When it comes spiritual warfare, Greg Boyd offers a distinct viewpoint, one from which many of us can learn. In his study, “The Ground-Level Deliverance Model” [I would call his view the Cosmic Battle Model], in Understanding Spiritual Warfare, Boyd presents his theory that the Bible contains gobs of evidence for God at war with the cosmic forces — and he begins by raising a red flag of foul on Augustine for thinking that everything that happens is God’s will. Instead, he argues, the Bible shows a cosmic battle where at times the evil forces have the upper hand in this world.
He sketches the Bible’s material: YHWH and the cosmic waters (Psalm 104), anticreational cosmic monsters (Behemoth, Leviathan, et al), rebel gods of idolatry and the nations, the battle against Satan. Here it is worth trotting out his texts: John 12:31; Luke 4:5-6; Rev. 11:15; 1 John 5:19; Eph. 2:2; Gal. 1:4. [Scroll over these texts and they will appear.]
Boyd thinks the whole of Jesus’ ministry is to be seen in conflictual images: and a good example here is Acts 10:38. Jesus’ refusal to use the powers available was a conflict against the systemic powers of this age.
Many, of course, don’t believe in a world of Satan and evil powers and demons: Bultmann, David O’Connor, Hans Küng, et al. Mythic dimensions don’t rule out that what they myth points to is an ontological reality. He responds: (1) Bultmann’s famous line that it is impossible to believe in science and demons is falsified by the fact that 70% of moderns do! (2) Only naturalistic worldviews make it impossible. (3) Bultmann’s posture is chronocentric, ethnocentric, and elitist — if not uncritical (since so many good studies make this stuff empirical reality again).
Cross-cultural studies, and he highlights Edith Turner, reveal that time and again naturalistic viewpoints cave in to the evidence of real encounters with the powers and spirits. Boyd’s section here is brief but a powerful condensation of important and wide-ranging studies.
He appreciates Wink’s systemic – he calls this postmodernist revisionism – approach but finds the dismissal or denial of the personal and conscious level of satan and the powers inconsistent with the Bible and unnecessary.
So he appeals to Christians today to engage in spiritual warfare with three elements: wake up, live a revolting life style as Jesus did, and stand against demonic oppression and infirmities.