Stringfellow equates the biblical â€œprincipalityâ€ to modern-day â€œideologiesâ€ or â€œinstitutionsâ€ or â€œimagesâ€. He talks about the principality of Hitlerâ€™s â€œimageâ€ eventually possessing himâ€”where Hitler surrendered to his image in the struggle for control. Public image is a principality that can become demonic in proportion. He also talks about how invitations to serve an institution are often invitations to bondage. He calls them â€œangelic powersâ€. He asserts that demonic doesnâ€™t mean evil, but that it refers to death and fallenness. â€œNo man escapes enduring the claims for allegiance and service of the principalities. For a man to live in the state of fallenness is to endure these very claimsâ€. â€œA profound concern for self-survival is the governing morality of every principalityâ€¦ by this a man is judgedâ€ (An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens In a Strange Land, p. 63).
Iâ€™m thinking a lot about this idea these days as it relates to the church. When the church becomes self-possessed… overly concerned with its image, influence, and effectiveness, and when it becomes obsessed with its own survival, it is possessed by a power. And the invitations to serve this institution are invitations to bondage.
As a Christian, church-member and pastor, this is of GREAT concern to me!