"War on the Saints" by Jessie Penn-Lewis
Introductions and Review
The "Unabridged version and the Full Text - What's The Difference?
What do you think when you hear a book's title prefaced by the word "unabridged?" You probably think: this book is the original text of the author, in its unmodified form. You probably also think that, somewhere, there exists an abridged or altered version of the text.
I'd like to show you that, in the case of War On The Saints, being prefaced by "unabridged" does NOT guarantee you that you are looking at the text as the author originally published it.
The Unabridged 1912 Edition and Abridged Editions
From the time "War on the Saints" had been written in 1912, it had been abridged by some who had disagreed with the doctrinal position of Mrs. Penn-Lewis on the "possession" of believers (Note: We generally think of the demoniac of Gadara when we hear the word "possession," but this not wholly representative of what it means to be "possessed" according to her defintion. You must read the book to understand.) The abridged version essentially gutted the book of it's power to liberate the Christian from the influences of demons.
The so-called Unabridged Edition
How had the editors of the abridged versions neutralized the power of the message? In comparing the full text (as given below) with the so-called "unabridged" addition sometimes found at bookstores, it becomes obvious that the two versions are only remotely similar, much less the exact same book. Tthe editors of the so-called "unabridged" edition agreed with the editors of the more honest abridged editions: they disagreed with Mrs. Penn-Lewis' belief that believers could be controlled by demons, or that they were in need of deliverance, after conversion.
We, as believers, need to KNOW that we can be controlled by demons EVEN after conversion, if we are to be successful against the powers of darkness, and grow on to maturity in the faith. Neither the abridged editions or this so-called "unabridged" edition have this message. Both have replaced "believer" in many (if not all) places with "people." THAT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE!
It is difficult NOT to conclude the possibility exists that, because of the content of this book, SOMEONE was trying to eliminate the original text from the public's hands.
Seeing that there appears to be a determined act to silence the unabridged 1912 edition, which I receive as superior to all abridged and so-called "unabridged" editions, I decided to make this book available to all through the medium of the Internet. So, without further delay, I now present to you the unabridged 1912 edition.
War On The Saints is an extremely detailed discussion of the daily realities of our life: and how those realities indicate our level of subjection to evil spirits and heretical doctrines. It pries into every area of our inner-lives; calling us to give account to ourselves about our dreams, our social habits, our recurring thoughts, our persistent fears, the state of our health, the things that provoke us to anger, and etc.
This is the only book I ever read that I approve and recommend, while at the same time, I always approach it fearfully: for every time I read this book, I am forced to account for something that is going on in my life that frightens me. She makes no accusations, nor does she damn anyone for having these problems; but does hold the reader 100% accountable for every breach of peace or holiness in their life. EXAMPLE: if you have an evil dream, it's because you yet cherish some thoughts and considerations in your heart, upon which the evil dream is built. The demons play to your prejudices, and appeal to your own judgments, in order to foist upon you something you would finally reject, by appealing to the roots of those things, that you haven't yet rejected. You may not be willing, FINALLY, to commit adultery; but you yet secretly cherish a little "looking to lust;" maybe just a tiny little bit. [Note from the Editor: Mrs. Lewis calls these concessions "Ground"] The demons fasten on that concession to sin, and starting there with that which you WILL allow, they build a scenario which leads ever onward to the main sin. Upon being confronted in the dream with the main sin, you revolt (hopefully), and wake up: but the little root from which the appeal was made is still with you, so at another time, you have a somewhat similar dream, which while taking a somewhat different path, is still leading to the main sin. You revolt, and wake up; but still haven't renounced and rejected the little teeny sin in that area that you allow. So you have another dream sometime, with a different scenario......and here we go again.
Mrs. Penn-Lewis has it that you are both victim and responsible for every evil intrusion in your thought life, and she turns over every rock in your psyche, and exposes all the little vermin that we all try so hard to ignore. She posits that clinging with the mind and confessing with the tongue to the particular verities of the Word of God is our chief weapon of defense against these influences, and that a lack of escape from the problems she describes is the chief symptom of embracing false doctrine. Therefore, unlike most others who address these things, she does not leave you with ONLY "Appealing to God" to deliver you from said problems, but has it that God has already provided the means of relief in The Word; and that those who, thinking to "skip" past this, and demand that God prove Himself faithful by a fiat of deliverance, are only purchasing despair; since for God to ignore your ignoring of His Word, is tantamount to denying His own righteousness and faithfulness. Ergo: hungry child says: "Dad, I'm hungry." Dad says, "There's a bag of fried chicken in the kitchen, go eat that." Child responds, "Dad, I'm very hungry." Dad repeats his instructions. Child now says, "Dad, I'm so hungry, don't you love me?" The next answer is either silence or rebuke.
Foreword by the Editors of the Ninth Edition
WAR ON THE SAINTS! Why, most Christians do not even know there is a war on. The Church has not dealt with the powers of darkness as an enlightened and united body. Here and there, individuals have been raised up by God to make significant inroads into the vast territory over which the devil holds such undisputed sway. Jessie Penn-Lewis was one of these isolated warriors.
Today, nearly fifty years after her death, her books are still widely read by Christians and deservedly so, but there is a significant exception: her most important book, War on the Saints, written in collaboration with the famous Welsh revivalist, Evan Roberts, is only available in an abridged version. There are many books which can be abridged without losing content, but in the case of War on the Saints the word "abridged" is certainly the wrong one simply because the main thrust of her vital book was eliminated in the abridged and emasculated version. The editors based their decision to discontinue the original version "first and foremost" on their rejection of the important teaching regarding demon influence on Christians.
In this century God has restored to the Church a good measure of the pentecostal power and authority so vividly demonstrated in the early church. Numbers of believers received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. As they entered into conflict with the powers of darkness, they began to discover the presence and activity of evil spirits not only in unbelievers, but to their surprise and even shock, also in Christians. When Jessie Penn-Lewis made this discovery, she was misunderstood and her teaching misinterpreted. Nevertheless, she did not retreat from the light she received but rather continued in her direct conflict with the hosts of evil and, in the workshop of her suffering and experience and warfare, she forged the weapon of her work, War on the Saints, in collaboration with Evan Roberts.
Since its first edition, two world wars have left their devastating after effects upon the institutions of our civilization, and we find ourselves today in the midst of the dissolution of the structures of our society. As long as they remained stable, the Church, as one of its institutions, seemed to be solid and functional. Today, however, the institutional church is made manifest as a spiritual failure because she did not discern the numerous deceptions of Satan at work among her ministers and members. The degenerative process, begun long ago, is nearing its climax in our time when many churchmen and members make themselves the champions of every wicked cause pushed by the enemy.
The spiritual, that is, the mature Christian understands that it is Satan and his wicked spirits who move powerfully behind the events of our time. Dare Christians believe that they are exempt from the influence of demons?
What happens to a man who is born again? Do the Scriptures teach that the new birth includes automatic expulsion of demons? Ephesians 2:1 clearly teaches that all human beings are under the influence of the evil one and that his influence over mankind is exercised by evil spirits. "We all" were in this condition. But in the new birth, the infant believer has his sins forgiven. His spirit—formerly dead in trespasses and sins—is made alive by the Spirit of God and he receives power to become a son of God. He now begins to have the power to overcome the very things which enslaved him before. What a marvelous change from victim of sin to victor, join victor with Christ! But nowhere does the Scripture or experience teach that the new birth automatically eliminates demon influence or bondage, or for that matter, all of the carryovers of the old man such as tempers, moods, lusts, envyings, selfishness, prejudice, to name a few. The born again believer must learn to take up his cross, deny himself and die daily; he must walk in the Spirit lest he fulfil the lusts of his flesh. Hopefully, he will also press on to find his rightful place in the plan of God and effectual functioning in the Body of Christ. The process of growing up in Christ is usually painful, though the result is glorious. The most painful part is the discovery of certain areas in which the believer has been deceived. How we can understand and deal with deception is the thrust of War on the Saints.
If the believer cooperates intelligently and obediently with God, he will in due time become more a mature and spiritual Christian. He will enter into the experience of that great verse, "He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed," which for most Christians is theology rather than an experienced reality.
The casting out of demons is to be one of the signs that follow Christians in their ministry (Mark 16:17). But casting out of demons from whom? From the unregenerate only? Not so, but demons shall also be cast out of bound and deceived believers in order to set them free. Holding certain Biblical doctrines or glorying in his belief in the inerrancy of the Bible does not provide a refuge for the believer from the countless wiles of the enemy. All men are the objects of Satan's devices, but after conversion his attempts to deceive and, if possible, to control him, increase.
Much of the spiritual activity of our age emanates from the bottomless pit. If Christians everywhere accurately understood what is happening spiritually, they would arm themselves for the final onslaught the enemy is preparing and thus escape the last great deception. It is time for more than isolated warriors to press the battle to the very gates and for a large body of believers to arise to meet the challenge of the deceiver openly.
To further the preparation of believers for this warfare, the full version of War on the Saints is published in this ninth edition. This book is certainly not an easy ten-step method of how to deal with the devil. It is rather a text book which should be read carefully and prayerfully by those who desire to be set free themselves from every deception and work of darkness and by those who yearn to see the liberation of fellow believers in bondage and deception. Much ground needs to be recovered from the foe and War on the Saints will be of vital help to the warring and conquering saints.
Though War on the Saints was first published 60 years ago, its application to the times has distinctly increased with the passing of the years, because Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote the work with keen prophetic insight. The workings of Satan she so clearly perceived in her day, when they were not yet apparent to most, had the unmistakable earmarks of the endtime. Many of the conditions she foresaw then are being fulfilled in our day.
There are other books dealing with the subject of demon influence, but from a different point of view. They relate specific cases and their cure or attempted cure. War on the Saints, however, deals with the nature of the work of demons and their methods and tactics. It is the only book on this important subject. Case histories can be enlightening by way of illustration, but without the underlying knowledge of the subject - a science: Demonology - they will not help the believer to deal effectively with the enemy. No two cases are identical.
War on the Saints, as the only book of its kind, has no competition or comparison. It will equip its conscientious reader for two things: how not to be ignorant of the devil's devices and how to be more than a conqueror over him. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13
June 1973 The Editors, Ninth Edition "War on the Saints"
"Deliverance from the power of the evil one comes through
definite resistance on the ground of the Cross" J. O. Fraser.
In common with the physical and mental realms of human experience, the spiritual sphere has its freaks and diseases; and this book is a "Text book on the work of deceiving spirits among the children of God, and the way of deliverance."
It is no more a book for the general reader than is either a medical work on cancer, or a text book on mental disorders. It should never be read for curiosity nor from mere academic interest. In her foreword to the first edition Mrs. Penn-Lewis wrote: "To the natural man; who has but a mental grasp of spiritual things, the language used may be meaningless, but Christians of all stages of growth in the spiritual life, who simply take what they can understand and leave the remainder for those who are in deeper need-and until they themselves are in deeper need-will obtain much light on matters within their horizon."
Its main appeal will be to two classes of readers. The first consists of those, who have become involved in some false system of religious teaching drawing its inspiration from satanic lies instead of from the sane balanced truth of the Word of God, and who have thus opened themselves to abnormal spiritual experiences which often result in demon possession. The suffering endured by these dupes of the powers of evil is intense; and since the first edition of this book was printed in 1912 there have been many testimonies to deliverance and help received through its pages from such readers. Eternity alone will reveal the ministry it has already exercised and will yet, by the mercy of God, fulfil in restoring such to hope, peace, and sanity.
The second type of reader, to whom this book is of immense value is the Christian worker who finds himself or herself faced with cases of spiritual abnormality, of which there seem to be an increasing number in these days of intense satanic activity. To such readers these pages will bring light and guidance, and it is perhaps striking that in recent months a magazine as well informed of Christian work in many lands as The Alliance Weekly of America, should feel it necessary to publish some very able articles by The Rev. J. A. Macmillan dealing with demon possession. A paragraph from one of these articles reads as follows: "Upon pastors and evangelists rests the greatest measure of responsibility for the instruction of the flock of God. It is in a special way theirs to discern the signs of enemy-working and to deliver their people. It is theirs also to teach and to warn of the perils which the threaten the spiritually minded. It must be realized that the "heavenlies," into which the saints are introduced by divine wisdom and grace, are in this present dispensation the habitat of "the power of the air." The believer who seeks the deepest experiences of the spiritual life may fall under deception unless he knows that "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" at times, and that the arch-enemy is at home in religious gatherings where earnest leaders are "ignorant of his devices."
Full "abandonment to God," unless guarded by the knowledge of the methods by which the Spirit of God reveals Himself, may open the life to the invasion of spirits of darkness. This statement should be pondered carefully in desiring gifts and manifestations. The distribution of such is strictly the function of the Holy Spirit, who divides "to each one severally (individually) AS HE WILL." The seeking believer should have his eyes upon the Throne, disregarding specific gifts (unless these are revealed as things which he should "covet"-1 Cor 12:31; 14:1). What the surrendered soul must pursue is the will of God as his chief and only aim, being watchful lest his mind be set on things which might promote carnality and be the issue of self-will. Many, many are the earnest souls who have unconsciously given themselves over through an unrecognized envy to grasp after what they have seen in the possession of others.
Demon possession is as a rule understood by the worker in heathen lands; and we must bear in mind that most civilised countries to-day have become strongholds of paganism. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to expect that spiritual phenomena usually associated with heathendom will manifest themselves more and more in the midst of the so-called culture, and pseudo-Christian paganism of our modem world.
In our mechanical age, in which liberty and private judgment are so often sacrificed, and in which dictatorship and mass propaganda have become such powerful forces, the chapter dealing with "passivity" should be read and re- read. "The powers of darkness" runs one passage from this chapter, "would make man a machine, a tool, an automaton, the God of holiness and love desires to make him a free, intelligent sovereign in his own sphere-a thinking, rational creature created after His own image (Eph. 4.24). Therefore, God never says to any faculty of man "Be thou idle." It does not seem possible to exaggerate the danger of slipshod thinking concerning spiritual things, and unreasoning abandonment to experiences not founded on a clear understanding of the broad principles of Scripture, and clear teaching along this line is necessary if a healthy advance is to be seen in the life of the Christian Church.
"War on the Saints" may well prove invaluable should God grant a true spiritual revival in answer to the many prayers which are going up from His children throughout the World. At such times satanic opposition stiffens, and many hidden workings of evil are brought out into the open. Then those, who have the responsibility of dealing with souls will need all the light they can obtain on the abnormalities caused by the hold of evil spirits gained either through acceptance of false doctrines, or by tampering with the supernatural.
A paragraph from a recent article by a medically qualified missionary working in China, and familiar with cases of possession by evil spirits, will be of value in maintaining a balanced view of this difficult subject. "A word of warning about mis-diagnosis and lack of balance in spiritual warfare. The exercise of our authority in CHRIST is not a cure for all ills. It has been said that "War is 99% waiting," and the soldier of JESUS CHRIST will not be required to spend his whole time in the front-line trenches. There were times when it was not for Moses to hold the rod of God aloft, but to get down to the hard toil of intercession, and times when his work was to trudge in the wilderness with his people. A Mrs. Yellow was brought by her heathen relatives day after day to the Mission compound because they said she was quieter there. (We took their word for it, but wondered whatever she was like at home!). We labeled her as demon- possessed, and took up our stand against the enemy with no effect whatsoever. It was months before we obtained a full history and found she had a common type of temporary insanity! To attribute troubles indiscriminately to the devil does not make for a healthy atmosphere. We do need balance, and, above all, we need to be so in touch with our Lord that He can give us spiritual perception."
Finally may we again quote from the foreword to the First Edition: "With the publication of the book six years of prayerful testing of the truth here given, and three years of toil in placing these truths in writing, in the face of unceasing attacks from the unseen realm, now draw to their close. The issue lies with God. He who has sustained, and given countless proofs of His protecting hand in a "thus far and no farther" to the attacking hosts of darkness, will carry through His purpose to the end. The light will reach those who need it. Let God fulfil His Will."
Those of us responsible for launching this 7th edition of War on the Saints, can only say "Amen" to that final prayer. We dare not withhold from publication a message which, as it has done in the past, will undoubtedly bring freedom from the torturing grip of the evil one to many in need. May the Spirit of God to whom "all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid" so guide, that every copy fall into the right hands, and may He also give all who read discernment to grasp the truth, which will meet need, without involving themselves and others in a maze of unnecessary complication.