Jentezen Franklin, a writer for CHARISMA and pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia; Gwinnett, Georgia; and Orange County, California, wants to know if Christians have developed a demon-free zone over their lives. According to Franklin:
Scripture tells us that spiritual battles are taking place all around us because we live in two atmospheres at the same time. One is a physical atmosphere that we can see, smell, hear, touch and taste. The other is a spiritual atmosphere that we cannot see with our natural eye or experience with the rest of our natural senses but which is very real.
The devil knows the power of atmosphere, and as believers, we need to know it as well. Whenever possible, Satan will try to tempt you into the wrong atmosphere in order to make it easier for you to fall into sin.
Channeling Frank Peretti, Franklin believes that there is a physical atmosphere (world) that consists of what we can see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Most people call this reality. Franklin believes that there is also a spiritual atmosphere (world) that cannot be seen or experienced with our senses. Most people call this insanity. In this beyond-reality world, Satan and God are busy fighting to the death over the lives of Christians. God wants winners, Satan wants losers. If God is all that Christians such as Franklin say he is, why doesn’t God tell Jesus’ brother to knock it off? Surely the creator of the universe has the power to stop Satan from molesting his children. And if he does has this power, why then is it up to Christians to have demon-free lives? What good is God if he can’t at least be the Orkin man of the spiritual realm, ensuring that Christian lives are demon free.
According to Franklin, yes God is everywhere (omnipresent), but he doesn’t manifest his presence equally. If Christians want God to manifest himself, they need to be living in the “right” atmosphere. The reason that most Christians have demon-infested lives is because they are living on the wrong side of the tracks. If Christians want to be demon-free they must be willing to change where they live.
Franklin reminds Christians that they are at war with Satan, and this war cannot be won through education or money. Instead, poor and stupid Christians are called on to wage war against Satan in the power of Spirit. Franklin must not have a TV in his home. When I turn on any of the dozen Christian channels I am “blessed” to receive with my DIRECTVpackage, all I see are $1,000-suit and Rolex-wearing modern-day Elmer Gantrys attacking Satan’s strongholds. These mighty men of God have no need of more soldiers. Cash, MasterCard and Visa will suffice.
Franklin gives Christians a surefire way they can know whether they are battling demons:
A sure sign of demonic possession is someone empowered with incredible strength. Demons will often energize people in this way (Mark 5). Those who are demon-possessed may have spontaneous reactions of uncontrolled cursing when the name of Jesus Christ is spoken. An evil spirit can cause contortions in facial features and countenance. People’s eyes can become glazed and even roll back in their heads. Their appearances and even their voices will change. When people are set free, they will usually come immediately back into their “right minds.” Their voices will normalize, and you will see a total change in demeanor.
Wait a minute. I thought Franklin was concerned with Christians demon-proofing their lives? If demon-possessed people are the problem, wouldn’t it just be easier to form Demon-Free Colonies® and avoid contact with the demonic denizens of the world? Perhaps Franklin — a seasoned charismatic pastor — knows that there are just as many demons in the church as there are outside. Demons, demons, demons, everywhere. What’s a Christian supposed to do?
Franklin reminds Christians that they are to be demon molesters:
Satan and his demons prefer to do their work without being exposed. They definitely don’t like to be identified and cast out. Demons will resist exposure and will resist anyone who attempts to bring the light of God upon their hidden works. Once the enemy has gained ground and set up the kind of culture he desires, he wants us to buzz off and leave him be.
According to Franklin, the best way to hassle Satan and expose his works is to create a climate of light. In other words, megachurches needs to quit dimming the lights when the praise and worship team strikes up the band. Evidently, when the lights are dimmed Satan and his merry band of demons are free to attack those who are watching the show. Want a demon-proof church? Turn on the damn lights!
Franklin concludes his post with advice for demon-proofing one’s life:
We are to fast, pray, praise, worship, intercede, and stand and wage war in the spiritual realm so that our enemy, the devil, cannot work his way into our lives and squeeze the life out of us, rendering us ineffective for God.
Why, this is what Evangelical pastors have been preaching for as long as I can remember. Generations of Evangelicals have heard that they need to do these things, yet Christians remain every bit as “worldly” and “sinful” as the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. Perhaps it is time for the Franklins of the world to change their message, admitting that the real problem is not Satan and his demons, but human want, need, and desire. Evangelicals continue to “sin” because they are, above all else, human. Instead of blaming negative (sinful, bad) human behaviors on Satan, perhaps it is time to put the blame where it belongs — me and thee. Satan isn’t the problem, humans are. Instead of focusing on mythical beings such as Satan, Franklin would better serve his readers by challenging them to alter their own their behavior.