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Monday, December 1, 2014

"21 Things the Devil Cannot Do" (Duane Vander Klok)

TITLE: 21 Things the Devil Cannot Do
AUTHOR: Duane Vander Klok
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books, 2014, (176 pages).

Too many believers have lived in fear and insecurity when they start to focus on what the devil can do instead of what the devil cannot do. As a result, people are deceived and forget that the devil is not as formidable as these deceptions paint him to be. "Know your enemy" seems to be the focus of lead pastor and author, Duane Vander Klok. The underlying exhortation in this book is this: Don't overestimate the power of the devil and underestimate the reality of the truth. Like many preachers and teachers of the pentecostal traditions, Klok begins by telling us the importance of rightly sizing up our enemies. Don't over or underestimate his ability. For Colossians 1:11-14 reminds us that believers are already rescued, freed from bondage, and empowered to be victors in God's kingdom. Knowing the enemy means learning the truth about the devil and what spiritual warfare entails. In three chapters, he listed all 21 things that the Devil cannot do. This is followed by 12 signs to uncover the devil's tactics. Finally, Klok comes back with a "cure," that says only Jesus can save. He conveniently lists all the 21 things and 12 signs toward the end of the book for readers' convenience. I suspect this chapter alone would be thumbed through most often by readers.

This book comes with a rather bold title that declares straightaway what the devil cannot do. That is very typically Pentecostal style. The triumphalistic tone is consistent throughout the book and those who face spiritual darkness and challenges right now would feel cheered on to persevere. Klok is very clear of his intention: Expose the devil's tricks. Diagnose the signs of bondage. Wield the weapons of spiritual warfare boldly and faithfully.
  • Take authority in the Name of Jesus
  • Know the truth
  • Identify the Enemy
  • Resist, resist, resist
  • Understand our status at our salvation
  • Know we are blessed, not cursed
  • Put on righteousness
  • Be baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit
  • Align our words with God's words
  • Be God's ambassador
  • Keep our passions hot
  • Put on the whole armour of God
  • and Jesus will lead us in triumph
Like a spiritual cheerleader, Klok does a great job in raising high one's spirit. He lists methodically what believers can deal about their bondage. The pattern is firstly to be aware of what the devil can or cannot do. This is about knowledge of the Truth. Secondly, be able to diagnose spiritual conditions by using the signs. This is about spiritual discernment. Finally, put on the weapons of spiritual warfare. This is the putting on of courage. This framework is commendable. I am not so convinced by some of the steps Klok has put up. 

For example, in #2, when Klok says "The Devil cannot understand the ways and Word of God," there is a danger in underestimating the devil's ability to deceive. In order to deceive someone else, the devil must have a pretty good grasp of what the Word of God is. Look at the way the Devil tried to deceive Jesus at the three temptations in the wilderness. Each time, the devil used a Scripture passage to try and trip Jesus, only to be corrected and rebuked. My position is that the devil is far more formidable than what Klok is describing. Perhaps, the big problem is how believers themselves err because they know not the Word. My second criticism is that the book tends to place the onus of the problem on the devil himself, about what the devil cannot do. It unwittingly gives believers a false sense of confidence, to the point that believers then do not have to take precautions. Perhaps, this is not Klok's intention, but it sure reads that way in print.

The author, Duane Vander Klok is lead pastor of Resurrection Life Church,  a Church of 7000 in attendance over several services in Grandville, Michigan, as well as founder of the "Walking by Faith" television program. Having experienced spiritual warfare during his time as a missionary to Mexico, he begins by saying that most people's fears about the devil have been unfounded. In Klok's words, "the devil is simply overrated."

In summary, Klok has some good things to say about spiritual warfare, like reminding us not to fear or overestimate the power of the devil. He is right to declare that Jesus is the Ultimate Deliverer, the Supreme Victor. There is no one going to be able to challenge God. It is also true that the devil cannot harm us unless we let him. For popular reading, this book is ok as a brief reference guide. For scholarly work, I would recommend other books like the "Understanding the Four Views of Spiritual Warfare."

Rating: 3.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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