Questionable Theology in Our Music: “Enemy’s Camp”

There are some songs in my church experiences that I will have nothing to do with. Some of these songs you would want to stay away from, too, if you actually stopped to consider the merit of the lyrics compared with Biblical truth. I want to look at one of these songs now and break down the reasons I don’t think it has any merit.

“I went to the enemy’s camp/And I took back what he stole from me…” –Richard Black

First of all, is there an enemy’s camp? Is there a place where you could walk up to that has fallen angels sitting around campfires cooking hotdogs and marshmallows while telling stories of the humans they stole stuff from? Or, maybe the camp has a large pavilion in the middle where Lucifer has a map of the world laid out on a table, with arrows and Xs signifying his next big attack.

I don’t see any support for a fallen angel “camp” in the Bible.

Secondly (and I did rearrange some points so they don’t follow the same order as the song), the enemy didn’t steal anything from you; you let it slip. Be a mature adult and admit the responsibility that belongs to you. Your walk with God is not something that can be stolen. You are the one, and the only one, who has control of it.

Think about your Bible. Was it stolen? No, it’s right there on your nightstand or on your bookshelf collecting dust. Maybe you think your Bible reading time was stolen. Who has control of what you do with your time?

The same point goes for prayer. Prayer is not even a physical item which can be stolen, like your Bible is. As long as you have lips, as long as you have a tongue, and, barring those, as long as you have a mind capable of thought, you can pray to your God. Take the time to do it. It’s more important than a show you might watch, or another book you might read, or a website you might visit, even if the show and the book and the website are all about God.

Lastly, and most importantly, even if there was a camp, you wouldn’t have to go there to get your spirituality back. If you lost your Bible reading discipline, you start where you are, right now, instead of reading this, you pick up your Bible and you start reading. If you’ve let your life of prayer slip, you can start back up right now. These are just a couple examples of things that parishioners will think about when they sing this song. As I said, though, these are things you do not have to storm a theoretical enemy camp for.

This is an important point. Maybe some people haven’t gotten these disciplines back in their life because they don’t dare to go “to the enemy’s camp.” Usually people that storm enemy camps are brave, or specially trained, or have a secret up their sleeve. Maybe you don’t feel like you have what it takes to face the enemy and retrieve the spiritual things you have lost from your life. You don’t have go anywhere. Retrieving your spiritual life starts right where you are right now. You will find this out when you pick up your Bible and start reading it again.

The world has enough fantasy and fiction to sustain it until the end of days. Don’t bring fiction into your spiritual life. Let your songs, your conversation, and, above all, your relationship with God be based in reality and truth.

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26 Responses to Questionable Theology in Our Music: “Enemy’s Camp”

  1. Krissy says:

    You have some very good points here. I must admit, I have let my prayer and bible reading slip away.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Well said! It’s about time we started examining more closely the songs we are singing in church. Often they are theolgicaly/doctrinally unsound, speak nothing of Jesus and what He has done or promised to do, give no hope, no substance or sense of God’s presence. They are often based on the rythym of the tune to excite or whatever. Many of these so called Christian artists are frustrated musicians who can’t make it in the secular world and so keep trying to bring out a ‘hit’ in Christian music. They are like pop idol candidates trying to make money and sell records. Many of the songs and hymns of the past were written out of a deep experience of God and salvation and not some flimsy ‘love song’ that could mean anything whether Christian or not. Let’s get soem true worship back into our public worship instead of idol worship.
    By the way, I do like both some of the old and new songs! I’m not anti all new songs but we do need to more discerning!

  3. Ricky says:

    We sing this song in our church often. After reading this, I don’t know if I will look at it the same again. I always wondered why some people didn’t respond well to that song. GREAT points throughout about this song and the importance of looking into a song’s theology.

  4. J.D. King says:

    While I agree with your theological abstractions, I think you miss the fact that much of the song is simply a metaphor. I don’t believe the author of the song had a literal camp in mind as he wrote it. I think the real intent for the is for Christians to stand up strong and expect God to bring a real experience of restoration and change in their lives right now. The actual language about the “enemies camp” is drawing from Old Testament metaphors. I understand your disagreement, but I think that you are taking the song way too literally.

  5. Ya, listen to J.D. The song is a metaphor. But attacking it literally, you obviously don’t understand literature or lyric. John 10 tells us specifically that our spiritual enemy is a thief. Your little rant simply shows ignorance.

  6. Jeff says:

    I’m glad someone is paying attention to the lyrics of some of these songs! Excellent points made … no one is more guilty of stealing or losing the spiritual treasures we’ve been given than ourselves. The sooner we admit it, the closer our walk with the Lord will become. (1 John 1)

  7. Coronda says:

    Biblically speaking, I believe this song was based on David at Ziklag in I Samuel 30 when they went into the enemies camp and took back what they sole from them. You say that Satan cannot steal from us, but God’s word says Satan purpose is to kill, steal and destroy in John 10:10. Also Jesus talks about Satan stealing the word in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower and the seed. Yes we have to take responsiblity for our actions but we also have to beware that is why we watch for the enemies attacks and devices. I am not aware of any man that has the ability to look into someone’s heart to see their relationship with God, so some of the comments you made, maybe you need to seek God and ask Him to show you your heart.

  8. Roger says:

    I thank you all for your comments. Something about this post has dramatically increased traffic to this website, albeit a week after the post was made.

    First of all I would like to address the fallacy that I am unfamiliar with metaphor. I do know very well what metaphor is and how it is used. I have used it often myself. I completely understand the use of metaphor in this song. I think anyone who is caught up on that point has missed the bigger picture that I was attempting to relate. Therefore, I think J D King has made some great points, while Agreeing with JDKing has not.

    Secondly, I do not believe that the song was based on king David. The lyrics continue on to say, “He’s under my feet…Satan is under my feet.” I do not correlate that with David’s experience. I can see how you would find that connection if you expressly went looking into the OT for something to possibly correlate it to, but I don’t think that was the author’s intent. On the other hand, I really don’t want to presume too much about the author’s intent. I just want to relate my thoughts on the matter.

    In all, I’m happy about the participation of those who left comments. I do think that those who sought to say something about me, personally, are out of line, if well intentioned. I put nothing at all about myself in the post, except the admission that I don’t like the song. 🙂

  9. John says:

    Most are good comments. to be taken with positive spirit. just because Satan steals we don’t have to go to enemy camp. this world and universe belongs to GOD. Joshua says that where we set our feet that will be ours. so just even if Satan has stolen we repent or agree/pray with our brothers and get back whatever we have lost-in Jesus HOLY name. AMEN.

  10. FMJohnson says:

    I’m not a big fan of this song, and I agree with your larger point. However, I believe the song puts together I Samuel 30 (as Coronda points out) and Romans 16:20 — “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (NASB) So there is a biblical basis for the “verse” and the “chorus” of the song, though I don’t think the song is theologically strong.

  11. Pastor Dan says:

    Thanks for your comment/article but I still am going to sing it with gusto.
    It is a metaphor for the attitude we need to have in reclaiming and restoring the Truth about Who we are and What we posses, and Who we posses in Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

    The scripture says that how will we take anything until we first bind up the strong man (satan), and then we can take the valuables in the house (those in bondage to the world’s system).

    Yes, sometimes we just need to accept and receive. But there are other times when we need to have a little fight in our prayer and be overcomers.

    I’m thinking of a little boy who is stuck in a wheel chair and can’t play with his friends…but can only watch them from a distance as they have fun without his participation. In a way, something was stolen from him. Why not go get it back?

    Blessings friends,
    Pastor Dan.

  12. RevStar says:

    I understand the part concerning the fact that satan is under our feet…or will be according to scripture.
    I just see no biblical reference concerning us going into the “enemy’s camp” to lay claim to the things that satan has stolen from us.

    The victory to me has already been won, Christ Himself has already gone to the “Enemy’s camp” and it is Christ who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave. So, if I need something back, I’m going to Him directly as my Advocate, Way-maker, and Restorer.

  13. Teresa says:

    I have some thoughts and questions about this song from a theological and scripture view.

    First of all, “Why do I want to go back to the enemies camp? I can understand thoughts from the Old Testament, where Abraham went and rescued Lot. (Gen. 14:12.) In the first place, when God called Abraham to leave, Lot went with him. God didn’t call Lot. This is Old Testament.

    When I hear this song I want to stop and say, “What about II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.”

    II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any person is (in grafted) in Christ the Messiah, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether) the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold, the new and fresh has come!” (Amplified Bible)

    Do I need to go back to the enemies camp, because in Christ, I am a new creation. Satan can keep what he stole from me! Christ will give me above and beyond measure what ever I need. I am not referring to the “Wealth, health, mentality” Christ gives me a new relationship, He gives me eternal life, a home in Heaven. Furthermore, I am told to “Stand strong against the enemy.” I Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in faith, quit you like men, be strong”

    I Corinthians 16:13 Amplified Bible: “Be alert and on your guard, stand firm in your faith…Act like men and be courageous and grow in faith.”

    I am to flee or run from Satan. I am to stand firm and taking the shield of faith to withstand the fiery darts of Satan.

    I don’t see anything in Scripture that indicate, I’m to be going back to the enemies camp, because when Christ died on the cross and shed His spotless blood for my sins. He set me free. Again Scripture says, “…old things are passed away.” In Christ I am made whole, I am a new person from the inside , that vacuum within is filled with Christ’s redemption and His love and grace.

    Satan doesn’t protect the sheep. He comes to kill, steal and destroy!
    Yes there are times to come against Satan. Only the Lord can give one that discernment and spiritual strength.

    If we are going to sing new songs. Please back it up with Biblical correctness. I believe this is an area where Satan has a foot hold within our churches. (Not all churches) I’d be incline to believe a vast majority. As believers, “We are to come out of the world and be separate.” I have nothing against Praise and Worship as long as we praise and worship God in reverence and have a balance.

    Sometimes, when I begin to walk across the parking lot and I can hear the “music.” at times this sounds no different than the world. I’m not against instruments being used in church. I play piano, but not at my church, because I haven’t kept up with the contemporary music. I am allowed to play at the nursing home, because these folks still believe and enjoy the hymns of the faith. I believe there needs to be a balance between the praise and doing hymns.

    When hymns are left out, we are leaving out Biblical doctrine, and the hymns have a message that speaks to the heart. Musically–leaving out harmony. Again, I know there is some “older” praise music that can speak to the heart and be used of the Holy Spirit to speak to people.

    Even though someone may say, “But the words are “Christian.” If I can’t hear the words above the instruments…….

    Do we know the background or life style of the ones who are writing the contemporary music, that we sing? I’m not saying there aren’t any good contemporary writers and their music is Biblical and solid. Their focus is on the Lord. Your spirit knows the difference. But what about the songs that just seems “empty?” or they aren’t written with a Biblical values?

    I am not implying that church music has to have a “funeral” tone and tempo. I firmly believe there needs to be a balance as far as worship and what one listens too at home. Second thought, it seems like what one listens too at home, is being brought into the church. I believe Satan has a foot hold with a majority of the Christian Contemporary music. Satan doesn’t want us singing about the blood that Jesus shed for our sins. Satan doesn’t want us to become convicted of sin and see our need for a Savior. Satan doesn’t want us to leave “the eminence’s camp!” For me, when I leave and have left his camp. I am not going to return either. 🙂

  14. Roger says:

    Teresa, It sounds like you have given this a lot of thought. Thanks for sharing!

  15. jalyne says:

    I came across the sight while looking for the author of this song as I have had questions about this song. I was hoping to find something written by the author to explain his point of view when writting this song, as I have not completly understood it. My church sings this song alot. As I have prayfully sang this song I sing from this point of view. I AM went to the enemies camp and took back what was stole from Him, for the next verse begins to rejoice by saying look what the LORD has done. When I sing I sing in the 3rd person as though the LORD is singing I went…..I do wonder what other people are singing as they sing this song because I do have theology questions concerning this song. Does anybody know who wrote this song? Or what the authors intent was? This line in the song is the only line in this song that concerns me.

  16. Roger says:

    Jalyne: Unfortunately, you are unlikely to get the answers you are looking for here. Perhaps a talk with your pastor is in order if you have concerns.

  17. dhoffman says:

    The song is a battlecry for action for the Christian, not a lesson about salvation. After we are saved we need to go proactively and steal people out who are lost in sin, confusion and emotion right from under the noses of the people who mean to do them harm. We go to the dens of evil and not just sit behind stain glass windows praying.
    I am in an hour going to a counseling appointment with my step-daughter who has been making the poor choice of staying with her mother instead of coming 3 days a week to our house where there is stability and boundaries. Her mother enables this behavior. I am singing this song in my head, preparing myself to be loving and kind and calm, but also assertive and hopeful.

  18. Eban says:

    I see this song as a declaration of what has already been done for us through Christ. Christ went into the enemy’s camp and took back what was rightfully His as well as all that the devil stole from us. When we accept His work on the cross we in turn have taken back from the enemy what was stolen from us. Again this is what has already happened and therefore it isn’t saying “I am going” but that “I went”. Singing this song at our church for the first time in a few hours, I think it’s a great way to encourage one another and remind ourselves of our victory in Jesus overs death and all the works of the enemy.

  19. Rosemarie says:

    I am so glad you have written what you did Roger, good on you for standing up for truth. I have seen deception take people away from Yahweh (GOD) because they didn’t know their Bible well enough. Frightening how deception takes over bit be bit when people are ignorant of Truth, His Word, and can’t hear it. I have turned to reading the Word and especially the Torah (the first five books) very diligently and studying the original Hebrew texts. There is not a camp of the enemy in the Bible, that is deception. We are not commanded to go to Satan but to Yahweh/Yeshua (Jesus) to have all our needs met. Yeshua died to restore us into divine order. We are responsible for knowing His Word and following His commandments. One day we will stand before Yahweh with our actions and words, even the words we sing. We are called to be His Holy Bride. We all need to know and walk in Truth. Let us honor Yeshua properly for all He has done for us. Shalom (Peace)

  20. RevDave says:

    I personally don’t care for the song, but understand the premise and the context of Abraham rescuing Lot. The song is intended, I believe, to be sung as part of a 3-part medley. When sung that way, I believe it makes the point of The Lord being the one who “took back” what was stolen. Satan will certainly try to steal your joy, your happiness, contentment, etc. I believe that through walking in The Spirit, His fruits will be evident, and in that manner, restore what was taken from you.

  21. judy says:

    I remember when the church first stated singing this and i hated it from the beginning. I prefer to “GO TO THE ROCK OF MY SALVATION” i think i upset set some folks around me as they sang it and i was singing the words to my on version of the song. “i went to the river of life and i bathed in his love for me and i bathed in his live for me and i bathed in his love for me———-he’s all i need he’s all i need Jesus is all i need” i also hated the one about “God showed up and showed out.” Somehow i just believe he is waiting for us to show up and stop showing out. He was there all the time

  22. Tiffany says:

    I think that you have some really good points about the basis of the song. I think that a lot of it is based on interpretation, though. For me, I hear this song as empowering because I was sexually abused as a child and the thought of going to a metaphorical camp and taking back my worth from the person who stole it from me gives me the motivation to keep walking towards my healing. I understand your thinking that the devil hasn’t stolen things from us, that we choose to sin but I think that there are things that do get stolen from us and it is just fine to want to take them back.

  23. Wanisayi says:

    The bible tells us the devil came to steal kill and destroy… Period. When we confront the enemy in the spirit realm and speak God’s promises into our situation’s, whether ill health, impending or actual divorce, rebellious kids we go into his proverbial camp and yake what Chrsit for us to have in abundance. Praise and Worship is our ambush, His Word is our sword. Our war is not against flesh and blood but powers and principalities, neither are our weapons carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds… I understand the song perfectly 🙂

  24. Ginger315 says:

    The enemy’s camp certainly IS Biblical. Gideon went into the enemy’s camp, literally, “When Gideon came to the enemy camp,” in Judges 7. Afterwards they went back to their to organize and return to TAKE the enemy’s camp. Even if there was not any Scripture which specifically stated those words, we know that the enemy is the spiritual world and we are to do battle through prayer and good works…..actually entering the enemy’s camp through prayer.

  25. Earl says:

    I just want to comment on the person who was agree with JD king. If you look carefully at the John 10 passage the thief is a reference to false teachers who work for Satan and came before Jesus. I believe it’s important that we know what we sing and that we sing to glorify God. I know of a local VBS that uses this song extensively with the children. My concern is how do we unteach wrong thinking about Jesus. We need to hold every thought captive.

  26. I’m kinda joining this comment thread about 10 years late, but here in 2019 we’re not arguing about “enemies camp” anymore because the theology of the modern day Christian music is so unsettling even more so than way back in 2009 when people weren’t singing so many self worship self help songs that aren’t worship.

    I dont think ‘enemy’s camp’ is a worship song, but I think based on 1 Sam 30 its a Biblical song. I woudn’t sing it in Sunday worship, but I think its a great camp or car song to get people riled up to go stomp the Devil.

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