Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

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Listed below are the various expressions of demon possession in Scripture. We should not jump to the conclusion that isolated symptoms equate to demon possession. Characteristics of Demon Possession in Scripture are:

(1)   Convulsions (Mar 1:26; 5:4; 9:20-26; Luk 4:35; 9:42)

(2)   Falling (Mat 17:15)

(3)   Stretched and disjointed body movements (Mar 9:18)

(4)   Deformity (Luk 13:11)

(5)   Foaming at the mouth (Mar 9:18, 20; Luk 9:39)

(6)   Shrieking and screaming (Mar 1:26; 5:5; 9:26; Act 8:7)

(7)   Demons speaking (Mar 1:34; 3:11; 8:31; Luk 4:41; 8:28; Act 16:17; 19:15)

(8)   Deaf (Mar 9:25-26; Luk 11:14)

(9)   Mute (Mar 9:25, 32-33; Luk 11:14)

(10) Blindness (Mat 12:22)

(11) Super-human strength (Mar 5:4; Luk 8:29; Act 19:16)

(12) Self-destruction (Mar 5:4, 5; Luk 9:39)

(13) Violence (Mat 8:28; Mar 5:4; Act 19:16)

(14) Isolation (Luk 8:29)

(15) Lunacy (Mat 17:15; Mar 5:15; Luk 8:35; Joh 10:20)

(16) Nakedness (Mar 5:15; Luk 8:27; Act 19:16)

(17) Divination (Act 16:16)

(18) Leave and return (Mat 12:45)

(19) Reluctance to leave (Mat 17:16)

(20) Multiple demons (Mat 12:45; Mar 5:15; Luk 8:30)

 

(1)   Perhaps one of the most hotly debated topics centers around the question, “Can a Christian be demon-possessed?”

(2)   Merrill F. Unger unequivocally wrote in 1952 in his classic book, “Biblical Demonology,”

The very nature of the believer’s salvation, as embracing the regenerating, sealing, indwelling, and filling ministry of the Holy Spirit, placing him “in Christ,” eternally and unforfeitably, is sufficient explanation why he is not liable to demon inhabitation. (pg. 100).

(3)   Yet in 1977, three years before his death, Dr. Unger wrote,

Who dares assert that a demon spirit will not invade the life of a believer in which the Holy Spirit has been grieved by serious and persistent sin and quenched by flagrant disobedience? . . . A demon . . . enters as a squatter and an intruder, and is subject to momentary eviction. . . . Only as the believer fails to walk by faith does he fall into sin, which if it is not confessed and curbed, may ultimately result in the forfeiture of the Spirit’s power to shield him from demonic invasion. (Merrill Unger, What Demons Can Do to Saints [Chicago: Moody, 1977], pp. 51–52).

(4)   There was obviously a change in Dr. Unger’s position. Why?

For many years the late chancellor of Wheaton College, Dr. V. Raymond Edman, taught that a Christian under certain circumstances could be invaded by demon powers. His first-hand experience with crude demonism, as a result of missionary labors in Ecuador in his earlier years, gave Dr. Edman an understanding of the subject of demonism not possessed by purely theoretical Bible interpreters. In 1955, three years after the appearance of Biblical Demonology, Dr. Edman wrote me a letter in which he stated his convictions on the subject. At the time, I espoused the purely theoretical position which did not square with the authenticated facts of experience. (ibid. pg. 61).

(5)   In addition, Dr. Unger was influenced by various teachers, who taught that believers could be demon-possessed, like Hobart Freeman, Kurt Koch, C.S. Lovett, J.A.McMillen, T.J. McCrossan, J. L. Nevius, J. Penn-Lewis, A.B. Simpson, and CharlesUssher.

A genuine Christian may become possessed at least to some degree, even to the point where they speak with strange voices or in foreign languages. (pg. 191).

Thus we are left to look for other types of evidence that may contribute to answering our question: Can genuine believers be demonized?

I have encountered, from 1974 to 1987, at least 400 cases of those who were genuine Christians who were also demonized. . . I would not claim infallible judgment, but I know the marks of a Christian and the marks of a demonized person. I might have been wrong in a case or so, but I cannot conceive that I would be wrong in more than 400 cases. The burden of proof lies with those who deny that Christians can be demonized. We must deduce that those who deny that Christians can be demonized generally are those who have not had counseling experience with the demonized. Their stance is largely theoretical. (ibid. pg. 175)

These case studies taken from my personal written and taped records demonstrate that genuine believers can and indeed were inhabited by demons. (ibid. pg. 213)

Clinical evidence abounds that a Christian can be demon-controlled as a carry-over from pre-conversion days or can fall under Satan’s power after conversion and become progressively demonized, even seriously.(Merrill F. Unger, What Demons Can Do to Saints, rev. ed. pg. 150.)

6 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply November 9, 2018

    Troy Day

    But this is complicated by the biblical teaching that God is eternal (in that He existed before all things)
    and that angels are created beings. The explicit parallel of “God” and “Angel,” thus, does not imply that
    God is an angel. Rather, it affirms that this Angel is God. The verb “bless,” moreover, is grammatically
    singular; a plural verb would indicate that Jacob is asking two different persons to bless the boys—the
    singular thus denotes a tight fusion of the two divine beings—one eternal and one not.

  • Troy Day
    Reply November 9, 2018

    Troy Day

    Michael Ellis Carter Jr. this was a great topic for October to be carried over into November planning for Deliverance December

  • Steve Losee
    Reply November 9, 2018

    Steve Losee

    “Demon possessed” is a mistranslation. I don’t believe there’s any such thing. Ppl can “have” a demon, like having a cold.

  • Troy Day
    Reply November 9, 2018

    Troy Day

    Hope you have time for this this month. The Biblical term is demonized. UNGER’s article explains the Biblical references Can a person possess a demon?

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