by John Eckhardt
There was a time when we taught in our church that Christians could not have demons. I preached long sermons stating that Christians could be oppressed, regressed, digressed, obsessed and suppressed, but never possessed. We believed that a demon could be outside a Christian oppressing him but that it could not be inside him. The reasoning I used to defend this position was that Jesus and the Holy Spirit could not live inside the same body in which demons reside.
The problem was, our experience did not match our theology. When we ministered deliverance, we frequently prayed for people we knew were born-again, Spirit-filled believers–and they manifested demons! We had to face the fact that either our experience was wrong or our doctrine was wrong. We couldn’t question our experience because we knew what we were seeing. So we began to question our theology.
In our search for truth, we realized that in the Bible, Jesus tells us to cast devils out, not to cast devils off. Obviously, for something to come out, it must be in. We finally came to the conclusion that our interpretation of the Bible had been wrong.
Now I am convinced not only that a Christian can have demons but also that there are demons that operate in the realm of theology, encouraging us to argue and debate endlessly over doctrine rather than meeting the needs of people who are hurting. Demons actually help promote the teaching that a Christian cannot have a demon, because they gain strength from staying hidden. They can operate in their destructive ways without being challenged!
Some may argue that a believer cannot be possessed. But the dismaying fact remains that born-again Christians, including leaders, are experiencing difficulties that can find no solution in natural infirmities or the endless conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. It’s time to acknowledge that we are dealing with real people who have real problems and that God did not save and commission us so we could argue over doctrine. He called us into ministry so we can help people who are hurting, wounded and bruised. When you come into contact with someone who is controlled by demons, the answer is to cast the devils out, not to argue about whether or not the person is a Christian. The answer is to bring help to that person.
David Smith [02/22/2015 4:18 PM]
A “demon-possessed Christian” is an oxymoron! It is an absolutely unscriptural position.
David M. Hinsen [02/22/2015 4:37 PM]
Let’s go back to the original language here. The word demon possessed in the Greek is actually two words-Daimonizomai. Daimoni would be the word demon, zomai means to possess, so to translate it demon-possessed is okay, but I think a better translation is demonize, and to translate it demon-possessed is really okay other than the fact that we then do not teach people what the word possessed means here in the original language. There are two Greek words for possession- one is ownership and this is not the word for ownership…this word means to gain mastery over, mastery would be the exact literal but let me give you a few synonyms-to gain control over, to have power over. It’s the same term used in Luke 21:19 when Jesus says, “By your patience possess your souls.” Just something to chew on.