In Considering Deliverance Ministries
Ron Rhodes

It has become popular today to rely on deliverance for the quick and powerful way to rid our faults and warfare. Those who teach demon possession in Christians are Neil T. Anderson, Peter Wagner, and a host of others. Ray Bubeck goes even further saying "I ask you to look all through the sexual organs and function of my body for any evil spirit activity he goes on to ask the Holy Spirit to " search out all my bones, blood circulation, nerve circuitry, muscles, tissues, glands, hair, skin and every cell for any wicked spirit activity against my physical body." (Spiritual warfare basics pg.23 Mark. Bubeck)

With teaching Christians having demons almost anything can happen. What is neglected is the idea that they can lie and deceive those who are doing the deliverance! Satan can certainly have his demons control Christians from the outside as they give their will over into doing their temptations. Practicing Sin still creates bondage and can open one up to having little control over certain aspects in their lives.. This is called oppression and it certainly is different than possession. The word used in the gospels is demonized (Greek Diamonizomai) meaning to be controlled by a demon. The common _expression is "to have a demon" Mt.11:18 which expresses residency. By this it means this entity can have direct control of a person from the inside. With this comes a certain degree of derangement in the mind or physical upset in the body. (Mk.5:1-20 Mt.12:43-45.) It best that one should distinguish control from harassment.

1 Thess.2:18 The degree of control is different for a Christian than a non Christian. As Christians the enemy can control from with out not from within even though at times it can seem the same as possession. With the believer deliverance is a matter of the will. With a non believer they have no spiritual authority 1 Jn.5:18: "He who is born of God keeps himself and the wicked one does not touch him. This is an assurance and is clarified in the Greek that he cannot lay hold of or fasten to. In Jn.17:15 Jesus prays that "they should not be taken out of the world but that the father should keep them from the evil one." Again a provision of not being in a relationship with the enemy that we were formerly delivered from. We need faith to endure, because there is no promise of permanent deliverance from evil. We are always to pray for deliverance from evil (Mt. 6:13). as long as we are in this world there will be evil encroaching upon us. There is no prayer , method or incantation for relief, just faith to persevere.

1 Jn.5:21 John tells the believer "to keep from idols" while the scripture is clear behind an idol is a demon, John does not tell us to keep from demons. There is no concern raised like this anywhere in the Bible. We are warned of the unfruitful works of darkness but the bible never teaches that light becomes darkness unless in the case one abandons the faith.

The Biblical concept is that man is comprised of two components. The material body and the immaterial spirit. Those who promote Christian demonization say that the unclean dwells in our body and not the spirit. What they overlook is that the old nature still dwells in us and that it expresses itself by the body. Yielding to the desires of the flesh can bring one into bondage but this certainly cannot be put in the same category as demonization. While it makes one do the will of Satan instead of God it should not be confused with occupation. In Gal. 5:19-22, much of what is blamed on demons is really man's fallen nature, expressing itself through his flesh. Demons can entice and exaggerate our fleshly weaknesses but the blame lies in ourselves .

While demonic power can affect the outside of our body and our emotions and minds they can never come into the innermost man, one needs to distinguish between oppression and possession .Satan has a limit in dealing with a believer otherwise we are no better off then one who is a non believer. If every time they sin it is blamed on demonic activity than what would be the difference when we sin. Then Christ cannot protect His people.

Demons cast out of Christians are not seen in the scriptures. Neither are they left over from the old life nor new occupants. The scripture absolutely militates against this. We are the temple of God not of both God and the devils emissaries. What a confusion for those involved in binding their own personal demon spirits.

Larry Thomas warned against what is being promoted as demon invasion in Christians. "The real potential for problems in the Christian life is blaming things on the demonic and neglecting normal Christian growth and maturity. It is this kind of lack of maturity in the lives of many believers, because they are looking for the quick fix of a Neil Anderson deliverance, that will prove the greater damage. I am concerned that believers wake up to the false ways of Dr. Anderson." (Biblical Perspectives Vol.V, no.3 1992)

Gil Rugh comments on this by saying "Believers cannot be possessed by demons…The scripture is clear on this matter. …Christ's work was sufficient. There is no further deliverance that must take place. If there were, salvation in Christ would be incomplete. If the church would stop and think through its theology of scripture we would realize that something is drastically wrong with what is being promoted by those who teach that believers can be demonized." (Gil Rugh Demonization and the believer- an unbiblical teaching exposed, pg.26 1994)

Paul writes of the spiritual army of the devil that he lists in Eph.6: 12 in Col.2:15 "Having disarmed principalities and powers He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." The devil and his angels fate is already sealed yet God allows them to continue. But they have no power over a Christian. He works in the sons of disobedience and will continue to do so until he is bound by God, not us. He can lie to us and lead us into sin by its a matter of our will bending to his lies. all one has to do is resist and he is defeated.

As Christians we are Christ’s possession owned by God. (1 Cor.6:20, 1 Jn.4:15) We have been bought with a price and are born again of incorruptible seed 1 Pt.1:23. 1Jn.4:4 tells us "Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world." The Holy Spirit is able to keep us separate and clean when we allow him to do so. If we give in we can’t say he is weaker it really is a matter of choice and an exercise of our will. For one to believe in Christian demon possession a number of factors need to be ignored. Christ is our good shepherd would he let his people get wolfed. While we may unwittingly step over the line this does not annul the grace and protection of the Lord. This would mean God deals with us as a legalist every time wittingly or not we violate his boundaries we lose his protection and are at the mercy of the enemy. It is true that certain areas need to be avoided like the plague (the occult, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, and various altered states of conciousness). Yet God is greater than these. If not there are no guarantees for anything when do wrong. we would walk in a state of paranoia not victory.

God does not sleep on the job, nor has he put his protection in our hands and strength. We are to be strong in the grace of the Lord not be paranoid of the enemy.

In Eph.4:27 we are told not to give the devil a opportunity (foothold, a place, a beachhead. this is a military term meaning to capture an area within enemy territory. We can give areas cover to the enemy because they are not submitted over to the Lord. In Eph.5:18 He also tells us to be continually filled with the Spirit. We cannot have a victorious Christian walk without yielding and submitting to Gods ways. To be filled means to be controlled by the Spirit which means not being disobedient and doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes. The cure for one taken captive in disobedience is Jm.4:7 "Submit yourselves to God "first" ( whatever you are disobedient in change your behavior by yielding to the Spirit) "then" resist the devil and he will flee". If you are dead to the sin he is tempting you with he cannot make you react. Peter also agrees stating "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeing who he may devour, whom you are to resist steadfast in the faith". We are not to have power encounters and conversations but stand in the Lord by faith, "trust" we lean on him the battle is his, if we lean on ourselves the battle is ours. The main objective is to give up no ground to the enemy .

Paul says we were once of darkness now we are light. Light always rules over the darkness. Try bringing darkness in the room when the light is on. Only if there is no light there can there be darkness. Scripture never says that we can go on and off like a light switch.

While the scripture says that the Holy Spirit can dwell with sin and that He can dwell in the presence of a demon. It certainly is different to say a demon can dwell with the Holy Spirit. We see the violent reaction of demons to the presence of Jesus and what is Holy. God does not have to flee but demons do. The Scripture shows them in agony just being near Jesus.

1Cor. 3:16: "do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you." It is not the Holy Spirit plus a demon or demon's!

The consequences of believing one is possessed can certainly be even more devastating than actually being inhabited. The focus than shifts from actually dealing with the problem and taking responsibility for one actions to blaming it on a unseen enemy a demon which is not even there. The lie of having the demon can be just as bad and what one really needs deliverance from is the lie of being inhabited with so called possession.

In deliverance services we are told to find out the head demon by asking his name and the rest will follow. At the time of Jesus their were exorcisms performed within Judaism. For this to be accomplished the exorcist needed to communicate with the demon. In this exercise the name of the head demon would be invoked and told to leave any other sub demons would also have to obey. Today the name of Jesus is petitioned for power used as a incantation from everything such as releasing wealth and healing and certainly to take back things for God.

Deliverance ministries are conducted in various forms from personal counseling to group deliverance’s. This consists of people walking around the room and led to people by the spirit speaking to them. They then lay their hands on them and call out the head strongman first and the rest eventually follow. Names such as Leviathan, spirits of anger, jealousy and religious spirits are called out. Ancestral curses are broken also. All these so called demons are listed as works of the flesh that we all are still capable of doing. Deliverance books are written like psychological manuals that claim that if one follows this methodology they will be successful, with the help of the Lord of course. Much of what is derived in these books is from personal experiences which are outside Biblical parameters and certainly not mentioned in Scripture.