We are at war.
No, I am not talking about Syria or Afganistan.
Instead, there is a war between good and evil.
Much of the battles of this war are being fought beyond the human eye. These are the battles for the hearts and minds of humanity. Fighting in these battles are the angles of God on one side and on the other side we have demons led by Satan.
How can we protect ourselves that we might not only survive this spiritual onslaught, but also that the side of God will prevail?
We must gird ourselves with the armor of God!
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds:that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6: 11-20 KJV)
The above narrative is one that could easily be heard within a Mormon context. I remember from my teenage years a 10 minute video from the Church Education System of the LDS Church which used the symbolism of the armor of god by making a parallel between an ancient soldier under attack from swords and arrows and a male high school student facing temptation.Yet, the narrative which I outlined above is not from a Mormon text, video, or talk. It is from the book Unseen: Angels, Satan, Heaven, Hell and Winning the Battle for Eternity by Baptist pastor Jack Graham.
Graham makes a passionate case for the reality of heaven and hell, as well as the reality of both angels and the Devil.
In particular, I was struck by Graham’s insistence on the reality of Satan as an actually being. I tend to view Satan in a more figurative sense than as a literal being. I see Satan as the personification of evil (something which is very real). However, this past spring LDS Apostle Elder David A. Bednar emphasized when he visited the Casper Wyoming Stake before we moved that Satan was very much a real being. Graham in Unseen, is also making this point.
Baptists and Mormons disagree on a lot of things. But maybe not as much as we sometimes might think. This may be because we mostly argue about our differences rather than discussing our similarities. In Unseen, Graham makes a number of arguments that Mormons would generally agree with. This is not in anyway the purpose or reason of his book. However, I think we need to spend more time looking common ground. To do that, we should not let vocabulary be the thing to divides us.