The Three Battlegrounds  

Know where the battle is:
Getting Wise to The Enemy

                                                                                    by Leroy Gardenier

       I came upon this important book titled: The Three Battlegrounds, a study depicting the war which rages between Christ and His saints and Satan and His evil minions through some members of our own Fellowship who are especially eager to share the good things of God. This writing is so jam packed with Scriptural truths, spiritual principles and personal insights of the author that I made a number of pages of notes. I usually do that anyway in order to insure an accurate and thorough review of the books I handle. This time the note pages grew and grew as I continued to be edified by the author's presentation but mostly by his sensitive spirit.
       It was only after I had finished reading the book and reviewed these notes that I realized that his treatment of the three BATTLEGROUNDS - the Mind, the Church, and the Heavenlies - was an expanded confirmation of a short teaching I had shared with our Fellowship many times over. I called this Word of Wisdom "3-D vision”. It has nothing at all to do with the three-dimensional movies that were once popular during the 1960s. Rather, the "3-Ds" the Lord gave to me were three simple words that begin with the letter "D": DETERMINATION - DISCERNMENT - DETACHMENT.
       Pondering the implications of these terms I realized that they were most useful to me in acquiring a practical spiritual perspective. DETERMINATION stood for the unshakable resolve to allow no one or nothing to rob me of or interfere with my personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. DISCRETION (or DISCERNMENT) would aid me in the spiritual understanding of all reality - people, places, situations - and the spirits behind or influencing them. DETACHMENT gives me the freedom to live in this world but remain truly not of it. Pastor Frangipane does not employ those three exact terms even though most of the book deals with the wonderful Holy Ghost gift of the Discernment of Spirits (I Cor. 12:10). He does divide this excellent study and exhortation into three parts with seven or eight short chapters for each section. DETERMINATION, if not a key word, is the principle theme of Part One: The Battleground of the Mind.
       Christians should know that when they come to Christ they are instantly forgiven and free from the penalty of sin. Deliverance from the power of sin is also part of their new heredity but, for various reasons, many struggle for months or years to come into the possession of this glorious liberty. Together, we pray for and expectantly await the Lord's return when we shall be changed and finally liberated from the very presence of sin: The writings of Part One center on revealing Satan's nature and modus operandi; his various attempts to control us through the areas of darkness still present in our minds. Negatively, the author examines the strongholds of pride, unbelief, failure and fear. He goes on to explore the sources of our uncrucified thoughts, unsanctified attitudes and stubborn opinions. These origins include the world, or our natural heredity and upbringing; our personal experiences, or the reality we create for ourselves; and wrong doctrine, a powerful source of deception.
       Positively, the pastor's stronger emphasis is on the open honesty and true humility we can have in Christ. He also stresses the stronghold of Christ's likeness. Frangipane correctly reminds us:
       "Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God's saints thrusts us into Christ likeness, where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. The Father is more concerned with the coming forth of His Son in our lives than He is in defeating Satan. Once the devil recognizes his assault against your life has not pulled you from God but towards Him; once he perceives that his temptations are actually forcing you to appropriate the virtue of Christ, the enemy will withdraw. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image (Gen. 1:26)."

       If DETERMINATION to stand on God's Word and to live in His Plan and Promises is the tenor of Part One, then DISCERNMENT will aid us in understanding Part Two: The Battleground of the Church. In fact, Chapters Ten and Eleven of this work are entitled ""The Gift of Discernment" and "Eliminating False Discernment'''. If, in Part One, Satan is defeated not by carnal force but by our determination to surrender to God's Word and Will, so Part Two focuses on a new perspective to accurately discern what the Holy Ghost is now saying about both Christ and about the Church.
       As regards the former, the author cites Isaiah 42:13 which describes our Lord as the Warrior-King going forth to battle. His comment on this verse:
"To be prepared for greater victories, we need a greater revelation of Jesus Christ; we need to see Him as He will be revealed in the last moments of this age. Before Jesus returns those who (like Joshua) have passed the wilderness tests will receive another revelation: Christ will be revealed to them as 'Captain of the Host'. They will be ready to follow the Lamb wherever He goes." Regarding the latter, Frangipane offers this discernment:

       "There is new authority being raised up, a new generation whose voice thunders with the cry of prophetic prayer. Through the Church, Christ Himself is prevailing against His enemies! Indeed, the gates of hell shall not stand against the Church Jesus is building (Matt. 16:18). The hour has come for His Church to grow in all aspects into Him, who is our head, even Christ, THE WARRIOR KING (Eph.4:15)!"

       Without the barest hint of ecumenism or any form of false unity, the author envisions a corporate, overcoming Church whose earmark is a commitment to love. Warning his readers about the dangers of "cold love" (Matt. 24:10), he sees the full possession of God's Kingdom by those who refuse to compromise on solid, sound doctrine yet balance their beliefs with the priority of relationships. "If Christ accepts us while we are still imperfect", says Frangipane, "we must also accept one another. The people who possess the Kingdom of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other's faults."
       The deepest discretion and the most penetrating discernment is required in this delicate and dangerous area. We can never tolerate nor accept lukewarm doctrines, or lackadaisical faith, or false prophets and seducing spirits that shipwreck the faith of the brethren. It is only the fusion of Christlike innocence, countering the contagion of the last days' cold love with the Divine Wisdom, cautioning against naivety and presumption that will protect us from the freemasonry of false fellowship (Matt. 10:16). Like the struggle for our minds and souls, I believe the most basic conflict about the Church is fought by and about one believer at a time. Only the individual honestly knows whether his assessment of the Church and its varying members is prompted by a critical spirit of judgment or by a Spirit-anointed, loving gift of discernment. We are all at risk in opening our arms and hearts to individuals or groups who claim to be God's people. Only if we are truly IN CHRIST will we ever bring forth the benevolence not to condemn others. Fully and solely IN HIM will we ever be given His love to lay down our lives for others.
       One thing is certain: in these prophetic days when "iniquity abounds" nothing less than abiding, abounding Love will judge our judgment of others. If the Golden Rule means anything, it implies passing on to others the forgiveness we ourselves have been granted. The Lord Jesus is indeed the Warrior-King. We can rest assured that the first to be dealt with are those who cried, "Lord, Lord" but didn't really mean it! We must be most cautious, discerning and discretely "- judge nothing before the time ..." (I Cor. 4:5)!

       The third and final portion of BATTLEGROUNDS deals with the conflict in the Heavenlies. In this section we confront Frangipane's most difficult challenge. In the eight concluding chapters the author acts as a true cicerone and guides the reader around the spirit world. Here his shepherding is Scripturally-founded and has nothing at all to do with “the challenging counterfeit” of satanic and occult powers.
DETACHMENT (or the principle of DISPLACEMENT) is the operative word here. The conflict, although ancient, is not obvious to all. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14). But for those of us who are "light in the Lord, who "walk as children of light" (Eph. 5:8), the eternal clash is clear. It is the conflict over reality. That which is truly genuine? Is it what we perceive with our senses and understand with our mind, or, is it "as thou hast BELIEVED, so be it done unto thee" (Matt. 8:13)? Is it customs and conventions of society, or, is it the sum total of what the Lord Jesus taught and did? Is reality the world, the flesh and the devil, or, is it the Kingdom of God? These aren't just idle questions. What we consent to spiritually; what we agree with in the spirit world greatly determines who controls reality here on earth! We know that Satan is "a liar and the father of lies" (Jn. 8:44). Jesus Himself told us this. His Word tells us our own hearts are "deceitful above all else and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). Romans 3:20 and Galatians warn us that no flesh will be justified in His sight. We have already seen that the natural man is not capable of spiritual discernment (I Cor. 2:14). And one of the Psalms tells us twice that man without spiritual understanding (i.e., God's revelation) simply dies like any animal (psalm 49:12, 20). Who then are we to believe? Who then are we to side with? Only One Person proved by His Resurrection that he knew the secrets of life! The more we become detached from false reality and the more we trust in the very Word of God so much more does the light displace the darkness in our own souls, in the company of believers, in the world around us; yea, even in the heavenly places. "As the Body of Christ on earth agrees with its Head in heaven, the Holy Spirit displaces the power of darkness in the heavenly places.”
       One Scriptural commentator has said that the Kingdom of God is "big business". The author of BATTLEGROUNDS would certainly agree with that assessment. Just how big it is can be measured by the Powers and Principalities that are arrayed against it. This book exposes the irreverent Spirit of Antichrist. It shows us the unbridled witchcraft of Jezebel, reminding us of the near devastation this malignant spirit brought into the life of Elijah the prophet, one of God's strongest warriors.
       Lastly, the ambition, worldliness and pleasure seeking associated with the exalted Spirit of Babylon are shown to be present day spiritual forces that the Church of the Living God has the power to expose and confront. It is the author's contention that the Church is in need of training for such "big business". He concludes his writing with this edifying exhortation:
       "It is essential we understand the difference between being taught and being trained. Reading this book is being taught, being personally led by the Lord Jesus is being trained. David wrote, "He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze" (Ps. 18:34). This book is meant to inform you of your need for training and to provide certain insights and guidelines. What you will learn in confrontational warfare and obeying the Lord on actual battleground will far exceed that which any book teaching will provide. Your confidence must be securely in the Lord, not in this book. Be assured, our weapons are mighty as we pray in the power of Christ's might (Eph. 6:19)! Be confident and bold - for our prayers, like arrows, are in the heart of the King's enemies (ps. 45:5)! Jesus Himself has gone before us; the fear of Him has the enemies' camp in disarray!"