Bible Question:

This seems to be one of many so called “new revelations” in the body of Christ, taught by sincere ministers of God. Churches seem to be hungry for change and more salvation results. But it is THE GOSPEL which is the power of God! Though I believe that in Christ I also have authority to stand against any strongman coming on my path, I cannot see any scriptural confirmation for the practice of trying to find an enemy over a particular area. When this new ministry does away with a strongman over an area, the danger is that he might return and take 7 more evil spirits with him. I seem to stand alone in this. Am I wrong?

Bible Answer:

There are two different movements called “spiritual mapping.” The basic goal of both concepts is to teach the gospel about Jesus Christ to the world so that people will come to an understanding of the truth about Christ and be saved from hell. But the most common concept called “spiritual mapping” is relatively new (1989-2005). It is advocated by Neo-Pentecostals. What follows explains the concept known as “spiritual mapping.”

What does the Bible say about spiritual mapping?

Perspective About Evangelism Strategies

Advocates of “spiritual mapping”claim that Christians must research the spiritual condition of their community, city, and state of their nation for the purpose of evangelism. They propose to do this by 1) researching the spiritual condition of the churches in the area, 2) attempting to determine the major patterns of sin common to the area, 3) determining the demonic activity for the area, and 4) identifying the names of spiritual principalities and powers of the area for the purpose of conquest. Courses are offered to show believers how to do “Spiritual Mapping.”

It is true that our Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples and us to evangelize our community, city, state, nation and the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8). Therefore, from a biblical point of view, there is nothing wrong with developing strategies to share the good news about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle in Philippians praised the Lord that Christ was preached, even when the motives were wrong.

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice. Philippians 1:15-18 (NASB)

Errors of Recent Spiritual Mapping Advocates

The advocates of this new form of “spiritual mapping” believe they must engage in warfare with demonic forces in order to efficaciously share the gospel. But there are serious errors with this concept.

First, we must realize that Jude, Jesus’ brother, had this to say about even rebuking Satan,

Yet in the same manner these men . . . Revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” Jude 8-9 (NASB)

The message of this passage is clear. We must not be aggressive towards angelic majesties (Satan and his followers are fallen angels), but defer to God. Then James, the Lord’s brother, commanded us to resist Satan rather than engage in full-on warfare.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8 (NASB)

In addition in Ephesians 6:11, 13 we are told,

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:11 (NASB)

Then in verse 13 the Holy Spirit tells us to resist the devil and not to engage with him in battle. The Holy Spirit does not encourage us to seek out conflict with demons – but to resist them.

Second, the concept of seeking out the demon’s identity over an area is not found in Scripture. While it is true that certain demons have authority in a geographical area (Daniel 10:13, 20-21), God has not called us to engage in “spiritual hand-to-hand combat.” For example, in Daniel 10 an angel was sent to speak with the prophet Daniel, but the angel was not able to get to Daniel because of a demon called the prince of Persia. So a chief angel from heaven named Michael had to come and help the less powerful angel. After the angel’s conversation with Daniel, he had the following to say,

Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. (NASB) Daniel 10:20-21

The angel never asked the prophet Daniel for help – the angels did it all. Scripture does indicate that we can cast out demons by prayer (Mark 9:29). The apostles did (Mark 6:12-13), but Scripture never indicates there is any advantage to identifying the name of demons in order to engage in spiritual war. This is a modern concept that cannot be supported by Scripture. It fact, it assumes believers have authority over the evil angels. Even Michael the archangel did not have arrogance of some modern day believers. We forget the evil angels are still subject God the Father.

Best Approach to Evangelism

The most powerful weapon in the battle against demons is prayer. For example, the disciples complained to Jesus that they could not cast out all of the demons. So Jesus explained that they had two problems: 1) little faith and 2) some can ONLY be cast out by prayer. Prayer is the most powerful weapon.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:19-21 (NASB)

Jesus never told them they needed to know the demon’s name or to do “spiritual mapping.” Jesus simply told them to not waste time but to start sharing the gospel.


God has called us to resist Satan and his evil empire. We can cast out demons with the most powerful weapon – prayer. We do not need the time-consuming and unbiblical concept of  “spiritual mapping.” Some years ago. I had an encounter with a woman who was involved in the occult. She was involved in astral projection and other occult activities. I had a number of opportunities to present Jesus to her and she started asking more and more about Jesus. After a while she told me that she had been instructed to avoid me. I was  too”dangerous” for her, I rarely saw her after that. I was a threat to Satan.

If “spiritual mapping” motivates someone to share his or her faith with others – praise God! But there are aspects of “spiritual mapping” that should be avoided – the concept that we have the authority to battle with demonic forces is not biblical. That is contrary to the teaching about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18. That aspect of the ministry is not biblical. We have been called to battle through truthfulness, holiness, faith, assurance of our salvation, prayer, and knowledge of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). This is God’s biblical plan for spiritual warfare – not “spiritual mapping.”


Related Topics

1. Breaking Strongholds in Your City: How to Use Spiritual Mapping To Make Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective and Targeted

2. Spiritual Mapping