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Spiritual Warfare 101: Preparing the Student for Christian Battle

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Taking its subtitle from a theological college course description, this paper examines the intersections of theological and anthropological ideas of culture, as seen through the eyes of Kenyan evangelists and American missionaries. One of the key concepts developed in the course, and in the broader program of this U.S.-funded nondenominational church in East Africa, is that understanding culture is key to learning and unlocking the spiritual 'personalities' (both godly and satanic) involved in spiritual warfare. Both Kenyans and Americans conceive of warfare as the struggle between secular and Christian worldviews and consider education to be one of the strongest weapons needed to win the battle. However, where U.S. teachers focus on animism and world-religious conflict as evidence of lingering immorality and ungodliness, Kenyans focus on American ethnocentrism and xenophobia as evidence of ongoing cultural misunderstandings and injustice. Analysis is based on examination of mission records and on field research conducted in Nairobi and western Kenya.

Affiliations: 1: Global Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 301 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA;, Email:


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