An Introduction to Demons, Demonization, and Deliverance
“Jesus never sent anyone out to preach the gospel without specifically instructing and equipping them to take action against demons in the same way that he himself did.” –Derek Prince
Both the Old and New Testaments mention demons, or evil spirits. The From Genesis to Revelation the Bible paints a picture a spiritual realm that interacts with a worldly realm. Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden. An evil spirit troubled King Saul.
Jesus encountered spirits while ministering in synagogues and He expected that his followers would encounter them also. The book of Acts records the ministry and history of the early church which included deliverance. If demons were around in Biblical times, they must be around today. If people in New Testament times were troubled by demons, people must be troubled by demons today. If demons are around today, why isn’t the church dealing with them?
The Need to Align Our Worldview with the Bible
Many Christians today operate as if demons do not exist. Because of a lack of experience with the spiritual world, many modern Christians do not recognize the influence of the demonic. Western Christians often view the activity of the demonic through the lenses of scientific and psychological paradigms. In short, the worldview of many Christians is not aligned with a biblical worldview.
An Experience with the Demonic
In 1984 I had just graduated from a Christian, liberal arts college in Santa Barbara, California. At that time I was attending the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Santa Barbara and involve the leadership one of the church’s home groups. The group was largely made up of young adults from that college. At one of the home group meetings, a female student from the college started manifesting demons. The demons would act up during worship as the manifest presence of God filled the room (both at church and in the home group). I remember at one point during worship the demons threw the young woman to the ground and shook her violently. The young woman bounced all around on the ground as the demons struggled to hold on to her. Her freedom was both a process and a struggle.
At one point the demons started manifesting through this young woman in the dorms of the Christian college she attended. Marialice, my future wife, also attended the college and was one of the people who frequently ministered to the young woman while she was being freed. The demonized young woman prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior, renounced the witchcraft she had participated in, and was taken through the process of deliverance and inner healing.
As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir at the Christian college. Both Marialice and Jack Little, the pastor of the church I was attending, were called before the leadership of the school and questioned. The Christian school wanted to send the demonized young woman to psychologists instead of taking her through deliverance and inner healing. The leadership of the school saw the issue as psychological problem more than a spiritual problem. The leaders of the college had a modern, western worldview that caused them to struggle with the issue of the young woman’s demonization.
Demons Like to Work Undetected
It is problematic to think, that because one has never seen evidence of demons or evil spirits that they do not exist. Many people do not know that evil spirits afflict them until the demons are forced to manifest through a power encounter with the Holy Spirit. Demons often do their best work incognito. If the work of demons goes undetected then the demons are free to continue their path of destruction.
The truth is that many Christians are ignorant about the demonic realm. Much of their understanding comes from what they have seen in movies or from what inexperienced pastors have taught them about demons. What is need is an in-depth-look at what the Bible teaches about demons, demonization and deliverance.
Ignorance is not Bliss and Fear is not Fine
Many Christians do not know the authority they carry and are afraid to deal with demonic manifestations. I remember having a conversation about the topic of deliverance with a Christian woman at my worksite. She admitted that she was fearful to get involved in deliverance and would rather leave deliverance to the men in her church because she felt that they carried more authority than the women. I asked her, “What if God has called you to deliver the oppressed?” She just shook her head and said she would leave deliverance her pastors.
Fear is not a valid reason to disengage from battle. Demons will not back down because we choose not to deal with them. Unchecked, they are free to continue their devastating behaviors. The Bible teaches that all believers are to engage in spreading the gospel, healing the sick, and yes, even casting out demons. In Mark 16:17 deliverance is listed as one of five signs that will follow “those that believe.” Anyone who prays for the sick on a consistent basis and participates ministry where the Holy Spirit is moving in significant power will eventually encounter demonic manifestations. The body of Christ needs to be equipped to deal with them.
© 2016 Alan Garrett, alsgarrett.org