CASTING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Paul is speaking here of spiritual strongholds and they are like natural strongholds to a degree. So we are talking about a fortress, much like Masada in Israel. This high mountain fortress towers above the Dead Sea and the surrounding area. This mountain retreat is almost impenetrable. We see in this verse that things like arguments and pretensions can also become strongholds, and these fortresses almost defy conquest. They challenge us, humiliate us, bewilder us and often defeat us.
Here we have a biblical mandate to cast these strongholds down and to overcome them. God has given us spiritual tools to accomplish this. Long ago, David and his men conquered the ancient stronghold Jebus or Jerusalem. That stronghold then became his capital and later it became known as Zion, thus becoming the central focus of Judeo/Christian teaching.
In our postmodern world we have many strongholds but there is not space to deal with them all in this article. Rather, let us focus on three very prominent strongholds in our day.
THE STRONGHOLD OF PSEUDO-PHILOSOPHY
There is nothing wrong with true philosophy. Philosophy is defined as the love of wisdom and knowledge. For instance, the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke (1632 –1704) proposed numerous good ideas on how a government should operate. Many of his views were incorporated into the US Declaration of Independence, things like inalienable rights, the pursuit of happiness, etc. So we can’t say that all philosophy is bad. Nevertheless, other philosophers have bequeathed to us a dreadful and blighted heritage.
The Greeks had a love of wisdom and knowledge – but it is interesting that they never found the knowledge of God. Strangely, this knowledge was unknown to them (Acts 17:23). We are heirs of their knowledge today and much of that knowledge is defective and based upon human pride. There is the old story of the poor farmer who managed to send his son off to college. When the boy returned for a holiday the father asked what he had learned. The son proudly spouted off, “Pi r squared!” The dad was crestfallen and shamed the boy saying, “Son, we have spent all this money on you, and now you tell us that pie are square. We all know that pie are round.”
The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Cor. 3:19). Today our society and the church is being overwhelmed with this pseudo philosophy. For instance, the Father of Modern Philosophy, René Descartes, came up with the idea, “I think, therefore I am.” With his idea he subtly shifted reality to the mind. People say today, “I think homosexuality is OK,” or “ I think abortion or adultery are all OK.” “If I think all these are true, they are true for me.” Several French postmodern philosophers have jumped on this bandwagon and have virtually destroyed truth in our society. Even in the church today we have millions who feel that what they think is “truth,” although it may have no connection with reality or the Bible.
The twentieth-century founders of this post-modernistic thought are generally felt to be Michael Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and Richard Rorty. Together they assure us that there is no universal standard of truth. Truth is what we think it is in our minds.
According to recent surveys, seventy percent of Americans now no longer believe in the existence of absolute truth, and few have confidence in the historical accuracy or ethical authority of the Bible.1 How clearly this situation seems to fulfilll Romans 1:25, where it is said: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…” It is surely interesting that the pseudo philosophers are happy to discount the laws relating to truth, but we do not see them discounting the laws relating to gravity.
THE STRONGHOLD OF PSEUDO-SCIENCE
There is a realm of true science and we all depend upon it daily. Yet, there is a rapidly growing realm of pseudo-science and it has become almost a “sacred cow” in our society. A great deal of this pseudo-science is based on Darwinism and even upon previous Greek ideas of evolution. In this modern pseudo-science there is absolutely no room for God or for the supernatural. Today for any person in the sciences to suggest that there is a supernatural cause for the universe it is tantamount to committing professional suicide.
Strangely, modern science had its beginning mostly with Christians. Alvin Plantinga states, “Modern Western empirical science originated and flourished in the bosom of Christian theism and originated nowhere else.” 2 We quickly think of Christian names like Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Roger Cotes. All these were great scientists but also great believers in God.
Today as scientists try to discount God they are moving more and more into the realm of mythology and make-believe. As Australian molecular biologist and medical doctor, Michael Denton, has stated, “One might have expected that a theory of such cardinal importance [Evolution], a theory that literally changed the world, would have been something more than metaphysics… Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.” 3
Scientists can be wrong. Actually the “scientific” theory of “Spontaneous Generation,” proposing that life originated from spoiled meat, pond water, and other such things, held sway for over 2,100 years. It was believed until Dr. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) finally disproved it.4
Amazingly, “From the time of Aristotle, 2,300 years ago, scientific theory held the universe to be eternal…Through the early 1960s in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, two thirds of leading U.S. scientists surveyed believed it. For 3,300 years, since the revelation on Sinai, the Bible denied it, steadfastly claiming there was a beginning to our universe.” 5 How recently has science caught up with religion!
THE STRONGHOLD OF PSEUDO-PSYCHOLOGY
Again, there is a genuine field of psychology that is beneficial to humanity, but there is another field of pseudo-psychology that has been very detrimental to us all. Much of this false psychology began with the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his emphasis on counseling and psychotherapy. Freud often linked his work to the sexual drive and this might explain its amazing popularity, especially in the West.
Doctor E. Fuller Torrey, who served as a clinical and research psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., has written the book called Freudian Fraud, and has much to say about the man. Freud was deep into the occult and periodically consulted soothsayers, who were alleged to have telepathic powers. He was more interested in psychical research than in psychoanalysis. Not only was he deep into the occult but he was enthusiastic about the use of cocaine in his work. There were times when he used it himself. 5 We also need to understand that Freud, Jung, Rogers, Maslow and other leading psychologists were avowed enemies of Christianity.
Today many of Freud’s theories have been disproved. We know now that genetics have much more to do with human nature than psychological quirks. Many human problems of living are self-limiting (like grief) and do not really need psychological treatment. Some problems are simply the result of sin and they should not be relegated to syndrome, like abuse of alcohol for instance. If problems can be labeled as syndromes, it happily excuses the person of any responsibility. Generally, false psychology has left us blaming other people for our sins and faults.
Many problems of living that were once handled nicely by a faithful pastor or loving friend are now turned over to the trained psychologist. However, study after study has shown that the trained psychologist does no better than the pastor or untrained friend. Dr. Hans Eysenck in his research has noted, “on the whole, psychoanalysis treatment ranks slightly worse than those who receive no treatment at all.” 7
The psychoanalysis industry is an industry based on profit. Even leading psychologists are now beginning to speak out against it and are labeling it as a fraud. It is now being shown up as a sinister attempt to replace Christianity and simple Bible counsel.
HOW DO WE BRING DOWN THESE AND MANY MORE STRONGHOLDS?
We need to get better informed about what the world is believing, thinking and doing. We cannot attempt to bring down strongholds unless we have some understanding of them. In other words, we need to start by adding some knowledge to our faith (2 Pet. 1:5). Modern and postmodern Christians have been woefully negligent at this point. Remember, Paul was familiar with and sometimes even quoted from the ancient writers (Acts 17:28; Tit. 1:12-13).
Church people can begin to cure this problem by making a few trips to the local library and checking out some introductory books in these and other areas. Then we need to add some careful Bible study plus a lot of spiritual reflection and much prayer.
We can see that in the realms of philosophy, science and psychology, deceitful men have sought to totally remove God and the Bible from the great fields of study. It is surely time to reclaim this lost ground. Once more we need to take our stand firmly on the Word of God and hold on to Jesus with all our might. The Bible promises us in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
1 David S. Dockery, ed., The Challenge of Postmodernism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), p. 365.
2 Alvin Plantinga, Where The Conflict Really Lies, Science, Religion, and Naturalism(New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 266.
3 Michael Denton, Evolution A Theory In Crisis, (Bethesda, Maryland, Adler & Adler, Publishers, Inc., 1985), p 385.
4 Dr. Carl Werner, Evolution: The Grand Experiment (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2007), pp. 12-22.
5 Gerald Schroeder, The Science of God (NY: Free Press, 1997), p. 22.
6 E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. Freudian Fraud, The Malignant Effect of Freud’s Theory on American Thought and Culture, (NY: Harper Collins Books, 1992). pp. 9-10.
7 Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Stop Counseling! Start Ministering! (Santa Barbara, CA: East Gate Publishers, 2011). p. 83.
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