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Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

A Christian web-site, a Centre Director and a former spiritualist give views on the sometimes-controversial question of whether or not Christians can be demon-possessed, and the extent to which local churches are equipped to minister to those whose lives are afflicted by demonic activity.
 


Ellel MinistriesMartin Knapp is Centre Director of Ellel Grange, the HQ of Ellel Ministries International. He speaks on the work of Ellel Ministries is assisting believers and churches to address the issues affecting Christian lives through negative spiritual issues.

headphonesListen to a short interview in which Martin addresses the question and speaks about how Ellel Ministries seeks to assist believers and churches in addressing the problems arising from demonic activity and involvement.

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Laura MaxwellLaura Maxwell
is a former spiritualist whose mother tragically committed suicide as a result of demonic activities brought about by involvement in a spiritualist church. A transcript of Laura's testimony can be found elsewhere on Christians Together.


The following video is a brief excerpt taken from a recent video interview which Laura gave to Christians Together and produced the Thistle Channel TV. The interview was based on her life experience and and book 'A Spiritual Quest'.


Laura Maxwell (extract) from thistlechannel.tv on Vimeo.



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The article below is taken (with permission) from the GotQuestions web site.


Question:

"Can a Christian be demon possessed? Can a Christian be demonized?"

Answer:

While Bible does not explicitly state whether a Christian can be possessed by a demon, related biblical truths make it abundantly clear that Christians cannot be demon possessed. There is a distinct difference between being possessed by a demon and being oppressed or influenced by a demon. Demon possession involves a demon having direct/complete control over the thoughts and/or actions of a person (Matthew 17:14-18; Luke 4:33-35; 8:27-33). Demon oppression or influence involves a demon or demons attacking a person spiritually and/or encouraging him/her into sinful behavior. Notice that in all the New Testament passages dealing with spiritual warfare, there are no instructions to cast a demon out of a believer (Ephesians 6:10-18). Believers are told to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9), not to cast him out.

Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves. The apostle John declares, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is the One in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is the one in the world? Satan and his demons. Therefore, the believer has overcome the world of demons, and the case for demon possession of a believer cannot be made scripturally.

With the strong biblical evidence that a Christian cannot be demon possessed in view, some Bible teachers use the term “demonization” to refer to a demon having control over a Christian. Some argue that while a Christian cannot be demon possessed, a Christian can be demonized. Typically, the description of demonization is virtually identical to the description of demon possession. So, the same issue results. Changing the terminology does not change the fact that a demon cannot inhabit or take full control of a Christian. Demonic influence and oppression are realities for Christians, no doubt, but it is simply not biblical to say that a Christian can be possessed by a demon or demonized.

Much of the reasoning behind the demonization concept is the personal experience of seeing someone who was “definitely” a Christian exhibiting evidence of being controlled by a demon. It is crucially important, though, that we do not allow personal experience to influence our interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we must filter our personal experiences through the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Seeing someone whom we thought to be a Christian exhibiting the behavior of being demonized should cause us to question the genuineness of his/her faith. It should not cause us alter our viewpoint on whether a Christian can be demon possessed / demonized. Perhaps the person truly is a Christian but is severely demon oppressed and/or suffering from severe psychological problems. But again, our experiences must meet the test of Scripture, not the other way around.



Footnotes:
blairmorehouseEllel Ministries has centres throughout Scotland and offers courses and assistance to churches and individuals in addressing the range of issues impacting on the lives of Christians including that of demonic influences.
Healing retreats are free of charge and are offered by all the Ellel Centres including Blairmore House which is situation near Huntly in the north of Scotland.

Anna and ColinWatch an interview with Anna Wood who, along with her husband Malcolm, is a director of Ellel Scotland.
In the interview Anna speaks of the facilities offered at Blairmore House in terms of Healing Retreats and a programme of care for church leaders called 'Operation Blairmore.


Laura and ColinLaura Maxwell. Another short interview with Laura can be seen at Thistle Channel web site along with details of how to purchase Laura's semi-autobiographical book 'A Spiritual Quest'.

Christians Together and friends, 20/10/2010

Feedback:
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John Wilson (Guest) 24/10/2010 21:27
Saten and demons are a very controversial and sensitive topic within the church and yet also a very important one because all Christians agree that Saten and, his angels are real and they attack Gods people.

“Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves. The apostle John declares, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is the One in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is the one in the world? Satan and his demons. Therefore, the believer has overcome the world of demons, and the case for demon possession of a believer cannot be made scripturally.”

Whilst I unequivocally accept it is both biblical and true that a born again Christian is the temple of the holy spirit I reject the “therefore” drawn conclution that has been added to this truth. It is an attractive idea which saten would loves us to believe but it is merely based on a faulty assumption that has (in my opinion) no foundation or support from Scripture. I firmly believe in the Sovrienty and Goodness of God yet there are instances in Scripture where God allows young children to be possessed and controlled by demons however unfathomable and difficult that may be for us to understand and comprehend, its in the Bible!

“Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves.”

This is not true, we still have the sinful nature Paul talks about the law within his members at war against the spirit. And he talks about how the battleground is in the mind. We have three enemies not two. The world the flesh and the devil and they work together.
To avoid any misunderstanding I will clarify up front that I believe it is impossible for a Christian to be demonically possessed! A Christian may be demonically oppressed but they will always be holy-spirit possessed. We can be influenced and controlled by satens fiery darts of accusation, temptation and deception but never owned. Christ is our master and Saten can do nothing about our salvation which belongs to God! (no one can snatch out of my hand.) Even so it is a common missunderstanding that “possession” equates to ownership when it doesn’t. someone might be in possession of my car because I let him but it dosn’t mean he owns it.

1) Paul described our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit Yet to prevent Paul from becoming conceited because of the greatness of his revelations he was given a messenger of Satan to torment him. (We cannot know how this angel physically manifested but Paul described it as a thorn in his flesh. We know that Paul was flogged and beaten for his testimony yet Paul himself identifies this particular physical burden (probably his poor eyesight) as having a spiritual source. He tells us quite clearly his thorn was a messenger of saten and aknowleges in Ephesians the fact that indeed 'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Q. Why would Paul ask to be “delivered” of this “thorn” three times if a Christian’s body (holy temple) is Immune to satanic infiltration? “and it was because of the greatness of his revelations. Who gave him this thorn?

2) “No man can serve two masters” yet conveniently most avoid the rest of that verse which reads “for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. That’s the point! An unclean spirit is unwanted and despised by the Christian and must be cast out with the authority our master has given us. A Christians body belongs to Christ and is the temple of his holy Spirit! An unclean spirit is an intruder and thief, come to steal kill, and destroy the Christians life and witness for Jesus. Cast out means to vomit out or throw out violently with disgust. “And these things will follow them that believe in my name they will cast out demons.”

Q Why cast out an unclean spirit from an unbeliever who isn’t filled with the spirit or ready to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour? According to Jesus himself that person would end up in an even worse condition than before Mathew 12:43.

Therefore one must conclude that deliverance is for the believer, brings glory to God and is a positive thing for the edification of the church.

3) Pauls master was Christ, and no doubt he was a very Godly apostle abundant in the fruits and gifts of the spirit. Yet Paul was humble enough to admit there were areas in his life where his will was overcome and his ordinary Christian discipline would not suffice. He wrote “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner most being. But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched Man who will deliver me from this body of death.” He continues “for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I Hate. For I have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out. So it is no longer I that do it but sin dwells in me.

Q. Paul says sin dwells in me. If sin can dwell/Live in the temple of God where the Holy Spirit also dwells and the scripture cannot be broken. Then where in the scriptures do some teachers base this doctrine that nothing unclean can dwell in the temple of God? I would suggest It is neither biblical nor logical to conclude that sin can indeed dwell where the Holy Spirit is, but unclean spirits that gain footholds through habitual sin cannot? That would be inconsisten.

4 )Paul continues “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelles in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” This scripture is a warning that it is indeed possible for the temple of God to be defiled! Paul would not have warned us if it were not so. This stands opposed to the added teaching that nothing unclean can dwell in the same place as the holy spirit. Notice how Paul says “which temple ye are!” therefore one must conclude his warning is addressed to the believer who is born again and has already received the Holy Spirit.

5) The bible teaches that we have the mind of Christ. In fact the bible commands us to love God with all our mind. Yet paul teaches us that the mind is the battle ground. The enemy plants thoughts in our minds “get behind thee saten” obviously this does not mean we need deliverance but it demonstrates how the holy spirit and saten are operating in the same place. Saten was in the same house as Jesus when speaking through Peter. And was present before God in the book of Job.

I became a Christian seven years ago but a 2 years after becoming a Christian I suffered a breakup in relationship. After a few years the Holy Spirit convicted me that I was holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness and I was also looking at pornography. After alot of brokenness and prayer I found myself at a Christian retreat. When I confessed to God publically and repented of my habitual sin my arms and legs Locked into place I could feel them trying to attack the people around me. My mouth started to foam and I started laughing randomly and then I was shouting death threats to people around me and acting out totally contrary to my will all the while being conscious of what was going on with no control over my speach. The Woman who was praying whispered in my ear “John you need to repent of Murder” It was a shock to me but I managed to cry out to God and an evil Spirit was cast out of me. Following deliverance I experienced peace that surpasses all understanding like the time when I gave my life to christ at a communion service. But that wasn’t the end. The next evening I went forward for prayer. I repented of habitual sin (bitterness) fear of the paranormal that had lay dormant since my childhood involvement in witchcraft which had all of a sudden come to the foreground following the previous night experience. After hearing and believing that I had not been given a spirit of Fear but of power, More unclean Spirits were cast out.

I thought I would never experience that kind of thing again, but only this last year I was praying against condemming thoughts whilst doing an evangelistic outreach concert, and while I was praying along with the pastor and his wife I felt Gods presence very strongly, I fell to the floor and the pastor cast out a Spirit of condemnation. Whilst quoting Nehemiah “I will break the Yoke of the Assyrian

“It is crucially important, though, that we do not allow personal experience to influence our interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we must filter our personal experiences through the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). psychological problems. But again, our experiences must meet the test of Scripture, not the other way around.

I totally agree fully with this but the problem is the arctical assumes that the scriptures are in agreement with its assumptions on demon possession when they are clearly not and affirm the opposite (my opinion)

Most Christians I have spoken to outside of the pentacostal churches have never experienced deliverance so many will question mine, some will understand because they have experienced the same thing. Some will argue that I was never a Christian to begin with. God will decide.

John
Martin Lisemore 24/10/2010 22:35
I'm going to read and re-read what you say and get back to you on this, John.

Reason? I go with you!
Editor 24/10/2010 23:12
Just to point out that the word 'possessed' as it appears in scripture implies 'indwelling' or 'ownership'. The Greek word (daimonizomai) is perhaps better translated as 'demonized' .
John wilson (Guest) 25/10/2010 00:16
I would recomend the following artical definitly worth reading.

http://helpmewithbiblestudy.org/6Angels/FallenAngelsChristianDemon_Payne.aspx


Editor 25/10/2010 09:08
Just to point out that the word 'possessed' as it appears in scripture implies 'indwelling' or 'ownership'. The Greek word (daimonizomai) is perhaps better translated as 'demonized'.
Martin Lisemore 25/10/2010 10:07
This is an issue which has divided Christians for fifty years, and I'm not about to widen that divide. Better to heal it.

Given I am a Charismatic/Pentecostal Christian, I guess I should take the 'company line.' For the most part I do, having first satisfied myself of the Scriptural position.

Without going into reams of quotes, I see a clear Biblical mandate; Christians may be possessed/oppressed by demonic spirits and we have the authority of Jesus to deal with it.

Yet to run around casting out such filthy creatures wherever we find them doesn't appear to be Jesus' way. He was selective; a given, many people are comfortable in their way of life, accepting of such controlling forces.

We would do well to remember, this is a Living Word and not a dead letter sealed in stone; God's Word is settled in Heaven; therefore all of it is true for all time, and beyond.

Yet the Holy Spirit reserves unto Himself the right to guide, speak, lead, as shown in the New Testament. He it is who shows us who to serve, and in what fashion. If the required service is outside the bounds of Scripture, then it is not the Holy Spirit leading us.

A Word of Knowledge or Wisdom to us, reveals a hidden truth we could not otherwise know. He takes us to places he has already ploughed and tilled. Then we may labour in that field and produce fruit.

The popular image of a Preacher wrestling with demons during a meeting, rising after many hours labour, victorious like George slaying the dragon, may make fine TV, and indeed be sensational. I would just challenge whether such exorcisms are valid if the Holy Spirit has not lead the preacher to serve in that way with that person. If the field hasn't first been ploughed and tilled, no point in sowing seed.

Jesus' words about casting out a demon, and seven more occupy the premises illustrates my point. Graphically, the Holy Spirit must fill the void left by demons, else the person's condition is worse than before. Surely that is our objective.

OK, in a nutshell, yes, demon oppression/possession is valid, and real. But we may only apply the remedy under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or we could end up doing the devil's work and not that of our Master.




Peter Carr 27/10/2010 17:50
"Just to point out that the word 'possessed' as it appears in scripture implies 'indwelling' or 'ownership'. The Greek word (daimonizomai) is perhaps better translated as 'demonized'."

So, which one describes the Todd Bentley situation?

John wilson (Guest) 27/10/2010 22:26
I would hope that most discerning Christians would see that Todd Bentley is a showman and a false teacher preaching a different Jesus.

Whether Todd Bentley is demonized or possessed doesn’t really matter, he’s playing for the other team.
Christians who have been deceived (if that were possible) and received “impartation” should test the spirit.

There is some debate on this but The Corinthian believers, who had been walking in "purity of devotion" to Christ, had foolishly "received a spirit other than the one they had received" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

If Todd Bently Genuinely believes the supposed “miracles” to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Then it should be noted that one of the marks of a false teacher according to second Peter and Jude is that they Slander Satan and demons while unknowingly being controlled by them. This is something Todd Bentley does alot and something that not even Michael the Archangel will do in the presence of God.

Peter 2:10
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.e 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! (2 Peter 2:10)

The very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. (Jude 8-10)

However If a Genuine Christian has an unclean spirit they will repent and seek deliverance ( if required) because the Holy Spirit lives in them and will lovingly convicts them.

Todd Bentley however shows no sign of repentece, or humility and appears to affectionately embrace his sin publically. (If I am not mistaken the last I heard was He is continuing in ministry while openly having an affair)

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him (1 John 3.6).

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Can a Christian be demon-possessed?