As families and communities mourn another grievous act of violence, political pundits rally with vehement demands for gun control and, to a lesser degree, a call for expansion of mental health services. A separate post would be needed to address the inadequacy of gun control. Mental health is a vital component, addressing individuals’ emotional suffering and instability but would it really prevent violence?
Martyn Lloyd Jones presented a teaching, undated but prior to his death in 1981, entitled, Not Against Flesh And Blood. To expedite a concise review I will merely post some quotes taken therein. (emphasis in quotes are his)
Chapter 1: The Forces of Evil and the Nations
“Christians are not merely good men and women…they are essentially new people…partakers of the divine nature, the life of God enters into our souls and the Holy Spirit dwells within us.”
“Consequently, anything that happens to Christian men and women immediately becomes a test of who they are and what they believe as Christians.”
“‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’. And that, according to the Bible, is the ultimate explanation of the whole of human history, both biblical and secular.”
“Why do wars happen at all? The tragedy today is that people do not seek the causes…Nor do wars come about merely for political reasons…These evils are entirely the result of the operation of the devil and principalities and powers…They are all the work of the devil as he operates both upon individuals and upon larger groups.”
“...the devil produces lawlessness”.
“He insinuates thoughts into the mind and we are not aware of it.”
While much of this chapter addresses the evils of war, the principles therein are applicable to individual acts of violence and lawlessness. Martyn Lloyd Jones also outlines ‘The Christian’s Duty’ amid social and national uprises and war,
“Christians are to aid the state and the government that is appointed of God in its task of arresting and subjugating, as far as is possible, the forces of evil.”
However, “…a man or woman who believes that any league, union or organization will banish war has never understood the spiritual teaching of the Bible. They are thinking in terms of flesh and blood, and do not understand human nature. They have no knowledge of the devil and the principalities and powers of evil.”
“Men and women will never introduce an era of peace.”
“Anything is possible from humanity in sin…wars and strife will go on until the arrival of God’s appointed day, the day of the Lord…There is a definite end to history….a day when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come back as the King of kings…And He will destroy every enemy: the devil, the principalities and powers, the very rulers of this darkness, this spiritual wickedness in high places. They will all be finally destroyed.”
In chapter 2 Lloyd Jones discusses ‘The Manifestation of Evil Powers’, including demonology, the activities of evil powers specifically in witchcraft, mesmerism, astrology, and magic. In chapter 3 are warnings for those who partake in any form of spiritualism.
The focus of chapter 4 is Demon Possession. As a medical doctor, Martyn Lloyd Jones outlines the distinctions between a medical condition and demon possession, “In devil possession there is always a failure to conform to any known pattern of symptoms for a disease.” and “…there are certain unusual symptoms which are not found in clinical diseases.” Strange and unusual behavior, including violence, is noted here.
He points to examples of known demon possession, “We are aware today of the fact that one personality can command and control and direct another.”
Over 50 years ago Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote,
“…today – in an age of moral declension, in an age of godlessness, in an age of excesses, in an age when people no longer believe in God…When education becomes purely secular and denies the Bible entirely and denies God…though people become sophisticated and have a knowledge of a kind, it is not sufficient to withstand the onslaught of these evil powers.”
Fifty years later, these truths are personified by a plethora of demonic influences within our schools, media, entertainment – nearly every cultural outlet. Allurements all to self-gratification, self-glorification, and every evil thought to fuel and ignite behavior.
Social initiatives and new laws will not curb the ongoing violence in our streets and schools, that’s like fighting a fire breathing dragon with a toothpick.
There is nothing in our purview powerful enough to address increasing wanton violence. As believers, our strength comes from separation, shutting in with the Lord through prayer and His living word. Only through the Holy Spirit can we gain understanding and the unction to minister in our communities amid the powers of darkness.