The Demon Debate

Back in March when we published author John Eckhardt's article, "Can a Christian Have a Demon?" I didn't expect it to trigger an avalanche of negative comments. Yet as soon as the magazine arrived in homes, my mailbox was jammed. (Hint: When you discuss the issue of demons, don't be surprised if all hell breaks loose!)

Charisma subscribers used fairly rough language to describe Eckhardt's position on the subject. They described his message as "flawed theology," "junk," "crock" and words I can't repeat here. Whoever says Christians aren't passionate about what they believe should spend a day going through my in-box!

Eckhardt believes that most Christians need deliverance when they first come to the Lord. That's why he makes sure every person who is born again at his church in Chicago goes through intense prayer ministry. Whether the people were involved in drugs, immorality or occult practices, Eckhardt and his team pray for wounded hearts and cast out devils so everyone can enjoy the freedom Christ purchased for us.

That sounds good to me. Yet judging by the negative response we received, many charismatics don't believe deliverance ministry is necessary--or biblical. They maintain that when a new believer is converted and baptized, demonic forces automatically leave because God's Spirit can't coexist with darkness.

The tension is really about terminology. We're arguing about whether demons "oppress" or "possess" believers. Can't we meet in the middle and find a healthy balance?

I don't believe Christians can be "possessed." God's Spirit lives in our spirits. Yet I do believe demons can influence us in the soul realm if we've given them an open door through sin.

Of course we receive total forgiveness at the moment of conversion. Yet I know I did not find victory over certain sinful habits until years after I made Jesus the Lord of my life. Sanctification is complete at the moment we find Christ, yet we must also walk it out. It's a process.

That means that a person (yes, even a pastor!) may realize that they need deliverance years after their initial encounter with Jesus. This does not minimize God's saving grace. On the contrary, it makes me more thankful for the Holy Spirit's ongoing power to break the chains of my bondage.

On the flip side, those of us who see the value of deliverance ministry need to avoid its pitfalls. I know people who veered off track and ended up in serious deception after they began seeing demons behind every bush. Don't go there.

If deliverance is not kept in proper perspective, it can lead to an unhealthy focus on Satan. And if we blame demons for our failures, people in our churches won't take responsibility for their sins. (Note: "The devil made me do it" is not in any version of the Bible.)

We also need to hold those in deliverance ministry to high standards. I know an "evangelist" whose public deliverance sessions are nothing more than publicity stunts. Those who sensationalize this ministry by using barf bags or Exorcist-style stage antics would do us all a favor by closing down their sideshows immediately.

We're in a spiritual war, and deliverance is a powerful weapon. But let's keep the focus on the One who sets us free.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Chuck Pierce is calling the month ahead "critical."

    Chuck Pierce Prophesies 'Short, 10-Year Window' in the Nations

    Russia is a big part of what he sees.

  • Warring angels

    Prophetic Word: 'I Saw Angels at Almost the Speed of Light'

    Here is why you must pray them through for yourself and for your nation.

  • Cindy Jacobs is encouraging intercessors across the country to pray to keep the nation stabilized through December 19th.

    Cindy Jacobs Issues Critical Post-Election Prayer Alert

    Will you keep watching and praying?

  • Get the answer to your challenging circumstance in this insight from James 1:5.

    Early Warning Signs You're About to Make a Terrible Decision

    Is Holy Spirit sounding off these alarms in your life?

  • This revivalist had a vision of hell.

    Revivalist: I Went to Hell in a Dream

    After God took him on a prophetic journey, John Burton left with an important message for the ...

  • Don't let pornography impede God's plan for your life.

    How Watching Pornography Ruins the Destiny God Has for You

    If the devil can seduce you, he can reduce you.

  • Prophetic worshipper

    Prophetic Worshipper Kim Clement Passes Into Glory

    The prophetic worshipper has experienced health issues, including a brain bleed, for more than a ...

  • Victory not defeat

    Satan's Greatest Lie That Leads to Your Greatest Defeat

    Hint: Stop perpetuating this with your own mouth. It's a huge part of the battle.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit