Scott Gage

PO Box 3425
Fayetteville, AR 72702



May/June Issue 2009 - Volume 28   Number 3

Is Satan Real?


Bishop Appears Confused and Deceived

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44

An article regarding an Episcopal priest that the Diocese of Northern Michigan proposed to elevate to the office of Bishop appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Saturday, April 18, 2009. I quote here just a portion of the article:

“Elevation of Priest Who Praises Koran, Buddhism Worries Bishops”

The Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester denies that Satan exists. He doesn’t believe God sent his only-begotten son to die for the sins of the world. He says that the Koran is sacred, he has taken a Zen Buddhist middle name and he teaches that many paths lead to the divine.

As an Episcopal priest, Thew Forrester altered the denomination’s prayer book, including its baptismal vows and the words of the Apostles’ Creed.  Now he’s been elected to become a bishop---a successor to the Apostles---by the Diocese of Northern Michigan.

If a majority of the Episcopal Church’s bishops and dioceses give their consent, Thew Forrester would inherit a seat in the House of Bishops, a ceremonial shepherd’s staff and an awesome task---to “guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church.”

Some, including the bishop of Arkansas, the Rev. Larry Benfield, hope that never happens. The Little Rock cleric says he voted against Thew Forrester primarily because of his deviations from sacramental rites printed in the Book of Common Prayer.

“The Book of Common Prayer, for us, is deeply steeped in the tradition of the church and in holy Scripture,” Benfield said. “Changes in the prayer book are very serious matters for us in the Episcopal Church.” That prayer book, last revised in 1979, is the denomination’s main theological document. It unites Episcoplians in common liturgy and common worship.

Thew Forrester’s sweeping revisions do more than replace Shakespearean English with modern-day phraseology. For example, Thew Forrester, who says he believes in evil but not a literal devil, eliminates the reference to “Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God” in the baptismal rite. Instead, baptismal participants promise to “let go of” self-deceit, fear and anger. Instead of accepting Jesus “as your savior,” they confirm that they “accept him as the way of life and hope.”

In the Apostles’ Creed, an ancient and ecumenical statement of faith, Jesus Christ is no longer referred to as God’s “only son.” (Thew Forrester has stated, elsewhere, that “each and every one of us is an only-begotten child of God.”) Instead of thanking the Father “for the water of Baptism,” baptismal participants thank the Mother.

While Christian religion is “rooted in the Scriptures,” it is also continually being reformed,” Thew Forrester said, explaining his theology. “The Faith is not static reality. It’s continually evolving and dynamic,” he said. “I think what we’ve done is quite responsible and appropriate and indeed the church needs to do it in order to stay relevant in the 21st century.”

Asked if he believes all of the words of the Apostle’s Creed, Thew Forrester said, “yes, but it’s highly symbolic language, isn’t it?” “Do I believe there is evil? Yes. Do I believe in a literal Satan? No,” he said.

The word of God speaks directly to situations like this one in which this Epicopalian priest has been deceived by his own heart:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  Proverbs 14:12

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

There are many in the religious world today who are confused and sometimes deceived by the popular trends in society. When we offer Biblical teaching on certain topics, we are accused of being “homophobic” or practicing hatred toward a certain segment of society, this is not the case at all. We believe that God loves all men and is not willing that any should perish, but let’s quote the familiar passage from 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

We are living in times that have taken “repentance” completely out of the picture of God’s grace. In this age of “toleration” we are accused of being hardhearted and uncaring if we mention repentance. However, this is what the word of God says, even though many today ignore it.

Was Jesus being mean spirited when he told people to repent? “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:2-3). When we preach repentance we are not trying to categorize sinners. We are saying that the Lord wants all sinners to come to repentance.

While many are eager to point out that Jesus is a friend of sinners and his mercy is abundant, they seem to have forgotten that this champion of sinners called all sinners to repent. He didn’t offer them the mercy of God and then leave them with no direction for the future. Jesus always calls sinners to a higher plane of living, to walk in the spirit. He encourages all sinners just as he did the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

There are several issues raised in this Gazette article, but we cannot address all of them. In this issue of BC we want to discuss the origin and character of Satan and how we can overcome Satan’s power.

scott gage

Fayetteville, Arkansas


For some time I have threatened to write, in a book, questions I want to ask when I get to heaven.  One of those questions would be the origin of Satan; I believe he is a created being, but there could be some things we may not understand about the existence of God prior to the creation of this world in which we live.  However, tradition sets forth Satan as a fallen angel but the passages we use to reach this conclusion such as Is. 14:12, Ezek 28:14 and others may really set before us other teachings.

What we know is an evil influence was present in the Garden when the serpent asked, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” (RSV) So early in the history of man, the Tempter was busy working in opposition to that which God desired.   Some have thought the book of Job was written prior to the books written by Moses, but it tells of a presence that tried to drive a wedge between God and Job   But from the time when Satan first lied to mother Eve until the present time, all effort has been made to separate man from God. We will over come, we will be victorious  -- as we will see in other articles in this issue.  However, that victory will be easier and more certain if we understand the nature or the character of Satan.

The same source of information that tells us of God and his nature, informs us of Satan.  The individual who does not believe there is a God obviously would not believe there is a Devil.  However, as the heavens and earth declare the existence of God so the presence of evil in our world shouts aloud the existence of Satan.

John 8:44 says that SatanH is a liar. In Genesis 3:1-2 God said, “If you eat of the tree in the midst of the garden you will die.”  Satan said, “Not so – not right—you won’t die, you will be elevated to a God status.”  We don’t have to guess who was right.  When Paul wrote 2Thessalonians 2:10 he mentioned some who did not love truth and tells us for that reason God will send strong delusions that would cause men to believe a lie and that condemnation will be the result of the belief of a lie.  This passage alone is enough to motivate us in cultivating a love for truth, and insist that truth must be learned and obeyed.

When Paul wrote about the things that surrounded Israel and concluded they were written for our information or learning, we can conclude that the lies or false teaching throughout the Old and New Testaments have been given to us so we can be on guard.  The liar lives by no good rule. “You won’t die” has proved to be a lie.  Adam and Eve suffered death (separation from God) because they believed that lie.  And even today we still gather often to say goodbye to someone who has suffered physical death because Mother Eve believed that lie.

We remember the young prophet from Judah who was commissioned to cry out against the false religion in Bethel. He was at the mercy of the liar because he believed that lie.  He complied with God’s commands most diligently until the ‘old prophet’ said, “I too am a prophet and an angel appeared to me and told me…. but he lied.”

All false religion comes from the father of liars who knows the outcome of believing and following something false.  A classic example is the Galatians 1:6 where Paul wrote, “ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the gospel of Christ unto another gospel.  Which is not another, but there some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” The book of Galatians should be enough to convince us that only truth will suffice.

Consider all the lies we have been told.  They can separate us from God.  The New Morality offered in the 1960’s was simply the old immorality dressed to cause us to take the lie.  It is being offered again.  The sins of Sodom that destroyed the cities of the plains will bring shame to our country.  The legalization of such by ‘same sex marriages’ will eventually destroy us both spiritually and literally. Yet, in spite of our opposition to immorality there is really more scripture against false religion than anything else.  We must insist on truth.

2Corinthians 11:3 states that Satan is cunning:  “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning….” Satan is active today.  The religions he sponsors are often more appealing to the flesh than worship in spirit and truth.  The success stories of the worldly organizations are often more inviting than the hardships and struggles of real conversion to The Christ and his teachings.

The generation coming on the scene of action now is being led away from the principles we have been able to read in the scriptures.  That which appeals to the physical is given more space than that which God has commanded.  Why did the two sons of Aaron offer strange fire (Lev. 10:1)? Perhaps someone said, “I am bored with the way we have been doing it, or we found this new thing we can use that makes the sacrifice more exciting.” Well, it perhaps did get exciting when fire from heaven consumed them. We must insist on truth and stay with that which we read.

2Corinthians 11:14e says that Satan is deceitful. Paul writes of some to say they were false apostles, deceitful workmen and says, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” Satan and his workers are not bound by any code that warns us they are attempting to deceive us.

He tells us not to be alarmed just because we are surrounded by immorality, gambling in every form, false religions, increasing crime, general apathy about true Christianity – the list goes on. The only weapon we have against all the sinful conditions by which we are surrounded is truth, obedience, and sincerity.

Ephesians 2:1-2 says that Satan is powerful.  “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

God has allowed Satan to possess power over things; however, his power is limited by our ability to choose.  We were created to glorify God and we can only accomplish this by choosing wisely to serve God.  Although Satan is powerful, God is still in control and wants us to be victorious.  This can be the case if we are loyal to truth.

1Peter 5:8 says that Satan is fierce.  “Be sober, be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” 

Other attributes of Satan include wicked, proud and slanderous. Our only safe course of action is to love truth above all else.  John 8:31-32 states that the truth is the only thing that can free us.

Quinton Gage

Colbert, Oklahoma


Overcoming Satan's Power

We live in a world full of fear and anxieties. So many people today live in fear of a failing economy, of political corruption, of world wars and calamities. In fact, fear of someone or something may be the most common thread of humanity. It seems many times, if we don't have anything that we know we have to fear, we will invent some unknown fear.

It does seem strange that some individuals that are either fearful of something known, or are fearful of something unknown, fail to have any fear of the one thing in this world that we should fear. Peter says in 1Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (NKJV) If, when I leave the house every morning going to the office, I knew there was a hungry roaring lion waiting to attack and kill me, I would have a real fear. In fact, I would do everything possible to protect myself by avoiding the lion. I certainly would not see how close I could get to the lion before he killed me. I would not decide the lion was no more dangerous than a house cat, and attempt to pet him. I would not try to convince myself that the lion might attack someone else, but would never do me any harm. I would not tell myself if I just ignore him he would go away. If there was a lion that was determined to attack and kill me, I would have a real fear of that lion!

Peter tells us that is exactly the kind of world in which we live, not that we fear a physical lion that will do harm to our fleshly man. That would be bad enough, but Peter tells us that the situation that we have to deal with is much worse! Peter is talking in spiritual terms, and talking about the peril our spiritual man faces everyday. It is not just our fleshly man that stands in jeopardy of being destroyed, but more importantly it is our spiritual man that might be destroyed for all eternity.

This lion that Peter talks about in 1Peter 5:8 is referred to as the god of this age by Paul in 2Corinthians 4:4. The god of this age has but one objective, and that is to see as many people as possible condemned along with him and his angels in the lake of fire for all eternity. (Matt. 25:41)

Our adversary, Satan, the god of this age, is very persistent. He does not make just one effort to ensnare us. Paul talks about the snares of the devil in 1Timothy 3:7, as he gives the qualifications for elders. It is not just those who might seek the office of elder that Satan tries to ensnare, but all who would live faithful to Jesus Christ!

Notice some of the ways Satan would trap and destroy us: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2Cor.4:3-4) It is the desire of Satan to blind us to the wonderful blessings found in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice Paul said those who are blinded are perishing. They have allowed the Gospel to be veiled. Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God." Satan has blinded many in the world today to the saving power of the gospel, "first spoken by the Lord and confirmed to us by those who heard Him." (Heb.2:3)

Satan tries to deceive us just as he deceived Eve. Paul warns in 2Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear lest somehow as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." We cannot afford to be deceived and destroyed by Satan. Being deceived will be no excuse when we stand before God. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life." (Gal.6:7-8)

Paul also warns that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. "And no wonder for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2Cor.11:14-15) Satan and his ministers many times do not appear as they really are. If we saw a lion we would run and protect ourselves. If we saw Satan for what he really is, we would have no desire to get close to him, or want him in our lives. Too many times Satan makes himself appealing. He will disguise himself to appeal to our individual weakness. No matter how he is disguised, Peter says to remember Satan is a roaring lion and his only purpose is to devour you. FEAR HIM!!!!

As we think about Satan, the god of this world, and his power and craftiness, we might conclude that there is nothing we can do to overcome him. However, the scripture tells us that not only can we overcome Satan and his power, but also we MUST overcome Satan and his power.

We will not succeed overcoming Satan by our own strength and ability. We must allow God to give us the power and strength for our victory over Satan. James 4:7, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." How can this be accomplished? We have an example, in Hebrews 4:14-16 Paul tells us that our High Priest, Jesus Christ, sympathizes with our battles with Satan. In fact, he tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points that we are tempted, and yet He did not sin by giving in to Satan. Paul tells us that we can, if we will seek it, receive mercy and grace in the time of our need. In Matthew 4:1-11, after Jesus was baptized, he was led by the spirit to be tempted by the devil. In the three temptations that Satan brought to Jesus we can find the same temptations that Satan brings to us today. The temptation to live to the flesh, the temptation to make a show to man of our religion and the temptation to fall down and worship the god of this world, for whatever of the world he might give us.

Our help is promised if we will just stand and fight. In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul gives us the instruction needed for being victorious over Satan and his angels. We must understand that we have a very powerful enemy and we must arm ourselves for the battle with the whole armor of God. We need to be wrapped in truth, have the breastplate of righteousness, have on our feet the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, which is The Word of God, and be constant in prayer.

Our help and salvation comes from the Power of God Himself. We need to be aware of the god of this world. He is to be feared because of his intention to see us suffer with him and his angels in the lake of fire for all eternity!  

Our great hope and assurance is that by the Power of God we can overcome Satan. May God help us all to receive from Him the only power available for our eternal victory!

Dennis Gage

Benton, Arkansas