The question of whether Christians can be demonized and in need of deliverance is a thought-provoking topic that ignites intense debate within Christian circles. While opinions may differ, this article aims to present a comprehensive overview of how Christians can benefit from the ministry of deliverance, supported by scriptural evidence. By delving into biblical passages, studying the original Greek, and examining the theological perspectives surrounding this topic, we can gain a deeper understanding of the possibility of Christians requiring deliverance from demonic influence/oppression.
Often times you will hear it said in Christian circles: "a person can either be possessed, oppressed, or influenced by the devil." However, this terminology is not used in the Bible, especially as it relates to the word "possessed." In fact, the Greek word "daimonizomai," used in some Bibles to mean "demon-possessed" is often improperly translated. Scholars argue that this translation does not accurately convey the complete meaning of the word. Instead, it signifies being under demonic power or influence to varying degrees—partially, moderately, or fully. The proper translation of this word would be "to be demonized."
When examining the usage of the term in the New Testament, it becomes clear that "daimonizomai" refers to individuals experiencing the effects of demonic influence rather than being completely possessed. Examples can be found in passages such as Mark 5:1-20, where Jesus encounters a man in the region of the Gadarenes who is described as having an unclean spirit. The man exhibited behavior influenced by demonic forces, but he was not entirely possessed. Although he was inhabited by thousands of demons he still retained enough autonomy to make his way to the feet of Jesus for deliverance.
Furthermore, other instances in the New Testament, such as Matthew 4:24 and Luke 9:42, describe individuals who were affected by evil spirits but were not considered completely possessed. This supports the understanding that "daimonizomai" should be translated as being under demonic power or influence.
As we grasp the essence of the Greek term "daimonizomai," we realize that even born-again Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, may still have areas of their lives not fully surrendered to God. Consequently, they may require deliverance in those specific areas.
Regarding this concept of believers having areas of their lives that are not fully surrendered to God, the Bible provides examples and exhortations for believers to continually strive for complete surrender and sanctification. For example, in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 the Apostle Paul exhorts believers to avoid unforgiveness so that "no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." Additionally, scholars argue that Ananias and Sapphira are a prime example of the enemy gaining access to a believer's life as the Apostle Peter declared to Ananias in Acts 5:3- “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?"
In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were given possession of the Promised Land by God, they were instructed to drive out the inhabitants and possess the land fully (Joshua 1:3-4, Joshua 23:5-13). This is how it works with deliverance and sanctification for the believer, we have been given the "promised land" through Christ, but we must now dislodge the enemy from every space he occupies in our life. This serves as an analogy for believers today, emphasizing the importance of continually surrendering all areas of their lives to God and actively engaging in spiritual warfare to gain control over the influences of the enemy.
Scripture encourages believers to pursue spiritual growth, to resist the enemy, and to submit fully to God (James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8-9). It acknowledges the existence of spiritual battles and the need for believers to be vigilant, putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). This recognition affirms that although believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, they can still have areas of vulnerability that may benefit from the ministry of deliverance.
Throughout Jesus' earthly ministry, Jesus regularly encountered believing individuals afflicted by demonic forces and exercised His authority to deliver them. In Mark 1:23-26, Jesus encounters a man demonized by an impure spirit in the synagogue. This is someone you may consider to be a "churchgoing man." Instead of kicking the man out of service for being disruptive, He rebukes the spirit and sets the man free. These encounters demonstrate Jesus' acknowledgment of the reality of demonic influence on individuals, including believers. Jesus instructed His disciples to "cast out demons" when they came into contact with demonized people. This is His prescription, not just prayer, not "breaking them off", not just rebuking them, but to cast them out.
The apostle Paul provides valuable insights into the existence of demonic influence within the Christian community. In Ephesians 4:27, he cautions believers, "And give no opportunity to the devil," highlighting the need for Christians to be aware of potential openings for demonic influence. Additionally, Paul's instructions in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" imply the need for spiritual warfare against deceptive and evil influences.
3 Common Objections to Christians needing deliverance:
When discussing the topic of deliverance from demons for Christians, there are common objections that may arise. Let's address a few of these objections and provide a balanced perspective:
Objection #1: "If a person is a believer and has the Holy Spirit, how can they still be influenced by demons?"
Response: While believers have the Holy Spirit residing within them, they are not immune to the influences of the enemy. The presence of the Holy Spirit does not eradicate all vulnerabilities or the consequences of past experiences. Deliverance is a process that addresses specific areas of bondage or influence in a believer's life, enabling them to experience greater freedom and wholeness.
Objection #2: "Isn't deliverance from demons only necessary for non-believers or those involved in occult practices?"
Response: Deliverance is not limited to non-believers or those involved in occult practices. Believers can have areas of their lives that are not fully surrendered to God, leaving room for demonic influence. Jesus teaches that we can be handed into demonic bondage in Matthew 18:34–35 where He says, "and his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
Objection #3: "Shouldn't we focus solely on the power of the Holy Spirit and not give too much attention to the demonic realm?"
Response: While the focus should always be on God's power and the work of the Holy Spirit, it is important not to neglect or downplay the reality of spiritual warfare. The Bible explicitly acknowledges the existence of demonic forces and instructs believers to be vigilant and engage in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). Recognizing the need for deliverance does not detract from the power of the Holy Spirit but rather enables believers to fully experience the freedom and victory available through Christ.
Testimonies and accounts from believers who have undergone deliverance, including myself further affirm the reality of Christian vulnerability to demonization. These individuals often describe the release of bondage, newfound peace, and transformed lives after receiving deliverance from demonic influences. Such personal experiences validate the need for this ministry within the Christian context.
While it is essential to acknowledge the significance of psychological factors in understanding human experiences, it is equally important to recognize that not all phenomena attributed to demonic influence can be solely explained by psychological or emotional factors. There are cases where individuals have sought professional help for mental health issues, yet found no resolution until they engaged in deliverance ministry. This suggests that some experiences labeled as psychological may indeed have spiritual roots requiring spiritual intervention.
Opponents of Christian demonization often emphasize the authority given to believers over demonic forces. While it is true that Christians have been granted authority through Christ, it does not guarantee immunity from demonic influence. The battle against spiritual forces requires believers to actively engage in spiritual warfare, utilizing the authority and power bestowed upon them by Christ. Deliverance ministry serves as a means for believers to exercise that authority and experience victory over spiritual oppression.
In light of the scriptural evidence and theological perspectives presented, it becomes apparent that the possibility of Christian demonization is a valid and significant aspect of spiritual warfare. Christians can find themselves susceptible to demonic influence due to vulnerabilities, sin, and the ongoing spiritual battles described in the Bible. Deliverance ministry, rooted in biblical principles, provides an avenue for believers to address and overcome these challenges, leading to greater spiritual freedom and an enhanced experience of the abundant life in Christ.
While the topic of Christian demonization remains a subject of debate, it is crucial to approach it with a balanced perspective that embraces both the authority and power given to believers as well as the reality of spiritual battles. By acknowledging the possibility of Christian demonization, Christians can actively pursue a deeper understanding of their spiritual identity, engage in deliverance ministry when necessary, and stand firm against the schemes of the enemy, thereby living victoriously in Christ.
If you believe you're in need of deliverance contact us through our website: https://centerpointflint.com/
Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.
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