Spiritual warfare is the concept of taking a stand against evil forces. The foundation for this ideology is having a belief in evil spirits. Initially rooted in Paganism, various Christian groups have adopted practices to repel such forces, as based on the doctrine of Christian demonology. A common form of spiritual warfare among Christians is prayer. Other practices include exorcisms, laying-on of hands, fasting, or anointing with oil. Jewish apocrypha initially influenced post-New Testament writings of the early fathers, which further defined Christian demonology. Thus followed literary works such as The Didache, The Shepherd of Hermas, Ignatius’s epistle to the Ephesians, and Origen’s Contra Celsum. Mainstream Christianity typically acknowledge a belief in the reality (or ontological existence) of demons, fallen angels, the Devil in Christianity and Satan. In Christian evangelism, doctrines of demonology are influenced by interpretations of the New Testament, namely with the Gospels, in that dealing with spirits became a customary activity of Jesus’ ministry. Mark states that “he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (Mark 1:39).
Exorcisms may be promoted by evangelists referring to Jesus comment, “If I drive out demons by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is upon you” (Matt.12:28; Luke 11:20). Evangelical Christian traditions acknowledge that Satan and his minions exercise significant influence over this world and its power structures. A hostile realm in conflict with the kingdom of God may be realized by the Apostle John, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) and by Jesus who referred to Satan as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), which alludes to the concept of Territorial Spirits. It could also be said that Satan occupies a temporal existence when the Apostle Paul refers to him as “the god of this age” (2 Cor.4:4). Further, Paul’s epistles focus on the Victory of Christ over principalities and powers. Evangelical interpretation has history divided into two eras: the present evil age and the age to come which supports the concept of the Second coming of Christ. Imagery of spiritual warfare is displayed in the Book of Revelation when after the War in Heaven (Rev.12:7), the beasts and kings of the earth wage war against God’s people (Rev.19:19), and a final battle ensues with Satan and the nations of the earth against God himself (Rev.20:8).
Practices in Christianity: Christian practices of spiritual warfare vary throughout Christianity. The development of specific spiritual warfare techniques has also generated many discussions in the Christian community. Critical exchanges of views may be found in periodicals like the Evangelical Missions Quarterly (such as in volume 31, number 2 published in 1995), and in conferences sponsored by the Evangelical Missions Society. In 2000, an international collaborative attempt was made by Evangelicals and Charismatics in the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization to reach some common agreement about spiritual warfare. The conference gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, and yielded a consultation document as well as many technical papers published as the book Deliver Us from Evil. Spiritual warfare has also been practiced by non-Christians and in non-Christian countries. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network commentator Carl Moeller, spiritual warfare is practiced even in North Korea, a country that has been described as the most dangerous place on earth to be Christian. Non-Christian media reported on the African spiritual warrior Pastor Thomas Muthee visit to America who prayed over a 2008 presidential candidate. The Nigerian Tribune, the oldest surviving private newspaper in Nigeria, has published articles calling for the need for spiritual warfare.
Expositors of spiritual warfare include, Jessie Penn-Lewis, who published the Pentecostal 1973 book, “War on the Saints”, and Kurt Koch published “Occult ABC”, which contain elements of the concept of spiritual warfare, if not explicitly using the expression. In 1991, C. Peter Wagner published “Confronting the Powers: How the New Testament Church Experienced the Power of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare” and edited “Territorial Spirits”. In 1992, Dr. Ed Murphy wrote a modern 600 page book on the subject, “The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare“, from the point of view of deliverance ministry. Laws of Deliverance, From Proverbs,” 1980, 1983, 1995, 2000, 2003, written by Marilyn A. Ellsworth, is another important Biblical work of authority, as is her book “ICBM Spiritual Warfare, God’s Unbeatable Plan.” Other notable expositions on spiritual warfare were written by Mark Bubeck and Neil Anderson.
Evangelicalism: In the American revival tradition among evangelicals, prominent preachers such as D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, R. A. Torrey and Billy Graham have all affirmed their belief in the existence of the demonic and had occasions to recount some of their own spiritual warfare encounters. In the nineteenth century, one of the major evangelical authorities on demon possession was the missionary to China, John Livingstone Nevius. During the late twentieth century, evangelical writers such as Mark Bubeck and Merrill Unger presented their theological and pastoral response to demonic phenomena. The problem of demon possession and spiritual warfare became the subject of a Christian Medical Association symposium that was held in 1975. This symposium brought together a range of evangelical scholars in biblical studies; theology, psychology, anthropology, and missiology (see Montgomery, Demon Possession). One of the very significant German writers is the Lutheran Kurt Koch whose work has influenced much of both evangelical and charismatic thought in the late twentieth century. The impact of his ideas has been recently examined by the folklore specialist Bill Ellis.
Pentecostalism: Spiritual warfare has become a prominent feature in Pentecostal traditions. The concept is well embedded in Pentecostal history, particularly through Jessie Penn-Lewis’s book War on the Saints arising from the Welsh Revival in the early twentieth century. However, Jessie Penn-Lewis preaches a very different kind of spiritual warfare than that preached by the third-wave Charismatic movement of today – notably C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs. Other Pentecostal and charismatic pastors include Don Basham and Derek Prince, who have emphasized claiming the power of the blood of Christ. Spiritual warfare has been applied to spiritual growth in holiness, or what is technically called sanctification. A preacher may discern that parishioners are experiencing obstacles in their faith, prayer life and general spiritual well-being. That process of discernment may yield an awareness of spiritual oppression caused by a combination of personal sin and demonic influence. The obstacles are then removed through prayer, delivering a parishioner from demonic possession, and breaking down false beliefs about God. Dr. Ed Murphy is the author of a modern 600-page tome on the subject from the point of view of deliverance ministry entitled The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare.
God is breaking demonic forces off lives and bringing deliverance to this generation. The General Overseer of Liberation Power Ministries (End-Time Jesus Army), Pastor Stephen Odede, has been involved in spiritual warfare ministry for many years and he has a special calling in deliverance. This God’s General is involved in biblical practical spiritual warfare and deliverance ministration not the theology of demons, excesses or abuses thereof. With abounding testimonies of captives being set free, empowered in the power of the Holy Spirit and disciple, he is truly God’s General of spiritual warfare and deliverance in this generation. The story of this God’s General is the story behind Liberation Power Ministries a.k.a End-Time Jesus Army (EJA-FORCE). As one who has benefited from this ministry of God’s servant, here is the story the making of God’s General.
The Story of Liberation Power Ministries a.k.a End-Time Jesus Army (EJA-FORCE): Liberation Power Ministries (End-Time Jesus Army), which is a registered Church in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission on the 3rd of March, 1999 was founded by Pastor Odede Stephen on the 24th of November, 1996. It all started in a classroom at Nkpolu primary school in Rumuokokwu village in mile 3, Port Harcourt, Nigeria on the 24th of November, 1996. “For about ten (10) months, the classroom was our place of worship till September, 1997 the Church moved to an open land-a plot of 50ft by 100ft. Temporary structures were built there for worship. Consequently, the piece of land was acquired and the Church continued to grow from strength to strength. In 2001 through the special grace of God we bought about 11.6 plots of land at another area called Elioparanwo village at mile 4, in Port Harcourt at the cost of N2.2million. The land was surveyed and about August, 2002 work commenced there for an eight thousand seater auditorium, the LIBERATION HOUSE. By God’s special provision and supervision, the great project was completed and ready for worship as the Headquarter Church of Liberation Power Ministries. On the 27th of July, 2003, the Church building was commissioned for use by Prophet Nanah Mensah of the Prophetic Prayer Army International with Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Divisional System: To be able to properly Pastor the churches in a city, Liberation Power Ministries operate a Divisional System. The City where the church is located is divided into Divisions. The Divisions are by Divisional Commanders. The Divisions are further sub divided into Prayer Network or Call Units. This is a Home Fellowship System. Brethren in a locality gather in numbers of 5 to 15 as the case may be and gather to prayer for themselves and for the locality where they live every Monday for God’s visitation.
Another reason for such gathering is for brethren to know themselves as people living within an area for care and fellowship and prayers. Each Prayer Network is led by a Prayer Network leader. Prayer Networks meet every Monday from 6pm for about 1hr. 30mins.
The Women’s Brigade: This is the Women’s Department of the Ministry. It is headed by the Assistant General Overseer, Pastor Mrs. Scholar Chika Odede, the wife of the General Overseer. She is the Women’s Brigade Commander (W.B.C). The Women’s Brigade is also called the Women On Fire. This Brigade is divided into 7 (seven) Women’s Groups, led by a woman group leader in the Headquarters church.This Brigade holds, weekly, monthly and annual programmes. It is considered as the most effective department of Liberation Power Ministries. Their Annual Conferences tagged International Women On Fire Conference holds on the last weekened of the month of June, every year. This conference brings together most of the women from all the branch churches from within Nigeria and from other Countries. Both National and International speakers are invited to minister to the women.
Mission & Vision: Liberation Power Ministries is a Christian Church that believes that we are called to fight. The vision and mission is to proclaim liberty to the captives, those who are in one form or the other under the prison of Satan the devil in sicknesses, diseases, poverty, frustration, barrenness, failure, sin and many other predicaments under Satan. We do this through deliverance prayers, spiritual warfare and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that through this means, man could enter into full salvation freedom from sin and all its consequences and total victory over the devil and his kingdom. Those who are rescued or converted through the Gospel are taught to remain in the Lord Jesus Christ, in fellowship with the brethren and are baptized in water as commanded by the Lord. Converts are taught to solely depend on the Bible, God’s word for survival in the world. Those rescued are trained in spiritual warfare to fight the good fight of faith and to rescue others yet in the hands of the devil and also to keep the devil where he belongs (2Tim. 2:2).
Aims and Objectives: The aims and objective therefore, include the following: To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all parts of Nigeria and the world over for the full salvation of sinners. This includes freedom from sins and all its consequences. To serve as a forerunner of the second coming of Jesus Christ by creating awareness of this comings to prepare saints and warn sinners. To establish schools of Ministry for training of ministers and workers for effective ministry. To establish churches whenever converts are made so that they can be taught the scriptures into maturity. To print, publish, produce, compile, collate, develop and freely distribute or sell religious literature in books, cassettes and other instructional materials which are compatible with the aims and objectives of the ministry. Any other future plan or revelation that will be necessary and in line with the aims and objectives of the ministry. You wonder why a Christian Ministry with military dressing. You will want to hear and experience the abounding testimonies of deliverances that made Pastor Stephen Odede and his amiable wife, Revd. Dr. (Mrs.) Scholar Chika Odede truly God’s General. Not done, read next issue.
Dr. Lewis Akpogena