The Deception Christians Can’t Be Demonized
Many churches in the western world will deny, even dogmatically, a true born again Christian can be demonized (i.e., be indwelt with or inhabited by a demon). There are many Christians who have issues such as extreme lust or hear tormenting voices but can’t find any effective remedy because the issue is largely (if not, entirely) demonic. How can such a person receive deliverance when many churches falsely believe that it is impossible for a Christian can be demonized? The demon(s) need to be expelled out of the person! I believe this matter is one of the biggest deceptions among Christians. Do you think the devil would want Christians to know they can be demonized? Of course not, it is more effective for the enemy to operate unbeknownst.
There is not a single scripture that explicitly reads it is impossible for a Christian to be demonized! Moreover, every single Christian I have interacted with who denies a Christian can be demonized has absolutely no direct experience with expelling a demon. So it is astonishing how such Christians can be so dogmatic about their position. Every single Christian that I know who has extensive experience with expelling demons KNOWS that Christians can be demonized.
Those who believe Christians can’t be demonized contradicts my personal experiences and observations. I have established relationships with true followers of Jesus who I, by the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, expelled demons out of. There are many, many testimonies of born again Christians who will testify they had a demon or demons and that they had to have it expelled.
Here is a video of my interview of a brother in the Lord who suffered from demonization for years until it was expelled by my prayers using the authority of Jesus. He didn’t know for certain that the horrible symptoms he was suffering from were demonic until I prayed for him and the demons manifested. He was shocked. No one at his church discerned he had demons indwelt. He could have possibly suffered for the rest of his life if he didn’t receive prayer for deliverance. And I know this brother well enough to know he is a true believer in Jesus Christ.
In this video I interview Rashaad Gibson, another Pastor shares his testimony on how he prayed for deliverance and he dramatically felt a demon leave his body.
Modern Christians Testify of the Possibility of Demonization of Christians
Grayson Ensign, a former Bible College professor and missionary to Jamaica, made this statement:
” We have empirical evidence that Christians have been invaded by evil spirits, for we have extensive notes on the more than one hundred and fifty with whom we have worked in securing deliverance by the Lord Jesus Christ….Our testimony is grounded in literally hundreds of hours of deliverance work where we have experienced the most wonderful liberation of Christians from the control of evil spirits. We have been reared in a tradition that taught demons could not invade or control people and certainly not Christians. We tested every conceivable theory of explanation for what was happening. The only explanation that was systematically consistent and in harmony with the Word of God was that our brothers and sisters had been invaded by evil spirits” (Grayson H Ensign & Edward Howe, “Bothered, Bewildered, Bewitched?” quoted in “Demon Possession & The Christian” by C. Fred Dickason.)
Kurt Koch, the author of “Occult Bondage & Deliverance” and “Christian Counseling And Occultism” as well as many other books on cults and the occult, and has counseled thousands of the occultly oppressed, wrote:
“I met a missionary in Africa who had actually been possessed himself for a period of eighteen months. He, like many others, had previously believed it was impossible for Christians to be possessed. However, his own experience made him change his theological outlook.”
In the Spring of this year (1912) [a certain Christian] who was possessed came here, and the spirits possessing her spoke through her in voices utterly unlike her own. They would utter through her the most awful blasphemies against God, and against our Lord Jesus Christ, and would prophesy concerning the Church…
(later)…Much prayer has been made for her, and with her. When the frenzy comes upon her, she is fearfully shaken, dashes about the room, is made to howl like a dog, her hands clenched, her face drawn with horrible contortions, etc. But the marvel to every one is that, although the frenzy is upon her every day, and sometimes once, twice or more in one day, her health is perfect, she sleeps well, and in the interval is THE MOST LOVELY-SPIRITED CHRISTIAN WOMAN.”
This sister is not one who has not got faith. She is well grounded in the same faith, and has the same light as we have; but we have here to do with a demon, the like of which I have never met before, nor read about…”(Kurt Koch, “Occult Bondage & Deliverance”, quoted in “Demon Possession & The Christian” by C. Fred Dickason.)
He also wrote:
“If a person’s grandfather, for example, was a spiritist or a magician, then not only his children but sometimes both his grandchildren and great-grandchildren can be born with mediumistic tendencies. Later, if one of his descendants is converted, his mediumistic abilities may suddenly disappear, although in about half the cases they usually remain. That means that a Christian can have mediumistic abilities without really knowing it.” (Kurt E. Koch, Occult Bondage and Deliverance)
The source of mediumistic abilities is demonic.
In Merrill Unger’s “Demons in the World Today”, a Christian, reads:
“… It is possible for a believer to experience severe demon influence or obsession if he persistently yields to demonic temptation and sin… in lands where demon-energized idolatry has flourished unchecked by the gospel for ages, new believers who were delivered from demon possession have been known to become repossessed [demonized] when they return to their old idols. The testimonies of numerous missionaries in pagan areas support this evidence.” (Merrill Unger, Demons in the World Today)
John Ankerberg and John Weldon, very well researched Christians, wrote:
“In talking with many responsible individuals who counsel in this area and from reading on both sides of this issue, we conclude from our own limited perspective that it is possible for a Christian to be demonized….” (John Ankerberg, John Weldon. The Coming Darkness, pg. 308)
Kent Philpott, Pastor and counselor, stated:
“It has been my experience that Christians have become demon-possessed through involvement with the occult or by harboring and entertaining sin or a desire for sin. In my ministry to Christians who have been demon-possessed I have noticed that it is common for the demon to hide in order to escape detection. But when the believer starts to grow and draw close to Jesus, the demon will become more active and noticeable….”(Kent Philpott, A Manual of Demonology and the Occult. Quoted in “Demon Possession & The Christian” by C. Fred Dickason.)
Dr. C. Fred Dickason, former Professor of Theology and author, wrote:
“I have encountered from 1974 to 1987 at least 400 cases of those who were genuine Christians who were also demonized. I am not gullible or easily convinced. My background is in engineering, theology, and New Testament. For twenty-six years I have taught Bible and theology (including angelology) and counseled Christians and non-Christians. I would not claim infallible judgment, but I know the marks of a Christian and the marks of a demonized person. I might have been wrong in a case or so, but I cannot conceive that I would be wrong in more than 400 cases…” (Demon Possession & the Christian by C. Fred Dickason).
Casting Demons Out of New Christians in the Early Church
It seemed to be a common practice to practice deliverance on new Christians in the early church. Just before their baptism, many of the new believers went through a time of “deliverance ministry,” when a church leader would cast out any demon present in their lives. This is well documented by two excerpts from the Apostolic Tradition, a set of traditions preserved by Hippolytus of Rome (A.D. 170-235). The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus is “the most illuminating single source of evidence extant of the inner life and religious polity of the early Christian church” according to the editor of the English edition of the Apostolic Tradition. It reads:
“Moreover, from the day they were chosen, let a hand be laid on them and let them be exorcised [exorkizein] daily. And when the day draws near on which they are to be baptized, let the bishop himself exorcise each one of them, that he may be certain that he is purified” (20.3).
“But if there is one who is not purified let him be put on one side because he did not hear the word of instruction with faith. For the evil and strange spirit remained with him” (20.4).
The church leader performing the baptism also performed deliverance or expelled the demon(s) out of the person. The leader would anoint the person with what they called the oil of exorcism and say, “Let all evil spirits depart from thee” (21.10).
In the following quote, Tertullian, writing about 200 A.D., commented in his writing De Spectaculis that a believer had a demon:
“Why may not those who go into the temptations of the show become accessible also to evil spirits? We have the case of the woman—the Lord Himself is witness—who went to the theatre, and came back possessed. In the outcasting, accordingly, when the unclean creature was upbraided with having dared to attack a believer, he firmly replied,“And in truth I did it most righteously, for I found her in my domain.” Another case, too, is well known, in which a woman had been hearing a tragedian, and on the very night she saw in her sleep a linen cloth—the actor’s name being mentioned at the same time with strong disapproval—and five days after that woman was no more. How many other undoubted proofs we have had in the case of persons who, by keeping company with the devil in the shows, have fallen from the Lord! For no one can serve two masters. What fellowship has light with darkness, life with death?” (Chapter XXVI, bold mine).
Belief in the Demonization of Christians in the Early Church
There are more examples that underscore the fact that it has been widely believed in the early church that Christians can be demonized or inhabited by demons.
Perhaps the earliest testimony comes from Hermas (c. A.D. 100 – 150):
“He cannot oppress God’s servants who hope in him with all their heart. The devil can wrestle with them, but he cannot throw and pin them. So, if you resist him, he will be defeated and flee from you in disgrace. But those who are empty fear the devil, as if he had power…. So also the devil comes to all God’s servants to tempt them. All those who are full in the faith resist him mightily, and he leaves them alone, because he finds no place [topos] where he can gain entrance. So then he comes to those who are partially empty, and finding a place he enters them, and then he does what he wants with them, and they become enslaved to him” (Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 12.5, bold mine).
Hermas clearly thought of the possibility that a Christian could be demonized.
Origen (c. A.D. 185-254), was an important church leader. He actually mentioned that believers have the authority to cast a demon out of themselves. He notes, “Anyone who vanquishes a demon in himself, e.g. the demon of lewdness, puts it out of action; the demon is cast into the abyss, and cannot do any harm to anyone” (Homily on Joshua 15.5).
Cyprian (A.D. 200-258), was bishop of the church in Carthage, North Africa. In a letter he wrote to a church leader, Magnus, he relates the struggle sometimes for deliverance ministers in trying to secure deliverance for new believers (the catechumens): “and although he [the demon] often says that he is going out, and will leave the men of God, yet in that which he says deceives, and puts in practice what was before done by Pharoah with the same obstinate and fraudulent deceit” (Epistles 75.15, bold mine).
Cyprian also notes that Christians can be demonized if they yield to sin: “some of those who are baptized in health, if subsequently they begin to sin, are shaken by the return of the unclean spirit, so that it is manifest that the devil is driven out in baptism by the fath of the believer, and returns if the faith afterwards shall fail” (Epistles 75.16).
Another ancient writer, often associated with Clement of Rome (lived near the end of the first century), said to healthy believers “to visit those who are harassed by evil spirits, and pray and pronounce exorcisms over them.” The context is clear that the people who receive this deliverance are other Christians: “In this way let us approach a brother or a sister who is sick.” The writer then said, “Let this man cast out demons and God will help him” (Clement of Rome, Two Epistles Concerning Virginity).
One text from the Clementine literature reveals a belief that a Christian not walking in faith may be indwelt by a demon:
“Therefore the demons themselves, knowing the amount of faith of those of whom they take possession, measure their stay proportionately. Wherefore they stay permanently with the unbelieving, tarry for a while with the weak in faith; but with those who thoroughly believe, and who do good, they cannot remain even for a moment…. The labor, therefore, of everyone is to be solicitous about the putting to flight of his own demon” (Clementine Homilies 9.11, see also Recognitions 4.17).
The Apostolic Constitutions (c. 300s), a collection of church practices and regulations from Syria, reflects the deliverance practices performed during the time of training for new Christians, thus further illustrating the Apostolic Tradition that was mentioned earlier: “Ye energumens, afflicted with unclean spirits, pray, and let us all earnestly pray for them, that God, the lover of mankind, will by Christ rebuke the unclean and wicked spirits and deliver His supplicants from the dominion of the adversary” (Apostolic Constitutions 8.6). The people who sought baptism, the church insisted that they completely renounce all occultic practices. This was important for “a sodomite, an effeminate person, a magician, an enchanter, an astrologer, a diviner, an user of magic verses, a juggler [trickster], a mounteback [dealer in spiritistic medicines], one that makes amulets, a charmer, a soothsayer, a fortune-teller, an observer of palmistry” (Apostolic Constitutions 8.32). There was an assumption that anyone engaging in these sorts of practices may be demonized: “if anyone has a demon, let him indeed be taught piety, but not received into communion before he be cleansed; yet if death be near, let him be received” (Apostolic Constitutions 8.32). The document also prohibits a demonized Christian from becoming a leader in the church: “If any one has a demon, let him not be made one of the clergy. Nay, let him not pray with the faithful; but when he is cleansed, let him be received; and if he be worthy, let him be ordained” (Apostolic Canons 79).
There could be more cited from the church leaders of the first three hundred years of the Christian movement. These examples should be enough to show that there was indeed a geographically widespread belief that Christians could be demonized.
The Assumption of the Impossibility Christians Can be Demonized
The most common argument I have heard that it is impossible for a Christian to be demonized is that the Holy Spirit and an evil spirit can’t dwell in the same temple. Is such an assumption really valid? There is no scripture that explicitly supports an assumption.
In the Old Testament, God’s temple had three main sections: the outer court, the Holy place, and the Holy of Holies. When King Josiah renewed the covenant with God, he found an amazing assortment of abominations in the temple, which included items used in the worship of Baal, Asherah, and the host of heaven. He also discovered an Asherah pole, rooms for the male cult prostitutes operating in the temple, and altars dedicated to other gods (2 Kings 23). Another example is the prophet Ezekiel who dug a hole in the wall of God’s temple and saw “every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about” (Ezekiel 8:10). The spirit behind idols are demons (Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalms 106:36-38; 1 Corinthians 10:19-20). There were demons in God’s temple! So why would it be impossible for demons to dwell in a Christian’s body which is also God’s temple (1 Corinthians. 3:16)?
In Psalms, God’s Spirit is present in hell or sheol (of course He would be since God is omnipresent, right?), the most wicked place in existence.
The Bible reads, “7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalm 139:7-8).
If God’s spirit is there then why would it be impossible for an evil spirit to exist in a Christian’s body? Also, in Jeremiah 23:24 it reads God fills the earth but we know satan roams the earth (Job 1:7).
What place is the holiest place in all existence? How about God’s throne room in heaven? The most wicked entity of all existence, Satan, shows up in God’s presence. The Bible reads:
“6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it…..12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:6-7,12).
If the prince of darkness can show up in the presence of the most holiest Being then why would it be impossible for an evil spirit to dwell inside the body of a Christian?
While we are on the Book of Job, it is likely a spirit of infirmity inflicted Job. If God can allow Satan to inflict Job who was righteous and upright then how is it impossible for Christians to also not to be inflicted?
The Bible is clear that the power of sin can inhabit a Christian’s body and exert a powerful influence that Paul said it can “reign” (Romans 6:12-13). Why are some people dogmatic that another form of evil influence cannot dwell there, namely an evil spirit?
Deliverance is the Children’s Bread
Jesus delivers a person’s child who wasn’t a Jew or a child of Abraham. Jesus said deliverance is for the lost sheep of Israel. It is the children’s bread:
“21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:21-28).
In fact, a lot of times it wouldn’t make much sense to pray for deliverance for unbelievers because once they fall back into sin the demons will just come right back and possibly be left off in a worse condition than before. In Matthew 12:45 Jesus said speaking about an evil spirit, “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.“
In the following, a daughter of Abraham is freed from a spirit of infirmity that Satan has bound for years. The Bible reads:
“11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13)
Not everyone is a child of Abraham, Jesus called certain people children of the devil (John 8:44). Aren’t Christians children of Abraham through Christ (Galatians 3:29)? So it would be possible for a Christian to be plagued by a spirit of infirmity.
Let’s move on. The miracle of the discerning of spirits is given to the body of Christ. But what purpose is the discerning of spirits if it weren’t used for the body of Christ? The Bible reads:
“7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:7-12).
Biblical Passages That Seem to Read Christians or Believers Can be Indwelt With a Demon
It reads that Paul himself had a demon indwelt in his body. Yes, I know there are different interpretations for the following scripture but if one reads it at face value it really does read Paul had a demon in his body.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger [angel] of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7, emphasis mine).
According to Strong’s Concordance, a messenger can literally be an angel, and the vast majority of times it is translated as “angel”. So God allowed an angel of Satan to dwell in the flesh of Paul to buffet him.
God used Paul to perform extraordinary miracles in Ephesus (Acts 19:11). These manifestations of God’s power included healings and expelling demons: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). But Paul’s deliverance ministry was after explaining “that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).
It is quite likely that many of the new believers in Christ would have experienced a ministry of deliverance by Paul.
More passages that seem that is possible for a Christian to be demonized:
Matthew 16:22-23; Mark 8:31-33 The Lord Jesus rebuked Satan who spoke through Peter.
Luke 9:52-56 Jesus said to James and John, “…you know not what spirit you are of“
Acts 5:3 Satan “filled the hearts” of two believers of Jesus to lie to the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:13, 20-24 Simon, a believer in Jesus, needed deliverance from the occult.
1 Cor. 5:1-5 Speaks of a believer seemed to be filled with a spirit of lust and as a result, delivered over to Satan.
2 Cor. 2:10-11 It is possible for Satan can “get advantage” over a believer.
2 Corinthians 11:4 Paul warns believers about receiving “another spirit.” If it is not the Holy Spirit then it must be of the devil. And if it were impossible for Christians to receive another spirit then why would Paul warn them about it?
Galatians 3:1 The apostle Paul rebukes believers for being “bewitched.”
1 Timothy 1:19-20 It reads of two believers who were given over to Satan.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 Believers in Jesus can be snared and taken captive by the devil.
Ephesians 4:25-27 Lying and anger can “give place” or a “foothold” to the devil in a Christian’s life. The words “give place” or “foothold” is translated from the Greek word “topos“, which can mean an inhabited space.
I don’t believe demons can possess – that is, have full ownership of a Christian. But when a born again Christian willfully and habitually practices sin I believe the person is leaving doors wide open for demons to possibly inhabit the person. Such a person will need to repent and to have the demons cast out. Also, people who were involved in sins such as practicing the occult, or involved in heavy drug use, which opened the doors for demonization may carry over into their Christian life. Indeed, just because a person becomes a Christian doesn’t always mean the demons he or she allowed in prior to conversion immediately comes out. Such a person may also need to have the demons cast out. God doesn’t usually supernaturally heal people from all the consequences of their sins (e.g., STDs) once they convert. So why expect God will always expel demons from people the moment they convert? People with previous drug or sexual addictions may continue to suffer the normal consequences of their activities or continue to struggle with an addiction for years. But as the new converts grow in the Lord and become strong Christians, these problems are successfully dealt with. And this can be the case with demonization.
Why do some people argue adamantly that Christians can never be demonized? There are several reasons. The very idea can be emotionally disturbing and upsetting. There is the issue of personal pride and/or professional reputation which, in an environment where the very idea may be ridiculed, can make it hard for someone to seriously consider the possibility. Further, in the West, we simply do not have the kind of experience Christians have in countries (such as Haiti and Subsaharan African countries) where there are widespread and extensive pagan and occult practices that lead to demonization. As a result, most in the West are unprepared to deal with what we have never encountered. It can also be the person is demonized himself and the demons are influencing the person to believe a Christian can never be demonized.
It is far more detrimental to the Body of Christ to believe it is impossible for a Christian to be demonized than to believe it is possible for a Christian to be demonized. If the belief that a Christian can’t be demonized is wrong (and it is wrong) then that leaves many Christians without a remedy plagued with issues that exist because of demonization.
Ensign and Howe commented:
“Many of the people we have worked with have admitted they had problems in various parts of their mental, moral, physical, and spiritual life; but they never identified that behavior with demonic control until they were actually tested by the Lord and His servants. Many think that these severe difficulties which they must fight against as Christians are just a part of their personality, inherited traits, or the way they happen to function. But compulsive and/or irrational behavior which is immoral or which constantly defeats the witness and integrity of the children of God is almost always evidence of either demonic harassment (external) or demonic control (internal). Among such “normal” and accepted problems may be fear, rage, anger, pride, confusion of the mind, lust, sex, homosexuality, temper, lying, gluttony, depression, resentment, infirmity, sickness, inferiority complex, and others” (quoted in “Demon Possession & The Christian” by C. Fred Dickason).
I have encountered Christians who were demonized that couldn’t get any help in churches because of the entrenched belief it is impossible for a Christian to be demonized. If such churches had discernment they would have known the root of the issue and dealt with it accordingly. But how is it detrimental to the Body of Christ to have the belief a Christian can be demonized?
There are several ways demons can get into a Christian’s life, even to the point of demonization. Click here for more information.