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November 2011

They Will Drive Out Demons

The title of this article is taken from Mark’s gospel (Mark 16:15-18) where
Jesus after having risen from the dead identifies how the power of the Spirit will
be a witness to the world of the truth of the Gospel expressed through the
evidence accompanying the signs described.

The signs which He identifies are: they shall cast out demons; speak in tongues;
pick up snakes without being harmed; that any deliberate act, which is implied,
of poisoning will be ineffective i.e. any attempt at murder; they will lay hands
on the sick and the sick shall get well.

Certainly this is a controversial passage and as a consequence and for much of


the Church today it has little or no relevance, but that is changing. Services
continue as usual assuming at best that this is an anachronism or at worst an
‘addition’, or an after- thought perhaps, and therefore to be treated with caution
or ignored. The emergence of the Pentecostal movement at the beginning of the
twentieth century did much to assuage these preconceptions and as a result the
Church was invigorated once again with the empowering gifts of the Holy
Spirit. The re-emergence of the gifts of the Spirit however have brought their
share of challenges and how these are to be understood in the context of
application; but nonetheless not without controversy.

One of the controversies concerns whether a Christian can be demonised. After


all when we receive Jesus into our life we are ‘new creatures’, so how can we
possibly be influenced by the activity of demons? I would argue that there is a
flawed logic in this thinking. If it is given that sickness, disease, evil,
demonisation and death are all consequences of the Fall, and the Fall is the
cause of our sinful nature, and that the Cross is the antithesis of the Fall, then all
human kind must suffer the consequence of the Fall, such as sickness or
demonisation. To put it another way, if as a Christian I am sick then I ask for
prayer, likewise, if I am demonised in some manner I need deliverance by the
same token. There is no evidence in scripture that only unbelievers can be
demonised and that once we become Christians we are incapable of being
demonised. After all, even as Christians the reality is that we are constantly
reminded that our fallen nature is a fact of life even though we are covered by
the imputed righteousness of Jesus, but that does not mean that we will not
continue to sin.

In practice, many Christians come forward at meetings and are not healed, one
possible reason, and most a likely one, but not exclusively, is that there is some
demonic activity in that person’s life, from the past or present, such as
unrepentant sin, or un-forgiveness; these remain a stronghold for demons and a
hurt to the person’s cost. Another possibility is that the person’s sick condition
is a function of a past action such as abortion. One Christian lady we knew
suffered from migraine, the symptoms of which always occurred when her
period was due. It turned out that she had an abortion but it had never been
confessed. Subsequently, being aware of the consequences of her action and
having repented through prayer, the migraine vanished. What happened in this
case was that as the consequence of the abortion a demon had been given the
right of entry and manifested itself as migraine, in fact it responded to that name
when commanded to leave. It was therefore apparent that we were dealing with
a personality.

Although we are responsible for our own behaviour, the influence of those who
have committed sins against us, either presently or past, can also be an
impediment to our growth as Christians’. For example, if I had been abused as a
child before I became a Christian, and as a result I continue to suffer from the
effects, such as nightmares, rejection, un-forgiveness and bitterness, then
deliverance is necessary. Therefore, what happened before I became a Christian
is consequential upon my life after I become a Christian, therefore the sins of
the fathers do have a consequence upon the children. The impact of un-
forgiveness is a common occurrence among many Christians’ and subsequently
upon their lives and upon the life of the local church of which they are a part.

What follows next is a real life example of the damage which can be done when
the influence of demons is not discerned operating in a Christian’s life. This
story is an example in which we were able to be effective through our
deliverance ministry.

Tony, not his real name, was introduced to us through connections with our
extended family. Tony came from an unbelieving background and as it turned
out later through subsequent ministry that he was very much under the influence
of demonic control. He claimed to be a Spirit filled Christian and spoke in
tongues as evidence. We were told that he brought people to Jesus, one of
whom we knew and so was confirmation. Tony was active in open air
evangelism, but all was not what it appeared. When he was introduced to us it
was noticeable that likeable as he was, it was evident by body language there
was an underlying insecurity, and to cover for this he would be rude, while,
fuelled with self-importance, assuming a status beyond that appointed he would
cut across the leadership of the church.

His friends advised him to come and visit us for ministry, which he was
reluctant to do but after some convincing, and then only to humour them he
phoned to arrange a visit. Anne and I covered the event in prayer during which
time Anne was given a ‘word of knowledge’, the Lord told us to have a bucket
ready, an unusual request but we knew what to expect. Not wishing to have an
empty bucket sitting on the floor as a distraction we hid it behind the settee.
Tony made it obvious that he was only doing this in order to please his friends.
His manner expressed contemptuousness, as if to say I’m only here under
protest. What do you think you can do for me?

Wasting no time the moment we entered into prayer, he bent forward and about
to proffer the contents of his stomach but not before I had managed to dive
behind the settee for the bucket. As we named the demons they came out one by
one. After a while he began to look fragile and was clearly affected in his mind
and body by the whole experience, ‘How can this be?’ In effect he was saying:
How can a Christian have demons? Well, this was proof that a Christian can
have demons. This was a life changing experience for Tony as it meant coming
to terms with himself and his family. The ministry is on-going.

The reader might also be interested in other articles on this site entitled:
Authority to Cast out Demons – a case study, and Heaven and Earth: the theatre
of conflict.

In the latter there is a reference to the application of the deliverance ministry


which was practised in the time of Tertullian whose works date from between
196-212 AD comments in his De Spectaculis, chapter 26:

‘We have the case of this woman – the Lord himself is


witness- who went to the theatre, and came back possessed. In the
outcasting, accordingly, when the unclean creature was upbraided
with having dared to attack a believer, he (the evil spirit) firmly
replied, ‘And in truth I did it most righteously, for I found her in
my domain’

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0303.htm

It is clear from this record that the deliverance ministry was practised in the
early Church and as this particular example illustrates the subject herself was a
Christian.