Book Review: Satan Cast Out by Frederick S Leahy

Satan Cast Out:A Study in Biblical Demonology  by Frederick S. Leahy

 

About the author:

Professor Frederick S. Leahy was born in Co. Donegal, Republic of Ireland in 1922.  He prepared for the ministry at the Free Church College, Edinburgh, and Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids MI. Ordained in Finaghy Evangelical Church (Northern Ireland) in 1949, he joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1953 and served three of its congregations until his retirement in 1988. However, in 1991, the Dromore congregation of the RPCI, having been in decline for a number of years believed that under God, the work could be rebuilt, and re-commenced evening worship. Rev. Prof. Leahy supplied the pulpit both morning and evening from 1995 - 2003. Under his faithful preaching the nucleus continued to grow. It was this ministry that was to set the firm foundation of all that would follow.

 

A gifted teacher and pastor, in 1967, he was appointed to the chair of Systematic Theology, Apologetics and Christian Ethics in the RPCI Theological College, Belfast. He served as Principal of the College from 1993 to 2002. Professor Leahy was taken home to be with his Lord in 2006, a few days after mailing the manuscript of his last book “The Hand of God”  to his publisher.

 

“Satan Cast Out” was first published in 1975 and updated in 1989. The book was originally written to meet a need for a better understanding of demonology for those in missionary work, who frequently encounter demon possession. Overall, the book adheres closely to the historic Reformed position about the period between Christ’s first coming and His return to this earth.

Professor Leahy starts by taking the reader through the Biblical doctrine of angels and discusses the elect and non-elect (or fallen) angels. Unlike mankind, who fell with Adam, the angels fell as a result of a personal decision by each one. He makes it clear, with evidence from Scripture that fallen angels and demons are one and the same.

 

Other chapters deal with demonic activity in the Old Testament period; then with Satan’s present position as a fallen creature. However, although Satan may be the “prince of the power of the air” God has not given him any dominion over man; rather, man is within the dominion of Satan only because of his (man’s) sin.   Satan is a defeated foe;  – at Calvary, Christ achieved total victory over Satan and his demon hosts. The binding of Satan, so that he could no longer prevent the spread of the Gospel throughout the whole earth is clearly explained. In later chapters, his adversarial relationship to believers is considered, and the need for a Scriptural balance between the truth that he is a defeated foe, but on the other hand, “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” is emphasized.

 

In subsequent chapters, the devices, deceptions, and strategies of Satan are reviewed, with emphasis on the risks of false doctrine and teaching that leads to apostasy in the church. The author then moves on to discuss demonic activity during the New Testament era and introduces his review of this period with the statement that “the New Testament throughout is profoundly aware of the activity of the demons and of the forces of darkness marshalled against the Son of God and His church on earth.”

 

Demon possession is noted as being real, and ongoing in many countries, contrary to the view of some theologians that it was confined to the era when Christ was on earth. Professor Leahy consistently emphasizes the Scriptural evidences of the absolute authority of Christ over Satan and his underlings.

 

The final chapters of the book deal with demon possession in more detail; the dangers of occultism; and the challenges of the demons to the Church of Christ, with the emphasis on a passionate commitment to the Lordship of Christ and belief in the triumph of Christ over Satan and all his forces. The book closes with a reminder that those who are in Christ and are members of the family of God need have no fear of the evil one, and are to put on the whole armour of God, so that they may face the devil and his dark forces fearlessly.

 

This book is written in an in-depth yet very understandable manner, with everything examined in the light of Scripture alone. Errors have arisen in the past because of a failure to do this.  It is highly recommended reading for anyone who wants to better understand Scriptural teaching about the Lordship of Christ, the present position of Satan, his activities, and his ultimate destination.

 

~ David Sinclair