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Deliverance Ministry - An Explanation
Of This Movement

By

Neil Armstrong B.A., M.Div.



Over the last few decades a new movement has slowly been developing within the Christian church. It has crossed denominational lines and has become influential in some churches. Although many aspects are new, the basis for this movement is found in the Scriptures, notably in the ministry of Jesus. As this movement has gained wider recognition many Christians have begun to ask questions. These questions concern the Biblical basis for some of the teachings and practices which have become an accepted part of this movement.

What is Deliverance Ministry? On a very basic level it is the removing of an evil spirit from a host, usually a human being. The most well known example of this is the movie, 'The Exorcist'. On a deeper level this ministry is very complex. It involves many theologies, philosophies, churches and leaders. Those involved in deliverance tend to have very detailed explanations of how the spiritual dimension operates. Because of the explanations they provide, people who have moral and spiritual needs are drawn to this ministry with the expectation of receiving solutions which are not available elsewhere.

Although many Christians would like to ignore the existence of this ministry it is very hard to do and still retain a Christian theology. The reason for this is the person most involved in this deliverance ministry was Jesus Christ. During his ministry, Jesus frequently cast out evil spirits. One example is found in Mark 5:13. "He (Jesus) gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned." Generally, there is agreement among Christians, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, that evil spirits do exist. However, many Christians feel very uncomfortable with this ministry and would only consider it in the most exceptional of circumstances.

Although most Christians feel uneasy about deliverance, there are those who see it as the most effective way of ministering to others. It is at this point where deliverance ministry is causing considerable controversy within the Christian community. Increasingly proponents see deliverance not only for non-believers, who are troubled by spirits, but are promoting it within the Church as a ministry for Christians!

The problem this shift of emphasis creates in the Church and particularly in lives of Christians is enormous. Christians are being taught that it is possible to be indwelt by two different spirits who are completely opposed to each other. One of these is the Spirit of God while the other is an evil spirit or demon. According to those involved in deliverance ministry, these two spirits may indwell a Christian concurrently. Therefore, according to them, deliverance is necessary to help a believer who is struggling with sinful desire or a reoccurring problem. For example, a Christian may be experiencing anxiety. Deliverance ministers point to 1 Peter 5:7-8 and conclude anxiety is from the enemy. Since this person clearly has a spirit, of anxiety, it must be removed through deliverance ministry. It does not take very much knowledge of the Scriptures to recognize the serious problem this kind of teaching creates in the life of a Christian who is struggling.

This teaching is best explained in a book entitled, "Pigs In the Parlor" by Frank and Mae Hammond. On this subject they write, "The Christian should consider indwelling demons as unnecessary and undesirable Trespassers." (p.1) "Demons spirits are confined to the soul and body of a believer. Demons afflict the emotions, the mind and the will and the physical body - not the spirit of a Christian." (p.137) They conclude, "the aim of deliverance is to remove the trespassing demon spirits from the soul and body in order that Jesus can reign over these areas as well" (p.137)

The very first question we must ask when someone claims that Christians can be indwelt by demons is, "what does the Bible teach?" The next question is, "what is the identity of the Christian?" Finally, "is it possible for Christians to be indwelt by spirits?" Anyone who is well grounded in the Scriptures would say, Absolutely Not! In fact to hold the view that Christians can be inhabited by demons is totally incompatible with Biblical Christianity.

These views are incompatible because the Scriptures teach that deliverance for the Christian has already taken place. It is called salvation. 1 Peter 1:8-9 Salvation mean deliverance, preservation, to rescue. Our assurance as Christians is that when we place our faith in Jesus Christ we are delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son and are seated in the heavenly realms in Christ! Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:1-10 The Apostle Paul declared this truth when he said, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom." 2 Timothy 4:17-18 Yes, we struggle with sin because we retain our sinful natures. This nature often causes us conflict. Galatians 5:16-18 But nowhere in Scripture does is say Christians are indwelt or possessed with an evil spirit! Instead it says we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:7-9 Thank God! Amen.


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