Demons and Demonization

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Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Mon May 15, 2017 12:53 pm

What do you believe about demons and demon possession in this age? Can it happen? If so, to whom? And, if so, how can you tell?

Not looking for a debate, but am interested in your biblical and personal opinions.

I have encountered a situation in which a man has been diagnosed as bi-polar. He has social adjustment problems, including violence, but seems to manage fairly well when he is working and taking his medication. The violence is often associated with alcohol. One of his family members has decided he is possessed by a demon -- that this is the only explanation for his erratic behavior that can't ever seem to be fixed or resolved. Just putting that out there as some background for my opening post -- feel free to discuss the topic in broad terms and not just about this disorder.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon May 15, 2017 2:12 pm

I'm almost afraid to venture into this subject, but I don't want it to go unanswered. First, I am often baffled by the characterizations that come from many people. There needs to be a careful definition of what the person means who describes someone as "demon possessed." I seldom hear much definition. Second, I believe that all things that destroy, frustrate, or remove meaning from our lives are less than God's intention and therefore by corollary are "demonic." That is much wider than just behavior that may have roots in psychiatric diseases. Third, I find that many of the things that I personally would brand as demonic are the things that are more likely to be social justice issues than mere behaviors of one person. In this I draw on a German-language work by Paul Tillich, "Das Daimonische," in which he saw the forces at work in Europe in the 1930's that led the world into World War II as being the demonic realities of the world. In many ways, I see the demonic in ultra-nationalism, racism, anti-immigrant groups and anti-religious groups. That, I hope, might provide some fodder for the discussions.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Haruo » Mon May 15, 2017 2:39 pm

"Demon Rum" is an apt if not particularly theological or scientific term for alcoholic beverages as they are perceived (often both by the drinker and by associates and relatives) in their effect on those of us afflicted with alcoholism. I am extremely grateful for my freedom from this particular demon for over three decades now (my last drink took place on the morning of September 1, 1984).

In a more Gadarene-swineherdy vein, I shall return to this thread later today and write up a report on my nearly overwhelming sense of calling to cast a demon out of her in (I'm guessing) 1985, at a time when although I was sober through the direct intervention and grace of God (as I conceived it) I was not yet a Christian (again?).
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Joseph Patrick » Mon May 15, 2017 3:12 pm

From Joseph Patrick...aka Gerry Milligan
I think that Harou probably has given the definitive answer with "demon rum" as the answer. It was said that the behavior was exacerbated by alcohol. If it were demon possession would it ebb and flow to the point that the person can work? And would man's medications affect a demonic possession? Bipolar patients are treated with medication which levels out their "spells" of mania and depression. To me, logically, demonic possession would not necessarily respond to medication.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Mon May 15, 2017 3:16 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I'm almost afraid to venture into this subject, but I don't want it to go unanswered.
I thought it might be a welcome diversion from all the political discussion. But maybe not. :o
First, I am often baffled by the characterizations that come from many people. There needs to be a careful definition of what the person means who describes someone as "demon possessed." I seldom hear much definition.
I believe the person referring to demons in the case I mention believes the demon is inside the person, but perhaps just tormenting him. That definition seems to agree with certain cases in the Bible where demons or devils seem to be described as "in" a person and cast out or driven out of a person. Not sure how many do so, but the New International Version, for example, uses the terminology "demon-possessed". For example, see Matthew 9:32-33:
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” (King James has "possessed with a devil" and "cast out". RSV has "demoniac" and "cast out".)

Diamonizomai apparently means "to be under the power of a demon." Some people prefer to use the term "demonization" rather than "demon possession" -- which is possibly more generic, suggesting being subject to the influence of demons, not necessarily indwelt by them.
Second, I believe that all things that destroy, frustrate, or remove meaning from our lives are less than God's intention and therefore by corollary are "demonic." That is much wider than just behavior that may have roots in psychiatric diseases.
I would think most of us could agree with this.
Third, I find that many of the things that I personally would brand as demonic are the things that are more likely to be social justice issues than mere behaviors of one person. In this I draw on a German-language work by Paul Tillich, "Das Daimonische," in which he saw the forces at work in Europe in the 1930's that led the world into World War II as being the demonic realities of the world. In many ways, I see the demonic in ultra-nationalism, racism, anti-immigrant groups and anti-religious groups. That, I hope, might provide some fodder for the discussions.
There are some references in Revelation of Satan and demons deceiving the world (e.g. Revelation 16:14: 20:1-2) and other general deception (e.g. 1 Timothy 4:1), but many cases seem concentrated in an individual (e.g. Matthew 8:28; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 16:9; Luke 9:42). Are there biblical examples you see are corresponding with what you understand at the demonic realities of the world?

I personally find it hard to understand the full descriptions of the demonic possessions in the Gospels as anything less than a person being under the power of a demon. On the other hand, it seems that there might have been an inordinate amount of such activity during the ministry of Jesus Christ -- as if hell pulled out all the stops -- and none quite as prevalent or noticeable either before or after.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Mon May 15, 2017 3:21 pm

Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick...aka Gerry Milligan
I think that Harou probably has given the definitive answer with "demon rum" as the answer. It was said that the behavior was exacerbated by alcohol. If it were demon possession would it ebb and flow to the point that the person can work? And would man's medications affect a demonic possession? Bipolar patients are treated with medication which levels out their "spells" of mania and depression. To me, logically, demonic possession would not necessarily respond to medication.
I agree. In the case I mention, I feel there is an ulterior motive for placing blame on a demon.

Another person (not here) suggested if there are no unexplained/supernatural phenomena there is no reason to suspect demonization. Not taking medicine and drinking to excess are relatively easily explained "phenomena".
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Sandy » Mon May 15, 2017 9:11 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Third, I find that many of the things that I personally would brand as demonic are the things that are more likely to be social justice issues than mere behaviors of one person. In this I draw on a German-language work by Paul Tillich, "Das Daimonische," in which he saw the forces at work in Europe in the 1930's that led the world into World War II as being the demonic realities of the world. In many ways, I see the demonic in ultra-nationalism, racism, anti-immigrant groups and anti-religious groups. That, I hope, might provide some fodder for the discussions.


I agree with that completely. It's hard to look at the inherent evil in fascism and Nazism, and the hatred and hostility shown to people because of their religious beliefs or their racial origin, and not consider it demonic, whether it comes from an evil, corrupted being from the spirit-world, or whether it is simply corrupt human free will. I think you're right on target with this.

Interesting that you mention Tillich's book. I read it a long time ago, when I was in college, I think. There was a lot of stuff floating around back then about the end times, armageddon calendars, the "ten nation confederation roughly analogous to the Roman Empire," the antichrist, the false prophet, and authors like Hal Lindsey and Salem Kirban trying to pin down who and what would be the sign that the Armageddon calendar was starting. They never seemed to pick up on how much the late 30's, and the time leading up to WW2 looked exactly like the scenarios they tried to come up with for their Armageddon books. "Demonic" is a general characterization of evil.

In I John 4, the author defines the term "antichrist" in one of the two places where it is mentioned in scripture as any spirit who denies that Jesus is the son of God. He makes the statement that many false prophets have gone out into the world. This makes me tend to think that "antichrist" is not just one person who is a character in the Armageddon drama, but that it is a spirit within humanity that denies the existence of God, and behaves as if he doesn't exist. John says that this spirit has "already gone out into the world" at the time he is writing, not at some future date associated with the end times.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon May 15, 2017 9:32 pm

While I certainly believe in the existence of evil, I think most of the scriptures related to demon position are really talking about mental illness. I really don't believe in demons "possessing" human beings, particularly Christians.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Mon May 15, 2017 10:42 pm

Haruo wrote:"Demon Rum" is an apt if not particularly theological or scientific term for alcoholic beverages as they are perceived (often both by the drinker and by associates and relatives) in their effect on those of us afflicted with alcoholism. I am extremely grateful for my freedom from this particular demon for over three decades now (my last drink took place on the morning of September 1, 1984).
Blessings to you on your deliverance. My maternal grandfather's death was a direct result of "Demon Rum," and had the effect that I never knew him. It is good to hear of those who are set free.
In a more Gadarene-swineherdy vein, I shall return to this thread later today and write up a report on my nearly overwhelming sense of calling to cast a demon out of her in (I'm guessing) 1985, at a time when although I was sober through the direct intervention and grace of God (as I conceived it) I was not yet a Christian (again?).
I look forward to your report, when you have the opportunity.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby David Flick » Tue May 16, 2017 2:26 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:While I certainly believe in the existence of evil, I think most of the scriptures related to demon position are really talking about mental illness. I really don't believe in demons "possessing" human beings, particularly Christians.

    I agree completely with your point above. I entered seminary (SWBTS) in '70 and graduated in '74. During the entire time I was in seminary, interest in demon possession and the occult were extremely hot topics. So much so that several of my professors offer courses on the topic in a section of Philosophy of Religion. One of those professors (Dr. John Newport) converted some of his lectures into a book (Demons, Demons, Demons), which ultimately became a source for the class. Newport's book was published in late 1972. Almost simultaneously to the publishing of his book, the movie, The Exorcist, appeared in 1973. The book upon which the movie is based was written in 1971. So here's the time line.
    • The Exorcist (book) was published in 1971
    • Demons, Demons, Demons, (John Newport's book), was published in 1972
    • The Exorcist (movie) appeared in 1973.
    In an odd set of circumstances, I took the Philosophy of religion course under Dr. Newport in the very semester that the movie appeared. I took the course and saw the movie in the same semester in 1973.

    At the time, I was ambivalent about the idea that demon possession was a possibility for human beings. Admittedly, the movie had a powerful impact on my thinking. In the end, however, I seriously doubted that demon possession against one's personal will was a possibility. While I didn't, at the time, understand completely the concept of free will, I was leaning strongly toward the notion that if God doesn't force himself into the spiritual life human beings, neither can Satan force himself into the spiritual life of human beings. I strongly believe that God does not violate anyone's free will in spiritual matters. I strongly believe that God does not allow Satan to force himself (spiritually) into one's life. FWIW, in a nutshell that's where I stand to this day...
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue May 16, 2017 8:36 am

David Flick wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:While I certainly believe in the existence of evil, I think most of the scriptures related to demon position are really talking about mental illness. I really don't believe in demons "possessing" human beings, particularly Christians.

    I agree completely with your point above. I entered seminary (SWBTS) in '70 and graduated in '74. During the entire time I was in seminary, interest in demon possession and the occult were extremely hot topics. So much so that several of my professors offer courses on the topic in a section of Philosophy of Religion. One of those professors (Dr. John Newport) converted some of his lectures into a book (Demons, Demons, Demons), which ultimately became a source for the class. Newport's book was published in late 1972. Almost simultaneously to the publishing of his book, the movie, The Exorcist, appeared in 1973. The book upon which the movie is based was written in 1971. So here's the time line.
    • The Exorcist (book) was published in 1971
    • Demons, Demons, Demons, (John Newport's book), was published in 1972
    • The Exorcist (movie) appeared in 1973.
    In an odd set of circumstances, I took the Philosophy of religion course under Dr. Newport in the very semester that the movie appeared. I took the course and saw the movie in the same semester in 1973.

    At the time, I was ambivalent about the idea that demon possession was a possibility for human beings. Admittedly, the movie had a powerful impact on my thinking. In the end, however, I seriously doubted that demon possession against one's personal will was a possibility. While I didn't, at the time, understand completely the concept of free will, I was leaning strongly toward the notion that if God doesn't force himself into the spiritual life human beings, neither can Satan force himself into the spiritual life of human beings. I strongly believe that God does not violate anyone's free will in spiritual matters. I strongly believe that God does not allow Satan to force himself (spiritually) into one's life. FWIW, in a nutshell that's where I stand to this day...


David, I like your approach here. Life has many mysteries, and the mystery of evil and free will is always one of the most challenging and most profound.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Tue May 16, 2017 9:34 am

David Flick wrote:While I didn't, at the time, understand completely the concept of free will, I was leaning strongly toward the notion that if God doesn't force himself into the spiritual life human beings, neither can Satan force himself into the spiritual life of human beings. I strongly believe that God does not violate anyone's free will in spiritual matters. I strongly believe that God does not allow Satan to force himself (spiritually) into one's life. FWIW, in a nutshell that's where I stand to this day...[/color]
Free will is highly overrated. Both living beings and inanimate objects violate mine quite regularly. At the very least, we'd have to admit that things one can introduce by his or her own will are allowed by God to take over our "free wills". Alcohol and drugs would be two examples.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Tue May 16, 2017 9:37 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:While I certainly believe in the existence of evil, I think most of the scriptures related to demon position are really talking about mental illness. I really don't believe in demons "possessing" human beings, particularly Christians.
Timothy, what is your take on the biblical record stating that demons were "in" someone and cast out? Was the demon mental illness? Also, I notice that you say "most" -- does that mean that there are a few you think are demons, or something else?

Thanks.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Sandy » Tue May 16, 2017 10:48 am

I agree with David's post above, that Satan, and by extension, demons, can't do what God won't allow. I think the New Testament references to demonic "possession," or "unclean spirits" is the context by which people of that day classified and characterized mental illness. If you look at most of the references to it in the NT, the language and descriptions are similar to healings from physical ailments, and there are some cases where the physical condition is linked to an "unclean spirit." All of these events seem to fall into the category of being healed by Jesus.

The idea of possession, or oppression by external evil beings leads to a lack of concern and care in watching out for the development of things which can be corrupt and evil within yourself. People have strong emotions and deep feelings and it is easy to cause passion to flare up around their prejudices and fears, leading to actions that are corrupt and evil. Passing that off as demon possession or oppression is a way to avoid taking responsibility and doing something about it.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Tue May 16, 2017 1:44 pm

Sandy wrote:I agree with David's post above, that Satan, and by extension, demons, can't do what God won't allow. I think the New Testament references to demonic "possession," or "unclean spirits" is the context by which people of that day classified and characterized mental illness...Passing that off as demon possession or oppression is a way to avoid taking responsibility and doing something about it.
Though I don't interpret the NT verses in the same way you do, apparently, I nevertheless think your conclusion describes exactly what is involved in the case I mentioned.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Haruo » Tue May 16, 2017 11:15 pm

Haruo wrote:"Demon Rum" is an apt if not particularly theological or scientific term for alcoholic beverages as they are perceived (often both by the drinker and by associates and relatives) in their effect on those of us afflicted with alcoholism. I am extremely grateful for my freedom from this particular demon for over three decades now (my last drink took place on the morning of September 1, 1984).

In a more Gadarene-swineherdy vein, I shall return to this thread later today and write up a report on my nearly overwhelming sense of calling to cast a demon out of her in (I'm guessing) 1985, at a time when although I was sober through the direct intervention and grace of God (as I conceived it) I was not yet a Christian (again?).

Well, I didn't get back to it yesterday after all, but belatedly, here...

When I was fairly new in sobriety in AA, I attended innumerable meetings (311 in my first 90 days; then I stopped counting), most of them at the AurorA Fellowship, better known as "Fremont Hall", an AA fellowship hall in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. Although I was certain that my sobriety was only and entirely by the grace of God, I had not yet come around to believing in Jesus. At the time in question (prior to April 15, 1987, and no earlier than the end of 1984, but exactly when I can't say at this point, I may have been a Jessican (a religion I invented in which I followed "Jesus' little sister Jessica Christ", who had migrated with some of the disciples to Antarctica in the aftermath of the crucifixion). There was a woman with severe psychiatric problems who also frequented the hall; her name was Bernice. One day, she was interrupting speakers right and left and practically frothing at the mouth. She really did seem like a candidate for a demonic possession diagnosis. I felt a sudden, strong urge, so strong I had to grip the table to keep from obeying it, to stand up and point my finger at Bernice and say "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, COME OUT OF HER!" I overcame the urge with great difficulty, and as soon as I knew I was not going to act on it I also realized that that very urge might itself have been demonic possession. What do you guys think?

BTW it was another few years before I came to the point where I would self-identify as a Christian.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed May 17, 2017 9:14 am

David Flick wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:While I certainly believe in the existence of evil, I think most of the scriptures related to demon position are really talking about mental illness. I really don't believe in demons "possessing" human beings, particularly Christians.

    I agree completely with your point above. I entered seminary (SWBTS) in '70 and graduated in '74. During the entire time I was in seminary, interest in demon possession and the occult were extremely hot topics. So much so that several of my professors offer courses on the topic in a section of Philosophy of Religion. One of those professors (Dr. John Newport) converted some of his lectures into a book (Demons, Demons, Demons), which ultimately became a source for the class. Newport's book was published in late 1972. Almost simultaneously to the publishing of his book, the movie, The Exorcist, appeared in 1973. The book upon which the movie is based was written in 1971. So here's the time line.
    • The Exorcist (book) was published in 1971
    • Demons, Demons, Demons, (John Newport's book), was published in 1972
    • The Exorcist (movie) appeared in 1973.
    In an odd set of circumstances, I took the Philosophy of religion course under Dr. Newport in the very semester that the movie appeared. I took the course and saw the movie in the same semester in 1973.

    At the time, I was ambivalent about the idea that demon possession was a possibility for human beings. Admittedly, the movie had a powerful impact on my thinking. In the end, however, I seriously doubted that demon possession against one's personal will was a possibility. While I didn't, at the time, understand completely the concept of free will, I was leaning strongly toward the notion that if God doesn't force himself into the spiritual life human beings, neither can Satan force himself into the spiritual life of human beings. I strongly believe that God does not violate anyone's free will in spiritual matters. I strongly believe that God does not allow Satan to force himself (spiritually) into one's life. FWIW, in a nutshell that's where I stand to this day...


Dr. Newport's name sounds familiar. That is a good list of resources David. I agree with your reasoning about free will. That fits my view too. I see free will as a gift from God and not removable by Satan.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed May 17, 2017 9:19 am

Haruo wrote:When I was fairly new in sobriety in AA, I attended innumerable meetings (311 in my first 90 days; then I stopped counting), most of them at the AurorA Fellowship, better known as "Fremont Hall", an AA fellowship hall in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. Although I was certain that my sobriety was only and entirely by the grace of God, I had not yet come around to believing in Jesus. At the time in question (prior to April 15, 1987, and no earlier than the end of 1984, but exactly when I can't say at this point, I may have been a Jessican (a religion I invented in which I followed "Jesus' little sister Jessica Christ", who had migrated with some of the disciples to Antarctica in the aftermath of the crucifixion). There was a woman with severe psychiatric problems who also frequented the hall; her name was Bernice. One day, she was interrupting speakers right and left and practically frothing at the mouth. She really did seem like a candidate for a demonic possession diagnosis. I felt a sudden, strong urge, so strong I had to grip the table to keep from obeying it, to stand up and point my finger at Bernice and say "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, COME OUT OF HER!" I overcame the urge with great difficulty, and as soon as I knew I was not going to act on it I also realized that that very urge might itself have been demonic possession. What do you guys think?

BTW it was another few years before I came to the point where I would self-identify as a Christian.


Quite a story there!

I still lean towards mental illness, stress, and other factors leading to this kind of behavior.

As to your urge to cast out the demon, first I'd say that I'm not sure that self-identification as a Christian entirely what makes you a Christian. Salvation is a gift. So even when Christians lapse into near unbelief, I don't don't believe God abandons us.

I only believe that the Devil can tempt us. I don't believe he can possess us. What you could have felt might have been a very strong temptation, which you then overcame.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Haruo » Wed May 17, 2017 1:24 pm

In the ensuing years, after my (re?)conversion in 1990-91 to professing Jesus as Lord and Savior, I have told this story a few times, usually in connection with Bible studies on passages in the scriptures involving demon possession and/or exorcism. On a couple of occasions others in the group have castigated me for my self-control, saying that I should have yielded to the urge to exorcise. I think it's a slippery slope from that to trying to reenact Abraham's (interrupted) sacrifice of Isaac to prove one's faith and/or God's loving-kindness. I agree with you that it is unlikely that Bernice was actually possessed by a demon (in the sense of a personalized spirit subservient to Satan or Lucifer or somebody in the vaults of hell sent to supplant her spirit and torment the rest of us) and that her annoying behavior was probably a mental health matter, perhaps brought on by childhood trauma or by recent ingestion of controlled substances. But the thing that shocked me was that I felt like exorcising her/it/him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That was not vocabulary I was accustomed to using at that point.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby JE Pettibone » Wed May 17, 2017 4:54 pm

Haruo wrote:In the ensuing years, after my (re?)conversion in 1990-91 to professing Jesus as Lord and Savior, I have told this story a few times, usually in connection with Bible studies on passages in the scriptures involving demon possession and/or exorcism. On a couple of occasions others in the group have castigated me for my self-control, saying that I should have yielded to the urge to exorcise. I think it's a slippery slope from that to trying to reenact Abraham's (interrupted) sacrifice of Isaac to prove one's faith and/or God's loving-kindness. I agree with you that it is unlikely that Bernice was actually possessed by a demon (in the sense of a personalized spirit subservient to Satan or Lucifer or somebody in the vaults of hell sent to supplant her spirit and torment the rest of us) and that her annoying behavior was probably a mental health matter, perhaps brought on by childhood trauma or by recent ingestion of controlled substances. But the thing that shocked me was that I felt like exorcising her/it/him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That was not vocabulary I was accustomed to using at that point.


Ed: HARUO, when I first, read of your shock at this, I wondered if perhaps that might have been a response to how you would have expected your dad to have reacted? Please do not read too much into my question. I don't really care for the wording but any thing else else that I tried seemed to be overly leading.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Joseph Patrick » Wed May 17, 2017 7:20 pm

From Joseph Patrick... aka Gerry Milligan

What NOT to do when confronted by demon possession; While I was serving in Dubai I was assisting a Pakastani fellowship who had a bivocational pastor with a workshop on evangelism. This was to be a 4 event workshop, one each week. At the second workshop some of the elders approached me about a young congregant who they thought was demon possessed and would I pray for her? I reluctantly agreed (at that time the IMB was very ambiguous about demons and gifts of the Spirit). I agreed to pray if the pastor, his wife and a couple of the elders would also pray. I told them I would start and end the prayer time, but please, everybody pray. At the end of that time she declared herself "free of everything." When I went back the next week I was told she was fine but the following week they told me she was again "under a spell." Me, in my insensitivity said, "You mean she has been re-possessed?" Fortunately, English was not their first language and I was able to get by with a giant faux pas.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Jon Estes » Thu May 18, 2017 10:11 am

Demon possession is real in the lives of some who know not Christ.

There is no biblical support for demon possession for those who belong to Christ. A case could be made for demons being unable to possess believers. They will and do oppress believers as often as possible.

Mental illness is real also but should not be tied directly to demon possession in all cases. Mental illness is here because of sin, not demons though I believe demons can manifest themselves through some they possess in mental illness type of behaviors.

To much more known about the subject to share here.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Rvaughn » Thu May 18, 2017 10:59 am

Jon Estes wrote:Mental illness is real also but should not be tied directly to demon possession in all cases. Mental illness is here because of sin, not demons though I believe demons can manifest themselves through some they possess in mental illness type of behaviors.
To me this is important, to not blame the mentally ill with being demon possessed, and to not pass off demon possession as mental illness. If so, much discernment is imperative!
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby Sandy » Thu May 18, 2017 11:24 am

Rvaughn wrote:
Jon Estes wrote:Mental illness is real also but should not be tied directly to demon possession in all cases. Mental illness is here because of sin, not demons though I believe demons can manifest themselves through some they possess in mental illness type of behaviors.
To me this is important, to not blame the mentally ill with being demon possessed, and to not pass off demon possession as mental illness. If so, much discernment is imperative!


I don't believe mental illness is demon possession. I believe that people characterized it as such when they didn't know better. I also think that "demon possession" becomes a means by which people characterize depravity, and what amounts to evil that is present in human nature. I don't see any place in scripture that actually distinguishes whether an "unclean spirit", as the term is often translated, is an external being, or the sin nature of the person who has it. Both things fit that terminology.

Without going down the road of a free will argument, how would a person become "possessed" by a demon? Is it an "indwelling" in the same way that a human spirit is indwelled by the Holy Spirit when they receive Christ? And if so, a person could refuse a demon the same way they can refuse Christ, and not be "possessed." Otherwise, if a demon can possess someone who resists, then that makes them more powerful than Christ.
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Re: Demons and Demonization

Postby KeithE » Thu May 18, 2017 11:30 am

Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick... aka Gerry Milligan

What NOT to do when confronted by demon possession; While I was serving in Dubai I was assisting a Pakastani fellowship who had a bivocational pastor with a workshop on evangelism. This was to be a 4 event workshop, one each week. At the second workshop some of the elders approached me about a young congregant who they thought was demon possessed and would I pray for her? I reluctantly agreed (at that time the IMB was very ambiguous about demons and gifts of the Spirit). I agreed to pray if the pastor, his wife and a couple of the elders would also pray. I told them I would start and end the prayer time, but please, everybody pray. At the end of that time she declared herself "free of everything." When I went back the next week I was told she was fine but the following week they told me she was again "under a spell." Me, in my insensitivity said, "You mean she has been re-possessed?" Fortunately, English was not their first language and I was able to get by with a giant faux pas.


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