jokes, or anecdotes. Personal stories, jokes and anecdotes are not the same as a commander preparing a troop for war with the marching orders of the commander. Borgman and Ventura prepare readers for warfare mentality by unpacking the marching orders given to Christians by God in Ephesians 6.
The book won’t win any awards for new ideas or elegant prose (although it is well-written), but it will clearly explain the Word of God to readers—which is ultimately what will equip them for battle and help them gain the victory that is theirs in Christ. I felt encouraged and equipped after reading, and have found myself seeking to equip other believers for battle more than before.
There aren’t many books that I know I will surely re-read, but Spiritual Warfare is likely one I will come back to due to its clear and practical biblical exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20 in a brief 110-page volume.
I recommend this book for personal and group study to those seeking to be better equipped for the battle that is the Christian life.