Can represent Satan as Jesus

EvangelicalFrankfurt and Offenbach

Pastor Lieve Van den Ameele was amazed at the request that came in at the Fechenheim parish office: whether she wanted to support a “Jesus March”. The organizer was a movement called “Sky over Frankfurt”. On their website it says that they are a supra-church movement of Bible-believing Christians, "who earnestly follow their Lord Jesus Christ and want to fulfill HIS mission". The aim is "to set up God's throne in Frankfurt and to fill the city with the word of God so that as many people as possible can come to know the truth, which is Jesus Christ himself."

The language sounds a bit strange, but at first glance it sounds harmless. But the Jesus March is an instrument of so-called "spiritual warfare". With their help, spatially limited areas are to be "recaptured". What is meant is the fight against demonic powers that rule over certain nations, regions, cities and residential areas or even individual houses and apartments. According to these movements, Frankfurt, with its materialistic and pluralistic culture, is under particularly strong influence from demonic powers.

Such ideas assume that there is a world-historical struggle between “good” and “bad”. Angels and demons fight with each other in the air, and Christians can help the angels and thus God himself to victory through their actions and prayers. This is usually done through prayers and offensive declarations of war against the “forces of darkness”. In this way the rule of Satan and his demons is to be broken.

The means to be used are mainly intercession and offensive areas “in the name of Jesus” and praise and worship. There is a precise strategy for this. First you choose a geographical unit. The believers should undergo a personal “cleansing”. Penance, fasting and prayer should sharpen the “spiritual optics” and remove all points of attack from the “enemy”. Those present place themselves under the "protection of the blood of Jesus".

Furthermore, the region is to be examined from a religious-historical perspective. Since practically all non-Christian religions are considered demonic (except Judaism), there is always a starting point here. The sins that are prevalent in a region are also searched for. In Frankfurt, for example, the red light district and the bank branches - as indications of a spirit of sexual fornication or greed - are particularly polluted. Some go so far as to break down maps into individual territories, each of which is ruled by a certain demon, in order to be able to pray specifically for spiritual liberation. This approach is called "spiritual mapping". For successful spiritual warfare, the "spirit discernment" is important. The spirits and their names must be identified so that they can be driven out.

The expulsion of Satan and demons occurs through praise and the proclamation of the name of Jesus. Ultimately, this is based on a magical understanding of prayer: It is believed that praying and calling out the name of Jesus causes the demonic powers to disappear. Such “automatic mechanisms” are in principle an occultism that comes in Christian disguise. Because according to Christian doctrine, it is not man but God alone who has the effect of a prayer in his hand.

Farewell to belief in the devil

Christians who imagine evil as the personified devil or Satan come up against a mental limit. Because according to Christian belief, God created the whole world - including the devil. An almighty God cannot fight the devil.

To avoid this logical contradiction, the devil is often seen as the fallen messenger of God. That means that the devil exercises power, but in principle God could reclaim this power at any time. However, the question then arises, why does God let the devil have his way?

Modern Protestant theology completely dispenses with personalized ideas of the devil. Human freedom consists in being able to choose for or against something. Evil does not come from outside, but is part of human thought and action.

War and terror, financial crises and injustices are certainly evil, but they are instigated and carried out by people. Therefore, on the other hand, no exorcism helps - only conversion and repentance.

Terror and fundamentalism

Explanations for the attacks in Norway were quickly available. At first many suspected Islamic terrorists, then the crude world of thoughts of Anders Breivik was associated with Christian fundamentalism. But he has nothing to do with that either. His motivation was the hatred especially of people of other nationalities and religions. Massimo Introvigne, Italian sociologist and expert on new religious movements, comes to the conclusion: “If you want to find a method in your madness, you have to track down the thread in your thinking, and that is primarily your hostility to Islam which has so far hardly manifested itself violently in the West. "

Breivik, on the other hand, gave clear instructions for planning and carrying out terrorist actions - from passing on his knowledge of explosives to strategic considerations for planning terrorist acts. Breivik is therefore a terrorist who justifies his actions with confused convictions that he adopt from religious fundamentalists because they match his hatred of "others" - it is, by the way, similar with "Islamist" terrorists.

Fundamentalism and pseudo-religious terrorism are similar in terms of their intolerance - just think of the former US President George W. Bush, who spoke of an "axis of evil" with regard to hostile countries. Or to a Christian fundamentalist preacher, for whom all the high religions of Asia and Islam belong to the circle of demonic powers, as well as homeopathy, foot zone reflex massage and other alternative healing methods, as they represent a “demonic seduction”.

But while the fundamentalist only preaches and practices these beliefs, the terrorist places himself in God's place. He crosses "the threshold of granting and denying the right to exist of others", as the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton puts it. For terrorists, people who oppose their "truth" are enemies who must be fought on a massive scale, and all means are permitted.

Both terrorism and fundamentalism use a worldview in which good fights against evil. Conflicts between people, between nations, between cultures are part of this everlasting struggle. Of course you are on the side of the good yourself. Whether Islamic states supposedly form an axis of evil or whether Islam threatens Norway - evil attacks, and you have to defend the good yourself.

Seen in this way, George W. Bush and the assassin Breivik fall back on similar thought patterns.