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On spiritual warfare

7 July 2011

Have Canadians won the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil? Or have they lost the battle? Or have they just run away from it and given up the fight?
This post on Urban Ministry Live And Unplugged: Mennonite Missionaries made me wonder:

I met this morning with Canadian Mennonite missionaries Andrew and Karen Suderman. Among other things, they are establishing an Anabaptist network in Southern Africa. I asked them what theological differences they have found between Canada and South Africa. Among other things, they said that spiritual warfare is big in our local Churches, yet typically doesn’t feature in Canada.

That comment raises all sorts of questions, the most obvious of which is “what do you mean by ‘spiritual warfare’?”

And then, as I said, I wonder if it means that Canadians have won, lost or copped out.

It is a statement that begs to be unpacked.

Yesterday we had a synchroblog about the Wild Goose festival, and this puts me in mind of one of the very early synchroblogs, which was on the topic of spiritual warfare, and, interestingly enough, very few of the bloggers who participated bothered to define the term or say what they thought it meant. And, perhaps also significantly, most of them were Protestants from North America.

My contribution to that synchroblog is at Notes from underground: Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare (synchroblog) and I still think it is one of the best blog posts I ever wrote.

I’d like to invite Andrew Suderman (and others) to read that, and then to explain what he means by “spiritual warfare”, and say whether he thinks the reason it isn’t big in Canada is that Canadians have won, or lost, or copped out — or something else.

And, as always, anyone else can comment too (though spam comments, will, as usual, be deleted).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Irulan permalink
    7 July 2011 11:59 am

    Have you met Andrew yet, Steve? His family are friends with the de Gruchys. He’s keen on theological / missional dialogue and publishes an e-zine ‘A Peaceful Perspective’ with good content. Andrew & Karen visited our mission last month, and I was able to help Cobus vW find a venue for their conference in Jhb. Great couple.

    • 8 July 2011 4:59 am

      Yes, I met him last year when he came to speak at a gathering of the Tshwane Peace Group (which fell apart immediately afterwards because some thought it was “too religious”, though that wasn’t Andy’s fault). I’m quite interested in learning more about the differences between Canadian and South African perspectives on spiritual warfare because I suspect that there are a huge bunch of unexamined assumptions and hidden agendas behind that simple phrase, which can cause a great deal of misunderstanding a failure to communicate. Am I alone in this?

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