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A Review of Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker

  An Analysis of Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker
Overview

The Bondage Breaker (Anderson, 2000) is an in-depth guide to the profound impact of spiritual warfare.  Neil T. Anderson (2000) provides an eye opening investigation of what scripture relates regarding Satan and the demonic realm.  Further, he describes actual cases throughout the book of people he has personally counseled who have had some measure of demonic influence.  The people involved in these documented stories serve to support Anderson’s (2000) theory regarding demonic impact upon Christians.

Anderson (2000) begins the book by pulling foundational truths directly from the bible that solidify our standing with God.  He states,

We should be able to say every year of Christian life, ‘I have grown in my faith, and now I love God and others more this year than I did last year.’  If we can’t say that, then we are not growing. (p. 10)

This quote initiates his quest to find out why more Christians are not flourishing in their faith.  It is his belief that the reason for this is that too many believers are living in defeat.  One might ask, “Who do they believe they are defeated by?” Anderson’s (2000) answer is simple:  Satan.  However, most believers do not recognize the crafted subtlety which with the satanic realm operates.  What many term mental illness, psychosis, and poor habits, the author redefines as living in bondage to demonic influence. The author points out that these are merely symptoms, but one should appropriately ask:  Who or what is causing the symptoms? (2000) 

            There are six common misconceptions about bondage: 

  1. Demons were active when Christ was on earth, but their activity has subsided.
  2. What the early church called demonic activity we now understand to be mental illness.
  3. Some problems are psychological and some are spiritual.
  4. Christians cannot be affected by demons.
  5. Demonic influence is only evident in extreme or violent behavior and gross sin.
  6. Freedom from spiritual bondage is the result of a power encounter with demonic forces.  (Anderson, 2000, pp.19-26)

By recognizing these misconceptions, a great deal of power is taken from Satan, himself.  His first and foremost strategy is deception.  (2000) Recognizing the true power of demons and their strong abilities gives people the wisdom and insight to take up the “armor of God” as Paul details in Ephesians,

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (New International Version)

Anderson illuminates the fact that if Christians, in particular, were not vulnerable to attack, Paul would not have so eloquently detailed the importance of preparing and arming oneself.  (2000) 

            Once a person is able to recognize his vulnerability to demonic influence, Anderson (2000) attempts to retrain the Christian in his thinking.  Rather than listening to the lies of the evil one, we should be placing every thought under Christ’s care and the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. (2000)  When we “test the spirits”, they quickly reveal their true nature.  By merely asking Christ to reveal the truth behind thoughts and accusations we can know whether they are beneficial to our faith or lies cast from the pits of hell.   We can also know this when discerning false prophets from true representatives of our Lord.  However, the author is careful to make readers understand that the argument that “the devil made me do it” is unacceptable. (2000) Our free will is the ultimate factor in our behavior.  To some degree we cannot control the fact that we will be attacked while in this world, but we can refuse to entertain those thoughts or give action to proposed temptations.  On the other hand, Anderson (2000) is quick to dispel the theory that attack is a sin, in and of itself.  He states, “You may be experiencing spiritual opposition because you are doing something right.” (p. 95) He goes on to say, “if you are not experiencing some spiritual opposition to your ministry, there is a good chance that Satan doesn’t see you as a threat to his plans.” (p.95)

            The next part in the book engages the reader in confronting deceiving spirits.  He points out three ways of responding to demonic attacks.  First, most defeated Christians give in to the temptations and entertain the lies.  (Anderson, 2000)  Second, a Christian may try to argue with demons.  He states that rather than battle with the demons we are to “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.” (p. 121) Finally, the third and correct response is that “we overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil by choosing the truth.” (p. 121) By consistently deflecting these temptations and lies, we are further strengthened when we rest in the fact that Jesus already won the battle.

            Anderson (2000) finishes the book with the third part of the book which requires action from the reader: Steps to Freedom in Christ.  These seven steps include the following: Step One – Counterfeit vs. Real, Step Two – Deception vs. Truth, Step Three – Bitterness vs. Forgiveness, Step Four – Rebellion vs. Submission, Step Five – Pride vs. Humility, and Step Six – Bondage vs. Freedom.  (2000) Each of the steps provides specific examples of actions that hinder our walk with Christ and keep us in bondage to demonic influence.  By confessing to these decisions and involvements, we are free from the deception and hold they have on us.  The author, however, challenges readers in the understanding that confession is not simply saying, “I’m sorry.”  He states, “it is openly admitting, ‘I did it.’” (p. 233) Each step then, encourages out loud renunciation of these actions and/or thoughts and offers prayer to God to ask forgiveness and strength in defeating the continuation of these patterns. 

Critical Reflection

            This book has provided insight that I have never read before.  I have always had recognition of the element of spiritual warfare, but I never realized the power that Satan can have upon us, as believers in Jesus.  When we consistently entertain lies, we begin to believe them and act upon them.  This is the crux of the matter.  I believe that there are organic, medical reasons for certain dysfunctions, but often, it seems that there are strong demonic contributions to the ailments and faulty thinking patterns that this world has.  Bottom line: We are foreigners living in a strange land.  The king of this world wants to destroy us in any way he can.  He knows his time is running out.  The sand is filling up to bottom of the hourglass at a tremendous pace.  He loses.  We could be living in daily victory rather than simply existing until Christ returns for us.  How tragic that for centuries the church has become deluded and deceived by the wiles of the devil. 

Anderson, N. T. (2000).  The bondage breaker. Eugene, OR:  Harvest House.

The Holy Bible. (1984). New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan

Publishing House.

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