Spiritual Warfare Topic:  Binding and Loosing

People have said that we can pray by binding spirits and by loosing spirits, but I say unto you do nothing of the kind.

You have been taught that Matthew 18:18 means that you have authority to 'bind' all kinds of spirits and 'loose' all kinds of spirits.  But that is NOT what Matthew 18:18 means.

Well then, you ask, what does Matthew 18:18 mean if it does not give us authority to "bind" and "loose"  in prayer?  According to the Jewish New Testament, David Stern, © 1989, "the Greek words usually rendered "bind" and "loose" are better translated "prohibit" and "permit."

This reflects the first-century Jewish application of these concepts to their leaders, whe were understood as having authority from God to decide what practices should be followed by the community.  (Stern, 1989, Page xxiii.)

Note that the context of Matthew 18:18 is about dealing with people in sin and follows the final step in a process that leads up to.  The translation is like this, "Yes, I tell you people that whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven."

A.  A new type of spiritual warfare that advocates a direct confrontation with Satan has only been taught since the 1970s.  This 'strategic spiritual warfare' has lead to 'spiritual mapping' and prayers to 'bind' territorial spirits.'  This is suppoed to advance the Kingdom of God.

B.  People are given lengthy prayers where all kinds of evil spirits are named and 'bound.'  This is supposed to protect the individual.

C.  Those trained in TheoPhostic follow the teaching that advises the prayer counselor to 'bind' and command the demons not to speak during the prayer therapy session.  This is supposed to establish who is in charge by laying down these commands to demons.

But I say unto you:


  1. I suggest you NOT bind territorial spirits or Satan.
  2. I suggest that you do NOT spend valuable prayer time in extensive lists of the demons and evils spirits that you supposedly 'bind.'
  3. I suggest that you do NOT begin prayer counselling sessions by 'binding' and commanding demons and evil spirits as modelled by Ed. Smith.

There are Five Main Reasons for this:

  1. Mentors such as Agnes Sanford and John and Paula Sandford did not teach or model this but just the opposite.  John and Paula Sandford delayed even teaching on deliverance for fear of giving too much attention to the demonic.

  2. Mentors such as Leanne Payne did not teach or model this and warned against it.
  3. Other teachers such as John Dawson, Rick Joyner and John Paul Jackson have provided support or extensive teaching on this in their teaching and writing.
  4. Judson Cornwall was rebuked by the Lord Jesus for focusing on demons in his worship services.  Rev. Cornwall thought he was clearing out demons when they stopped to pray against demonic interference in their worhsip serices.  The Lord thought otherwise; that they were worshipping and attracing demons with this attention.
  5. There is no Biblical example or teaching anywhere in the Bible that demonstrates or advcates such prayer.
  6. Bad fruit like being under a curse plagues those who, in rebellion and disobedience, follow these practices.

A.  Those who practice this new type of 'spiritual warfare' - confronting Satan, 'spiritual mapping' and 'binding' territorial spirits' create a break in their cloaking, their hiddeness in Christ.  Their supply lines are attacked.  I foind that those who do so enter into poverty (financial difficulties), sickness (health problems), family problems (rebellious teens or divorce) and feel like they live under oppression and a curse.

B.  Those who try to protect themselves by lengthy prayers where evil spirits are named and 'bound' will discover that they are, instead, calling these demons to themselves by naming them and focusing their prayer on them.  They very well may experience oppression instead of protection.

C.  In Ontario, Cornerstone Christian Counselling went in to poverty and this major prayer therapy ministry is out of business.  This ministry learned the TheoPhostic practice of  'binding' and commanding demons at the start of each prayer therapy session.  I fear they made themselves vulnerable to Satanic attack on their supply lines by their focus on demons instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember: what you invoke is what you get.  (Invoke means name or call upon be name.)

D.  In Ontario, the churches of Orangeville joined together to pray for their town and followed the writings of Peter Wagner.  The found themselves contending with a lot of disunity, power strugles and division.  That was their first effort and it did not bear good fruit.  Then they read John Paul Jackson - Needless Casualties of War.  They then threw out Wagner, repented of arrogance, rebellion and sinful prayer practices and made another effort without 'strategic spiritual warfare' and had a much better time working together and more fuit from their prayers.

 Leanne Payne speaks of Wagner's 'binding' of angelic princes as misguided spiritual warfare and considers such teachings dangerous and heretical.  She discerned that one courts the demonic by while wrongly focusing on it while claiming, falsely it seems, to be 'binding' and overcoming it.  Leanne Payne, Heaven's Calling, page 115.

Thesis: We have a limited sphere of authority and cannot afford to go beyond our limited sphere of influence because we end up straying into unauthorized territory that does not have heaven’s backing.  Binding principalities over georgraphic areas, or 'territorial spirits,' is not taught or demonstrated in the Bible, ever.  My suggestion: Do NOT do it, ever!  (Note: this does not refer to healthy deliverance ministry or something invading your personal or family space.)

In the beginning - Genesis: The sphere of authority or influence assigned to mankind from the beginning of creation is seen in the Book of Genesis.  God told Adam and Eve, “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground,” Genesis 1:28.  Our authority is on the ground and does not go into the heavenlies, therefore I suggest, do NOT bind Satan or territorial spirits, ever!

Authority Given:  The earth was ours to rule over while God retained authority in the heavens. “The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man,” Psalm 115:16.

Authority Lost:   Through sin that came by Satan’s deception on Adam and Eve we lost this authority on earth.  We missed God and God's purpose for us.  Temptation is based on a lie.  The lie was that we could become like God - a boundary issue.  We are not God.  It is rebellion (witchcraft) to take God's authority into our own hands!

Purpose and Authority Restored:  In Christ and through the death of Jesus on the cross life's meaning was regained and we were given a purpose to fulfill in earth.  The authority to fulfill this purpose was also restored and given to the children of men called out of the world, and set apart from it, and dedicated to Christ - those who united together to fulfill God's mission for them in Jesus' name.  Authority on earth was restored but within a limited sphere of authority.

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible say, “How can one enter into the strong one's house, unless he first bind the strong one - So Christ coming into the world, which was then eminently the strong one’s, Satan's house, first bound him, and then took his spoils.”   See binding the strong man.



This new teaching results in a preoccupation with evil spirits and gives too much glory to Satan. Instead of being preoccupied with God we would always be thinking about what evil spirits are up to.  One danger is a power trip, a call to our pride, a rerun of the temptatation to "Be like God."  

This new teaching will teach us that whatever evil is up to our responsibility, not God's responsibility.  We take on the battle with the heavenly host.  It is assumed that God wants us to do it all.  This teaching fails to distinguish between our part (deliverance ministry with people on Planet Earth) and God's part commanding the heavenly hosts to deal with territorial spirits.  We try to displace Jesus and the Lord of Hosts (the heavenly Commander of angels.)

 Thus much time that could have been given to prayer (being preoccupied with God) is given to "discerning" and directly attacking evil spirits (being preoccupied with evil spirits).  All this attention is attractive to evil and appreciated by Satan.  It is like we are Satan worshippers!  God is ignored while we puff up Satan's power.  Judson Cornwall writes in "Let us Praise" of learning from the Lord that he was, accidently, leading his people in the worship of demons when they dealt with demonic interference with the song service by having eyes closed, heads bowed prayer of authority against the demonic forces.  Page 17. of Let us Praise by Judson Cornwall.

Judson Cornwall says: "The greatest protection anyone has from the Satanic is to keep your mind on God: 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.'"  (Ibid, page 70.)

The Bible never focuses on evil spirits.  Read the bible from cover to cover you'll notice that this God we serve prefers us to be preoccupied with him more than anything else. An even worse scenario for this God we serve is where we're being preoccupied with evil spirits. Such preoccupation is not Christianity but another religion that gets our focus on and false empowerment over evil spirits.

This is also an ego inflating teaching.  New Age self-empowerment teachings are all around us. Let's not entertain them when they try to infiltrate Christianity. In fact all occult teachings in both white witchcraft and black witchcraft are centered around self-empowerment. They promise people power over demonic spirits.  Do not go there.

Testimony: Note from Vickie: In the 1990's I became very involved in the deliverance ministry and spiritual warfare. I read many, many books on the subject and was taught spiritual warfare strategies from many different people. In 1999, I almost died because of my involvement. That is a long story and definitely movie material. I heard about John Paul Jackson's book and felt the Holy Spirit quicken me to read it. I repented throughout the reading of the book and things in my life began to settle down. Now, I'm experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promises us and happiness that I thought I would never see this side of Heaven. I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in intercession and/or spiritual warfare. Vickie

George Hartwell M.Sc.   Mr. Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a masters degree in clinical psychology and 30 years experience in private practice.

To learn more About George.
About his professional practice see: George's Professional web site.
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