A 2009 Barna Group article entitled “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist”* sheds light on some basic reasons for the divisions and disagreements among members of the Body of Messiah. The nationwide survey on adult spiritual beliefs indicates that there is much disparity and confusion among American adults on the subject of their faith. Here are some interesting points to consider:
- Roughly one-fourth of those surveyed aren’t sure who God is.
- Sixty percent think that Satan is or could be just a symbol of evil, not a living being, yet about 47% of those people believe they are influenced by demons
- Approximately 48% of those surveyed believe that Jesus sinned or might have sinned while He was on the earth
- Approximately 58% believe that the Holy Spirit is not a living force, but a symbol of God’s power, although half of that group believes that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches.
- Well over one-half believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches, yet approximately one-third of that group also believes that the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon all express the same spiritual truths.
Several truths glared out at me after studying this survey. First, we need a personal relationship with the Father, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit in order to understand clearly who God is. Those whose statements on their faith could categorize them as “born again” were more consistent and clear about the Bible’s accuracy, the influence of demons, the true identity of the Holy Spirit, the nature of God (omniscient, omnipresent, e.g.). They were also more adamant that a person must choose between God and Satan and that there is no middle ground. We are called to represent Yeshua on the earth. How can we do that if we don’t truly know Him? We must not only be born again, but we must actively pursue a relationship with YHVH.
Second, it is essential to know the Holy Spirit, for Yeshua promised to send us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us (John 14:16-17). If you are born again, you are born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8). In order to truly follow Yeshua, it is necessary to abandon the sinful nature and live according to the desires of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:5-6). It is essential to eagerly seek all that the Holy Spirit has to offer to us. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13. 14:26; 1 John 5:6). Baptism in the Holy Spirit is vital for each member of the Body of Messiah (Matt 3:11, Acts 1:5).
Third, all believers need deliverance. We were born into the kingdom of darkness and in bondage. The divisions, accusations, moral scandals and confusion within the Body of Messiah are all evidence that many believers are still in bondage to Satan. If deliverance were offered to and accepted by all followers of Yeshua, Satan would lose a lot of his current influence and the credibility of those representing Yeshua would rise considerably. Once we have been delivered from demon oppression, the “blinders” are removed and we see more clearly how our enemy operates. We can then engage in spiritual warfare effectively (Rom 12:21; 1 John 4:1)
Fourth, those who believe in the accuracy of the Bible and at the same time believe that the Koran and the Book of Mormon teach basically the same principles, clearly need a better understanding of the Bible as well as the teachings of the other two books. It is essential to accurately understand our Hebrew roots in order to truly comprehend the Bible. Many Christians who are well-versed in Scripture are still lacking this basic paradigm for understanding what the Bible says. In other words, they are well versed in what they think the Bible is saying, but they still lack a great deal of understanding that our Jewish brothers and sisters in Yeshua can teach us. My people perish from a lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6 KJV).
What would happen if the Body of Messiah had a deep, personal relationship with YHVH, were free from demonic manipulation, were taught and guided exclusively by the Holy Spirit, and had a firm grasp of the Bible? The Body of Messiah would become more unified, more certain of the truth, and more effective in the Kingdom of YHVH. We would be powerful citizens of YHVH’s kingdom and more effective workers in His harvest.
We, as followers of Yeshua, are called to be united. If some of us deny the existence of Holy Spirit, Who guides us into all truth, or of hasatan who guides us into all lies, then confusion and division are inevitable. We are on the battlefield in the middle of a war. If all of us don’t recognize our Commander and listen only to His voice, how can we hope to be united in Him? If we can’t identify the enemy and his wiles, we will not be able to defend ourselves against his attacks. Our enemy knows that his time is growing short, so he is increasing his efforts to bring us all down. It is more important than ever to stand united.
How I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Cor 1:10-12).
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:3-5)
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (John 17:22-23 NIV).
* “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist. Barna Group, 2009, https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis#.VbuKg_mpeSo