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Satan and the Occult - by Bruce Pringle

Satan and the Occult
- Chapter Eight

by Bruce Pringle

Can Christians be Demon Possessed?

Whenever the topics of occult, demon invasion, oppression or possession are discussed, invariably the question: "Can a Christian be possessed?" is raised. Men such as Dr. Orr and Jimmy Swaggart say it is impossible for a Christian to be demon possessed; Christ and a demon cannot occupy a person at the same time. Others have taken the opposite position; that is, yes, it is possible for a Christian to be demon possessed. "The objection is frequently made", says MacMillan, "that a true child of God cannot be brought thus under the power of the enemy. Experiences disprove this, for even spiritual believers and earnest and successful workers have suffered, some of them never coming to the place of complete deliverance."

McLeod uses the passage from 2 Corinthians 11:4 to indicate that believers can be invaded by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Backslidden Christians are vulnerable, especially those who have a habit of bargaining with God. If God does not deliver, Satan will. "In the teaching of Jesus", McLeod further adds, "there is a clear indication that an unforgiving spirit may result in God delivering us over to demon powers in some degree. See Matthew 8:23-34. The tormentors in this case would be demon powers. See also 1 Samuel 16:14."

It is interesting to note that men who once denied the possibility of demon possession of a Christian now say it is true. All state that the experiences of dealing with Christians, who were definitely believers in Christ, that became demon possessed and in need of deliverance changed their original position. In a conversation with W.L. McLeod this writer was told that even a man like Merrill Unger has changed his position regarding the possession of Christians. In his book Demons in the World Today published in 1971, Unger stated that a Christian could not be possessed. McLeod was sent a copy of the unpublished manuscript of Unger's soon to be released book, What Demons Can Do to Sinning Saints. McLeod, relating to this author, said that Unger has reversed his position and now maintains that Christians can be possessed. Unger states that experience and new research has forced him to change from his original thinking.

Philpott would concur with MacMillan, McLeod and Unger. "Yet, it is possible for a Christian", says Philpott, "due to rebellion, hardness of heart, desire to experience sin, or ignorance - to come under the influence of the demonic. 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." From the preceding it would appear that a Christian must open up to this demon invasion through sin or occult, bitterness, unforgiveness and other sins. Further, a demon cannot control the spirit where the Holy Spirit dwells (see 1 Corinthians 6:17) but can cripple, confuse and lead the person into the worst of sins. The Christian still has the will to respond to the indwelling Christ for freedom.

In the private practice of counseling, this counselor has reason to agree with the preceding teaching. A young married woman came in for counseling because of a ruined emotional and spiritual life, along with a rapidly deteriorating marital relationship. After a number of counseling sessions, it became evident that a deep problem existed because as cetain subjects were raised she fled from the room and ran outside. It was established in counseling that Christ was her Savior. After a very strenuous session with her on one occasion she was advised to return later and the demonic problem would be dealt with.

Three pastors joined this counselor in a three and one half hour session. At times she would scream and strike at us, smash chairs against the wall and try to get out of the room. While a pastor was reading the Bible, she tore it from his hands and ripped pages out. Deliverance came as demons related to fear, lying, lust and hatred were cast out. In a later counseling session, the young woman could not remember any of the terror of the session. It was stated earlier that this young woman had accepted Jesus Christ. She was going to a prayer meeting and church regularly, yet she was in bondage to the demonic.

Probably the controversy of whether or not a Christian can be possessed will continue until Jesus comes. One major point seems to surface in this controversy. Those who are in the actual deliverance ministry, that is, casting out of demons indicate that a Christian can be demon possessed; whereas, the Christian or pastor who will not get involved in the deliverance ministry and observes from a distance refutes the claim that a Christian can be possessed. Which claim should we accept, the one from the observer or God's servant who has a deliverance ministry?

Go on to Chapter Nine - Is Deliverance From Demons Possible?

Or Intro; The Origin of Satan and Demons; The Fall of Satan and Wicked Angels; The Nature of Satan and Demons; The Work of Satan and Demons; How Demons Enter; Magic or Occult Practices; Demon Oppression and Possession; Can Christians Be Demon Possessed?; Is Deliverance From Demons Possible?; Appendix - Operational Definitions;

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