We have a fascination, particularly amongst Pentecostals, that is easily understandable, with high octane services and the demonstration of the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts and services are necessary; after all, we were birthed in the experience and demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Yet we have allowed ourselves to a large degree, to believe things about Biblical pursuit. Things that are not oriented around a solid and in-depth study like the Apostle Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 2:15.
When Gurnall, a Puritan preacher from England picked up the letter to Ephesus and looked into the sixth division of that letter, he discovered an essential facet of spiritual warfare. Before we dip into the pages of his book, it ought to be understood that spiritual warfare is very real:
It exists in your world.
It exists in mine.
It is very, very real.
And you will fight, or you will die.
The trouble, though, begins with our approach to that war. Gurnall approaches it in reverse order, this is different than we Apostolics typically have approached it, which makes this book incredibly important. Perhaps a reminder is important here: the epistles were, before the divisions of chapters and recorded subdivision, a letter that follows a progression; as a healthy thought process ought. This letter of Ephesians represents God’s idea of how to win in a spiritual fight. Thus, we often jump to the final instruction of spiritual warfare, prayer, instead of focusing on the necessity of Paul’s teaching. It is a mistake that Gurnall does not make; he is extremely thorough with the armor before he gets to the necessity of prayer. How many of us have heard the emphasis of the loins girt with truth, a breastplate of righteousness, and footwear of peace as THE method of fighting? Likely not many of us, particularly concerning prayer as the major focus. Let that statement soak in, not as a dismissal of prayer, but of the great and grave dismissal of how to stay alive in this fight.
This comprehensive and extremely helpful book can perhaps be attributed to the time in which it was penned, where time moved far more slowly. Despite the press of time in our lives, the admonition of study cannot be compressed. It will require time, and in great quantity.
Are we really so ignorant of Satan’s devices that we would go to war naked?
When the book approaches the garments of spiritual warfare, the emphasis is laser-sharp and immensely examined. I suppose the same question ought to occur that occurred to me as I worked through this grand book. Are we really so ignorant of Satan’s devices that we would go to war naked? That is the precise takeaway from this book IF we do not individually work through the God-ordained clothing, understanding it, preparing it, and putting it on.
This book deserves its place beside the greatest of Christian literature, alongside Pilgrims Progress and the others of that stratosphere. It belongs in libraries, dog eared and marked up, highlighted and used as an adjunct to studying and pursuit of fighting.