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Authority over Territorial Spirits

© George Hartwell M.Sc. - all rights reserved, 2007. About Us

Although Peter Wagner and others have taught that "binding" Satan or high level principalities or powers is the way to do Spiritual Warfare, My mentors say it is not.  This "binding" type of spiritual warfare is bad for your health, your wealth, your family togetherness.

You have been told that "binding" Satan or principalities is Biblical.  This is based on a misreading of scripture.  A fuller understanding of the passages often quoted will show that it is not really Biblical.

Taking authority of territorial spirits is not really effective.  Those who teach it will often excuse the bad results with comments like: "Satan always attacks back when you are getting the victory."  These teachers normalize defeat and Satanic attack making it seem like you are winning.  Wrong!  They have just learned to excuse and defend bad teaching and bad fruit.

I need to explain that those who practice these practices of naming and binding Satan and high level principalities and powers will find themselves under attack from dark forces.  They will find that things go wrong around employment - keeping and getting a job - and finances - things drain away or block finances.  In every area of life: health, relationships, safety, family and children new and unusual problems will develop until you would think you are under a curse.

If you feel like your life is under a curse; if finances seemed to be slipping out the door, accidents and breakdowns keep happening, health problems accumulate; it may be a 'curse' caused by sinful arrogant practices.  'Binding' type spiritual warfare is not only not effective, much worse, it will bring destruction into your life and family.

By the way, we are NOT talking about the deliverance ministry or cleansing of your own home, church or territory.  Deliverance and house cleansing can be done in healthy ways without undue naming of evil and demonic forces.

God inhabits the praises of his people, because naming a spirit invokes or calls for it.  Spirits came when they are invoked.

Naming (invocation, calling upon) should focus primarily on the names and character of God, just as our praise and worship goes to God.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  God's presence manifests as we praise him.  The annointing that breaks the yoke is invoked as we praise and worship God.

Christian teachers and mentors that I respect - John Dawson, Leanne Payne, John Paul Jackson, John and Paula Sandford, and Judson Cornwall - have seen and taught on the danger in 'binding principalities.'

I thank God for Leanne Payne's warning about this practice at the PCM that I attended.  This warning resulted in an immediate change of practice on my part and change in my life circumstances.

Sometimes painful, sometimes embarassing experiences have lead these respected teachers to this understanding.  With Judson Cornwall it was an embarrasing rebuke of his practice of binding the demons during his worship service.

"Binding" leads to more spiritual attack

Leanne Payne was subject to painfully distrubing spiritual attack.  She had asked for Christians to provide prayer coverage.  They did.  An over-zealous group assured her that they had prayed for her conference by 'binding' the principalities in the area. 
This was the worse experience of spiritual warfare her group ever experienced.  She learned to be careful about who prays for her and how they pray.  Also, she now teaches that it is arrogant and unwise to "name and bind" territorial spirits in a prideful attempt to exercise authority over territorial spirits.

'Binding' brings an Embarrassing Rebuke

Judson Cornwall was rebuked by the Lord for 'worshipping demons.'  He was shocked and embarrased and a little confused.  Leading a church that was moving into the deliverance ministry (I have no fundamental objection with a well managed deliverance ministry, by the way), he often felt obliged to publically bound the demons that interefered with the worship service. He was embarassed to be told that the demons enjoyed the attention - 'worship' - they get from such prayers. Demons would invite others to come and get in on the attention. 
Judson Cornwall learned to praise God and worship.  He learned that a prideful attempt to exercise authority over territorial spirits attracts them to you!  Oops.

Are conditions ever right for 'binding territorial spirits?'

There are those who are cautious about binding territorial spirits but who hold out that sometimes conditions are right and then those in authority can exercise authority over territorial spirits.  They state (I believe wrongly) that under certain conditions the Body of Christ is given authority over territorial spirits.  Is that true?
Here is a experience that runs contrary to that belief.
John Dawson was part of a group that experienced a startling failure of a well-intended attempt by a local Chief to exercise authority over a local territorial spirit.  It was during a powerful outdoor conference and worship service that included native Maori chiefs from the area.  There had been times of reconciliation of ancient wounds and divisions.  There was a wonderful outflow of the Spirit of God.
During this time of annointing a native Christian chief took authority over a territorial spirit believed by the Maories to be over a local mountain.  As soon as he did this the chief was struck down.  The chief became ill right on the spot. With prayer he was restored,  but a lesson was learned.
John Dawson believes reconciliation and healing of wounds between groups and peoples.  He makes use of identificational repentance.  In his book "Taking Our Cities for God," cities are 'taken' by healing wounds between groups not by taking authority over territorial spirits.

Needless Casualties of 'Spiritual Warfare'

John Paul Jackson in "Needless Casualties of War" describes a congregation that began naming and binding the 'spirit of abortion' over their city.  It took a dream and a revelation to Mr. Jackson to explain a strange phenomenon  - the  pregnant women in the congregation were having trouble carrying children to term.  Three pregnancies were at risk at the same time!  The pastor contacted John Paul Jackson and asked for his discernment.
God revealed to John Paul Jackson that certain types of prayer against territorial spirits are not only ineffective but dangerous.  In this case a dangerous backlash accured in exactly the area that the congregation was praying against.  However, this problem corrected itself when the congregation confessed the pride and repented of this form of 'Spiritual Warfare'  and the mothers were able to carry their children to term.

Career and Finances - a Personal Experience

When I participated in this type of so-called spiritual warfare, I found my career interupted. I lost my first job after completing my graduate degree.  I wandered in a vocational desert for a few years.  I was not able to save money.  I could not fulfill my career aspirations.  I returned to live with my mother and worked in a warehouse. 
I now believe that I exposed my career and finances to enemy attack when I undertook aggressive and arrogant spiritual warfare involving binding territorial spirits.
These prayers removed the normal healthy protection that I call "hiddedness in Christ."  Me and my supply lines were exposed to the enemy is the result.  One impact of exposure is that God's supply in terms of career and finances was reduced to a trickle. 
Poverty is the result when financial supply lines are exposed to enemy attack.  I have observed poverty in the lives of all others among my acquintance, who used the prayer method of  "binding" Satan or naming and binding territorial spirits
One dedicated Christian couple had ongoing financial struggles and problems with their teen son.
Another strong Christian lost job, marriage, and health.  He moved far away from his wife and children in misery and defeat.
As long as these people persisted in these practices this state of defeat continued and deepened in their lives.

For a safe way to pray for protection see: www.Listening-prayer.com






Other web sites dealing with authority over territorial spirits that share the perspective of John Dawson, Leanne Payne, John Paul Jackson, John Sandford and Judson Cornwall:


see the topic Myth # 6: Spiritual warfare against territorial spirits opens the door for effective evangelism.

A Supportive Perspective

The Dangers of Unhealthy Spiritual Warfare - a blog post by Rose H. - July 5, 2011

Some months ago I came across an article on a website about the dangers of unhealthy spiritual warfare. This article was an eye opener for me.Reading it was like having an epiphany of sorts, as previous events in my life finally made sense. I finally had an explanation as to why I had experienced some of the most horrible demonic oppression over a period of 2 to 3 years in my life. It was due to the fact that I'd been engaging in unhealthy spiritual warfare prayers.

In the summer of 2007 I acquired a book from a spiritual mentor called "Violent Warfare Breakthrough and Deliverance  Prayers". This was what I thought I needed as it contained prayers for every scenario. Commanding the morning, prayers against untimely death, against these different sicknesses, backsliding, late marriage and prosperity are some of the areas it covered. I remember using a prayer against asthma and allergies and getting some deliverance and feeling like yes this was the thing for me.

I continued praying  every prayer in the book every day for a period of almost 4 months and then off and on in the months after. As time wore on I experienced a lot of weird happenings and oppression but it never occurred to me that I was attracting these things to myself because of those prayers. The explanation the proponents of these prayers give is that it is natural for warfare to increase when you start using them, but it will lessen as you get the victory. I have yet to get the "victory".

I had the opportunity last year to meet the author of this book and when I asked him how he came up with the prayers, he didn't answer me. At first I felt as though I'd done something wrong or had been disrespectful by asking but now I realize I wasn't out of place for asking. It was a valid question.

Instead of experiencing victory, I experienced a couple of  incidents where I could have been killed, had several sleepless nights due to overwhelming demonic oppression, several bad dreams with dark spiritual themes some of which would play out in the day when I was a wake, unhealthy relationships which were clearly being influenced by dark elements and physical sickness.

I had so many open doors in my life due to these prayers and possibly due to some covenants made  in church in the following year, that as I flew over the various territories from my country to the UK I could hear, sense and in one instance see the powers of the air in the regions as we flew. It was a most disconcerting and harrowing experience. I have experienced some depths of darkness as a result of these open doors.

 My life felt apart more or less in the coming year and I wasn't able to perform up to my normal excellent standards in my post- graduate course due to the level of oppression. I faced war and demonic oppression at every turn. The author of the www.HealMyLife.com website spoke about being set back a few years in his career as a result of this kind of prayer. I now believe that I have been similarly disadvantaged as a result of engaging in this kind of warfare. I am a good 3 or 4 years behind of where I should be because of the bad things which happened to hinder me when I was studying after having engaged in this kind of prayer.

When I was in the UK, it felt as  though I completely lost my "mojo" or what people in church call favour. I could sense it and very little worked out in my favour. After coming to my breaking point, I sought out a deliverance minister who told me afterwards that I had been delivered from pretty sick stuff. When I asked him how it got there so that I could avoid ending up in the same predicament again, he said he had no idea. Some of it was ancestral but now from what I now know, I believe that I ended up with that high level of oppression due to the fact that I'd been engaging in unhealthy spiritual warfare.

So my advice is to stay away. Stay very far away.

But if you, like myself, have found yourself in this predicament. There are 3 sure fire things that will work to bring relief: repentance, prayer and fasting. I can't say how long it will take to recover from the effects but I know that recovery is possible.

Even today, as I write this, I am still reeling from the effects. But the great thing is I'm recovering. I have been getting relief by using the 3 things I mentioned above. I've found fasting to be especially effective. A one day fast may not do it but if you are willing to persevere then healing will come.

 From blog post:  Dangers of Unhealthy Spiritual Warfare by Rose H.

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E-mail: e-mail G Hartwell

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