Discovery House Publishers graciously sent me this book for review. It is entitled: Living Free in Enemy Territory, Christ’s Triumph over Satan by Greg Dutcher. It was an extremely worthwhile read. I’ll begin at the end! The author never covers the armor of God passage from Ephesians 6 – which is generally an important focus of any work about Satan. So he has an appendix at the back of the book explaining why!
Dutcher explains that he wanted to approach the topic of Satan from a different perspective. The focus of the book is more on Christ’s victory over Satan, rather than our battle against Satan. I think he is accurate when he observes that there is often a lopsided interest in our part of the fight. We ask questions like: How should I fight? When? How can I pray against Satan? Etc. – Take note of the focus: it is ourselves and Satan! Hmm…whatever happened to Jesus and his role? Dutcher instead wanted to keep the focus on Jesus, and answer questions like: How has the gospel set me free from Satan’s domain? How did the life, death and resurrection of Jesus change the playing field of spiritual warfare? How should I think about Satan in light of what Jesus has done? I think Dutcher was successful in the goals he had for this book, and answered these and many other questions.
The book is written in a practical style for your everyday person. Yet, it also contains doctrine and theology. But don’t let that scare you as the teaching is wrapped in practical thoughts. The end of each chapter has discussion questions, which would be conducive for using this book with a small group.
I appreciated an emphasis in the opening chapters of the book that Christians have been way to influenced by Hollywood in how they perceive Satan. Pop culture has shaped our view of Satan more than the Bible. Although Dutcher does not mention it, I think Frank Peretti has also had far too much influence on our view of Satan and spiritual warfare. I think Peretti is a very genuine Christian with a wonderful talent for writing fiction. However, some Christians seem to forget that he is writing fiction! (Yes, there are some spiritual truths but he creatively embellishes it.) A book like Living Free in Enemy Territory will help you get back to the Bible and counteract any lopsided perspectives you’ve developed from Hollywood or Christian fiction.
Finally, I wanted to mention a point Dutcher made regarding the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness. Why did Jesus have to be tempted by Satan? Dutcher does an exceptional job of reminding us that Jesus is the “second Adam.” The first Adam was tempted by Satan in the Garden of Eden and failed the test, and mankind was plunged into sin. Adam represented humanity, and his sin became our sin. Now Jesus, as the second Adam, was tempted but passed the test! As our new representative, Jesus offered the perfect obedience to God that we needed Adam to offer for us.
I recommend this book, and can’t really offer any negative critique. If anyone local would like to borrow my copy let me know, or consider buying your own through Discovery House Publishers. (E-book also available.)