by Ron Tottingham, Ph.D., Litt.D.
(Dr. Tottingham is the founding pastor of Empire Baptist Temple, Sioux Falls, SD)

It is said that the ministry of Gods work of evangelizing, planting churches, etc. is harder today. It is said that people are different now and their response to God is different. It is suggested that because of this we must minister differently to reach the different people. Hence we have a leaning, even among fundamentalist Baptists to use more contemporary media, music, ministry styles, and Christian merchandise.

Actually, it might be suggested that missionaries of decades ago would understand America today. Those missionaries once went into foreign cultures where demon activity was in your face. They had to leave soft America decades back America was in her golden age and under Gods safe keeping to enter these fields where hardness of spiritual oppression took on real and personal attacks against their lives. Some found themselves facing oppression seeking to kill them to force their evacuation. Some of the great missionary stories today found in books and movies are of some of those to the death or near death experiences with tribal cultures and even some second world atheist cultures.

When these missionaries returned on furlough and attempted to convey this oppression, the majority of churches in soft Christian America did not understand. But more so, most thought some stories were even embellished, far fetched, that their missionaries were simply garnishing the truth to raise more support. They had a hard time believing in such outright oppression of spirits and spirit. The average American Christian, decades back, living in soft America, who had not traveled outside the country, had a very difficult time believing the demonic activity found throughout the narrative of the Gospels could be truly active in their world in their day and time.

The officers of mission boards in those days also were former missionaries themselves, and Pastors, seldom, if ever, traveled to visit missionaries in hard or remote fields. Hence, they too had no concept of such mission work.

Todays people, in modern America, are most certainly different now, because this general population has become like those tribal cultures or second world atheist cultures of decades ago. The missionaries who ministered in those oppressive cultures were not believed then by the churches in soft America. And now, when those same spirits are come inside our borders and have infiltrated our culture, and our general population has taken on many similarities of those cultures missionaries decades ago found in foreign places, our churches are still in denial!

Americas general population has become as the heathen nations. They have become as the pagan peoples where we once sent our missionaries to convert and plant churches among. But, as then, our churches refuse to hear and believe the truth of the different people in our culture. Those decades back cultures were filled with demonic rituals and poverty such worships produce. Their ungodliness, YEA, wickedness including near nudity, incest, bigamy, their rituals of piercings, tattoos and cuttings, all considered as natural and normal. Our missionaries struggled at great personal cost to win pockets of such populations to Christ and labored hard in leading them to break out of such demonic servitude.

Today are we not seeing very similar cultural practices evolving throughout our society as customary and normal? Are not these spirits of decades back, once foreign, now invading the American scene? Is not Americas general population becoming pagan, or heathen, if one applied the Biblical definition?

Todays churches again refuse to see this cultural change, that difference in people that this culture has become oppressive against Christ as never before. If we refuse to teach the how to handle this from the Scriptures, our churches will be less and less effective, and more and more invaded within.

Are our churches refusing to recognize this difference in the general population? Is not our modern culture being covered by a mantle of rituals once associated with paganism and demonism? It seems to be in the music, the personal jewelry, the attire styles of partial nakedness and a general lack of God throughout our social structure. All these reveal this to he who has eyes to see.

Today much of the real frightening demonic seizure of mind and soul is hidden in medical terminology and explanation. Also, the medical establishment has created drugs that calm, quiet and neutralize the most violent cases until such may be kept from view and make our society seem peaceful and well ordered. At the same time the mental establishment has completed the coverup with psycho and psychic labels and cures.

Then, a thought for us. Perhaps church planting and pastoring in America today should be recognized, as missionaries of decades ago did when entering a pagan culture, that we are ministering in a heathen, demonic overrun society now. Perhaps we might consider even training our pastor students to minister here in America as those old-time missionaries learned to do seek Gods face more and more for personal, family and congregational shielding and safety. Maybe we should even consider that they are being sent into a pagan demonic culture and that they should personally fear the devils in doctrines, corruptions of all kinds and personal attacks that could become very real in their ministries.

Perhaps we should suggest to them AND TO US that Satan has become a very real and aggressive enemy in America as never before!

Are people here different? Is ministering here different? Yes. And they are under a very different influence. Jehovah has been pushed aside and devils invited in that is very visible today throughout our society.

Souls, though more bound in spiritual blindness in America now than ever before, can be saved. In Nebuchadnezzars day, and in that very demonic kingdom, even the King was reached in salvation. Because there were those who dared to be a Daniel and walk with God, upon whom rested the spirit of wisdom and power of God. In Christ Jesus day, a height of demonic infiltration and oppression, souls were saved also. And the original Preachers were only too aware of this spiritual oppression. Is this thesis true? Is this why people today are different to minister the gospel to? You decide. However if it is, and we are to be victorious in planting churches, we had best recognize and be prepared to deal with this phenomenon. To win souls and plant churches in todays culture in America we must have the Power of God as never before!


Reprinted from The Door-Step Evangel, May-June 2006, by permission. 

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