Can Christians Have Demons?

Can Christians Have Demons?
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John Eckhardt, “Can a Christian Have a Demon?” Charisma (March 2003), pages 66-68.

The subtitle of John Eckhardt’s article states, “Church people have been arguing for years over the issue of deliverance. I think that it is time to stop arguing and start setting people free.” He then relates how his church used to teach that Christians could not be possessed by a demon since, “Jesus and the Holy Spirit could not live inside the same body in which demons reside” (p. 66). That all changed when they realized that their doctrine did not square with their experience:

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 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 (p. 66).

Eckhardt then explains that, “Jesus tells us to cast devils out, not to cast devils off” (p. 66) and that demons promote the teaching that Christians cannot have a demon because, “they gain strength from staying hidden” (p. 67). He goes on to explain that deliverance from demon possession is a “covenant right” for believers, and should be performed on every new convert. Near the close of his article Eckhardt concludes, “We don’t question if the new believer has a demon, only how many he has” (p. 68).

This is rather remarkable when you consider some of the claims made in his article. He states as a matter of fact that, “For every sin in the Bible there is a corresponding demon” (p. 68) without any qualifications. He claims the following concerning generational sin:While I agree that squabbling over doctrine should not lead to the ruin of those in need, this is a topic that must be engaged. I am encouraged thatCharisma is having this discussion, but I fear that the quality of the dialogue must be raised or it will only muddy the waters further. Eckhardt admittedly leans heavily on experience, even going so far as to say that their experiences were beyond question. Yet, he does not deal seriously with scripture. Most of his references are from the Gospels where Jesus is clearly dealing with the unsaved. No text relating specifically to the topic of Christians and demon possession is quoted. This is troubling, because if his teaching is biblical then we should expect it to be supported by Acts and the writings of Paul. Unfortunately for this discussion, Eckhardt never attempts to locate his beliefs on possession within the early church.

If we can be subjected to the conse­quences of sin to the fourth generation, as Exodus 20:5 says, and a biblical generation is 40 years, then we are subject to the demonic influence of what people in our family lines were doing 160 years before us. This means that, taking the year 2000 as a starting point, we are affected by what those in our bloodlines were doing as far back as the year 1840.

Think about it. Even if a person has a great genealogy, he can’t know everything his ancestors were doing in secret that long ago. And if, in addition to genera­tional sin, he has committed personal sin or has been traumatized or victimized in any way, by the time he comes to the Lord, he is going to need deliverance on some level. There is just too much defilement and contamination on Earth to escape it (p. 68).

 

Certainly the above could lead to further bondage such as paranoia and superstition, divorced as it is from New Testament teaching. In the end, I felt that Eckhardt put too much emphasis on experience and too little on scriptural backing. Eckhardt bases his teaching narrowly. If it is biblical, then not just the Gospels, but Acts and the Epistles will support it. Without even an attempt to locate his teaching broadly on scripture, Eckhardt has failed to advance this important discussion.

Reviewed by Michael J. Dies

21 Comments

  • Reply May 26, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    yes of course MANY do and they show up in church too Neil Steven Lawrence tell us all on this one

    Pls note for starters GREEK word is demonized meaning the person has the demon No the other way around as KJV possessed asserts that the demon possesses as in abides in and controls fully the person

    According to Cambridge dictionary the word
    DEMONIZE is to try to make someone or a group of people seem as if they are evil:

    I affirm that no Christian can be demon possessed because the BIBLE does not speak of possessed by of are demonized people.

    Just because a Christian believer is being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit does not end all struggles with temptation, sin, doubt, fear, unbelief, etc. There are no perfect Christians. Wherever sin exists, the demonic realm also exists and is at work to negatively influence. The demonic realm exploits every opportunity to steal, kill and destroy the work of God in and through a Christian believer (John 10:10). This is done in an effort by the demonic realm to try to limit or negate the powerful effects of the person’s gifts and faith in Christ.

    The demonic assaulted Jesus in the wilderness after he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4). We who are followers of Jesus may also experience similar assaults. Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). The early church testified, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). We are called to do battle with and to overcome all sin and tribulation by the blood of the Lamb (the Lord Jesus Christ) (Revelation 7:14; 12:11).

    The point I am arguing is not new or unusual. Other authors hold to the same view. The perspective I am suggesting is both biblical and reasonable.

    “…daimonizomenos (a derivation of daimonizomai) does not mean owned by a demon, but simply ‘demonized.’ This basically describes the condition of a person who is inhabited by a demon or demons and is in various degrees under control with various effects. The idea of (demonic) ownership is foreign to the New Testament word and its usage. Satan and demons own nothing. …They are creatures of God. He is in control of them and determines their limitations and their destiny. They are judged by the cross of Christ, defeated, and bankrupt.” (C. Fred Dickason. Demon Possession and the Christian. Chicago: Moody, 1987, 130. Emphasis added.)

    http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/can-a-christian-have-a-devil-or-demon/?fbclid=IwAR1APDcvzAbnlGahXDY3tZ69fbfin0PKRBi54GkmsmKg7RB0wNTBciUVzDw

  • Reply May 26, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Jereme McAlpin YES you said that this is FB and we can copy paste like you So I posted you a Biblical answer to your ill interpretation which uses non Biblical arguments

    • Reply May 26, 2020

      Jereme McAlpin

      Troy Day when you say non biblical arguments, you mean the articles I commented with filled with scriptural references?

    • Reply May 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      Jereme McAlpin I mean you base all your arguments on the word possess which is not even in the Greek NT How would you account for that?

    • Reply May 26, 2020

      Jereme McAlpin

      Yes, I base my argument on the word possess because my original comment said a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon.

    • Reply May 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      Jereme McAlpin but where is that in the BIBLE?

    • Reply May 26, 2020

      Jereme McAlpin

      Read the articles I posted

    • Reply May 27, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      Jereme McAlpin I read it and replied Its is ALL wrong An article that never touches on the Greek word demonize which is in the BIBLE is simply in denial Larry Dale Steele Neil Steven Lawrence Steve Losee

  • Reply May 26, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Christi Fay Shiflett Williams the greek word EXW you posted means to HAVE Which proves my point that the Greek term demonized expresses that the person has the demon As you pointed the verse about them saying Jesus had a demon – not Jesus was possessed by a demon; Proves my point well as the Greek word demonized means exactly that The person has ownership of a demon not the other way around Now then, pls look up the Greek word demonized in a good Greek lexicon and lets talk about it

  • Reply May 26, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Robert Cox Neil Steven Lawrence just wait for them fake gop demons to start moving again tomorrow

  • Reply May 28, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Neil Steven Lawrence hard to keep this one afloat BUT is still the reality in so many churches

  • Malawi (Africa), is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the people have traditionally been steeped in witchcraft. As our (COG) church is growing and new members are baptized, many people from the area come out to see what will happen. This is because of the prevalence of witchcraft. Often when a new believer is about to be put under the water, the witchcraft they have been dedicated to will cause them to start manifesting(spirits). The pastors will remove that person from the water, pray for deliverance, and then take them back into the water, at which time they can go under freely. I would not say this is an example of demonic possession but of dedication to demonic principalities– perhaps from birth that the people who are new believers have to be delivered from before they can show the wolrd proof of their transformation in Christ. To me this is a proof of the power of Christian baptism and an example of how demons can influence people who are genuine believers. As one matures in Christ the devil’s nonsense is driven away. Light and dark cannot coexist.

    • Reply May 28, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      The reality is that the companies that make meds and illegal drugs are tycoons. They have made billions off giving people addictions. They have deceived people all the world by their usage of pharmekeia. The enemy, Satan, is inspiring people to profit off people’s addictions and it is deception and witchcraft.

      You should never purchase oil’s that have Pagan or Satanic mumbo-jumbo mixed in their advertising mainly as a testimony and to not support their evil efforts. But just like with music we should never allow the devil to hijack what the Lord has created. In Africa the medicine-man (Herbalist) is one of the more harmless of what might begin to be termed witchcraft. In my opinion the line should be drawn when you start invoking spirits or the names of ancestors, etc. in the same way with essential oil‘s the names that they are given may determine whether you should use them or not. People who practice paganism, magic, witchcraft and Satanism use herbs and drugs to weaken them and alter their state of consciousness so as to be more susceptible to the spirit world. The Bible forbids us from doing this.

  • Reply May 28, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Do you have ANY knowledge of demons?. Have you ever cast out a demon.. in a church with tongue speaking members?
    Have no qualms that demons do I dwell believers and if you miss that your apologetic defense is weak

    • The example I gave (which happened repeatedly) is of new (immature) believers. Jesus said, “the word I have spoken has cleansed you” (John 15:3); so a person in relationship with Christ cannot be possessed. But “having a battle with demons or sin” yes. Being tempted, yes. Oppressed or depressed for a time, yes. Maturity in Christ clears this away. That doesn’t mean there not times in our walk where we may face an attack from the enemy – Job’s story shows this. Possession shows a willful acceptance of the enemy into your life-to the point where you lose control. Often times when demons are cast out, the minister must get the “client” to agree with him” that the spirit(s) must go. Only then, when the minister & demonized person agree, can the demon be driven out.

  • Reply May 28, 2020

    Nikki Sheppick

    No, but they can be a carnal (earthly minded) believer, and they can be oppressed by demonic lies …. in order to resist the evil one(s) or lying spirits …. a believer needs to be FULL of the Holy Spirit of the Living God …. Who is Truth and Life, the Holy Word of the Living God, and well founded on the faith that Jesus is the Holy Lamb of God, His Holy Blood being the source of Salvation before the One True Living God Who resides High Above. The battle field in in the mind …. therefore, have the Mind of Jesus the Christ, and continue to do as He bids …. “Follow Me.” …. <3 <3 <3

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