Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Ed Murphy’

Someone is out to get your pastor.

It’s not the FBI … nor the CIA … nor the NSA … nor the IRS.

Well, maybe the IRS.

But who among all beings would like to see your pastor discouraged … depressed … and ultimately destroyed?

Answer: The devil.

Dr. Ed Murphy – and I don’t know if he’s still alive – has been one of the world’s foremost authorities on spiritual warfare for decades.

I took two classes from Dr. Murphy – one in college, another in seminary – and have had the privilege of lunching with him and consulting with him.

In 1992, Dr. Murphy published his magnum opus titled The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare.  On pages 444-445 of the book, Dr. Murphy writes about a story whose accuracy he has personally verified.  He writes:

“One of my prayer partners in the San Jose area … was flying out of San Jose.  She sat in an aisle seat.  The seat next to her was empty but the window seat was occupied by a young man.  When it was time for the stewardess to serve the meal my prayer partner accepted hers.  The young man refused, saying he was fasting.

‘I overheard you tell the stewardess you are fasting,’ my friend said.  ‘Then you must be a Christian.’

‘No, I am a Satanist,’ was the reply.

Pat was taken back by his remark.  She did not know if she should look for another seat on the plane or what!  She decided to stay where she was and engage the young man in conversation if he would.  In fact, he was quite willing to talk of his faith and witness to the power of Satan.

In the course of the conversation, Pat asked him about the specific targets of his fasting and praying.  (Such fasting and praying is a curse attempt, not humble supplication.)  He said the targets were the leading churches and pastors in the San Jose area and two leading Christian missions.  When Pat asked which missions were the targets, without hesitation he said they were Partners International and OC International [Overseas Crusades, Dr. Murphy’s organization].”

Dr. Murphy continues:

“Within the next few years a half dozen key pastors in the San Jose area fell into immorality and were removed from their churches.  Coincidence?  This had never happened before.”

I know about these situations because I lived in the San Jose area during that time.

When I began an outreach-oriented church in that area in the early 1990s, the spiritual attacks upon our church were relentless.  Without knowing it, we had moved into Satan’s territory.

The intersection where our church was located was a place where drugs were dealt and money was exchanged for sex.

In addition, during our new church’s startup phase, my family was assaulted with harassing phone calls and threats.

I consulted with Dr. Murphy about these issues, and he told me, “It sounds like someone has put a curse on you and your church.”

We persevered, and had a great ministry for years … but the spiritual attacks – mostly from outside the church – never stopped.

Based upon my nearly four decades in church ministry, let me suggest three things you can do personally to counteract Satan’s assaults on your pastor:

First, pray for your pastor … by yourself … with your family … and with other believers.

Pray for his walk with God … his family members … his leadership and teaching ministries … and his shepherding.

And when you pray for your pastor, let him know that’s what you’re doing.  I was always encouraged when someone said to me, “I’m praying for you, pastor.”

In fact, I’m still encouraged whenever that happens.

In addition, pray with your pastor spontaneously.

Pastors are constantly listening to people’s problems and asking, “Can I pray for you?”

But who ever asks their pastor, “Would it be all right if I prayed for you right now?”

You don’t have to be ordained … or know Greek … or be a spiritual giant … just obey the Spirit’s promptings.

What a blessing it is for a pastor to be the recipient of prayer!

Second, encourage your pastor verbally … especially after a message.

You might think that people are constantly telling pastors, “Wow, that was really a great message today!”

Not necessarily.

When I was a pastor, there were Sundays … sometimes a few in a row … when I didn’t hear any positive comments about a message.

It’s not that I wanted to be praised … I just wanted to know that I was effective.

If I heard from just two people that they benefited from the message, I was content … and was motivated to study hard for the next week’s sermon.

But if I didn’t hear from anybody, I’d wonder, “Is there something wrong with me that I don’t know about?”  And study would come hard that week.

Because spiritual work is usually invisible and slow, pastors can easily become discouraged when they don’t see results.

But when the people they serve say, “We’re glad you’re our pastor … we appreciate your ministry … and you’re really helping us grow” … those comments will infuse courage into a pastor … and keep the devil away.

Finally, defend your pastor when he’s absent.

If you’re with a group of people, and someone starts criticizing your pastor, suggest that the critic speak with the pastor personally … or remain silent.

Re-read that last line again.  It can be the difference between a church that splits and a church that’s healthy.

When churches split, it’s usually because churchgoers consistently talk about their pastor with others until a faction/mob forms and assaults the pastor in some fashion.

When churches are healthy, churchgoers insist that those who are upset with their pastor personally speak with him directly.

Whose job is it to keep a church healthy?

It’s the job of every person who calls that church home.

And what’s the primary way to turn a healthy church into a dysfunctional mess?

Attack the pastor … or stand idly by while others attack him.

As your pastor goes, so goes your church.

And if your pastor leaves, others will leave with him.

That’s what Satan wants.

What do you want?













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Tomorrow is Halloween.  I loved Halloween as a kid.  I don’t love it anymore.

Why not?  As I described in my book Church Coup, events occurred on Halloween four years ago that changed the way I view the day forever.

Simply put, in the midst of a church conflict, my family was spiritually attacked on October 31.  I witnessed the attack, along with several others.  It was frightening … custom-designed … and very, very real.

The intent?  To destroy my family and my ministry.

In the book, I chose not to reveal the details of the attack which did not originate from humans, but from the enemy of our souls.

Satan is real.  He hates God the Father …  Jesus Christ … Jesus’ church and followers … and even you.  If the devil and his hordes cannot keep a person from following Jesus, they will seek to neutralize or even eliminate that believer’s impact so that Christ’s kingdom cannot advance through them.

If you’re courageous enough to keep reading, let me share a story that I left out of my book.


Kim and I had seen Satan at work in Silicon Valley nearly twenty years before.  Santa Clara County has a much larger array of agnostics and atheists than almost anywhere in the United States, so it’s a spiritually resistant area.  We were launching a new church in a warehouse located at a busy intersection when our family suddenly began to receive obscene phone calls at home.  An anonymous caller continually left menacing messages taken from a Three Stooges short or a movie.

One time, the caller left a message taken from the soundtrack to the film The Poseidon Adventure.  Gene Hackman plays a minister trying to lead survivors out of a large ship that had capsized.  Ernest Borgnine’s character says to him at one point, “I’ve had just about enough out of you, preacher.”  That very quotation from the lips of Borgnine’s character was left on our machine!  When I consulted with Dr. Ed Murphy, a worldwide expert in spiritual warfare, he surmised that someone had put a curse on our church.

Dr. Murphy writes about this issue in The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare:

“Cursing is not used in the Old Testament with the Western idea of swearing or speaking dirty words.  Cursing in the Old Testament is a power concept meant to release negative spiritual power against the object, person, or place being cursed.  This is true even when God does the cursing.  In fact, most curse expressions in Scripture refer to God’s action or the action of His servants in accordance with His will.  It is God releasing His power or judgment.  That is why I call it negative spirit power even when activated by God.”[1]

Dr. Murphy continues:

“Many believers have been victims of the curses of the Enemy pronounced by the Enemy’s power workers…. Such curses, to be most powerful, are ‘worked up’ by invocations to the spirits and satanic magic.  They are overcome only by the greater power of God.  Sometimes God does not automatically overcome those curses on our behalf, however.  We are to learn the world of spirit power curses and break them ourselves.  Thus the importance of group spiritual warfare praying.”[2]

After our grand opening, our church quickly became the second largest Protestant church in our city, but we constantly sensed there were strong spiritual forces working against us.  When our warehouse church found itself between leases, the owner forced us to move out, and in the process, we lost one-third of our attendees overnight.  It was only then that I discovered that some illicit activities had been occurring at the intersection where our church was located.  The massage parlor diagonally across the intersection from us was the scene of a host of immoral sexual activity, and our immediate area had become a haven for drug dealers.  When our church moved into that warehouse, we were invading Satan’s territory.  No wonder he fought us so hard the whole time we were there!

Our church moved to a high school five miles away and I eventually scheduled a series of messages on controversial issues.  The night before I was scheduled to speak on A Christian View of Homosexuality, all hell broke loose in our home and church.  Without going into detail, the spiritual warfare I experienced before I gave that message was so real that I could almost smell sulfur – and I did give the message.  But I was so attacked the night before that I felt compelled to write a resignation letter because I sensed that my wife and I had become special targets of Satan.  While I never submitted the letter to the board, I resigned a few months later because, for the first and only time in our lives, our marriage had become severely strained due to events at church.


There are several more stories in the book that discuss the spiritual warfare that new church experienced.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  While I’ve sensed the influence of Satan at various junctures during my 36-year church career, the occasions I’ve just described represent the two worst attacks I’ve experienced.  Satan and his minions tend to leave pastors and churches alone when the mission is muddled, few people are converted, and the church fails to make inroads into the community.  But when a church penetrates the spiritual Red Zone – to use a football analogy – the evil one begins to target the quarterback (pastor) with blitzes and cheap shots designed to knock him out of the game … all the more reason why the quarterback needs a skilled and determined line to protect him.

This is a good time of year to remember that while Satan is real and powerful … our God is more powerful still.

Jesus gave Paul a mission in Acts 26:17-18.  It’s ours as well: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Our Lord and Savior told Paul that Satan is real … that he has power … that he wants people to remain in spiritual darkness … that he wants people to wallow in an unforgiven state … but that he has already been defeated at the cross.

But we cannot defeat Satan by fighting each other.  Fellow believers are not the enemy.  The enemy is the enemy.

Let’s unite together and fight him instead.

      [1] Dr. Ed Murphy, Handbook of Spiritual Warfare (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), 442.

      [2] Ibid, 444.

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