December 31, 2006 Book Review

Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism

Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism

Stanley D. Gale

Reviewed by: Richard R. Gerber

Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism, by Stanley D. Gale. Published by Christian Focus Publications, 2005. Paperback, 224 pages, list price $13.99. Reviewed by OP minister Richard R. Gerber.

I came to this book with positive expectations because Stan Gale's earlier work, Community Houses of Prayer - Reaching Others for Christ through Strategic Prayer, was so helpful. However, Warfare Witness is disappointing. Helpful insights can be found throughout the book, but its flaws are significant detractions.

One flaw is the overstatement of the military analogy. In speaking of the Christian's identity, he writes, "Everything about us and our service is couched in militaristic terms" (p. 33). This is not just a stretching of the Bible's teaching on the Christian's identity; it is a false statement. As a result, we find Gale forcing the analogy at some points. At other times, he contradicts the statement, "The entirety of our life is qualified by our Lord's call as sons and servants, daughters and disciples" (p. 50).

Lengthy passages of Scripture are printed out. That's convenient. However, his use of those passages is generally unhelpful. Again and again a passage seems simply to sit there with no explanation that unpacks it and relates it to his point. Indeed, on some occasions the passage does not support his point.

The book is rambling and repetitive. Some chapters are poorly developed (for example, chapter 6). The reviewer found himself going back and trying to see where the author had been and where he told us he was going. In the end, there were places where I simply had to conclude that he had lost his way. Along the rambling trail, he offers helpful thoughts and biblical truth, but they are like randomly scattered nuggets, not part of a well-developed presentation.

In a book with the title Warfare Witness, one would expect an extended section on resisting the devil. However, it only gets a brief mention. Gale asserts that resisting the devil is part of our spiritual weaponry. He even asks the question, "What does it mean to resist?" (p. 96). But the question is left unanswered; the weapon never gets unpacked from its crate.

I do not recommend that you put this title on your "must read" list. However, if you do choose to read it, you will take away some helpful insights on "contending with spiritual opposition in everyday evangelism."



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