Satan and His Kingdom: What the Bible Says and How it Matters to You
Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2009. Pp. 286. Paper. $13.99.
With thanks to Jim Hart of Bethany House for this review copy!
Satan and His Kingdom (hereafter SHK) is a book about spiritual warfare. Dennis McCallum is the pastor of a 5000 member church called Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio as well as a well respected teacher and one thing becomes readily apparent when reading SHK: McCallum is speaking from experience and knows what he’s talking about. This isn’t an academic tome. It’s not a study of the reception history of Christian belief about Satan, or exorcism, or anything of the sort, as valuable as those kinds of studies can be. This wasn’t written by someone sitting in an ivory tower that has no experience with the subject about which he’s writing. No, this is a book written by a real minister with the purpose to call believers to awareness and action.
SHK is composed of 21 chapters with 4 appendices spread out over three sections:
- The Battle Then and Now
- Satan and You
- For Further Study
In the first section McCallum spends time outlining the reality of the spiritual battle that we’re engaged in as well as the reality of the spiritual being we’re at war with. It’s almost unfathomable that according to polls some Christians don’t even believe that Satan exists, but McCallum spends plenty of time and space assuring us that he does, that he’s an extremely intelligent and powerful foe, but also that we can beat him.
The second section focuses on Satan’s tactics and the measures we can and should be taking to fight against them. For as intelligent and powerful as Satan is, he isn’t God and therefore he’s not unbeatable. We need to develop a strong relationship with the God we serve, eschew the things of this world’s system, and become conversant with what Scripture has to say about spiritual warfare if we want to win this battle.
The final section might have logically worked better as the first section since it deals with the reality of Satan and it examines the Old and New Testaments’ depiction of him. The final three appendices deal with why McCallum thinks that God kept Jesus’ mission a secret until the very end. Appendix 2 addresses the problems with certain messianic prophecies in the OT while appendix 3 examines Jesus’ own teaching on his mission. The final appendix follows a question and answer format in which McCallum lists questions that might overthrow his thesis while offering answers that show why they do not.
The book is rounded out with 24 pages of end notes which generally annoy me but didn’t make that much of a difference in this work. There’s no Scripture index which is unfortunate since a huge amount of Scripture is cited throughout the book. There’s also no subject index which isn’t as much of a problem because each section begins with a detailed table of contents that lists both the chapter’s title and then the subsections within the chapter. It’s not quite as thorough as a subject index would be but it’ll get the job done in a pinch. All in all I think that McCallum has written a very readable and helpful book that all Christians, especially those who take a more relaxed or apathetic position toward spiritual warfare, should read.