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SALEM'S LOT: Faith Against Face

"Faith Against Face: SALEM’S LOT"

In director Tobe Hooper’s outstanding television adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1979, CBS-WB) the extent of the battle of spiritual principalities was brilliantly demonstrated during a confrontation between a priest and a vampire. The dialogue leading up to this encounter is delivered by an evil emissary of the vampire: “What do you say, preacher? Your faith against his face?”  The doubting priest looks into face of the vampire, then down at the cross he’s holding… and his faith wavers. In that instant, the creature takes him.

 Too many Christians put stock in symbols and ceremony as means of true salvation. When the enemy strikes in our lives, we need to keep our eyes focused on the Cross of Christ. This prime directive is stated in I Peter 5:8 (ESV):   “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

The scope of Satan’s strength on earth contrasted with God’s power in heaven is something that has been rigorously debated for centuries. In the Dualism entry in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2001, Baker Academic), author H.B. Kuhn aptly describes this concept as the universe ultimately becoming “…a battleground for these opposing beings, identified respectively as light and darkness.”
Scripture clearly states that God is the Creator (“The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.”; Psalms 89:11) and Satan is a created being (“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.”; Ezekiel 28:15). In Isaiah 14:14-15, the Bible further elaborates on Satan’s ambition and eternal destiny: “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.”

Although powerful, Satan is not in control of this world. In the Satan entry in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2001, Baker Academic), author M.F. Unger describes Lucifer as having power “second only to God” and that he is “limited and permitted to have power by divine omnipotence and omniscience.” Satan does have power over those who have knowingly (or unknowingly) submitted themselves to him by rejecting Christ; however God is ultimately in control and He uses the good and the wicked to accomplish His purposes.

In John 1:3-5, the Apostle gives a fantastic contrast between Jesus and Satan: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” The light that John is referring to here is Christ, the literal personification of good. The darkness represents Satan, who is the ultimate personification of evil.

Satan is not a god, even though many worship him as one (Psalms 106:37). When the world rejects the truth, they will ultimately be blinded by Satan. Thus, he will do anything in his power to prevent people from seeing the glory of Christ in the hope that they will never be persuaded by the Holy Spirit. The individual cannot blame Satan for their sins because they have to first make a conscious decision to yield to the temptation.

However, before Satan can blind anyone, there must first be a rejection of the Gospel.  In II Thessalonians 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul describes how such spiritual blindness occurs: “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
Satan will use anything and everything in his power to make Christians take their eyes off the Cross. When we do, our faith wavers in much the same way as the priest in Salem’s Lot and we open ourselves to temptation and spiritual ruination.



1) Elwell, W. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.)
2) Salem’s Lot. Directed by Tobe Hooper. 1979; Los Angeles, CA: Warner Home Video.

'Salem's Lot " (1979, Warner Brothers); Directed by: Tobe Hooper. Click here to purchase Salem's Lot from Amazon.com.

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