Demonic Stronghold Liberation
Although clearly biblical, the concept of demonic stronghold deliverance is not a dialectic topic of intimate church of Christ familiarity. As church of Christ publications are researched for the topic of demonic strongholds, virtually nothing is found. However, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, Paul clearly addresses the concept. In addition to that, the theme and all of its variables stream from Genesis to Revelation, using terminology such as fortress, stronghold, defenced city, etc. In this brief article entry we do not have time to thoroughly analyze the historicity of biblical strongholds, but it is important to note that, originally and by divine design, God is our true stronghold. In Nahum 1:6-8 the Bible states, “Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.”
Not only is God the true stronghold of His people and kingdom, He has fashioned His elect as strongholds or defenced cities. This will be clarified when we illustrate and define the concept of demonic strongholds, yet God said to Jeremiah, “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. 18For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city [stronghold], and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land” (Jeremiah 1:17-18). He also said “I have set thee for a tower and a fortress [stronghold] among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way” (Jeremiah 6:27).
The concept of demonic stronghold liberation and deliverance is a critical conversation for churches of Christ because we have spent the duration of our multiple epochs on the embrace of doctrinal principles without the holistic instructional embrace of God relationally. Because of our instructionally imbalanced approach to studying, learning, teaching, preaching, and evangelizing, many Christians exist as vessels filled with scriptural knowledge, yet simultaneously in possession of weak roots, unable to handle storms, trials, and episodes of testing. Investigation of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 starts the study of sin, not simply as what should or should not be done; but as a process of exploring its spiritual psychology.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
For the purpose of stronghold congregational study and in accordance with 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 we define demonic strongholds as “The arguments and reasoning used to justify or rationalize the practice of un-Christian behavior in the face of God or another person, who is trying to provide beneficial wisdom, correction, or guidance. In its origin the concept refers to fortified military strong-walled fortresses, but for 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 it represents fraudulent arguments, used by a person to seek psychological shelter (a safe place) in order to escape reality, accountability, and responsibility.”
It is very important to understand that when operating under the influence of our demonic stronghold(s), they represent the excuses we make to justify ungodly behaviors, comments, addictions, lusts, or decisions. Critically we must also express that by design, strongholds are easy to defend but difficult to attack. When a person seeks to correct or admonish us for the manifestation of our demonic stronghold, we are quick with a retort of justification, rationalization, blame, or excuse. The defense is quickly at hand and such a disposition prevents a Christian from exercising his/her true vocation in Christ at the highest level.
Strongholds are not simply the work of Satan, they represent elements that the individual nurtures, feeds, and protects. Demonic strongholds are not about what the devil does to a person, they are about how a person mentally and cosmically protects their sin or un-Christian behavior(s), often times through a psychological process coined as cognitive dissonance. However, all the devil needs for the process to begin is a place or foothold in the life of a saint. Paul said “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:25-27).
A place or foothold is defined as a portal/place/room/region/opportunity, power, occasion for acting, or holy place of idolatry. From a demonic standpoint the process starts small but the ultimate goal is to spiritually oppress sinners and saints, transforming them into living and walking vessels of idolatry. The devil wants to make you his high place.
We have spoken a lot about the essence of sin in our physical and cosmic world, but we have spent limited time discussing sin as a demonic stronghold. Again, sin is generically discussed as what we do or do not do and it results in people leading double and triple lives. However, the discussion of demonic stronghold liberation, allows us to investigate and discover the spiritual complexities of sin, thus learning how to engage in the battle of spiritual warfare.
Because of demonic strongholds congregations:
- Fail to show proper reverence to God and His kingdom
- Do not grow
- Remain divided
- Struggle with strife
- Cannot successfully evangelize
- Refrain from ordaining elders and deacons
- Remain stuck in a dead form of praise and worship
- Cannot exemplify Christian love
- Cannot develop deep invested relationships
- View assembly attendance as a chore
As a preacher the study results are fascinating, liberating, and transformative. The study creates a language and levels the playing field for all saints, regardless of office or status, to become vulnerable and supportive of each other from a Kingdom perspective, while we all strive to reach our heavenly destination. We encourage you to engage and apply the study to your Christian walk. You will not be dissatisfied.
In conclusion just note that strongholds do not have a grip on the individual, the individual has a strong grip on the sin, and that makes it a stronghold.
Dr. Ammar Saheli