Did the devil make me do it? And other questions about Satan, demons and evil spirits
by Mike McKinley
This little booklet on Satan, demons and evil spirits strikes is an engaging and thought-provoking work that is a good introduction to these issues. Pastor Mike McKinley of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia arms his readers with the necessary tools for understanding the biblical concept of the devil, demons and evil spirits. The book is divided up into five short chapters that deal with the origin, activity, control, and the end of Satan and how we should live in a world where Satan still prowls. At the beginning of the book in the introduction Mike helpfully draws us into two statements that lay some grounding for his book; one, the bible is true and is the authority in these matters, second, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we want to know about the devil but is sufficient for us (8). This statement wards off any attempt to deal with Satan in a non-biblical and magical way and also attempts to relieve us of endless questions about Satan.
Helpfully, Mike understands Isaiah 14:12-15 as a prophecy about the king of Babylon in his fall. Going against the idea that this is the text where we find the origin of Satan most completely spelled out, Mike sees the passage more in its historical fulfillment with the King of Babylon. Yet, Mike is careful to point out that, “We may be able to detect something of Satan’s activity and motivation lurking behind the king’s pride, and perhaps this is why Jesus seems to echo this passage when he talks about Satan’s fall in Luke 10 v 18” (15). This prideful assertion by the Israel to taunt the King of Babylon was a way of showing that God’s justice will ultimately prevail in bringing the foreign king to a low state. Yet, we see something of the vanity of Satan in seeking to be like God and as a created angel to be above his powerful Creator. We shouldn’t see Isaiah 14 here as an explanation of Satan’s origins but as identifying some of the activity of Satan in persuading and lying to people of great stature. Furthermore, I appreciated here that Mike was able to let Scripture speak for itself and not read too much a text that has been widely used for Satan’s origins.
Mike brings up a most interesting point in ch. 2 at the end of the chapter by writing, “As so it is true that God does use Satan and his schemes to bless his people and accomplish his will. We see this in the crucifixion of Christ, were the treachery and malice of the evil one was used by God to bring about the salvation of God’s people” (33). By the example of Job and Jesus, Mike points to the reality of Satan’s activity as ultimately producing God’s blessing although we often fail to see it that way. Whether it is for seeing our pride and conceit, showing us our need to show grace and forgiveness, or to help us be more thankful, God is able to use Satan to point out the good work he is doing in our lives. I would add an important point here that although God does use Satan to bless his people, we need people to point out to us the reality of our being tempted and the need for confession on a regular basis. Often, Satan blinds us to the devastating effect of our sin and a good mentor or friends can point out when we blindly don’t see.
I enjoyed this little book, learning about the activity of Satan, demons and the reminder of Christ’s victory on the cross over Satan. This book answers many of the questions people have when faced with evil, suffering, Satan, and the demonic. I hope this book has a wide readership and encourages others like me.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company for the copy of this book in exchange for review.