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BreakPoint This Week: The Unseen World


John Stonestreet interviews Dr. Cornelius Plantinga and Joel Miller to discuss Satan, angels, demons and the unseen world.

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"Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is," wrote C. S. Lewis in "Mere Christianity." "Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. I know someone will ask me, 'Do you really mean, at this time of day, to reintroduce our old friend the devil—hoofs and horns and all?' Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is 'Yes, I do.'"

The biblical character of Satan has been so trivialized in cartoons and in popular culture that we sometimes lose sight of the fact that this enemy is very real, and that his presence explains so much about evil in the world. The barrage of atrocities and violence we witness day in and day out on the news comes not only from human depravity, but from what St. Paul calls "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

Elsewhere we read that our enemy, Satan, "prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8). That, agree our guests on this edition of "BreakPoint This Week," is why Christians must remain sober-minded and aware of the hostile spiritual forces we face in this world. Satan, says Dr. Neal Plantinga of Calvin Theological Seminary, is a defeated enemy, but a deadly one nonetheless. Like a wounded animal may still attack without provocation, Satan constantly seeks to destroy by any means possible those whom God has redeemed. Nevertheless, Scripture, believes Dr. Plantinga, offers us the model for how to resist and ultimately defeat the Devil in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In addition, as guest Joel Miller, author of "Lifted by Angels: The Presence and Power of Our Heavenly Guides and Guardians," reminds us, the unseen world is filled not only with enemies, but with friends—messengers and protectors from among God's angels, who easily outnumber and outmatch the host of Hell.

These beneficent spirits, he says, fill the pages of Scripture, serving God's purposes and carrying out His will among the inhabitants of earth in every age. We can take great comfort in their work, love them, and praise our mutual Lord for their service on our behalf.

We hope you enjoy this exciting and profound episode of "BreakPoint This Week," and that you'll check out the powerful resources by both of our guests, which you can find in the Colson Center Online Store.




notthewayPick up your copy of Cornelius Plantinga's "Not the Way It's Supposed to Be" from the Colson Center Online Store. lifted_by_angelsPick up your copy of Joel Miller's book, "Lifted By Angels" from the Colson Center Online Store.





Comments:

Angels
There have been comments about misunderstandings of what angels look like, and yet some misunderstandings remain. All beings that are called "angels" and are described are male and there is no mention of wings. I think some use the term angel for all spirit beings other than God -- cherubim, seraphim, angels, fallen angels, demons, Satan -- and yet there may be another answer. There may be a variety of created spirit beings, some good and some evil, of which only some are called angels.
Doctrines of demons about angels
This interview was ok as far as it went, but I was disappointed that it mentioned the fact that angels are portrayed incorrectly in modern Western culture, and I agree, but it didn't get into specifics. Wrong in what way? No examples were given, saying what was wrong about each example and how to correct it. I could do that for several cases, but I won't because that would turn into a whole article in its own right, and that is not my purpose in writing this comment.

I was also disappointed that it did not even mention, let alone address, the doctrine put forth repeatedly by the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee of the Through the Bible radio program (http://www.ttb.org; not to be confused with Through the Bible with Les Feldick at http://www.lesfeldick.com) that angels were for the Old Testament dispensation only, not the Church Age. Of course, of the mentioning of angels in Revelation he would probably have said that that was during the Tribulation after the Church was removed from the Earth (yes, he was pre-trib), and that dispensation would be a continuation of the Old Testament economy, since the focus would be back on Israel. However, I can give several examples of angelic activity during the time of the apostles in the book of Acts, not to mention in the life of Christ (yes, that was before His crucifixion and resurrection so I suppose that was Old Testament economy as well), which he denied that there were any. His main argument, aside from the false denial of examples of angels in the New Testament as I just mentioned, was that after all, we have the Holy Spirit, so what need do we have of angels? That is hard to argue against, but it sounds to me like human reasoning rather than being guided by scripture. I suppose I would say that God did some things by His Spirit and some things by angels in both testaments, and He is sovereign.