Is fear a spirit?greenspun.com : LUSENET : WOF Discussion : One Thread
I've heard a WOF preacher say this, and have heard many other preachers copy cat this. "Fear is a spirit."
The teaching usually goes something like this:
"Did you know that fear is a spirit? The Bible says, 'God has not given us a spirit of fear.' That means that fear is a spirit."
I sure don't follow the logic there. Using the same type of reasoning, one could say, "Did you know that the United States is a president? It says right here in the constitution, 'The president of the United States.' That means the United States is a president."
Both of the above examples are illogical. Why do any preachers repeat this kind of stuff from TV celebrities? How can audiences accept this type of reasoning.
Preachers sometimes use the 'fear is a spirit' line of reasoning to argue that all fear is demonic.
The pasage under question doesn't even say that there is a spirit of fear. What it does tell us is that the Spirit we have received is NOT a Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The passage doesn't say that all fear is caused by spirits.
Has anyone else ever heard any WOF preachers on TV or 'in real life' say something completely illogical that other people just accepted, or even repeated?
Does anyone have any comments on this 'fear is a spurit' teacing?
-- Link Hudson (email@example.com), August 24, 2001
Congratulations on being the first person to respond to a post.
I think the 'fear is a spirit' line is a good example of WOF preachers saying something that just doesn't make sense if you think about it logically, and others uncritically accepting that teaching and repeating it from their own pulpits.
I did have a WOF friend who seemed to think that anything bad was caused bya demon spirit. I asked him if he thought that someone who lost a foot in a factory if something heavy fell on his foot had a 'spirit of one-footedness.' he said, no but he thought a demon made whatever it was fall and injure the man's foot.
One of my concerns about the way 'spirit' is used, at least in pentecostal and WOF circles, is that people who hear the word think of an actual entity, in this case a particular type of demon. Some people use 'spirit' is that looser sense.
-- Link Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 31, 2001.
I don't think the verse itself is _conclusive evidence_ that there is a 'spirit of fear.'
Paul said that God has not give you a 'spirit of fear' but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I could say, 'I have not given you a can of toothpaste. I have given you a tube of toothpaste.'
Is there such a thing as a can of toothpaste? Maybe there is, and maybe there isn't. The quote above doesn't prove that I believe there is such a thing as a can of toothpaste. Now, I've never heard of a company that puts toothpaste in cans, but I can't say that such a thing does not exist.
The thing that really bothers me about this 'fear is a spirit' teaching is that it is just nonsensical. If the Bible is saying that there is a 'spirit of fear' that doesn't mean that 'fear is a spirit.' I once met the Ambassador of the US to Indonesia. He is the ambassador of the US. But that doesn't mean that the US is an ambassador. 'Ambassador of the US' doesn't prove that 'US' means 'ambassador' any more than 'spirit of fear' proves that 'fear is a spirit.'
The thing that bothers me is that people believe things without thinking, and repeat them as though they were Bible doctrine. I heard other preachers repeating this TV preacher that 'fear is a spirit.' Even if all fear in the world is caused by a spirit, it still doesn't stand to reason that fear _IS_ a spirit. Is a spirit an emotion? Fear is an emotion. It is a feeling. Is a spirit a feeling? Is a demon not really a demon, but an emotion? Or does 'spirit' here not refer to a demonic entity, but rather to a feeling?
This is an example of how some WOF teaching spreads. Someone considered to be an authority figure says that the Bible 'really' means XYZ, and other people peat it. So many preachers aruge that the Bible doesn't mean what it says, or reading things into it that aren't there. One preacher tried to argue that Jesus had wealth because he rested his head on a pillow in a boat.
-- Link Hudson (email@example.com), October 08, 2001.
Would like to agree that the concept of fear being a SPECIFIC evil spirit is, at best, mostly undefendable. As an attitude of the mind, it may rightly be called a spirit. But a demon spirit? I don't think we can draw a definite conclusion from Scripture.
Surely fear is something demons empower and amplify greatly. Fear hath torment, and torment is what the devil's kingdom is ALL about. Demon spirits actively torment humankind as much as possible. It might be said that any demon assigned to bring fear and/or torment at any time COULD be called "a spirit of fear" but this would apply only as long as the assignment would last. He could be a spirit of gossip or greed next week!
In any case, it is a small matter, it seems to me. Although I would warn that we must certainly carefully watch liberties taken with the gospel of our Lord. Little errors unchecked can sire bigger ones.
I'd like to know if this been made a teaching in and of itself, or is it merely common comment within teachings?
Thank you for the opportunity.
Yours in Christ, Larry Lombardi
-- Larry Lombardi (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 31, 2001.
The WOF teacher who teaches this is mainly Kenneth Copeland. Surprisingly, I agree with him. I never saw it that way before but then after hearing him teach on this, I looked at this verse a little closer. The word for spirit is pneuma, the same word used for the Holy Spirit (pneuma=spirit/agios=holy). Of course this could mean simply the dispostion of the mind as both Robertson and Wuest suggest in their Greek Word studies. However, let's look at it from the point of view of spirit vs. spirit. When the Holy Spirit is flowing through us, this verse suggests that it is then we have a (spirit) of power, love and a sound mind. So, conversely, the opposite would be an actual demonic spirit of fear. In Eph. 5:18, we are cautioned to not be drunk with wine wherein that is excess. The Roman god of wine was named Bacchus. The Romans (and Greeks) believed that when one was drunk, they actually were filled with the spirit of Bacchus. In fact, every spring, there was a festival to Bacchus, and the way they honored the god was to get "filled with his spirit" (i.e. get drunk). Paul here is contrasting again spirit vs. spirit. He goes on to say, "but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit. In other words, don't get the spirit of Bacchus in you, but the Spirit of God.
I don't beleive all fear is from a demonic spirit, but certainly some is. In my personal life, A few years ago, I was in great fear over something that anyone in the same circumstances would probably fear too. I felt impressed by God to rebuke this as a demonic spirit of fear. I did, and within days, not only was I at peace, thus allowing faith to come (Copeland is right on when he says that fear drives out faith), but also the fearful circumstance began to turn around.
-- Diane Roberts (email@example.com), September 01, 2001.
I still don't think 'fear is a spirit' is true, logically. If there is a SPIRIT OF FEAR that doesn't mean that fear IS a spirit. I have a tube OF toothpaste. That doesn't mean that 'a tube is toothpaste.' To me, this seems like a kind of 'abstract animism' that is rampant in the Charismatic movement.
Many people think of a 'spirit of fear' as an actual demonic entity.
Animists believe that rivers, lakes, trees, rocks, etc. have spirits. This is a strange way of thinking for those of us in the west. But some Charismatics actually think that abstract notions and human vices ARE demonic entities. They seem to think that the emotion of fear is actually a demonic entity.
To believe that a 'spirit of fear' is an actual demonic entity that causes fear is one thing. To think that the emotion 'fear' is actually a demonic spirit in all cases is nonsensical, imo. At least it's nonsensical to try to squeeze that idea out of that verse.
Also, Paul says that we have not received a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.
He doesn't say here that there is a spirit of fear, but rather that the Spirit is not a spirit of fear.
I do believe that demons can cause fear, but I don't think that all fear is caused by demons. If you're about to get hit by acar, you may get a natural fear, and jump out of the way. I don't think that means you've been demonized.
-- Link Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 02, 2001.
Yes, if you read my post, you will se tht I did qualify it by saying that not all fear is demonically-induced. But, some is and this verse has been helpful to me to remember that.
-- Diane Roberts (email@example.com), September 03, 2001.
I think i get you Diane. I don't think I really disagree with anything you said, except that I think that to say 'fear is a spirit' isn't accurate, and causes confusion.
-- Link Hudson (Linkh@bigfoot.com), September 04, 2001.
I would disagree and say that there could be such thing as a spirit of fear. You seemed to be making fun of or claimed that other religions were wrong because they believed in so many different spirits: i.e. spirit that rules the weather, etc. But that may be a more accurate picture of a Biblical world view than many Americans have. Granted, many charismatics and pentecostals want to look for a devil under every stone and can really be extreme by going overboard. But our western culture has a problem and MANY christians have been more influenced by this secular mindset than by Scripture, maybe without even realizing it.
We have inherited our worldview which is skeptical and anti-supernatural from the enlightment. This was a period of history in which reason and intellect were exalted. The Body of Christ doesn't want to believe in the supernatural any longer, they want to rationalize everything.
So, maybe there isn't a spirit of fear. But you haven't yet proved that there isn't. There can be. Your agruments to prove otherwise haven't been successful yet. The Bible teaches that there are orders or classes and divisons of angels. Michael was the messanger angel, gabriel the warring angel to protect Israel. So why wouldn't fallen angels have specific roles and characteristics as well?
-- Benjy (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 08, 2001.