Truth or Territory
Is truth on the pro-life issue discerned by receiving private revelation from God or do we discover it by unlocking the truths of scripture?
Pastor Jim Osman’s book, Truth or Territory: https://a.co/d/gSJOQzU
Hello, everyone. Scott Klusendorf here, president of Life Training Institute. Welcome to the Case for Life podcast. We’re delighted you’re joining us. And today, I have a very special friend and guest with me, Pastor Jim Osman. Pastor Jim is the pastor of Kootenai Bible Church, or actually Kootenai Community Church in Sandpoint, Idaho.
I should get my data straight before I start bringing guests on. Uh, and he is going to join us today. I want to have a conversation with him about how pro life ministry relates. To communicating with God and in particular Jim has written a great book called Truth or Territory That deals with the topic of spiritual warfare.
What is it? How should we approach that as Christians? You might think, wait, what does this have to do with the pro life issue? I thought this was a pro life podcast. Here’s why. If you’ve been in pro life work for any length of time at all, you have encountered people, pastors, maybe Christian leaders, maybe Uh, school principals at Christian schools who have said to you, I just don’t feel a piece about doing a pro life presentation.
I don’t feel the Lord telling me it’s okay to do this or a variation of that where somehow they’ve got a pipeline to God. that you don’t have that’s vetoing a pro life presentation. And I thought it would be fun to talk with Pastor Jim, since he’s here visiting us from Idaho this, this week, and just bring him on and have him talk about what he has written in the book.
Pastor Jim, tell us a little bit about your, your. Church, your life, and let’s get to know you a bit before we dive in. Yeah, I pastor a church in rural North Idaho, just about an hour south of the Canadian border. I’ve been doing that for 27 years. I started when I was 24 years old. And it’s the same church that I got saved as a result of their ministry.
Same church I attended as a teenager, and now I shepherd there. And I love it, it’s a great body of believers, and I’m honored to be called to shepherd them and to preach the word every Sunday. That’s fantastic. Let me ask you this. Why did you write this book, Truth or Territory, which, by the way, I highly commend to your reading.
Why did you write this? What was bothering you that drove you to write a book like this? When I first got saved, I adopted a lot of unbiblical ideas about spiritual warfare, what it is and what it isn’t. And I had adopted kind of the Frank Peretti, uh, Mike Warnke, Rebecca Brown view of spiritual warfare that was popular in the early 1990s, the late 1980s, the view that we We fight back the forces of darkness by prayer mantras and, uh, cursory prayers and, and certain formulaic words that we would say, like, I bind you, uh, Satan in the name of Jesus, I cast out demons in the name of Jesus, et cetera.
So that whole Bob Larson approach to spiritual warfare that views spiritual warfare as a battle over territory, that’s what I had adopted in my early Christian life. And I came to an understanding that that is not biblical spiritual warfare, that is not in fact what God has called us to do. Biblical spiritual warfare is a battle for the truth.
We are to push back against ideologies and isms and every false way of thinking and false knowledge that raises itself up against the knowledge of God. We are to assault those mental fortresses by the proclamation of the gospel and the truth. So I sort of wrote that book in order to correct a theology that I had adopted early in my Christian life and come out of that in, in order to present basically there are two approaches to spiritual warfare.
There is the popular traditional approach to spiritual warfare, which says we are to take back territory by claiming, you know, conference centers and churches and praying hedges and binding Satan and, and canceling generational curses, bloodline curses. That’s the, Territory approach and I’m advocating the truth approach that we are actually to preach and proclaim the truth Proclaim the gospel and to set people free from their mental fortresses by proclaiming and advancing the truth that god has revealed in scripture I think that’s an idea pastor jim that is foreign to a lot of christians this idea that when we take ideas captives Captive when we proclaim the truth that seems to them more like a mere intellectual exercise But the apostle paul argues differently.
It’s actually When we use reason and logic and biblical truth to assault these ideas, we’re engaging in spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare isn’t what a lot of people think it is merely worshiping or praying or claiming things. No, it’s not that it’s taking captive these ideas. One of the things we run into is anybody who watches this podcast and has done pro life advocacy knows we encounter spiritual leaders who often say things like, well, if I don’t feel a piece about it, it can’t be the Lord.
How would you respond to that kind of, I would say you, you, you don’t need a piece. You need a spine. You need to have the courage to take on cultural issues and to Proclaim the truth. Uh, you will never, if you are, if you are asked or expected to engage the culture and to stand alone and to face a hostile environment, which the culture in which we live is becoming more and more hostile to a biblical worldview, to biblical Christianity, and if you are expected or asked to engage that, you’re never going to feel a peace in your soul.
You’re always going to feel some sort of, uh, a realization that this could cost me. I could stand alone. I might be the only guy standing when this is all over with, but the Lord compels me to do this. Truth compels me to do this. I have to do this to be faithful. So I don’t think we should be waiting for a peace in our heart to know whether or not we should do something.
I wrote a book about that issue. I don’t think that that’s how we determine the will of God. We determine the will of God or know the will of God because it’s revealed in scripture. Where does the Bible teach? anywhere that believers should expect to be getting private revelation from God. I don’t think the scripture teaches that anywhere.
I think the scripture shows us that people in history, in biblical history, did get private revelations from God. The apostle Paul did, Peter did, the apostles, the prophets, etc. Moses. Those men were vehicles through which revelation came. But scripture does not teach that we should be hearing or listening for or expecting to hear God speak, nor does it teach that the ability to hear the voice of God is a discipline that we can cultivate.
Uh, as Greg Koukl has said, and you’ve quoted Koukl a number of times, Greg Koukl has said, if God is not speaking, you can’t hear him. And sorry, if God is speaking, you can’t miss him. And if God is not speaking, you can’t hear him no matter what. Discipline you cultivate, no matter what, what, what abilities you try and, and, and gain, you’re not going to hear God if he’s not speaking.
Yeah. I mean, one of the things that used to just drive me insane is when I would hear this teaching that we need to learn to hear the voice of God, to get private revelation, to make right decisions on things like, should I preach on abortion? Should I teach what the Bible says about homosexuality or gay marriage?
People that say, I just don’t feel. The Lord is giving me the green light yet to do that. And my thought was this, if God is trying to speak to us and we aren’t hearing, then God either is not sovereign because he’s failing at something. Does God try? I mean, if God has to try and he can fail, then, then.
He’s not the sovereign king of the universe, but also the thing that bothered me is what kind of loving God would say? I got a message. I want you to know but I’m gonna make it really hard for you to know I mean, we’re both parents when we’re raising kids. We made it very clear what we expected of us, right?
They didn’t have to guess. Well, what does dad think about me taking the car out at 11 o’clock at night, right? We, we didn’t leave them a bread tr a bread, uh, a trail trail of breadcrumbs to know what our desires were. That’s right. We clearly communicated it because we would hold them to certain expectations.
If you violate this, you’re going to be punished. You’re gonna suffer the consequences. Yep. And I want you to obey, and therefore I’m gonna show you clearly, rather than sort of giving them hints or whispers or signs, or a trail of breadcrumbs to figure out my will. We’ve made it clear for that reason.
Exactly. I mean, take an issue like abortion, for example. Why do we need private revelation to give us permission to preach when scripture itself already says, Rescue those being led away to be slaughtered. It teaches us that humans bear the image of God and that the shedding of innocent blood is an abomination to the Lord.
Why do we need anything more? It’s there on the page. If you want to know… God’s will. You want to know what he’s saying? Open your Bible. And yet so many people will shy away from taking on truth that the culture is pushing back on us with. And they say, well, I need to feel a peace from God. I need to, as if somehow there’s, it’s almost a Ghostbuster theology that says I can secretly get knowledge here.
And it feels like Gnosticism really to me. Yeah. And it becomes a trump card that people will use to silence the debate. Right. So if, if God has not revealed to me personally, that it’s time for us to address this issue, then what do you say to that? Then if you say, well, you must address this issue. Then you’re telling them, you need to be disobedient to what God’s revealing to your own heart.
And, and then they, they have this out that because I have this angst over addressing this issue, um, therefore I don’t have to really address it until I get a piece about it. Well, you’ll never get a piece about it. You have to step out and do that which is contrary to our comfort and our convenience. Who do we make movies about?
People that feel comfortable and have a piece about it? I mean, did Winston Churchill have a piece about taking on tyranny? I don’t think so. William Wilberforce, did he have a piece about ending slavery? Did Charles Spurgeon have a piece about preaching with conviction in London in the 19th century? I doubt it, but they still did the right thing and talk to me about your journey toward embracing the pro life view and not only that, how you as a pastor Came to the conviction that we’re going to make this something we routinely train our people on.
Yeah. I’ve, I’ve been pro life since as early as I was aware of the issue of abortion to me in early high school, the idea of abortion came up and I would debate that with high schoolers. And even before I was a believer, I was pro life. Uh, to me it just did not make sense that you could argue that something inside of the womb was not human.
I knew where I came from, so I thought, how could you kill that? It’s obviously human. We’ve never seen a human give birth to a giraffe or a platypus or anything like that. So we know it’s human, we know it’s living, or we wouldn’t have to kill it. That was the logical worldview in which I was raised, and I wasn’t raised in a Republican home.
I was raised, my grandmother and my mother at the time were both Democrats and sort of liberals around me, but I… Abortion never was really on the radar. Until I got into high school. So always remember being pro life. Um, then I got saved and of course it became more passionately pro life and felt like I could articulate it a little bit more clearly.
Um, once I started pastoring, uh, I had been pastoring for a couple of years before I ran across your stuff on focus on the family and then. Because of your connection with Stand to Reason and Greg Koukl’s ministry, I heard of you, heard of the SLED acronym, heard of the Trot Out the Toddler, uh, the syllogism, the pro life syllogism, all of that sort of helped crystallize and give me the tools to, to make the arguments, and to make them cogent and identify bad arguments and where the argumentation was going wrong.
And then I could, I could listen to Greg Koukl, how… You know, he says you, you teach people, he teaches people not just what to think, but how to think, right. And I learned how to think logically through stand to reason and through listening to you years of you, I mean, two decades almost before you and I ever met.
And. And that helped me as a pastor be able to formulate the arguments for it and to present the case. Then as our church grew and we started to have teenagers coming in and realizing we’re sending these kids off who have sat under expository teaching, been to good Sunday school classes, learned sound doctrine, been in a good church, with good leadership.
Now we’re sending them off to college. We need to start equipping them to stand against what they’re going to be assaulted with in a secular university. So then we started using Life is Best, which you did with Wretched Radio, um, your book, The Case for Life, and other resources like that to start to, to educate our, our kids and equip them to recognize the arguments and to be not just pro life in, in their, in their, in their thinking, but pro life in their convictions.
And in their approach to engaging others. This is key because we, we will find pastors who are, they have a heart for the unborn. They want to be pro life. And they may even preach from scripture on the issue from time to time. But the step that’s missing is what you just described. They don’t take that next step, which is we’re going to systematically equip.
Our people to engage. We’re not only going to preach the biblical view of human life that we’re all made in the image of God and thus have intrinsic value. We’re going to make sure they know how to convey that pro life conviction to unchurched friends. They’re going to meet on campus. How do you systematically train your kids for college?
Give us an idea of the kinds of things you you can do. Well, in, in my home, we raised our kids with a Christian worldview. We took our kids through Life is Best. Every, every, all of our kids watched that, through that series. We would engage pro abortion arguments constantly whenever we saw them on television, in a commercial, or in an advertisement or something.
We would teach our kids how to, how to slot that argument into the SLED acronym and to give an answer for it and to think logically. And as a, as a, As parents in our home, we have lots of extended discussions about those issues. So my kids, my kids all understand that. They get the pro life and they’re convictionally pro life.
In church, as a matter of principle, we take our kids through… Basically, our student ministries is not fun and games. It’s discipleship and preparing them for the next stage of life. So, we’re taking them through creation evolution issues with Ken Ham answers in Genesis. We take them through what have Darwin wrought with, um, with the wretched radio produces.
We have taken them through the truth project. We have gone through life is best. That’s this year. We’re taking them through that again. We did it about five years ago. So our entire year of student ministries from September to the end of April, middle part of May is going to be going through that 13 week series.
Uh, every. Other Wednesday night, we do this. We watch the video. We have a discussion. We answer the objections and, um, and, and that’s how we equip them on the life issue. And then we’re trying to systematically give them an entire worldview. We take them through road trip for true road trip. to truth, right?
The retro radio produces, um, those kind of worldview issues, apologetics issues, critical and clear thinking, logic issues, some of Jason Lyle stuff that he has done. Those are the things we take our students through in those four years that they’re in our student ministry. This is crucial because I think what happens, and we’ve seen this at Summit, where I’m a faculty member, Summit Ministries being a ministry that trains students with a biblical worldview before they go off to college.
A lot of these students come to Summit, they have had no instruction on moral relativism, no instruction on pro life, no instruction on end of life issues and bioethics in general, and then we wonder why, as Christians, we’re being ostracized. out thought by the secular culture. Well, this is what you follow.
Bad inputs, you get bad outputs. Yeah, most church leadership in America, uh, basically offers up to their student ministries, their youth groups, Christianized pablums. Um, the Christianized bromides sayings, and we think that that’s equipping them when we’re not equipping them to think critically, then they go off to secular university and within one semester, within three to four months, that secular university will undo everything that you’ve done in their life for 18 years, because those, those pagan professors have unfettered access to the minds and hearts of your Children.
And then they have all of the cultural, Uh, influences that come in a secular university as well as all the temptations to the flesh that they have always secretly longed to indulge. And now they have an opportunity to do it, and they’re being told, given a worldview, which would justify it, which would excuse it.
Yeah, I think that’s key. And I do wonder, Pastor Jim, if Christians need to take another look at where they send their kids to college. Absolutely. Are we just… going for it because we got a full ride to a state school. Wait a minute, you’re sending your kid off where they’re going to be talked out of their faith.
They’re going to deconstruct their faith and know your kid isn’t strong enough for this. You may think they are. They’re not. And time and time again, we hear these stories. Yeah. My daughter came back from her first semester at Thanksgiving, totally woke, having deconstructed her faith. Yeah. Well, What has she been exposed to?
Yeah, she got a full ride, but what did that full ride get? It got a de convert. Is that what we want? And I think we need to think very carefully about where we are sending. And even at Christian colleges, we need to be careful today. Wokeness is infiltrating a lot of our Christian colleges. If you go to a Christian college and they’ve got a diversity.
Equity and Inclusion Council, they have an Office of Multiculturalism, and they’re teaching things in their education and sociology departments that are contrary to the word of God. Gender study courses. Gender study courses, all kinds of things like that. You need to think very carefully about this. In fact, one of these days I’m going to do a podcast on how to choose the right college for your student.
You need to be asking what’s going on in child, what’s going on in chapel programming, what’s going on in the education and psychology and sociology departments, what’s going on with the extracurricular programs the school is doing, uh, what kinds of special events are they advertising and promoting within the school?
Officially, these are questions. I think a lot of parents don’t know they should be asking. and they need to ask them. But even with that, even if they’re going to a Christian college, we need to prepare our students for the kinds of ideas they may be exposed to that are not biblical, that are not based on truth, and we’ve got to take that seriously.
And it’s why I’m glad you’ve written a book like this. Truth or Territory, folks, get this. It’s available on Amazon. I commend it to your reading. It’s a biblically grounded Text on how we ought to pursue spiritual warfare that if I was going to give the thesis of the book Which is always risky when the author sitting right here the thesis is that Spiritual warfare is a lot less like Ghostbusters the movie and a whole lot more like pursuing Objective truth is grounded in scripture and exalt themselves against the knowledge of God Great to have you with us, everybody.
Thanks for being with us, Pastor Jim. So glad you popped into our home to be with us and truly an honor. And it’s great to have you.