Monday, January 20, 2014

The reality of the demonic

File:Ary Scheffer - The Temptation of Christ (1854).jpg
20 Jan 2014
Gavin Ashenden

As the Church of England debates whether or not it should be specific about rejecting the devil at baptism I joined the debate by writing an article for the Church Times.

I wrote to try to convince people that the devil existed.

At one level, ‘professionally’ one might say, that a rather stupid thing to do.

It is not the position that a theologically sophisticated person ought to take; let alone someone who has for a while earned a living and developed a reputation for teaching in a university founded on intellectual competence. So why risk a sneer or two from clever people who are sure that something they have never experienced cannot exist? Because in the summer of 2008 I experienced several direct and overwhelming assaults that were demonic. The worst one I won’t write about here. It lasted three nights and I thought in the middle of it, that it might drive me mad. Of course I suspected a nervous breakdown. But nervous breakdown don’t start at 1.05 a.m. and end about 5.05 am, switching on and off. And anyway, it wasn’t one.

Another one, which I will write a little about here, happened when I went to a small weekly mass in an ancient Church perched on a small volcanic hill with sheer sides in S.W.France. It was the Chapel of St Michael in Le Puy en Velais.

I had gone there to pray before hosting a visit to the Cathedral at Chichester of Vassula Ryden who was going to speak about the True Life in God Messages. I had invited nearly 400 Anglican and 400 Catholic priests to come and hear about the unity to which God was urgently calling the Church.

Mass was only celebrated there once a week. One of the Cathedral clergy used to be dragged in on a rota to do it. I met the celebrant at the steps. I looked closely at his eyes – as I do with most priests. They were clear and good. I could expect a good mass. But what happened was totally outside the boundaries of my expectations and my experience. the rest at Anglican Ink image 

The Bible's Many gods
...The drift of these passages is that the gods—which are sometimes regarded in the Hebrew Bible as fallen angels and arguably are the genesis of Paul’s “principalities and powers”—are condemned to death not simply because of their failure to rule with justice, but more importantly, for their rebellion against their Maker, Yahweh. Their unjust rule of the nations was simply one of many expressions of their rebellion, which was the principal reason for Yahweh’s discipline.

Christians later came to see these two stories in the prophets as allusions to Satan’s fall from grace. Once created as God’s most gifted and beautiful supernatural being, Satan abused his authority and then led a rebellion against Yahweh. God punished him by limiting his authority on earth; he is still the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) but his authority is checked by God’s sovereign purposes, and his final destruction is decreed.

N. T. Wright calls this “creational monotheism,” which means that Yahweh rules over a cosmos thick with not only good angels but also fallen angels masquerading as the true God. Wright insists that “we have very few examples of ‘pure’ monotheism anywhere, including in the Hebrew Bible." ...First Things


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