WAR ON THE SAINTS! Why, most Christians do not even know there is a war on. The Church has not dealt with the powers of darkness as an enlightened and united body. Here and there, individuals have been raised up by God to make significant inroads into the vast territory over which the devil holds such undisputed sway. Jessie Penn-Lewis was one of these isolated warriors.
Today, nearly fifty years after her death, her books are still widely read by Christians and deservedly so, but there is a significant exception: her most important book, War on the Saints, written in collaboration with the famous Welsh revivalist, Evan Roberts, is only available in an abridged version. There are many books which can be abridged without losing content, but in the case of War on the Saints the word "abridged" is certainly the wrong one simply because the main thrust of her vital book was eliminated in the abridged and emasculated version. The editors based their decision to discontinue the original version "first and foremost" on their rejection of the important teaching regarding demon influence on Christians.
In this century God has restored to the Church a good measure of the pentecostal power and authority so vividly demonstrated in the early church. Numbers of believers received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. As they entered into conflict with the powers of darkness, they began to discover the presence and activity of evil spirits not only in unbelievers, but to their surprise and even shock, also in Christians. When Jessie Penn-Lewis made this discovery, she was misunderstood and her teaching misinterpreted. Nevertheless, she did not retreat from the light she received but rather continued in her direct conflict with the hosts of evil and, in the workshop of her suffering and experience and warfare, she forged the weapon of her work, War on the Saints, in collaboration with Evan Roberts.
Since its first edition, two world wars have left their devastating after effects upon the institutions of our civilization, and we find ourselves today in the midst of the dissolution of the structures of our society. As long as they remained stable, the Church, as one of its institutions, seemed to be solid and functional. Today, however, the institutional church is made manifest as a spiritual failure because she did not discern the numerous deceptions of Satan at work among her ministers and members. The degenerative process, begun long ago, is nearing its climax in our time when many churchmen and members make themselves the champions of every wicked cause pushed by the enemy.
The spiritual, that is, the mature Christian understands that it is Satan and his wicked spirits who move powerfully behind the events of our time. Dare Christians believe that they are exempt from the influence of demons?
What happens to a man who is born again? Do the Scriptures teach that the new birth includes automatic expulsion of demons? Ephesians 2:1-3 clearly teaches that all human beings are under the influence of the evil one and that his influence over mankind is exercised by evil spirits. "We all" were in this condition. But in the new birth, the infant believer has his sins forgiven. His spirit—formerly dead in trespasses and sins—is made alive by the Spirit of God and he receives power to become a son of God. He now begins to have the power to overcome the very things which enslaved him before. What a marvelous change from victim of sin to victor, join victor with Christ! But nowhere does the Scripture or experience teach that the new birth automatically eliminates demon influence or bondage, or for that matter, all of the carryovers of the old man such as tempers, moods, lusts, envyings, selfishness, prejudice, to name a few. The born again believer must learn to take up his cross, deny himself and die daily; he must walk in the Spirit lest he fulfil the lusts of his flesh. Hopefully, he will also press on to find his rightful place in the plan of God and effectual functioning in the Body of Christ. The process of growing up in Christ is usually painful, though the result is glorious. The most painful part is the discovery of certain areas in which the believer has been deceived. How we can understand and deal with deception is the thrust of War on the Saints.
If the believer cooperates intelligently and obediently with God, he will in due time become more a mature and spiritual Christian. He will enter into the experience of that great verse, "He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed," which for most Christians is theology rather than an experienced reality.
The casting out of demons is to be one of the signs that follow Christians in their ministry (Mark 16:17). But casting out of demons from whom? From the unregenerate only? Not so, but demons shall also be cast out of bound and deceived believers in order to set them free. Holding certain Biblical doctrines or glorying in his belief in the inerrancy of the Bible does not provide a refuge for the believer from the countless wiles of the enemy. All men are the objects of Satan's devices, but after conversion his attempts to deceive and, if possible, to control him, increase.
Much of the spiritual activity of our age emanates from the bottomless pit. If Christians everywhere accurately understood what is happening spiritually, they would arm themselves for the final onslaught the enemy is preparing and thus escape the last great deception. It is time for more than isolated warriors to press the battle to the very gates and for a large body of believers to arise to meet the challenge of the deceiver openly.
To further the preparation of believers for this warfare, the full version of War on the Saints is published in this ninth edition. This book is certainly not an easy ten-step method of how to deal with the devil. It is rather a text book which should be read carefully and prayerfully by those who desire to be set free themselves from every deception and work of darkness and by those who yearn to see the liberation of fellow believers in bondage and deception. Much ground needs to be recovered from the foe and War on the Saints will be of vital help to the warring and conquering saints.
Though War on the Saints was first published 60 years ago, its application to the times has distinctly increased with the passing of the years, because Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote the work with keen prophetic insight. The workings of Satan she so clearly perceived in her day, when they were not yet apparent to most, had the unmistakable earmarks of the endtime. Many of the conditions she foresaw then are being fulfilled in our day.
There are other books dealing with the subject of demon influence, but from a different point of view. They relate specific cases and their cure or attempted cure. War on the Saints, however, deals with the nature of the work of demons and their methods and tactics. It is the only book on this important subject. Case histories can be enlightening by way of illustration, but without the underlying knowledge of the subject - a science: Demonology - they will not help the believer to deal effectively with the enemy. No two cases are identical.
War on the Saints, as the only book of its kind, has no competition or comparison. It will equip its conscientious reader for two things: how not to be ignorant of the devil's devices and how to be more than a conqueror over him. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13