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Can Believers Bind Satan?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | Comments (23)

There is pervasive confusion among many modern evangelical churches—especially those that are charismatic—regarding Satan’s activities and operations.

Modern worship anthems that are focused on spiritual warfare tell Christians to go to “the enemy’s camp” and take “back what he stole” from them. Prayers are offered up to put hedges around believers. Furthermore, it is widely thought that the louder and more fervent the prayer, the more effective it is for binding Satan. But is this really the true role of Christians in the realm of spiritual warfare?

In the following audio, John MacArthur shares from his own experiences with bizarre spiritual warfare and provides valuable biblical insight into how Christians should, and should not, respond to the satanic realm.

The Strange Fire conference will provide much-needed clarity and correction to the mass confusion on the evangelical landscape regarding spiritual warfare. For more information about Strange Fire, please visit the conference website.

GTY Staff


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#1  Posted by Natan T  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 3:21 AM

The part that I don't agree with John MacArthur is when he says that some things only belong to Apostles and earlier church but not for us. Where in the Word does it say that? We have to be scriptural here! Just because you don't experience it does not mean that it does not belong to us. Signs and wonders are part of the last day signs according to Acts 2:17 and Mark 16:15-18.

#2  Posted by Jim Barone  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM

I attend an AG church and always had concerns with the lyrics to the song "The Enemy's Camp" whenever the worship team played it (this was the Holy Spirit). I support Dr. MacArthur and appreciate the clarity of his teaching. There are issues with the charismatic movement that need to be addressed and I am grateful for the willingness of the teachers at the Strange Fire conference to speak on these topics. First Corinthians 14:33 states: "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." As John mentioned in a previous blog, there are folks that attend Pentecostal churches that love Jesus, and I am one of them.

#3  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Praise the LORD, Jim B. Your post reminds me of a couple of verses from the book of James: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." Praise the LORD!

#4  Posted by Dustin Burdin  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I am grateful for this post and the Strange Fire conference. I wish I could attend but cannot. I am praying for it and the speakers. This is an incredibly important issue to be addressed within Christendom. This post speaks the truth. I have not personally heard anyone pronounce a binding or cursing upon Satan himself. But in my own church where I am Associate Pastor I hear some people pray to God and request that God bind Satan. They usually request this as we are beginning a ministry/outreach effort or a new class, etc. I suppose this is not the same level as what Dr. MacArthur is referring to in this blog but it still seems strange to me even sometimes.

Any thoughts about the validity of believers praying 'to God' not Satan about binding Satan? Is this appropriate?

My thoughts initially are that believers should pray for themselves and others that God reveal to them where they be lacking in their 'armor' to be personally prepared spiritually to 'defend' against Satan's attacks.

#5  Posted by Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin)  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM


John MacArthur taught an excellent message on the last few verses of Mark, including the ones you mentioned above. You can watch or listen to it here:

#6  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM

I will respectfully disagree with JM on the ending of Mark. Anyone truly interested on the subject should read "The Last Twelve Verses of Mark" by Dean John William Burgon.

That being said, I do believe that the verses Nathan mentioned were fulfilled in the first century AD, just read the whole book of Acts, you will see the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy and the signs in the end of Mark fulfilled in the apostles' time.

#7  Posted by Kelly Whalen  |  Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 4:14 AM

When I was in the charismatic movement we were told to 'bind satan', we were told to do this for practically everything. If I was sick I was told I was not in the faith and that I must bind satan off of my healing. If I was depressed or spoke any negative word about anything I was told satan would hear that and I would miss out on blessings. I ended up becoming extremely superstitious and paranoid, and feared even praying out loud in case the devil got a hold of it. This was robbing me of all of my joy and happiness in The Lord because my mind ended up focused on satan and not on God. This is one of the many reasons I am so respectful of John MaCarthurs teachings because he is sound in the word and doesn't twist the Prescious Word of God to mean what it doesn't. The charismatic movement takes God hostage to His Word.

#8  Posted by Adam D  |  Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Brother Jeremiah,

While the link to Pastor John's message on the final verses of Mark is compelling to omit those verses of text from scripture, it certainly is not a definitive argument about the "end" to miraculous signs performed here on earth.

The fact is that there is no definitive evidence in the Word of God that anything supernatural experienced in the Book of Acts could not be performed today.

#9  Posted by Chee Lam  |  Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Like Kelly W, I was in the charismatic movement at the beginning of my christian journey for nearly 10 years. The teacings were similar to her sharing in which we were taught to bind everything from rebuking sickness to binding satan and cursing poverty. It was JM's teaching that helped me see the truth and set me free from this movement and its doctrine. I can understand where Nathan T is coming from. How I wished all the claims in charismatic movement were true. It will really be "awesome" if believers could bind satan and render him powerless, heal all sicknesses, raise the dead etc. However, we can't argue with the facts. If signs and wonders are for today, they should happen as an everyday occurance in the church. I mean at least in charismatic churches that preached this doctrine. On the contrary, I have seen preachers fall into sins (charismatic and none charismatic) instead of being victorious over satan. I have great respect for JM for his life testimony and his integrity in the ministry. He has been my bible teacher now for almost 20 years. I still attend a local church but no one preaches and teaches the bible like him. How I wished I could attend Grace Community Church and be a part of this family.

#10  Posted by Joyce Wilson  |  Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Is not binding Satan different from casting out demons? Did Jesus not bind Satan when he took the keys of death and hell? And concerning evil spirits, what then should a minister do when a demon is present? Should he not call upon the name of the Lord to cast it out so the man or woman can be freed? Casting out demons is one of the signs of a believer (Mark 16:17), and while some probably believe that the time for such a sign is gone, where is that found in scripture? Demons still oppress people, so why would God stop the gifts and signs needed to deal with them? And can one really compare the Saints of God--with the indwelling Holy Spirit--to the Seven Sons of Sceva who were not in Christ to begin with?

#11  Posted by Lynnette Knapp  |  Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

For years I struggled with the idea "am I really saved?" because my mother in law kept informing me I had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I used to come home crying all the time after that, mostly silently inside rather then let my husband know how much pain I was feeling. He grew up in an AG church. I grew up Episcopal. But both of us had walked away from our faith. Eventually, we both came to the Lord embracing his Salvation. My husband began to study deeply the word and the studies of John MacArthur, looking for any books at yardsales that he could pour over. Mean while my mother in law kept telling me I needed to be Baptized by the Holy Spirit and be slain in the Spirit and let the tongues pour out. I got caught up in that and created confusion with my family. Patiently my husband guided me and I always went to him for advice and questions. I never did speak in tongues. I have never been able to say "Thank you Holy Spirit for telling me this and then correct someone for minor things." My mother in law did that all the time and how do you question someone who claims to speak from the Holy Spirit. We live in a town where there are 3 churches in town that speak in tongues, slay in the Spirit and many more. The only other Church in town is a mainline denomination that supports worldly ideas within it's church. Outside of town is a Baptist Church, and several more but they are outside of our town on the major express ways. Places for a Bible believing church is not in town and those of us who lost their cars or have no cars to take them to a Bible believing church are left with the strange fire type worship or mainline philosophy that is equally as dangerous. I am praying for a pastor to come into town and establish somewhere a place of true Biblical teaching like that of John MacArthur PLEASE pray as well. Through the lessons of John MacArthur along these lines I know now that just because I do not speak in tongues or have divine messages to interpret I am not lost. I struggled thinking I was not Christian enough, I was not good enough to be given the gifts of speaking in tongues, prophetic messages, and being slain in the Spirit. I tried so hard to be good enough until I was completely miserable. The studies on this type of worship helped me to release that burden of feeling not good enough for God. I continue to listen to the programs on Grace to You, in fact my 11 and 9 year old listen as well every morning before we read the Bible. I wish I or my husband could attend this conference, but we will pray for all that are attending and those that are leading. Thank you for your program on the radio and on the internet.

#12  Posted by Eliane Galle Carr  |  Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

My husband and his family are Pentecostals. This one particular church is extremely stagnant. They have no Sunday school, no Bible study groups for men/women/children, no discipleship activities, nothing. It's a 45min sermon three times a week about whataver the pastor feels like talking about at the time, either about the Bible or some personal opinion of something on his mind.

I heard one of their evangelists, that holds a PhD in something from a Baptist seminary, say: "I had to turn this guy upside down the other day so he'd get the Holy Ghost". How absurd is that? They believe only those who speak in togues are saved. Sometimes I have no idea where the words come from and wonder if they really praise God.

One thing that I do like about Pentecostals is their emphasis on Christian living, differentiation, and adoration. I think other denominations should learn from them in this regard.

#13  Posted by Brad Kennedy  |  Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Lynette (11), Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." There is an interactive search map where you can search for Master's Seminary graduates in your area. Visit

#14  Posted by Eliane Galle Carr  |  Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Could someone explain to me why Pentecostals have a problem with the word Trinity? They think trinity means three gods. I never heard such thing until I stepped in a Pentecostal church.

I've read about the form of modalism in Jehova's Witness and Mormons on one of RC Sproul books. How do the Pentecostals differentiate themselves from JW, Mormons, and Muslims on this? Do they think God is not Ommipresent?

If they read Romans 8, for example, they would see the mentioning of God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, sometimes in the same paragraph. How can they deny the God in three persons?

#15  Posted by Adam D  |  Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 6:55 PM

@ Elaine (14)

That which you refer to is the "Oneness Pentecostalism" movement and not the theology of most major Pentecostal churches. Assemblies of God, Church of God, 4 Square and most non-denominational Pentecostal churches believe in the Trinity.

Oneness also teaches the doctrine that water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit are necessary for salvation. These are also false doctrines that the majority of Pentecostal churches do not teach.

#16  Posted by Robert Warren  |  Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Eliane (#14):

I think you are confusing garden-variety Pentecostals with "Oneness Pentecostals", who are non-Trinitarian. Many Pentecostals are Trinitarian, at least confessionally.

#17  Posted by Maxwell Otalor  |  Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM

There's no need for people to become divisive over certain elements of doctrine. What we need to do as Christians is to serve God and keep a intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Believing whether miracles can be performed today as they were in the time of the Apostles bears no significance on the salvation of one's soul. How does knowing that impact the love you have for Jesus Christ?

Follow the commandments, obey Jesus Christ as LORD & SAVIOR. People are missing the entire point by getting boggled down and distracted by minor doctrinal issues. Believing in miracles occurring today or not will not bring the wrath of God upon you. We have to keep our eyes focused on Christ and not these other things. If anyone needs a miracle to validate his or her belief in Christ then he or she is not a Christian. Miracles in the Bible when you examine the rate at which each was done was never done flippantly. Miracles were delegated by the Holy Spirit for a specific time and purpose. That is what I believe when I examine the entire context of the Bible. If anyone believes differently its okay. What matters is that Christians are under the one true Church of Christ and remove themselves from all of these nonsensical denominations that worship God in spirit but DO NOT worship God in truth. God in the Bible left requisites for worship. We as people abandon it and decide to worship God the way we want to.

People still believe they are Christians and have NEVER been baptized. People go to churches where the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine isn't done on the Lord's day. People swear their allegiance to traditions from a particular church that call themselves a Christian church. Music with instruments are played and contemporary churches sound more like concerts than true worship to the one and only living God. Those components are more important than wondering whether miracles were still as frequent today as they were with the Apostles.

Baptist, Methodists, Episcopalian, Roman Catholicism, Lutheran....etc. All of these churches are not the true Church of Christ. The church of God is founded on Christ not Baptist, Methodists, Episcopalian, Roman Catholicism, Lutheran....etc. Man made traditions that don't fall in line with Christ end up worship God in spirit but NOT IN TRUTH.

#18  Posted by Joane M.  |  Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#19  Posted by Michelle Macon  |  Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Hallelujah to Kelly W

My sentiments exactly. Upon really seeking the Lord for truth and my own personal study of the Scriptures, I've found so many misinterpretations of passages that are so clear upon the first reading that I find myself while in morning worship service(in a charismatic church) wondering how much more I can stomach. I'm not the most intelligent person alive, yet the Scriptures seem to be clear on so much at first reading. I realize that as a believer, I am to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. I'm trusting the Lord to help me find a church where the Word of God is esteemed for the preciousness that it is. I'm praying for my pastors, and my sisters and brothers at the church where I am currently a member and have been for over 20 years to open eyes, hearts and minds to what the Author of His Word has said and to contend for that faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.

#20  Posted by Eliane Galle Carr  |  Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

O, Lord - I recently married and my husband goes to this church that believes in One Godhead. The United Pentecostal Church (UPC) also believes the same way. His church is separated from the UPC, but still is a Pentecostal Church. I think World Pentecostal. I didn't know all this doctrine differences prior to the marriage although I liked their preaching. He says he's born again Christian, is a great husband, obeys God's principles. Did I marry a member of a sect?

#21  Posted by Joane M.  |  Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Thank you Pastor MacArthur for all your work defending the gospel. Your ministry has had a tremendous, positive impact on my Christian life.

I attend a Pentecostal church where they are always binding the devil or "taking authority" over him. Recently, the Pastor organized a ministers retreat. The men were not permitted to go home beginning Friday night through Saturday at 3 am, although women could leave for short periods of time and return. During that time they prayed and preached. A woman pastor also preached. The theme of this retreat was "Fire must Fall!" A few things which disturbed me was I noticed the pastor frequently referred to the ministers in the church as "my ministers." But what really caused me alarm was when the Pastor told everyone to bring out the dirt they had collected. Apparently, the pastor had directed the people to go outside and collect dirt, especially from a location that they wanted to "take authority over." The pastor gave them several prayer points to pray while touching the dirt. If your spouse was present, you were instructed to touch your dirt together while praying the prayer points. The pastor's brother, who is also a pastor ordained by none other than the subject pastor, was rubbing his toddler's feet in his dirt and praying ,"You will not suffer in this land." Anyways, the prayer points, as directed by the Pastor were, "I will not work hard in this land, the land will yield increase for me, my family and I will prosper in this land, every power working against my destiny in this land must bow, in the name of Jesus, etc., etc. I was both astonished and grieved by all of this. They also prayed that "the fire of God must fall." They sought God's fire as anointing "to do exploits" in ministry and life. I have been attending this church for sometime now, but in the past year, my eyes have been opened as the saying goes, and I wonder if any of this is biblically sound. Others that I've spoken with say it is. They argued that many were healed by Apostle Paul's shadow. I'm not making the connection. Any thoughts on what I've shared would be much appreciated.

#22  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Elaine (#20)

I can understand that you find yourself in a perplexing situation. It is not possible to provide a comprehensive answer to your questions nor know all the facts through a dialogue in this forum. But I can make a few suggestions that I hope will point you in the right direction.

Regarding the Godhead, there is one Godhead Who exists in three persons. When reading a doctrine statement you need to read how they define the Trinity. A definition of One God Who exists in three persons (and each person is fully God) is the correct Christian understanding. A definition of One God who exists in three manifestations is the heresy known historically as Modalism.

Regarding denominations and the Trinity, you will have to double check the denomination you attend and what they believe. Oneness Pentecostals and United Pentecostals are definitely cults that deny the Trinity. Pentecostal World Fellowship affirms the Trinity. You will have to find out if your fellowship is one of these. If not, you can investigate using the guidelines I have already given you.

Regarding your husband, Scripture calls you to remain in your marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-16, 1 Peter 3:1-7) whether your husband is a Christian or a cult member and serve Christ within that context. I recommend you use the following site to try and find a pastor who can give you godly biblical counsel on your situation.

I hope this has been of help.

#23  Posted by Mike Kw Teo  |  Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Lynnette Knapp

You may want to check out this other great site on the Word of our Lord. The teachings are very biblical. I'm sure that you'll find it as helpful as GTY. It's:-

Both GTY and GCA have been my favourite learning resource for the past 5 years.

God Bless,.......Mteo