Dec 2, 2007

Deliverance Ministry: Work of God or ploy of Demons?

The first topic I would like to discuss is what most Charasmatics call the "Deliverance Ministry." Now I've noticed that this is a subject that isn't touched on very often. If you're Charismatic, you probably believe its a must-have in the ministry, otherwise you probably don't even know what it is. While every Deliverance Ministry is slightly different in how they operate and what they believe should and shouldn't be done, there is one underlying belief that makes all Deliverance Ministry what it is. Just for reference, my experience with this particular form of ministry has been through the Vineyard and through IHOP-KC with Mike Bickle. I warn you in advance that this blog is long but it has to be long in order that I am thorough on the subject. That being said, let's begin

What is Deliverance Ministry?
Simply put, it is an elaborate form of exorcism. The big difference being that the people with the supposed demons are professed and practicing Christians. Furthermore, the only way to rid yourself of these supposed demons are by confessing, renouncing, and repenting each and every individual sin and involvement in occult or other ungodly things, in order to have the spiritual strength to break off the power of demon, who will, in most cases, just come and attach itself back to you. They call these “familiar spirits.” {Scripturally, though, familiar spirits only possess and are used by necromancers.} Most people have to have others pray for them in fear that they will manifest the demon. Not only must they confess, renounce, and repent from all their own sins and involvements but also for all of their family’s sins too (up to ten generations back). And on top of all of those things, they also have to break off any word curses than others may have spoken over them. {Wow, that’s a lot of work for someone who was supposed to be set free (indeed) at the cross, isn’t it?} While some Deliverance Ministries (DM) say that believers can actually be possessed by demons, most believe that believers cannot be possessed (in their body) but only oppressed. Sounds good, right? Well, wait until you hear what oppressed means, by their definition. First of all, the word “oppressed” means the same as “possessed” in the scripture. There is no distinction. Second of all, though they will tell you that believers cannot be possessed, when you read the fine print you’ll discover that they do, in fact, believe that a true believer in Christ can manifest demons. So how is that any different than possession? Lets find out.

Beware of the Devil’s tactics
Since the charismatic church makes such a huge deal about their Deliverance ministry, you would think it would be in the Bible at least once. I assure you, it’s not. I could almost finish this article right here. If that doesn’t say enough I really don’t know what will. As Christians, we are warned time and time again to test all things because false doctrine is everywhere.

The reason I urge you to be careful to test everything with the utmost caution is because it’s very easy to fall into a false doctrine. Satan is a professional liar and has been doing it for over 6,000 years. He will even use scriptures. Typically, the enemy likes to fool you by giving you a whole bunch of truths and mixing it in and twisting it with a little bit of lie; Very sneaky to the undiscerning eye. You see examples of this all throughout scripture, especially when tempting Jesus. If you have a glass that is 99% water and 1% rat poison, no matter how you look at it, the contents of the glass are still poison and will kill you. It is exactly the same with false doctrine. So as we continue, watch out for those partial truths.

What they will tell you

Now, what every DM has in common is they will all start out by telling you:

You are a triune being - BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT. Your SOUL is your MIND, WILL and EMOTIONS.

This statement is very true. How is this relevant to the deliverance ministry? Well, they will tell you how each of those three parts are or aren’t affected by the demonic FOR CHRISTIANS. They will tell you:

First is your BODY. Christians can have a sickness/disease just like the unsaved.

This is also very true. But here’s where they begin to throw in their own two sense, they will tell you that your sickness is “caused by demons (if not caused by other factors).” They will, of course give you scriptures such as: Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 10:8, Mark 1:32, 1:34, 6:13, etc. So you may or may not be thinking something like, “Well, we do have three parts (body, soul, spirit), and we do get sick. There are also demons, and there are even scriptures that talk about demons and sickness, so what’s your point?” READ the scriptures listed. Even do your own search for scriptures involving sickness and the demonic. They are, in fact, listed together but as very separate things with words like “and,” “or,” etc. between them in a LIST of other things.

These scriptures, in no way, support that sickness is caused by demons. In fact, didn’t the disciples assume a similar thing when they asked Jesus (John 9:1-3), " Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? " What was Jesus’ response? Jesus clearly answered by saying, "It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him." So clearly, sin has nothing to do with sickness, nor does it have to do with possession. Even IF this were true, this still doesn’t even address the underlying issue: can Christians have demons and/or are they in need of deliverance from demonic?

Let us move on to the next thing they will tell you:

The second part of your triune self is your SOUL.

Again, this statement is very true. Humans do, in fact, possess a soul. How is this relevant to deliverance ministry? They will tell you something like this:

Do you have a bad temper? That's a demon. Is there mental illness in your family background? That is a demon. Do you have trouble serving God? That's a demon. Do you have problems with bad thoughts? That is a demon.

Scripture in support of these accusations? None. This is why I say you MUST be careful. It is so easy to be fooled if you are simply following their bunny trail of logical fallacies. However, if you are testing every part of this by scripture, you will not be fooled so easily. Even without using scripture you can make logical conclusions, if you’re paying attention:

Is it true that someone who is possessed by a demon acts as though they are mentally ill (cutting themselves, screaming profanities, attacking other people, convulsions, etc)? Absolutely. Does that mean Auntie May is demonically possessed or oppressed because they suffer from something like Epilepsy or depression? Definitely not.

Can someone who is oppressed, without any kind of possession, have their minds controlled by a demon? No way on this planet or otherwise! It’s not even a possibility.

Is it true that people who are possessed by a demon can have outbursts of wrath and physically hurt people? Of course! Does this mean that Tiny Tim with the bad temper is possessed or oppressed by demons? No. Does he lack self-control? Definitely, but that, in NO way, means he’s possessed or oppressed by demons, both in the logical sense and Biblically speaking. Is it true that the enemy can be allowed (with God’s permission) to afflict us physically? Yes, look at Job and Paul. Does this mean you have a demon or need deliverance? NO. Neither Job nor Paul went through renouncing prayers. Job and Paul, rather, trusted in God because God’s grace was sufficient.

The Hook, Line, and Sinker

Now for the last part of the three, the DM will say: “Third is your SPIRIT. Demons cannot get into your SPIRIT, but, the demons surround your SPIRIT like a glass jar surrounds its contents, and you have trouble serving the Lord JESUS the way the bible tells you to do or that you want. The contents of the jar cannot get out until you remove the lid (demons). Deliverance can get rid of the demons.” What do you even say to that?! I mean besides, “heresy!” (hehe).

Wow. When you look at their argument broken up like this, it seems awfully ridiculous, doesn’t it? You can probably begin seeing how believing these things could be somewhat catastrophic to a believer. It would be torturous to think you will never be free from demons controlling you and making it so you can’t serve God. Sounds like an excellent way to take responsibility off of you and put it on to the enemy. This kind of Deliverance ministry is not only massively deceptive but it causes CHRISTIANS to walk around in unnecessary bondage. The worst part of the whole thing is that some people see very temporary results from the Deliverance sessions not realizing that simply by buying into the doctrine, they are putting themselves into unnecessary bondage. They claim you receive freedom through the DM (because apparently Christ’s work on the cross wasn’t enough), however, they also say its something that needs to be done constantly for the whole of your Christian walk. But what about Jesus? I thought that if I died to myself and was born again unto Him, He would set me free by His blood. Apparently not. They will tell you, “[The Demon’s] right to remain may be technically voided since the territory is under new control, but that doesn't mean they leave automatically or give up easily. An offense must be mounted to enforce the terms of victory. The exorcist must diligently pursue every avenue of deliverance to be certain that every demonic influence has been conquered (Larson, Bob).

Wow…. So…. God isn’t enough? Um….

Also beware because if they can’t get you to buy into the DM by what they say, they’ll try to convince you to believe through experiential testimony or having you watch a DM session where people will “manifest” and people will claim healing from something they were initially unaware of. BUT, just because something is real does NOT mean it is from God. Be watchful and discerning. You don’t always see the whole picture. When I was first involved in the DM, I was in constant torment because instead of putting the former things behind, I had to constantly re-visit my and my family’s past to make sure I “got rid of all those demons” that were supposedly oppressing me through sickness, trial, generational curses, etc. What I didn’t realize is that simply through buying into this doctrine, I was giving the enemy a foothold and an authority in my life that he wouldn’t otherwise have. I was never even sick or anything before getting involved in the DM but as soon as I began to buy into the deception, I was constantly sick and depressed. Worse than that, I wasn’t truly believing in the power behind Jesus’ Name and the work He finished on the cross. The DM puts more faith and more focus in and on the demonic being able to control you than it does God’s Word and God’s ability to set you free once and for all. The DM not only puts you into bondage but there is absolutely no scriptural origin whatsoever. While exorcism (casting out one or more demons in a possessed non-Christian) is very biblical, Deliverance Ministry is entirely unbiblical. Speaking of the Bible, lets turn to the scriptures and see what they have to say.

What the Bible Says
This could literally take all day, so I will try to sum this up as best as possible.

First of all, let me say that just because something is real does NOT mean it’s from God. If you’re putting more faith in a deliverance ministry (as a Christian) because you believe you’re possessed or oppressed for whatever reason, than you are in God’s Word and His work through Christ, then we have a serious problem here. That, in it of itself, is usually the underlying cause of very real demonic manifestations. In order to be born again, you must first put all your faith, hope, and trust in God. Then you pick up your cross, die to yourself and flesh, thus being born of the spirit. If you’re manifesting a demon, you need to take a serious look at yourself and examine whether or not you’re really even a born-again Christian. If you’re putting your faith in a deliverance ministry, you’re not putting your faith in God. Allow me to briefly explain what I mean through scripture.

First scripture we’ll look at is John 8:31-38 –

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that You say, you will become free?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.’" Then Jesus goes into more detail as to what He means on the issue.

I think Jesus has made Himself very clear. If you’re living in sin, you’re in bondage as a slave to sin. If the Son (Jesus) has set you free, then you are absolutely, entirely, wholly free once and for all. The amplified Bible says you are “really and unquestionably free.” That is very cut and dry. You don’t become a slave to your master once you’ve already been set free. You’re either free or slave. Therefore, it is more than safe to say that if Christ has truly set you free from sin, you need no more deliverance than the cross on Calvary.

The second scripture we’ll look at is in Acts 13:38-39 –

"Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

This verse makes it even more clear to us that if you believe in Jesus, you then will be freed from everything that the law can not free you from. The amplified bible tells us that those who believe are “absolved (cleared and freed) from every charge from which he could not be justified and freed by the Law of Moses and given right standing with God.” So then, if we are made in right standing with God, now being sons and not orphans, then I think it safe to say the past sins and the past altogether are irrelevant to God in terms of judgment and curse. The slate is wiped clean. Now, this doesn’t clear us from consequence such as losing a limb from a mistake or catching aids from sleeping around, etc. However, it frees us from the curse of sin and since these supposed demons are there due to sin, they flee from God’s presence. For where there is light there can be NO darkness. Not to say that God can’t or won’t heal you because He can. But that’s another topic entirely.

Though there are thousands more scriptures I could point out, for sake of space and time, the last scripture we’ll look at is in Romans 6. Really Romans 6 as a whole, but we’ll look at Romans 6:6-7, 14 –

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin…. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

Now pair this up with how Jesus says we are to be saved in John chapter 3 and we have our clear answer right here. If you are truly saved, you are free. For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). You cannot tell me that God sent His Son to come humble Himself in meekness to be spit on, made fun of, bloodied, bruised, and hung on a cross just to set a part of us free! He came to set us free indeed! To set us completely and wholly free! Each and every part of us being in submission to God and Christ, is set free the moment we become His.

Need or dare I say more? I think not. The scripture speaks for itself. To contradict this is to say that the sacrifice on the cross was not enough to set you free, in which case you really aren’t saved. Truth be told, His blood is enough. That’s that.