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Monday, February 11, 2013

Recent Trends in Protestant Deliverance


If you have a deliverance story that you would like to share, please contact me by email. I would love to hear it.

In my most recent post, I wrote about the Catholic approach to exorcism as described in the book Hostage to the Devil, written by a former priest who is now an author on Catholic clerical topics. This post is taken from a CD set by Mark Virkler and from various other sources, including past conversations and books that are referenced in other of my blog posts. The Catholic method is very ritualistic, utilizing a crucifix, candles, a prayer book, and holy water. The priest wears certain garments and has a specialized team, thus only men actually perform the ritual. And it works if done right.

The Protestants can be men or women, clergy or lay person. There are no special garments, holy objects, or ritualized prayer (in most cases). The exorcists or deliverers come armed with the Bible, either in hand to be read or in their memories, and a confidence that the name of Jesus or the blood of Jesus has power to evict the entity. As with the priests, they know that although they don’t have to be sinless (since no one is), they do need to be in current right relationship with God lest they themselves be attacked. This method also works.

In both cases the deliverance may take minutes, hours, or even days. In the case of Claudia King, a lone woman who was a prayer warrior but not an ordained minister cast some serious demons out of Claudia King (post 1-14-12). It took about six hours, and Claudia was unconscious most of that time. Even the Apostles of Jesus Christ were stumped by one deliverance. It must have been a doozy, because Jesus said that with some possessions, the deliverance would require additional prayer and fasting, (Matt. 17:21).

In both cases, at some point the demon may engage in communication with the exorcist. In severe cases, there may be growls, threats, levitation, or physical attack. One Lutheran pastor handed a metal cross to his petit little client, and she bent it with her bare hands. She spoke in a male voice and affirmed that her master was Satan. However, that demon didn’t seem too anxious to return to where it came from. There are often pleas for mercy and an expression that the entity does not know where to go.

Some Protestant ministers today feel they have found some keys that shorten the procedure. They have also changed the terminology they use. Rather than say ‘demon possessed,’ they use the term ‘demonized,’ which they feel is a better translation of the original Greek term from the New Testament. That covers the whole range of torments such as the obsessive fear that gripped Charles Osborne to the raving possession in Hostage to the Devil.

A recent CD set by Dr. Mark Virkler called Prayers That Heal the Heart, (“prayer counseling that breaks every yoke”) lays out a series of prayers in which the client participates. Normally these are not people who are going to float off the ground or attack the minister. They are Christians who feel locked into certain attitudes and obsessions that are negatively impacting their lives. They may feel that they have been dogged for years by some intangible negative energy or thoughts that send ripples of frustration to those in their sphere of influence.

Whether the minister is Catholic or Protestant, whether the seeker is raving possessed or ‘oppressed’ due to unresolved issues in their past, the deliverance is greatly aided by the willing participation of the victim. Getting them to reject the works of the devil is half the battle. And they must be willing to fill the new void with something positive. They must change their life, and they should fill their life, so recently freed from Satan’s kingdom, with the Kingdom of God. If Jesus Christ is their deliverer, they should acknowledge that and accept Him as Savior if they haven’t already.

Virkler begins with a prayer to break what the lingo today calls ‘generational curses.’ There are two sources for this phrase. One is Numbers 14:18, “'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” I know, that sounds mean and capricious of God. But I think what is happening there is that the ancient theologians noticed that there are trends in families, both spiritual and cultural, that persist for at least the four visible generations of their own lifetime. They see a family that is not dedicated to God but rather to sin. The Patriarch’s influence is so strong that if he is a ‘son of belial’ (a mean son of a dog) his whole family will be affected. Likely, his sons will follow his value pattern and behavior. The consequences are usually negative. Bad things often result from a destructive lifestyle, both to the Patriarch and to the children. That doesn’t mean that God is punishing or cursing them. It simply means that God has been locked out of the family and he really can’t barge in and help. The family is unprotected. The thugs and gangs of the cosmos are free to wreak their havoc.

The other source comes from my study of the paranormal. Anyone familiar with paranormal activity, which has nothing at all to do with the Kingdom of God, recognizes that alien abductions cross at least 3 or 4 generations. As I’ve pointed out before, children are not exempt. If a child is not dedicated to God, the cosmic predators can claim them, and they do. The same goes for a family steeped in psychic traditions or cultic activities like voodoo. The associated spirits start with the babies to train them and quite literally call them into service. No one can stop that process. Only God can intervene, but not without permission. If spirits have been somehow invited into a family line, someone must stop the legal claim that the negative entities feel they have on the members. It’s really hard, if not impossible, to kick the devil out if you don’t invite God in.

Other prayers in Virkler’s methodology require that the person allow some probing to see what negative pictures they have of themselves and what negative actions they have taken in their lives as a result. After that, he proceeds with the actual prayer of healing and deliverance. I would add that in one completely separate case, a man’s deliverance was delayed until he went home and apologized to his sister for raping her in their youth. He was delivered the next night at a Christian conference.

The question may arise, why don’t the exorcists wind up demon possessed. The answer is that they are shielded, as in Psalm 91:1. They dwell in the secret place of protection in the Kingdom of God. God Himself is their shield and weapon, and his ‘feathers’ (metaphorically speaking) cover them like the loving wings of a mother bird. A really big, loving bird. That does not mean that they don’t feel the warfare in which they engage or that nothing bad will ever happen to them. But Satan cannot just form a weapon or a plan against them and carry it out. The Kingdom of God in the minister is greater than the dark Kingdom working in the heart of the victim or client. Let me close with the words of Jesus found in a passage from Matthew 13:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;
46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.