What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Forwarding comments by Dave Y. of TruthForFree.com: I recently discovered the following article after researching some information related to the discussion that’s been going on in the Sozo post on this website.  A few people have written me and chastised me for not supporting the mainstream excitement over “deliverance ministry” programs and tactics.  Because of my personal opposition to so many of these methods and the mindset behind them, I have been accused of being anti-Holy Spirit or ignorant of spiritual truths.  Ironically, the same folks who have made this accusation of me can never seem to point out a clear biblical defense for their own doctrine concerning deliverance…  The reason, simply, is because their brand of deliverance really is not found in ANY example of Scripture!  Despite my pointing out this important detail, I am said to be the ignorant one.  So, when I happened across the following article, I decided I would post it for review.  In preface I will only say that I do not know the author, nor am I familiar with all of his personally-held beliefs on various subjects related to Christianity; however, I very much appreciated his candid testimony of how he was so heavily involved in the business of so-called “deliverance ministry” for years, before the Lord opened his understanding as to why these kinds of distractions are generally a recipe for spiritual bondage rather than genuine freedom.  I realize this article is very long, but some great points are made.  If you are supporter of any of the popular mainstream deliverance programs bouncing around in the Christian community today, or if you have experienced questions about it, or sensed that something is not quite right about them, please take a few moments to examine the following testimony.  As always, I encourage everyone to feel free to comment after the post and share any personal reactions to it.  God bless!

In His grip,

Dave Y.

_______________________________________________

 

How Deliverance Ministries Lead People to Bondage

A Warning Against the Warfare Worldview

by Bob DeWaay
 

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2Timothy 2:24-26)

In 1977 I was in a ministry that specialized in inner healing and deliverance. People came to us from all over the country seeking release from hearing voices, addictions, emotional trauma due to past hurts and abuses, and many other forms of spiritual bondage. At the time our ministry was considered “cutting edge” in the world of spiritual warfare. Ours was a Christian community where people could come and live with other Christians to find healing.

About that time a woman from another state came to stay at our ministry center for a few days to receive prayer and deliverance. She had grown up in a family that was deeply involved in the occult and had been named after a Greek goddess. When she called us she was trying to get out of her occult bondage and was being attacked by evil spirits who did not want to let her go. They manifested themselves through her taunting us and making hissing sounds. We soon found out that the demons that tormented her were powerful and had no intention of leaving. Two of us took on the responsibility of ministering to her.  After we had led her in some prayers, confronted some of the demons, and demanded them to leave in Jesus’ name, she found some relief.

The most dramatic event in our ministry to her came after one of our Tuesday night meetings. After most people had left she stayed for more prayer. Before we even got to her, she was taken over by a violent evil spirit. Her countenance changed, her voice altered, her face contorted and her hands became like claws. She let out a loud scream and charged at me, intending to gouge my face with her fingernails. As she screamed and raced across the room, I and the other man who had been ministering to her stood our ground and said, “Stop! in the name of Jesus.” When she got two feet from us she hit what seemed like an invisible wall and fell to the floor whimpering.  We prayed with her and asked God to set her free.

We had encountered many cases of demonic manifestations in our ministry, but this was the most dramatic. As I look back on this incident now, what is most significant is not what happened that night, but what happened the next day. The next day she felt much better and asked to talk to us before leaving for home. She told me, “Bob, Satan is very scared of you. You have much power and authority.” What that statement and the event that led to it meant to me then was very different from how I understand it now. The difference is due to the “warfare” worldview I held then and the “providential” worldview I hold now. The way we interpret events is determined by our worldview. In this article I will discuss exorcism from the perspective of each of these worldviews.

 

Exorcism in the Warfare Worldview

The warfare worldview holds that the battle between good and evil, God and Satan, is played out in human history, with an uncertain outcome. By uncertain I mean that God does not sovereignly determine the outcome.1 There are casualties in this battle. The battle to free individuals from spiritual bondage is carried on by people of faith who have learned the tools of battle and become mighty warriors for God. According to many who hold the warfare worldview, even the destiny of nations is in the hands of human spiritual warriors who will capture nations for the Kingdom of God. My fondest hope in 1977 was that I would become one of these mighty warriors who would plunder Satan’s kingdom on the field of battle.

So in that context I interpreted the woman’s statement to mean that I was succeeding. At age 27 I had become a mighty warrior who was equipped to go to battle against anything Satan could throw at me. I was so charged up by that incident that I spent the next couple of years dealing with dozens of hurting people, many who were in horrible spiritual bondage. Day and night I was casting out demons, confronting the powers of darkness and helping people escape from the clutches of demons. That woman went back home and I do not remember hearing from her again. Others who lived closer, I ministered to time and time again over a period of years.

According to many exorcists who embrace the warfare worldview, demons possess their victims because they have discovered a “right” to do so. For example, a person might be under an unknown curse that gives the demon a right to torment him or her. Famous exorcist Bob Larson explains how he sees this working: “Curses are exacting, legal arrangements of the spirit world. Just like human contracts contain fine print and carefully crafted language, satanic curses are often filled with minutia that require detailed voiding.”To get free requires the counselor to ferret out the exact wording and nature of the curse and then formulate a renunciation to break it.3 When I was a deliverance counselor holding the warfare worldview it was my job to find out what may have given the demons the right to enter and to close that entrance. I taught that if the demons found a legal “right” to stay they would, and that if they had no legal right, they would try to stay anyhow because they are nasty deceivers.

Those who hold to this view of the spiritual universe see the battle as being fought on all levels. On the level of the heavenlies, they enlist troops of “prophetic intercessors” to identify, bind and cast down rulers over cities and nations.4 Warriors are enlisted to take spiritual control over cities by conducting prayer walks around areas of the city. In the warfare worldview, the deliverance counselor is the foot soldier who does hand to hand combat on the spiritual battlefield. He or she fights the forces of darkness that have captured individual souls. In 1977 I was a deliverance counselor and had just found out through a powerful experience and the testimony of one who had been deeply in Satan’s camp that I was a powerful warrior whom Satan feared. My sails where set to spend the rest of my life as a career spiritual military man freeing captives. Exorcism was where the battle got personal and I was chosen to be there.

To continue to improve in my counseling ministry, I read the books of those who had more experience. This increased my understanding of how demons worked. Many of the people I counseled, however, continued to struggle with demons in spite of many exorcism sessions.  This required fine tuning and the development of further strategies. Battles are never easily won. In a war there are always set backs.  Some of the teachings I used were very Biblical: repentance, forgiveness, the study of God’s word, and getting one’s self in right relationship to the body of Christ. Also, my counseling involved helping people make wise choices in their lives.

During those years I visited people in the lock up wards of most of the mental hospitals in our area. I had ministered to so many troubled people that one time when I went to the largest lockup ward in our county, I knew three of the patients personally.

 

Secret Spiritual Laws

During those years of believing the warfare worldview, I noticed that the same people kept having the same problems. As part of my study to fine tune my approach I read a book written by a famous Christian that claimed to be given to him by divine revelation. In the book he said that there are spiritual laws that govern the spirit world. One of these has to do with “passivity.” Demons are able, according to him, to move in and take over when a person has a passive will.5 For a long time I incorporated this “truth” into my counseling, figuring that passivity was why these people kept falling back into demonic bondage. I worked out techniques for people to use to strengthen their passive wills so that the demons would no longer be able to influence them. I no longer believe that what I was doing is valid.

This type of teaching is still around. Bob Larson writes, “If the core of a person’s identity is strong willed, it seems harder for a demon to take over, no matter what that person does.”6 In this scheme of things, the human will is crucial: “I always tell those bound by demons to call upon that small portion of their will that is not dominated by the devil.”7

The problem I saw was this: “passive” people seemed to be not strong willed by nature — no process changed that. They continued to feel oppressed by demons and lamented their inability to overcome “passivity.” At the time I did not realize that by telling people their will had to be stronger, I was throwing gas on the fire. The warfare worldview had led me so far astray that I did not see the relevance of the simplest of Scriptures, “blessed is the man who trusts in God . . . cursed is the man who trusts in man” (Jeremiah 17: 5, 7). According to the theory I taught, the “spiritual law” of the universe is such that passive wills get demonized, even if one is a Christian. To keep free one must gain a strong will. A person could not trust God for freedom unless the person had a strong enough will; otherwise God’s hands were tied by the spiritual law He had created.8 Bob Larson writes, “The will of the victim is the spiritual battleground on which the war of exorcism is fought. The slightest reluctance can mean defeat.”9 So where is our hope — in our own will? Larson says of one of his clients, “Her initial unwillingness to admit what happened gave the demons legal grounds for remaining.”10

Evidently we need a spiritual “lawyer” to figure out the spiritual contracts of the universe by which the demons operate, and the laws that apply. In the warfare worldview the battle is between humans and wicked spirits. The humans are at a huge disadvantage because the spirits have been navigating the spirit world for thousands of years and only they know all the “rules.” The exorcist must query the demons to find out needed information and then beat them at their own rules. Bob Larson forces demons to tell him the truth under threat of being punished by angels and sent to the pit (I had never thought of that strategy when I was a deliverance counselor). Having done so, he makes the demons tell him what he needs to know to deliver the person. He gives this advice to those who would do exorcism: “Someone should be designated to keep a log of the information received while interrogating the demons. As the internal structure of the victim’s demonic system is revealed, list the spirits according to their ranking, cite their right and occasion of entry, and note their legal ground for remaining.”11 How do we know this in reliable? — “The demons will be forced to give you this information because they must submit to the name of Jesus and His authority.”12

When I believed the warfare worldview and did exorcisms, I believed that what I was doing was valid because the reality of demons manifesting themselves was so vivid and people were being set free in the name of Jesus. There were many who felt much better after the sessions. They came in miserable and left our ministry session with a sense of love and freedom. So I believed they were being helped. I do not doubt the sincerity of Bob Larson and others like him, nor do I doubt the reality of the stories.  What I am questioning is whether the worldview that under girds their ministry is Biblical. Is it true that there is a whole unseen legal world that governs demons and other levels of Satan’s hierarchy that must be discovered and exploited to gain victory over Satan? Is it true that we need trained exorcists who have this knowledge in order to see captives freed? Later I will tell you how my ministry changed for good when I came to doubt the premises that provided the basis for what I was doing.

 

Secret Knowledge and Deliverance

Those who hold to the warfare worldview claim that knowledge about Satan, his emissaries, and their hierarchical structure is important in winning the battle. This is true on all levels, from battling principalities over nations to casting demons out of individuals. For example, when I was in this movement we were seeking to purchase property in one of the suburbs here in the Twin Cities. Because of difficulties with the purchase, we decided to hold an all night intercessory meeting. During the middle of the night, someone got a revelation that a principality called “Manitou” was ruling over the city, keeping us from buying the property. This principality supposedly ruled because Native Americans had practiced their religion there at one time. So we were instructed by our leaders that we needed to cast down the spirit of Manitou over the city so that we could claim it for God. The successful finishing of the purchase “proved” that our prayers had been effective which consequently reinforced the idea that we needed special revelations to cast down principalities over cites.

When one holds the warfare worldview such practices make all the sense in the world. Everything one wants to accomplish is tied up in the complex interaction of curses, demons, principalities, and the legalities that control the spirit world. There is no part of life that does not operate in this realm. Individual exorcism is the micro level of the battle, cities and nations the macro level. On every level it is necessary to gain knowledge if one wants to win battles. The necessary knowledge is usually the names of demons or principalities, the nature of the curse invoked, or the structure of the spiritual hierarchy in Satan’s kingdom. Bob Larson tells about performing an exorcism when one of the demons was away on another mission and had been missed during the procedure.13 He learned to “lock out” these demons. Larson writes: “If I had ended the procedure prematurely, I would never have known about this spirit, and he would have come back later.”14

One might ask what role God plays in the warfare worldview. The answer is that He commissions us to the battle, equips us for the battle, and gives us the tools we need. God gives the exorcist knowledge and power for battle. However, it is up to the exorcist to use his toolbox to cast out the demons. The exorcist must use the tools properly or the demons will stay. For example, Larson tells how he taught a pastor why demons kept coming back: “You probably never found the gatekeeper demon. It didn’t matter how many demons you cast out, they don’t have to go to the pit because the gatekeeper kept the door open for them to return.”15 The arrangement and locations of the spirits are determined by the knowledge and ability of the exorcist. Larson claims the right to assign demons to the pit if he does everything right.

What we must keep in mind is that the information needed to do effective spiritual warfare according to the warfare worldview is not revealed. What I mean is that it is neither found in God’s specific revelation (the Bible) nor in general revelation (what may legitimately be learned about the creation using our natural senses and rational mind). The knowledge that is required is secret knowledge. God has not revealed the names of demons over nations, cities, neighborhoods, or in demonized persons. The only source of such information is from some other type of revelation, either extra biblical divine revelation or revelation gained from demons themselves. Those who hold to the warfare worldview believe that it is their role to gain this knowledge and use it in the battle. Since the knowledge is “secret” it is of the realm of the occult. They have to somehow justify gaining forbidden knowledge in the name of helping the victims of evil spirits.

 

Spiritual “Geek Squad”

In our city there is a company called “The Geek Squad” which will come to your home or place of business and solve your computer problems. They are very good at what they do and fix most hardware or software problems promptly. The reason they can do so is that they understand the nature of computers and computer software. They have technical knowledge. How is this possible? It is possible because humans created computers. Detailed manuals are available or computers can be reverse engineered by experts. Having complete knowledge of a computer is possible because computers are human creations.

The problem with the warfare worldview is that it has created the perceived need for a “Geek Squad” for souls. Not only must the demons and curses that are affecting the person be understood in detail, but the human soul must be also. The complex relationship between all the spiritual factors affecting the person and the nature and inclination of his or her soul, must be discerned and diagnosed by a skilled spiritual “technician” (they call themselves counselors) who can do the proper “fix.”  Computers are complex, but they are exponentially simpler than the human soul and the spiritual world it inhabits.

For example, consider Bob Larson’s description of his ministry to a person in bondage. The person in question had numerous “alters” (multiple personalities) as well as demonic bondage. This person with “dissociative identity disorder” had a demon called “Gatekeeper” who kept letting demons back in after they had been cast out.16 Larson describes the causes of such disorders and how he learned to speak to different identities within a person.17 He was dealing with a person who had alternate personalities called “Facilitator” and “Regulator.” Larson theorized that in this person demons could possess an “alter.” 18Larson explains:

In the realm of multiple personalities, there are good alters and bad alters. Good alters are the part of the person’s consciousness that has acknowledged Christ as Savior. Bad, alters, for one reason or another, refuse to make that spiritual surrender.19

This complex situation leads to this task for the spiritual technician: “Our task is to sort through the maze to gain the assistance of the good alters. Then we can attempt to win the bad alters to God.”20 Larson proceeded to have the alternate personality within his client help him identify the “dark ones” and went through an incredibly complex task of sorting out the demons and “alters” within this person. He even leads “Facilitator” to Christ.21 Larson uncovers hidden memories, legal ground that the demons had, and the names of obscure demons.22 This is one prayer he used to help the victim find freedom: “I command that angels of God search out and torment the spirit of pain. I bind Pain to Regulator the demon, and command that both of them experience all the torment they’ve put on Randall. I increase that torment seven times greater.”23

The complexity of this process is mind-boggling. How can we be sure we are talking to demons, alters, or a real person? How does one know that a person can be saved but some of his alter egos still need to accept Christ? Do we really have authority to command angels to torment demons so that they will decide to leave? The problem, in my opinion, is that the complexity Larson is describing is actually under estimating the complexity of the bondage and neediness of the human soul. The reason there can be no ultimately successful “Geek Squad” for souls is found in the difference between computers and humans. Computers were created by man, souls are created by God. Only God truly knows the heart of man. Only God knows the details of the spirit world and its interaction with the human soul.

The Bible tells us why no human spiritual technician can solve the problems of the inner person: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind” (Jeremiah 17:9, 10a).  That only God knows the heart is a claim found throughout the Bible.24 Those holding to the warfare worldview see a pressing necessity to train a cadre of spiritual technicians who can free human souls from the complex psycho-spiritual situation that torments them. These technicians by whatever name they are given must rely on techniques and knowledge that are not revealed in the Bible. Furthermore, they must gain information about human souls, secret curses, hidden or forgotten memories, demons, names of demons, relationships between demons, relationships between alter identities within a soul, and relationships between demons and alter identities. All of this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The “Geek Squad” for souls has no reverse engineering capabilities, no detailed record of the process by which a soul came to be, and no objective tools for examining the soul and the spirit world it inhabits.

Not only this, but the spirit entities that they interview to gain information share at least one attribute with their leader Satan — they are liars. This does not stop the priests of the warfare worldview from interrogating demons for secrets. For example, Bob Larson tells this story:

Step by step I cornered the adversary until he could no longer resist. Before his final doom was pronounced, the demon looked at me quizzically. “Who taught you the rules?” he asked curiously. “What do you mean by that?” I asked. “The spiritual rules that determine what we can and can’t do. Someone from our side must have taught you. I’ve never met anyone who knows the rules as well as you do.”25

It seems to me that if this warfare worldview is true and the claims of its technical “priesthood” are true, then we are all in very serious trouble with no clear way out. One must interview demons for years to figure out the “rules” since the information necessary to deal with them is neither revealed in Scripture nor accessible by any ordinary means.

In my case I was to run out of energy in trying to “tweak” the details of the warfare worldview to make it work. I would find out that what was necessary was a conversion to an entirely different view of the world God has created and governs. This conversion changed me from a spiritual technician to a gospel preacher. The rest of this article will describe how that happened.

 

Converting to the Providential Worldview

Two years after that encounter where I learned that Satan was afraid of me, I was wearing down from the longs days and nights of helping people in bondage.  There were late night phone calls from troubled people and the burden of the shear number of ministry cases. Some individuals were in constant need of help. One very troubled person could sap the emotional and spiritual energy out of a counselor. I was dealing with up to 15 of them every week.

About that time one of these people was going off the deep end. She was running off late at night leaving her husband and children behind to go to bars and meet men. She had been through all of the various ministries we had to offer. Her husband would call me desperately needing help because she was destroying him and the children. One night after a 3:00 am call from this woman in which she blamed me for her problems because I was a bad counselor, I felt I could take no more. I cried out to God, praying something like this, “Dear Lord, I really want to help this lady and the others. I have prayed for her, ministered to her, helped her and her family in practical ways, and cast out demons, I have done everything I know how to do. I cannot take this anymore. If I do not get some better answers I cannot stay in the ministry.”

The answer to that prayer came in the form of a Scripture. It changed my life and ministry from that day on. I did not know it at the time, but what resulted from that situation was my conversion from the warfare worldview to what I am calling the providential worldview.26 The passage that the Lord brought to my mind is this one:

And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2Timothy 2:24-26).

The first thing that struck me about the passage is the description of the bondage the people are in: “having been held captive [by the devil] to do his will.” I reasoned that no one could be in more bondage than that. It definitely fit the description of the woman whose situation drove me to question everything I was doing.

The second thing that came to my mind about the passage was how applicable it was to my situation. Paul was telling Timothy how to deal with people in the church who had serious problems and were causing problems for Timothy. That was precisely what I was dealing with. Later, after I was able to look more objectively at the Scriptures without my mind being influenced by the warfare worldview, I realized that this is the key passage in the New Testament that tells about dealing with people in the church who are in bondage to Satan. Most of the passages I looked to for support of my ministry of exorcism were either from the Gospels which were before the church came to be as a result of the cross and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  The others were in Acts where the apostles were confronting demonized people who were unsaved. Exorcism was never used in the New Testament as a therapy for born again Christians.

The third thing I learned from the passage was the means of escape. This was what led me away from the warfare worldview toward the providential worldview. People in bondage to Satan escape only when God grants repentance! This shocked me when I first read it. It says, “if perhaps God may grant them repentance.” The view I held before was that if things did not change either: a) I am a bad counselor or better get some better counseling techniques or b) the person is messing things up by not following my prescriptions and thus letting in seven worse demons. We went around and around trying to see which was the case. I finally came to see that if God grants repentance they will escape from the devil, and if He does not they will not. That was the key! Why He does in some cases but not others is part of God’s secret will (Deuteronomy 29:29) that I cannot know.

However since I did not know if God would grant repentance, it was always possible that He would in any given case. This gave me encouragement in the fourth thing I learned from this passage — how to counsel such individuals. Paul wrote, “Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition.” We used to be up a 2:00 am with three elders holding down a screaming, writhing demonized person as we shouted, “Come out of him you foul spirit in the name of Jesus.” I thought later, “That is hardly teaching and correcting with gentleness.”  Since now I realized that the means God uses to deliver people from their bondage to Satan is the gospel and all of its implications, I could patiently teach the truth, trusting that God will use it to change lives. God can deliver the most demonized sinner from the clutches of Satan through the power of the gospel (see Colossians 1:13 and Ephesians 2:1-5). What I had been doing wrong before was assuming that because the people I was counseling all said that they had met Christ, and yet they were still in bondage, that therefore the gospel does not deliver people from darkness unless special techniques and processes are added to it. Now I believed in the power of the gospel.

The great thing about gospel truth is that is can be delivered at other times besides 3:00 am when people are freaking out! I never again went running out to cast out a demon when someone was having a late night melt down. I began to correct the troubled woman by telling her she needed to repent, to trust God and by His grace obey Him. It is a sin to run off from your family to live in drunkenness. She ended up divorcing her husband and spending the next twenty years going from one bad situation to a worse one. But I knew it was not my fault. She either embraces the gospel or lives in bondage. There is no plan “B” that can fix the human soul. She still may repent and escape from the devil, but if she does it will be by God’s grace through the gospel, not through the spiritual Geek Squad.

 

How we Evaluate our Experiences

I now believe that God is in sovereign control of everything in the universe He created, even all wicked spiritual powers. Satan can only do what God allows him to do. The issues between freedom and bondage, blessing and cursing are clear and simple from this perspective. It all boils down to one’s relationship with God through the gospel or lack thereof. The Bible says, “blessed is the man who trusts in God . . . cursed is the man who trusts in man” (see Jeremiah 17:5-8). I now believe that calling for spiritual technicians to manipulate the soul and the spirits that influence it constitutes “trusting man,” no matter how much Christian lingo is attached to the process.

I believe that the things that happened to me when I was a deliverance counselor were very real. I believe that demons were definitely involved. In the case of the woman who was taken over by demons that wanted to claw my face, I now interpret the event differently. When I believed the warfare worldview I was energized and excited to learn that I had great authority and that Satan respected it. I believed that the incident proved how badly hurting people needed me to be there with my experience with deliverance and demons to help them find freedom. That is what led me to years of working day and night fighting the powers of darkness that were afflicting Christians.

Now I see the same incident in a totally different light. I believe that Satan put on that show for me to get me and the others involved to trust man rather than trust only in God through the gospel. As hard as it was for me to see at the time, Satan had a reason to make me think that what I was doing was “scaring” him. Doing so diminished my confidence in the gospel by getting me to think that not the gospel but deliverance ministers like me delivered people from the hostile powers.

 

Satan’s Protection Racket

The bondage and deliverance process is very much like a cruel, spiritual “protection racket.” The devil is working both ends of the game like one would in a protection racket where bullies threaten you and other bullies protect you from them for money. Satan does everything he can to get people into demonic bondage through overt occultism and other means. He then entices those who hold to the warfare worldview to think that their unbiblical teachings and practices are the key to freedom. Both ends of the game serve his purposes. The devil puts on a convincing show to make it all so very real.

He has one of his demons tell the Christian counselor “secrets” regarding how demons afflict their victims and then leave at the counselor’s command. The demons respond to threats of being tormented in the pit by angels for a very simple reason — the demons want to get Christians to think that Christian counselors and not God have power over angels and power to pass judgment before the time on the hostile powers.27This serves Satan’s purpose in promoting “the lie” which tells us we can be like God. It makes us think we have power that only God has.

For example, when I was told that Satan was afraid of me, in as much as I believed that I embraced the lie and lost confidence in the truth of the gospel. The issue is whether we fear God and escape His judgment through the gospel, not whether Satan thinks we have great power and authority.  The woman’s demon induced attack and her subsequent deliverance showed both ends of the protection racket. Through her, Satan attacked (the threat) and then withdrew at my command (the protection). The result was that I had more confidence in my spiritual power and was diverted from the gospel.

The warfare worldview drastically diminishes our hope through the gospel. It tells us that putting our hope and trust fully in God through Christ’s finished work on the cross does not deliver us from Satan and demons nor assure us that God will ultimately conform us to the image of Christ. Everything we are trying to do could be thwarted if we lack the special knowledge and techniques to fight the battle. Apparently the gospel does not really “work” for those who consult the spiritual “Geek Squad” unless many things are added to it. They teach that the gospel only potentially delivers us. After believing the gospel we now need professional curse breakers, exorcists, prophetic intercessors, inner healers, psycho-spiritual counselors, and others who constitute a new class of priestly technicians. These specialists mediate the “middle ground” between the soul and God. These are the “good” guys in the racket who keep the bad ones from beating us up.

The middle ground is the secret world of spirits that is hidden from our view. According to their view, our spiritual and material well being is determined by what goes on in this world, and they have the secrets to guide us to freedom and prosperity. Neil Anderson claims that many Christians are in spiritual bondage because they have a defective worldview with an “excluded middle.”28  Thus they see no reason for spiritual warfare because they have “Western,” rationalistic premises. What Anderson fails to realize or address in his book is that there are two different world views within Christianity that both accept the Biblical teachings about the reality of spirits and their influence on people. Anderson promotes the warfare worldview and simply calls it the “Christian” worldview.29 I say this because he never addresses the perspective of the providential world view and provides his readers with “steps to freedom” that go beyond the gospel and the means of grace provided in Scripture.30

I do not doubt the motives of the spiritual technicians. When I was one I sincerely wanted to help people. I was working day and night, without salary or benefits. I wanted to serve God fully and advance His kingdom. I sincerely believed I was doing so. However, my deception caused me to put people in more bondage rather than to deliver them. I was unwittingly a bondage maker.

For example, I taught that if a demon was cast out, and the person went back to whatever sin was deemed to have opened the door for the demon, then seven worse ones would enter (based on a misinterpretation of Matthew 12).31 This put those seeking deliverance into bondage. If the person came for deliverance from a spirit of lust (which commonly happened) and then later lusted after a woman, he then became exceedingly agitated and fearful because he knew he gave Satan a right to send demons to torment him. Then he would come back for more deliverance.

What this teaching does is make people think that their freedom is dependent on them living a nearly sinless life. Any mess up and the demons come back. To show how much this depends on man rather than God’s grace, consider what Bob Larson says: “I’ve known people whom I refused to help until they matured in the Lord to the point Satan didn’t want them any longer.”32 Evidently if you are not a good enough Christian you have to keep your demons.  This worldview can only result in fear or pride. Fear if you believe that you cannot behave well enough to keep the demons from getting you, or pride if you think that you are such a powerful, sinless Christian that Satan fears you and cannot touch you. These outcomes (fear or pride) are the result of trusting man rather than God.

 

Conclusion

The key issue is the underlying worldview that one holds. The warfare worldview claims that history is played out as a battle between the forces of evil and believers. According to this view, God works through believers as much as they allow Him to. The more knowledge and power believers gain the better they can defeat the forces of darkness. If believers lack knowledge and techniques for spiritual warfare they will be victims and not victors.  There are casualties in this battle and God does not assure the outcome.

The providential worldview believes in God’s sovereignty over all the forces of darkness. Spiritual forces of darkness cannot harm believers without first getting permission from God. What He allows them to do always is for our greater good. The key issue is not our knowledge about the forces of evil but our knowledge of God through the gospel. The battle is between the lie of Satan that man can be like God and the truth of the gospel.

Those who promote the warfare worldview mislead us by claiming that the options are only between a worldview that believes that there are demons, curses, and real Satanic activities and a “western” worldview that effectively denies that spiritual activity, good and bad, exists. This is a false dilemma. Do not be misled. The providential worldview also believes very much in the reality of demons, fallen angels, curses, principalities and powers as well as good angels and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The options are whether one believes in God’s sovereignty over all of these spiritual beings and realities or whether one believes God is allowing the battle to run its course on its own. Those who hold to the later view see God there to help if we figure out and use the right techniques but not sovereignly keeping us and carrying us to glory. Does God determine the outcome or is the outcome determined by humans and demons?

I believe that God uses the gospel to deliver people from the hostile powers and that the gospel effectively accomplishes all God intended to do from all eternity to save sinners. Those who believe are “saved to the utmost” (see Hebrews 7:25) and need not fear the hostile spiritual forces of the universe. The means of grace provided in the Bible are sufficient to cause us freedom and growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

Those pushing the warfare worldview want us to think otherwise. They want us to believe that teachings, techniques, and spiritual processes that were not even conceived until the 20th century are necessary for us to be free from Satan’s bondage. This means we must believe that Christians throughout the centuries lived without freedom because the gospel they believed was insufficient. By convincing us of the insufficiency of the gospel they become bondage makers. I used to be one. I thank God He freed me from that condition through the truth of the Scriptures.

 

Sourced from the Critical Issues Commentary

Issue 78 – September/October 2003

//cicministry.org/commentary/issue78.htm

 


 

End Notes

  1. Greg Boyd, God at War, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1997) 13. Dr. Boyd defines the “warfare” world view: “Stated most broadly, this worldview is that perspective on reality which centers on the conviction that the good and evil, fortunate or unfortunate, aspects of life are to be interpreted largely as the result of good and evil, friendly or hostile, spirits warring against each other and against us.” The worldview that Dr. Boyd rejects he calls the “providential blueprint worldview.” 292. He categorically rejects the idea that the forces of wickedness are ultimately serving God’s greater purposes.
  2. Bob Larson, In the Name of Satan — How the forces of evil work and what you can do to defeat them; (Nashville: Nelson, 1996) 109.
  3. Ibid. 109, 110.
  4. See Critical Issues Commentary Issue 48 “The dishonoring of God in Popular Spiritual Warfare teaching”for documentation of these teachings.  HTTP://WWW.CICMINISTRY.ORG/COMMENTARY/ISSUE48.HTM
  5. Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man Vol. 3, (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1968 – first published in 1928) 125. Nee identifies “passivity” as a key way demons influence Christians. His chapter “The Path to Freedom” is original material that is very similar to what is being taught today. Nee was teaching these things many decades before those who are doing so today. His influence on me during my years of doing deliverance was extensive.
  6. Larson, 48.
  7. Ibid. 80.
  8. Op. Cit. Nee 90. “All actions are governed by laws . . . Should anyone fulfill the conditions for the working of evil spirits (whether he fulfills them willingly, such as the witch, the medium, or the sorcerer ­– or unwittingly, such as the Christian), then he has definitely given ground to them to work on him.” 90. As with modern versions of this teaching, the only way we can know about these laws is through extra-biblical revelations such as those provided in Nee’s book.
  9. Larson 190.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid. 208.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid. 91
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid. 133.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid. 135-137.
  18. Ibid. 138.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid. 138, 139.
  21. Ibid. 141.
  22. Ibid. 142 – 144.
  23. Ibid. 142.
  24. For example, consider 1Kings 8:39: “then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest, for Thou alone dost know the hearts of all the sons of men” See also: Psalm 44:21; Acts 15:8; and 1John 3:20.
  25. Larson, 205.
  26. The process was immediate in that I followed the teaching of the verse from then on when I counseled people. It was slow in the sense that my conversion to the providential worldview was not complete until 1986 when I saw that my Arminian (free will) thinking was unbiblical and embraced God’s comprehensive sovereignty. This happened through a detailed study of the Book of Romans.  The providential worldview holds that God is always in control of His own universe and is guiding it toward His decreed purposes (Ephesians 1:11).
  27. The incident in the Gospels shows that Jesus is God and thus the One who will execute the final judgment: “And behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” (Matthew 8:29). Any human teacher who claims the power to do this is claiming something that is a divine prerogative and thus trying to be like God. This is sinful.
  28. Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker; (Eugene: Harvest House, 2000) 30-33.
  29. Ibid. 33.
  30. Ibid. 199-252. These steps include prescribed prayers, confessions, renunciations, checklists, ancestral curses to be broken, etc. The implication is that the gospel fails to deliver us from curses, demons, or other spiritual maladies unless certain techniques are applied. Rather than the simple, Biblical means of grace, Anderson offers techniques and canned prayers that “work.” Thus he has adopted the warfare worldview and not the providential world view.
  31. I explain the passage on this audio: DEMONS.MP3
  32. Op. Cit. Larson, 191.

 


 

Published by Twin City Fellowship

Critical Issues Commentary
P.O. Box 26127
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
952-935-3100
Contact Bob Dewaay

Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1995 The Lockman Foundation.

 

 


 

 

What do you think of this post?
  • Excellent (10)
  • Dislike (9)
  • Encouraging (3)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Average (0)

18 Responses to How Deliverance Ministries Lead People To Bondage

  • Thanks for this article Dave. It makes so much sense and confirms a few things that I believed but lacked clarity on.

    I was involved in a church that was forever praying against the devil little realising that they were effectively praying to the devil rather than God. Its hardly surprising they would be attacked. If you had a rabid dog you wouldn’t taunt it. Christians seem so familiar with the devil when the Bible is actually pretty light on detail. Its knowledge of the truth we need not the ins and outs of lies. My time with that church left deep wounds.

    I’m glad he brought up Neil Anderson because I’ve had personal battles concerning his teaching. His key theme is ‘who we are in Christ.’ Unfortunately the emphasis is on who ‘I am’ rather than Christ. Anderson’s claim of a Christian worldview I instinctively knew to be wrong. There is no such thing though there may be a Christian view of the Bible which informs our worldview.

       4 likes

  • Thanks for the comment Chris… Same here.

       0 likes

  • Hi Dave,
    Perhaps I have misunderstood the story, but to me it appears you have built this theology around your experience which involved a bit of pride (sorry but I had to say it).
    I don’t think holding a ‘warfare worldview’ necessarily implies dualism. Can you reconcile a ‘warfare worldview’ and one in which God is totally sovereign at the same time? I think you can.
    The Bible is clear that we are given the authority of Christ:
    Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
    But we are also to use Christ’s authority with humility and understanding of our place.
    Luke 10:20 “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
    In fact, we won’t be able to operate in Christ’s authority if we are not submitted to him, hence the exhortation in James 4:7 “First to submit to God, then resist the Devil.”
    To me ‘resisting the Devil’ and in Ephesians 6:10 ‘putting on the full armour of God’ imply being active and also imply operating in the authority of a sovereign Christ.
    A good father likes to involve his son in what he is doing. Does that mean the son is now in control of the project? No. Could the father do the project without the son? Yes. Does the father give the son a go even though he knows he’ll make mistakes? Yes.
    Why? Because the Father wants the son to become more like him and he loves the relationship as they work and chat together.
    I hope this blesses you and your readers.
    Richard

       3 likes

  • Thanks for sharing your perspective Richard. As my preface stated, this article was not written by me personally, so the perspective the author shared is not based upon my own experience; however, as I mentioned, I do agree and identify with much of the author’s view – especially his remarks of comparing many deliverance tactics with “the Geek Squad.” I’ve listened to quite a bit from guys like Bob Larson (and others) on the exorcism subject and have to agree that all this talking to the devil (and all the ritual that is prescribed with so many of these deliverance ministries) pretty much amounts to praying to the devil and is a recipe for inviting trouble into your life. I’m not sure how my intent to convey the strongest reliance upon Christ rather than men who think they are deliverance technicians amounts to me exhibiting pride. In fact, I feel that it was when I once bought into all the typical twist on deliverance doctrine that I danced on the edge of spiritual arrogance too often. What you may not realize is that I’ve seen all kinds of spiritual abuse transpire through so many of these so-called “ministries”. I’ve had close friends emotionally damaged and left in a wake of spiritual confusion, doubt and ruin – all because of ignorant and deceived men who thought they knew how to handle the devil and lead others to freedom. The problem with virtually all of them is that they left the simplicity of Christ for fanciful doctrines of men and of demons. They followed after programs that have no parallel to anything ever taught by our Lord or any of His apostles. They continually manipulated the Scriptures in order to support their doctrine and they led many into even greater bondage… not to mention, many of these, cheating them out of their money in the process. I don’t say that every group intends to do harm. I’m sure that several believe they have the best of intentions and I know that God often works despite our weakness if our hearts are right with Him, but when deceived and incapable men wield their scalpels of false indoctrination (whether knowingly or unknowingly) the result leaves the most wretched of wounds! I believe in the power of God and I believe fully that Christ leads us to walk in His authority that we may overcome the devil… I’m simply not convinced that the majority of what is known as “deliverance ministry” today has an ounce of anything to do with genuine spiritual authority in Christ at all! I appreciate your perspective though and thanks for taking the time to add to this conversation.

       5 likes

  • I like the insights of the man who wrote this article. It affirms the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ encounters with the demonic, especially the story of Jesus and the demons Legion. Jesus only had to say a few words to the man who was overtaken by Legion – He simply asked, “What’s your name?”. The man in this story no doubt had no will remaining – only his base instincts to sense Jesus’s spirit and a heartfelt hunger to follow Him. I believe Jesus could recognize something inhuman in this man and, because there is no relationship/acquaintance between light and dark, had only the need to ask the name of the destructive spirits. Being of a compulsive nature, the demons had no choice but to answer, “Legion!”. I noticed that Jesus had compassion even with the demons – when Legion begged to be sent into the herd of pigs instead of the abyss, Jesus allowed it. Jesus is not afraid or intimidated by the demonic.

    I also noticed that after Jesus restored this man’s dignity and humanity, He told him to go back to his town – no doubt to let those who mistreated him know that even though they didn’t care about this person, God did! (and does!).

       1 likes

  • Well I must say that I find this very interesting. Mr. DeWaay touches on some very good points but there are a few things that I disagree with. I truly respect his experience in deliverance ministry and respect his opinion, but he seems to have come from the “Bob Larson” school of deliverance. I recently met someone who says her roommate was trained under Larson and that she talks to the demons in the same manner as described by Mr. DeWaay, as a deliverance counselor in a deliverance ministry that’s been together for over 25 years, we choose not to handle the Lord’s business in that manner.

    I have nothing against Mr. Larson or any others out there but we are taught on day one and reminded through the four module of classes that we do things different than what someone may have experienced in other settings. Usually by the end of the first module some don’t return because they’ve realized that it’s just not for them. some return a another time because they felt it was for them but weren’t sure if they heard from God or they allowed the enemy to place fear upon them.

    Then there are those who’ve come to realize that this part of the Lord’s Army is not for them. Just as it is in the military, you have many guys who play C.O.D., then come out to base for a weekend visit to a unit, they see the berets or jump wings, badges & tabs and think “this is what I wanna be.” Well the thing is they have to learn how to become a soldier and learn the Army Core Values, then it’s still lot’s of ongoing training but these guys want “Elite ” right off the streets or at some point of being in a different mos they want to try out, and somewhere during training they have an epiphany and realize that a job as a LRS soldier or a Cav Scout troop, Ranger, Green Beret, etc; is very demanding and also very dangerous and lonely at times due to it’s nature of being way out front and having to engage the enemy direct and deep in his territory.

    I say all that to say, “It ain’t for everybody.” (lol) Seriously, people are reminded that we don’t have conversations with demons (They All Lie)nor care to know their names, nor want them manifesting during counsel. We bind physical manifestations, but if someone has to vomit or writhe on the floor, etc; we still call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to put that in check and those things do happen every once in a while but usually not the norm. That’s because it’s essential for everyone to fill out an 4 page questionnaire that asks about their spiritual background, a description of their “current” issue and there’s about 16 sub questions from there, and that’s just page 2.

    From there more questions are asked concerning their ancestors backgrounds, parent’s background (“IF They Are Privy To Any Of This Info) then we speak briefly in person or on the phone and they are encouraged to “fast & pray.” and read scripture prior to their session. If they do that, things go SO MUCH smoother during their session/s.

    As far a Mr. Larson turning people away.., I don’t know his reasoning or if it’s as Mr. De Waay states “They have to prove themselves as a good or mature christians first. What I do know is we will turn away people who treat the ministry as a carnival side show, you know like the ones who atop to allow the gypsy palm reader to read them for fun & laughs. Guess what? These same people get saved and want to pull that same type of stunt in church. It’s not for kicks & giggles.

    Then there are those who aren’t saved and have been to tarot readers, etc; and them coming to the ministry for help is just that. Help to set them free from a supernatural dilemma but no conversion in Christ. First, they need to be saved and prayed for as well as a something that the Holy Spirit will reveal that needs to be broken. Then they need to immerse themselves in the word and find a solid body of believers to fellowship with. You’d be surprised how many say “NO I just want YOU to bail me out.” We explain that “Jesus is the only one that CAN bail YOU out.” We’re just the vessels that he’s using that’s all.

    There’s also christians who are holding onto “ungodly beliefs” like it’s okay to continue holding onto my beliefs in astrology or wicca, etc; Or things like “I’m not married to the person I live with and we are having sex but God understands”.
    Uh….Okay, that person needs to repent and spend some time with the Lord and allowing Him to show the error of their ways. If we start deliverance and the are having sex with someone who’s equal in sin or not even saved then yes.., the WILL allow a legal entry by the enemy’s camp. I don’t know if 7 more return but I know that they’ve just put themselves in jeopardy.

    We also do not meet with the opposite sex, we don’t leave out at night or anytime of day to counsel someone. There are scheduled appointments twice a month and there’s always two of us and an overseer who has many years experience, they’re usually in the church nearby while the session are taking place in various prayer rooms.
    We also switch on the second session , as to not to burn people out. Those who need the 16 hour sessions ARE charged a fee because it’s NOT easy on the minister and it requires lot’s of work. The ministers have careers and families too and those type of sessions usually need a full day or two to recover. They’re done on Fridays or Saturday’s.

    Lastly, sometimes ministers need to take a prolonged furlough just to sit and get fed the word themselves for a season. I don’t claim to know more than Mr. De Waay and I can see why he was burned out and reached the conclusion that he has. I hope I was able to shed just a little bit of light on this subject from another perspective.

       0 likes

  • Thanks for sharing your perspective Darryl. May I ask, do you work with a specific group the article refers to? I don’t discount the fact that people sometimes need deliverance, but I do struggle with the whole “deliverance program” concept in general. Any Spirit-led believer can pray and see God deliver someone because it’s God, not the person praying, that does the delivering. There are so many “details” that have been added to the subject of “how to get delivered” that simply aren’t biblical, aren’t inspired or directed by the Holy Spirit, and have nothing to do with true deliverance at all. Many times, those who think they know so much about how to really “do deliverance ministry” have just been deceived into spiritual arrogance. You’re right about some of the things you shared concerning how people sometimes (even often) approach these kinds of ministries with a “just bail me out” mindset and again you’re right that only Jesus can bail them out. Well said! Sadly, many so-called deliverance ministries love this kind of customer… Where I still, respectfully, disagree with you is the charging money part. When I used the word “customer” I wasn’t kidding. I really believe this grieves the Spirit. Can you honestly imagine Jesus walking along and the disciples coming up to Him saying, “Lord, it took forever to minister to this one person, so we charged them by the hour because we were dog tired,” and actually believe that Christ would have blessed that kind of action? I hope you understand my point. ALL ministry MUST be actuated through love (PERIOD) or it is worthless and futile and it isn’t of God! Ministry isn’t some “thing” people join up into. It’s not a program or a skill. It’s not a full-time profession or part-time… Biblically, ministry is just a fancy English word for “serving others”. Jesus laid down His life without cost and to the death! That is REAL ministry. He got nothing material out of the deal at all. In all honesty, I hate the word “ministry” any more. It has been so abused and distorted in meaning that it’s nauseating. Though I truly want to have grace to extend towards people in their ignorance, I have a very hard time tolerating anyone who thinks it’s fine to charge money for ANY kind of ministry. Jesus plainly said you cannot serve God and mammon. The two are absolutely incompatible! The minute a person looks at ministry as a profession, I believe he errs. Jesus said that a true shepherd cannot take a paycheck! (John 10) I know plenty of folks rationalize their actions and distort the teachings of Jesus to make excuses for their so-called “gospel right” to make money off of what they label ministry, but that just tells me they aren’t fully walking in love or, at the very least, they still have a lot of ignorance to be delivered of… Maybe these folks need to some serious deliverance themselves, from the crap religious influence that has infected how they think about the subject of serving others. Ok ok… I’ll dismount my soap box now. (lol)… I do feel passionately about this topic, obviously. That’s why this site is called TruthForFree. I will NEVER charge money for what God has freely given me to freely share with His people; that they may be encouraged in Him and walk in greater truth, liberty and love.

       3 likes

  • I see where you are coming from Dave but my concerns are more in terms of unsafe doctrine. The first is demons “legal entry”. I fear this comes from the supposed rights that Satan was given after the fall. He is called the prince of the air and god of this world but he is a usurper and a squatter. When he offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world that doesn’t mean that he owned them. He claimed squatters rights and offered to give them to Jesus with no resistance because he knew that Jesus would take them by force otherwise. People can let sin into their lives but there is no contract only consequences. Jesus could easily have said, “Go to a surgeon. If you go to a butcher to cut out your diseased organ, 7 more of your organs will become diseased.”

    The second is generational curses. Here we are back to the heresy of the full gospel. Jesus’ blood will cleanse you from all sin and in Him there is no condemnation. In Jesus we are free from all curses merely because we are His. But in our bodies we carry the curse of sin and genetics for which Jesus doesn’t promise us a cure. In fact we are called to put to death our old nature, putting off that which is carnal and putting on that which is spiritual. In these bodies we are dying but one day we will have new imperishable bodies.

    To my mind, deliverance ministry is selling us something we don’t need. Its like selling batteries with a self winding watch.

       2 likes

  • I ABSOLUTELY agree with you bro Chris! Absolutely! I was hoping you’d add a comment. 😉 I guess it must be my “diplomatic” nature (for lack of a better way to put it) to want to try and find a peacable common point of agreement and then respectfully offer an alternate point of disagreement… but then I always find myself smiling when someone like you just nails it! 🙂 You are absolutely right on man, and -no- that’s not my “diplomatic” tendency talking. (lol) I agree with you 100%!!!! You said everything so much better than I did.

    I only meant to say that, in this life, there are issues that only Christ can deliver us from and it doesn’t take a “deliverance” minister or a “deliverance ministry program” to accomplish healing (and it absolutely disgusts me when people try to get money from something like this done in the name of Jesus, when they should simply walk in love and pray for people and let God be God). In other words, “deliverance ministry” = A ROYAL OUTHOUSE FLUSH! Romans talks about becoming “spiritually minded” and learning to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Looking back over my comments, I guess it sounds a little stupid to say “any Spirit-led believer can pray for God to deliver someone,” but I didn’t mean it as though WE can deliver anyone (as though WE had some power to use or that this was even one purpose we are meant for). I simply meant that ALL deliverance (for things that stand outside our ability to affect change in by means of submitting to biblical directive and walking in the Spirit) comes directly from God. We can pray for people, serve people, love people, etc. But it is Christ that is the Healer and Deliverer… and then, again, there is the simple issue of taking individual responsibility to walk in truth and mortify the deeds of the flesh in our own life – one day at a time.

    I have often become annoyed with people who complain all the time about how they need to get “deliverance” when they find themselves struggling because of things simply related to the fact of us being stuck (temporarily) in a sinful world with diseased and dying bodies that are a product of the fall. Every natural sickness seems to get its own name of a demon. 😉 Despite this harsh reality of physical decay, we have the opportunity to hope in God and walk in genuine faith, regardless of our circumstances. Our bodies may still decay, but that has nothing to do with the quality of our spiritual wholeness!

    If I could add bold text and large bright highlighting to what you said at the last I would: “deliverance ministry is selling us something we don’t need. It’s like selling batteries with a self-winding watch.” Awesomely stated!

    Thanks, all of you, for the discussion!

       0 likes

  • Interesting article, I’m pondering deeply into the theology taught in Elijah House Ministries; much of it is true experientially, and so far that I can grasp, a lot if it finds root in God’s word, I just have a strong desire to sift the teachings of the whole program through Christ if you know what I mean. I understand completely your general dislike for deliverance ministries because people find their be-all-end-all answer through it rather than in Christ, turning the focus to man; either the prayer minister or the person being healed, rather than God.

    To let it all hang in the balance though, two verses came to mind: “.. anything not done in faith is sin.” Rom 14:23

    “From him through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen” Rom 11:36

    So for those who are seeking deliverance/prayer ministry with the deepest motivation of self or the flesh; to escape God-ordained suffering, seeking to blame the effects of sin onto an external source eg demons, seeking deliverance/healing to live more freely for self. The list of motivations of the flesh are endless. If this is the primary motivation, and these do receive some degree of freedom it is sin. Anything not done in faith is sin.

    But on the other hand, if there are those who seek the sanctification already bought and promised by Christ (And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Rom 8:30), and are working out salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13), and if it is God who has given these people a desire to work out salvation and God who brings about these ministries to aid in this life-long process, then glory be to him! From him through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory!

    In conclusion, all I have to say is that the human heart is deceitful above all else, and it is the Lord who judges hearts. Instead of writing some of these ministries off completely, could we be brought back to the simple truths of man’s depravity and God’s grace through Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Thank God for your insight and allowing me to express my heart. 🙂

       0 likes

  • I can see where you are coming from Hannah but I quite disagree with your conclusions. Firstly I don’t believe Elijah House’s theology is rooted in God’s Word. I would say rather that they pick and choose which parts of God’s Word suits their beliefs. Secondly, its dangerous to base truth on experience unless you are talking about common sense. The magicians of Egypt matched Moses’ miracles to a great extent. The Bible indeed warns us that false prophets will come with signs and wonders but we should judge their fruits.

    Now a friend of mine used the phrase ‘the human heart is deceitful above all else’ repeatedly when I was criticising something she had written and, frankly, it was a cop out. She refused to question the attitudes of someone she believed was ‘compassionate and spirit filled’ when this other woman is full of spite.

    I know people who have a good heart, are generous and kind and love God but they are misled by unsound theology and dubious miracles so I won’t judge them in terms of sincerity, godliness or wrong motives but I would warn my friends not to be drawn into the same errors. I feel divided because I so hate what they believe in I find fellowship painful.

       0 likes

  • Thank you for sharing this article, Dave. It confirms much of what we have come to believe over several years after leaving the IC and rethinking church practices.

    I love the providential view’s emphasis on grace and the finished work of Jesus on the Cross.
    My feeling is that as soon as we leave that safe ground, we end up in the realm of self-effort and man’s wisdom, which as James says, is earthly and demonic. I am reminded of the techniques of Rabbinic or Roman Catholic exorcists. The Kabbala is full of instructions on how to deal with demonic entities. Jesus would not let demons speak, arrogant, lying boasters as they are, except on the rarest of occasions and then, I suspect, only for teaching reasons.

    But many of us lack faith in that finished work. This was my problem for years too. Until I realised the same thing that the writer of the article saw – it’s not my problem. It is so relaxing!
    God can deliver a person instantly if that person really repents. Free will has been given to each one to do so, if he or she chooses. The sad fact is that the majority choose to hold on to their sin. Why run after them? Why cajole them to repent? God respects their free will and so should we. Jesus didn’t run after the rich young ruler. He let him go his own way, although it saddened Him. I subconsciously thought that I was something special though. A whole lot of pride is tied up in this and the devil gets us every time when that happens. We end up being candidates for burnout.

    Exactly the same attitude is apparent in the whole area of evangelism. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world in regard to sin, righteousness and judgement and He is perfectly capable of doing so without our help, but we so often get in the way, putting completely unnecessary pressure on people, not only non-believers, but also believers too, who we convince through our evangelism programmes that they won’t please God unless they’re talking to every soul they meet about his spiritual condition. If we’d just be Biblical, concentrate on obeying Jesus, love those God puts in our way and be ready to give an answer IF they ask, but minding our own business otherwise, I dare say Christians would get a great deal more respect that they presently enjoy.

    Having said that, how would you view the practices of the Bill Johnsons (Redding, California) of this world? His ministry has been getting a lot of publicity here in Germany and several people we know and have walked with for several years find his approach to evangelism 100% correct.

       0 likes

  • Here is what I have noticed firsthand, as a result of the false deliverance ministry, which, along with their other false doctrines, I sincerely believe to be the Northern Army of Joel, not God’s people, but an army of false people who steal God’s Word, and Joy, and remember “The joy of The Lord is our strength,” so they weaken the church, and continue to do so, until God destroys them.
    The book of Joel is about the false prophets and teachers, and their effect upon the people of God, and who are they, well the people who sincerely love God, and so, obey Him, holding firmly to His Word ALONE.
    I also sincerely believe the Toronto Blessing to be the “Powerful deception sent (allowed) by God, to cause those who do not love The Truth, to believe that which is false.”
    I also believe North America, to be the ‘Northern Army,’ why, well look at what is coming out of America in The Name of God and Jesus, it is so serious, wicked, and dangerous, destroying Christian character. Pride, the love of money, greed, etc, etc, all encouraged by many American churches, and Worldwide churches are following their doctrine.

    To return to the false deliverance ministry – we are told to resist the Devil, and he will FLEE from you, and that the joy of The Lord is our strength, these are very, very, important points!
    Now, when a minister uses false doctrine to lay hands on you, and say “Get out you evil spirit, in Jesus’ Name I bind you, and cast you out,” the only thing that takes place, is that fear, and manipulation, enters the heart and mind of the person involved; to cast something out, clearly leads people to believe something must have been in – and when you open your mind to that doctrine, you open your mind to Satan, the deceiver, the tempter, the liar, such false doctrine, makes it easier for the tempter, to tempt, and torment people, as the genuine joy of The Lord is crippled by fear.

    God asks of use, that we would learn from Him, learn of His Word, and Character, and choose Him, His Way, His Righteousness, His Nature – LOVE, TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, to “renew our minds in Christ Jesus,” and then it is, for that reason, “The Truth that sets you free,” knowing what is righteous in God’s sight, enables us to choose to follow Him, in an attitude of love, a character of love, a nature of love, shaped by God’s Own Word and Nature, conforming to His Image, for God is LOVE.

    God’s Truth, His Word, sets us free from the lies that can possess our minds, and be demonstrated within our nature, our behaviour, our words – “You will know The Truth and The Truth shall set you free,” Paul said, “I did not know I was coveting, until I knew The Law said do not covet.” “Had the Law become death to me, no, but life,” for by knowing his sin, Paul could choose to escape from it, via repentance, baptism, and continued obedience.

    The Truth shall set you free, God’s Word sets us free from Satan’s lies, if we choose to love Him, and so obey Him; we have all been the possession of Satan’s lies, that is the starting point for us all, how? Well, as God said, “who told you that you are naked,” knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil,we are all exposed to the knowledge of good and evil every day, and we need to “choose life,” but without first knowing God’s Word, we are limited in the decisions we can make – as Paul said “I did not know……..”

    The casting out of demons, is a reality, but it is a rarity, and those who were demon possessed, were known to the community for their alarming behaviour, and Jesus NEVER blamed the demon possessed, but always blamed the disobedient.

    Our ‘thinking,’ is our spiritual/Spiritual hearing, the character, and opinions, the behaviour we express, reveals which spirit, or Spirit, has gained our attention.

    Scripture talks about a jealousy “which is demonic,” if we understand that our behaviour, character, nature, our heart and mind, is the most important part of our lives, then we would be better able to recognize when false ministers were deceiving us, and leading us away from The Nature of God Himself, until we no longer behave with The Character of God dwelling within us, but find ourselves corrupted by the nature of Satan, as we conform to his nature. (nature, and character, are different to being baptized with God’s Own Holy Spirit, which is essential to becoming a Christian – even born-again, that is to say baptized Christians, with the attesting sign of tongues, are being corrupted, and God says it is because they “did not love The Truth.”

    When we are baptized with The Holy Spirit, that is The Spirit of God, dwelling within us, to guide us through The Scriptures, and empower us, but we have to make the decision to love and obey God, and conform our character to His Own Character, our spirit, and free will, our heart, our character, still functions independently of God’s Own Holy Spirit, we can choose to ignore Him, and grieve Him by doing so, we are still responsible for ourselves, and always will be.

    Satan is allowed to tempt us, we are required to resist, false deliverance strengthens Satan’s attacks against us, and leads us to hold tight to the minister that we are led to believe is saving us, and setting us free; and yet, if you were to listen very carefully to the doctrine taught by such ministry, you would recognize that they are ensnaring you with lies – the love of money, pride, evil suspicions, false signs and wonders, false witness, greed, accusing the poor of a lack of faith, or the sick of being evil; are they really casting demons out, or are they opening the flood gates to let demons in.

       0 likes

  • Hi Dave, I would like to thank you for this article. You were articulate and thoughtful. Hope you don’t mind me picking your brain, I understand if time keeps you from responding back. I have a dear friend who has since moved from here and is now in Fla. I sent him a note asking how things were going and he said God was really moving down there. That he was involved in the sozo ministry which is an inner healing ministry which started at bethel church in redding California. Bill Johnson is the Pastor. Also here is part of our interaction…
    “Things are going great here. Church is awesome. We have been having a lot of healings! Things like cancer, heart valves, knees, celiac like what Rosie had. We even have a group going into the hospital healing people. We will be opening healing rooms on our property in the near future. A place where people can come and stay until they are headed. Like john g lake did in spokan Washington years ago. Now cal pirce reopend the healing rooms there.”
    I did a little research on these names and several red flags went up. It’s hard cause I always thought my friend to be a solid balanced believer. Im not quite sure how in love, to respond to him. Any insights, thoughts you may have and could share would be most helpful.
    Thanks in advance, Tom B

       0 likes

  • Hey Tom, I hope you mind me wading in here. I lived with a couple who were heavily into Bethel and went there from the UK. They were setting up a Sozo and I read the manuals. They were garbage from cover to cover with pseudo-psychology, mysticism and unrecognisable theology. Bill Johnson’s theology is just about healing and miracles and pretty well nothing else. She went for healing but died a year later of cancer. Its easy to claim healing for cancer, heart and kidney disease and even people can be released from the pain of arthritis temporarily only for it to return again (which of course is their fault because they lost faith). I’ve heard of the Bethel ambulance chasers and all the bogus claims. The local people hate them.

    Bethel is quite dangerous but you are going to have a hard time having a rational discussion with your friend. You should do your own research, find stuff on Youtube and elsewhere (some of it is pretty disturbing) and respectfully suggest to your friend that they at least examine the evidence if only to discount it. You can only hope that by trickling information to your friend that he/she will at some point start doing the math and realise it doesn’t add up. Your friend may need to get hurt before the penny drops. You have to realise that your friend will not see any of this the way that you do. Of course, pray.

    Its quite difficult to find negative articles on Google about Bethel. You might need to go through 20 or more pages before you find anything reliable. You need to be discerning. Beware the sites that have nothing constructive to say and try to cross check the accounts with sources you consider reliable.

       0 likes

  • Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your comments. Thanks also to Chris Price for his comments. I agree with Chris on this one bro… Good advice! I also just want to add that I really believe the devil is able to place sickness on someone and then remove it (or at least appear to remove it temporarily) at the appropriate time to give the impression of a legitimate healing, though it is only manufactured for the purpose of manipulation.

    I have seen this happen myself with the TheoPhostic “ministry” (which is similar to Bozo… I mean Sozo). A friend of mine who went through the process was “led” to the notion that her father had sexually molested her as a child, even though there was no prior evidence for this and she never before had any reason to suspect such of her dad. The thought ONLY entered her mind once the TheoPhostic process was engaged.

    I knew her dad and he was the kindest God-fearing man you could imagine. The thought was unthinkable. The process led her to this conclusion (I believe) for the purpose of delivering her from it, thus giving the impression that the process worked…

    Thankfully, she got wise to what was happening and realized that the devil was producing this lie through TheoPhostics in an attempt to generate a false healing and deceive her.

    These doctrines are evil and very deceptive. I really believe this is the same way that Roman Catholic Priests are able to perform exorcisms. The devil is in control from the beginning. His purpose is to deceive so he demonizes the person and then removes the possession at the command of the priest so as to place confidence in the power of religion. Still, I hear Christians who are amazed at Catholic exorcisms; wondering how a person could be set free from a demon if the Catholic Priest was not legitimately sanctioned by God. The matter is simple to comprehend when you realize that the devil is already at work to deceive from the start.

    I agree with Chris, that rational conversation is going to be very hard with your friend as it appears he is already being wowed by the manifestations. Prayer truly is the most effective antidote. God knows how to break through. I have been amazed at the things God will do if we only rely on Him and trust Him and pray for others. I will pray that as you seek the Lord, He will speak to you and reveal your part in how God might use you to minister truth to your friend.

       0 likes

  • Thanks for your quick responses gentleman. I knew this sozo ministry was not right not only cause statements didn’t line up with scipture but just had a real heavy spirit about it while researching it. Soaking the matter in prayer is always top priority. My friend is a reasonable person, has always been a steady believer, not a emotional person who is quick to react. What makes it difficult is that his little girl was healed of some really nasty allergies 3 years ago and remines so today. Not sure if it happen through Sozo cause it was while he was here in Illinois. I certainly believe healings are possible today as long as it’s nothing short of giving humbly, complete and total glory to God. It is not the norm and certainly not to happen through a assembly line process. I think if I can find enough evidence on Bethel’s church and the Sozo website itself to show him areas where the scripture is twisted I may be able to have some influence if God so chooses. Thanks again Chris and Dave, you comments are most appreciated.

    TB

       0 likes

  • Can I add just one thing. You don’t even need to look for false healings. ‘Miracles’ happen all the time. I reckon if you asked any doctor they would have stories of people who lost their infirmity without (or despite) any medical intervention. Its not that uncommon for someone to be given months to live but then go on for years. This happens all the time with no one having prayed (or at least no knowledge of that happening). The human body and mind were invented by the God of miracles. You could even say that the miraculous is inbuilt into each one of us.

    Ministries like Bethel are no different to the conjurors of Egypt mimicking Moses’ miracles. Professional illusionists can easily reproduce many of the manifestations that these bogus ministries claim to come from God. These ministries are geared to changing minds instead of hearts. Only God can change the heart.

       0 likes

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to the
TruthForFree Blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Google+Subscribe via YouTube
Get Text Message Updates CLICK HERE


SiteLock





Quick Links:


Recent Posts:


Search Blog Posts:
Click here to install Akismet on you own WordPress site



Click here follow us on Twitter Click here find us on Facebook

Visitors (since 2010):
2245601


SafeSurfRated

Labeled with ICRA


The original Prayer Shack music player is back!

CLICK BUTTON TO PLAY
FLASH PLAYER REQUIRED