Nov 14, 2003
Arise, Warriors! Sound the battle cry. The enemy has launched an attack
against you to demoralize you with condemnation, delude you with
confusion, and paralyze you with fear.
Have you forgotten how to fight?
Have you forgotten that your battle is not against flesh and blood but
against principalities and powers of darkness? Refuse to allow yourself to
be victimized by the devil's devices. Turn from pride and self-pity and
give the enemy no access. It is time to awaken from this stupor, and pull
down the strongholds that have been set up against you. Be strong and gain
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but
mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any
means hurt you.
We Are at War
Dr. Edward Murphy
An excerpt from, "Wrestling With Dark Angels: Toward a Deeper
Understanding of the Supernatural Forces in Spiritual Warfare," Regal
Books © Copyright 1990 by C. Peter Wagner & F. Douglas Pennoyer, Used by
permission. No Longer in Print
A local newspaper announced the tragic fall of a world famous
televangelist with the words of King David found in 2 Sam. 1:25: "How are
the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!" (KJV). The newspaper was
correct. That man, and millions like him, was a war casualty. We are at
war. As to the origin of this war, all we know is what the Bible tells us.
It began in the cosmic realm, evidently before the creation of man, in an
angelic rebellion against the Lordship of God (Job 4:18; Matt. 25:41; 1
Cor. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jud 6; Rev. 12).
How could such a rebellion occur in
the presence of a God who is almighty, sovereign and all-knowing? God has
not told us. All He has declared in that it was in this manner that evil
was born within His universe.
For problems like this one the Scriptures have a helpful word for us. "The
secret things belong to the Lord our God, but he things revealed belong to
us and to our sons forever" (Deut. 29:29, NASB). It is interesting,
however, that demons will openly confess to their participation in such a
rebellion. On more than one occasion while expelling demons from a
person's life they have exclaimed,
"We rebelled against God. We were deceived by our master. We are doomed!
For us no provision has been made for redemption as it has for mankind. We
are doomed! Doomed! We are afraid. But we will fight God and you
Christians until the end. We hate Him. We hate you Jesus. We hate you!"
Of course, we do not build theology upon the confessions of lying spirits.
It is interesting to note, however, that on every occasion when a demon
spoke in the presence of Jesus he always told Jesus the truth. Look at the
Gospel record. The experienced deliverance minister can compel evil
spirits to tell the truth. I do so all the time. This is not to say that
it is wise to carry on long conversations with demons. We only obtain from
them the information we need to proceed wit the deliverance and then expel
them to the place where Jesus wishes to send them.
What began as a cosmic rebellion soon became a cosmic-earthly rebellion.
Mankind was deceived by the same master of the fallen angels, the devil
(Matt. 25:41), to also rebel against the Lordship of God. The universe has
never been the same since then (Gen. 3 with John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3 and
Rev. 12:3 -17).
The important point to emphasize here is that everything
from Gen. 3 to Rev. 20 occurs within the context of this cosmic-earthly
spiritual warfare dimension of reality. I call this the spiritual warfare
dimension of a biblical world view. This is present reality from God's
We are at war. That war will not end until the final judgment of evil
supernaturalism (Satan and his kingdom of fallen angels, Matt. 25:41)
recorded in Rev. 20. We are all involved in this warfare whether we like
it or not and, whether we are aware of it or not. We need to condition
ourselves, so to speak, to put on our spiritual warfare eyeglasses to
correctly view present reality. Isn't this what the apostle Paul is trying
to tell us in 2 Cor. 4:3-6 and Eph. 6:12?
A Threefold Description of the War
First and foremost, it is a sin war. Sin wars against us and
we, in turn,
must learn to war against sin. Since I am writing to Christians I will not
bother to define sin. As to the cross-cultural dimensions of sin, each
missionary must wrestle with that crucial question from within the context
of both Scripture and local culture. That is what I have had to do. I will
affirm, however, that sin — moral evil in contrast to natural evil — is not a
passive something that appears where righteousness is absent. Sin is at
war with righteousness. I t is like an active, dynamic, negative spiritual
energy field that seeks to carry away everything with it. It will oppress,
enslave and eventually destroy everything that stands in its way.
It releases sin energy, or negative force, for lack of a better word, that
easily overpowers the best of men. It tempts, seduces, deceives, delights
and captivates, only in time to torment, torture and finally destroy.
Perhaps the best description of the sin energy released by sin is in Heb.
12:1 "Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily
entangles us." (NASB). Sin both weighs us down and entangles itself
around us. The writer says that to avoid such entrapment we must learn to
lay sin aside, to refuse to allow it to entangle us. In other words, if we
do not learn to war against sin it will easily oppress and eventually
We are to declare a state of war between ourselves and sin, the writer
implies in verse 4: "You have not resisted to the point of shedding blood
in your striving against sin" (Heb. 12:4, NASB). These are warfare
words — resist, strive, shed your blood, rather than being defeated by sin.
It is hard to live a holy life, the writer of Hebrews is admitting. The
very atmosphere we breathe is saturated with sin. We must not give in just
because everyone else is doing it. We are to resist, strive, die, if
necessary, before allowing sin to entangle itself with our Christian life.
We do so by fixing our eyes on Jesus, not sin (see Heb. 12:2).
Second, it is a multidimensional sin war. Sin affects us on three levels:
the personal level, the social level and the supernatural level.
1. Sin is personal, it comes from within. This is the problem of the
flesh. The word flesh has a variety of uses in Scripture. For the purposes
of this study we use the word only in its negative moral context, to refer
to our inner humanity which is always inclined toward evil, toward actions
of independence from the will of God. The classic description of the inner
warfare of our flesh against the indwelling Holy Spirit of God is Gal.
2. Sin is social, it comes from without. This is the problem of the world.
We will define the world, as does William Vine, as present human society
"in alienation from and opposition to God." Perhaps the classic
description of the world a the enemy of God and the children of God is
found 1 John 2:15-17, (NASB):
"Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of
life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is
passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God
3. Sin is supernatural, it comes from above. This is the problem of evil
supernaturalism, Satan and his kingdom of demons, principalities and
powers. This is the most difficult dimension of our multidimensional sin
problem to understand and learn to handle. At the same time it leads to
the third and final description of the war in which we are engaged.
Third, it is a spiritual warfare sin war. That is, behind the wickedness
of the flesh and the corruption of the world is the true original source
of all sin, Satan. This is exactly what the apostle Paul is affirming in
Eph. 2:1-3, (NASB) "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in
which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according
to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is no working in
the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the
lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
This spiritual warfare dimension of our sin war is the main theme of this
study. To be biblically understood, however, the war in which we are
engaged must be viewed, as we have been examining it, in its
multidimensional nature. The flesh and the world are the channels through
which evil supernaturalism oppresses and seeks to destroy the human race,
both believers as well as unbelievers.
Three Levels of Spiritual Warfare
We are all to be involved in spiritual warfare on at least three levels.
First, there is the objective level, reaching unbelievers with the gospel.
Next is the subjective level, protecting ourselves and our families from
succumbing to the demonic warfare directed against us. Finally, there is
the Christian level, helping to free demonized Christians from demonization.
The Objective Offensive Level of Spiritual Warfare
The Church is not only the community of the redeemed, it is also the
redeeming community. We are both commanded by our Lord and impelled by the
indwelling Holy Spirit to declare the message of God's redeeming love in
Jesus Christ to all peoples (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). That task
is easier stated than it is accomplished. Not only do we face the
overwhelming logistical complexities of such a mission and the incredible
cross-cultural and cross-linguistical barriers involved; something even
more tenacious challenges our best efforts.
Satan holds the nations in bondage to himself and will not easily let them
go. Indeed, he will resist us each step of the way. World evangelism is
spiritual warfare. The Scriptures are emphatically clear at this point.
All human beings who live without the true God are in bondage to evil
Jesus repeatedly called Satan the ruler of this world
(John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He did not challenge the devil's boast about
the kingdoms of the world, "I will give You all this domain and its glory;
for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours" (Luke 4:6-7, NASB). In His missionary commission to Paul, Jesus declared that the
unredeemed must be delivered "from the dominion of Satan to God" (Acts
The rest of the New Testament only expands this negative view of mankind's
plight. The apostle Paul, after revealing the human cause of unbelief,
hardened minds and veiled hearts (2 Cor. 3:14-15), describes in even
greater detail the superhuman dimensions of unbelief:
"And ever if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are
perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of
the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:3, 4, NASB).
As we seek to evangelize, Satan resists us (1 Thess. 2:18). He snatches
away the Word sown into human hearts (Matt. 13:19). he sows tares among
the wheat (Matt. 13:24). These tares are "the sons of the evil one," the
Lord declares. Sonship implies commonalty of nature. Thus, even religious
people, theists, who oppose the claims of our Lord are described by Jesus
as children of the devil (John 8:44). Therefore, all of those we seek to
bring to Christ are potentially demonized to one degree or another, most
only mildly so, but some severely so. They are not all demon possessed. They
are not all demonized. All are potentially demonized, however.
Fortunately, the words demon possession are gradually being eliminated
from our vocabulary in referring to the demonic dimension of present
reality. It is doubtful that any of the accounts of demonization revealed
in Scripture are true demon possession.
Possession refers to the voluntary
reception of a control spirit by a spirit medium. The spirit rides, mounts
or temporarily possesses the medium for a specific purpose and time.
During that time the person is in a trance-like state. The spirit probably
totally controls the medium — his body, soul, mind, emotions, will and
spirit at that point. When the spirit leaves, however, the medium is once
again back in control of himself.
This is not the type of demonic activity described in Scripture. Thus, the
traditional practice of Bible translators, in translating the various
Greek expressions describing the demonized by demon possession, has
produced nothing but negative results for bother the Church and the
Possession implies total ownership. Satan and his
demons don't own anything in this universe except their evil. They are
usurpers. God owns all. Possession also would imply unaccountability. If
the demonized are totally possessed by evil spirits, then they are not
responsible for their actions. They can truthfully declare "the devil made
me do it." Yet, God holds all persons responsible for their actions.
Possession also conjures up the image of only the more severe types of
demonization. The Gerasene demoniac of Mark 5, or the severely demonized
child of Mark 9, come to mind. Such extreme cases of demonization do
exist. They are the exception, however, not the norm. Most demonized
persons are only mildly demonized and do not display such wild antisocial
and/or self-destructive behavior. Their deliverance can usually be
accomplished in a quiet, orderly manner and be carried out by any
instructed godly Christian group of praying believers.
By demonization I mean that Satan, through his evil spirits, exercises
direct partial control over one or more areas of the life of a human
being. The exact location of these attached demons is not always as
important as some believe it to be. That is, partial control can be
exercised from without as well as within the victim. It is true that most
demons seem to want to enter the body of their victim. Yet some demons
prefer to remain attached to their victim from outside. They may be more
difficult to detect in this manner. Others are able to slip in and out of
the more severely demonized, almost at will. It is important to stress five facts at this point.
One, while all
unbelievers live under demonic dominion, not all unbelievers are
Two, some unbelievers, however, are demonized, and should be set free from
these demons when they are brought to faith in Christ.
can range from very severe to very mild. There are many complex factors
leading to this difference in demonization which cannot be mentioned in
this brief study.
Four, when dealing with potentially demonized, the
typical Western, analytical, reasoned approach toward evangelism will be
ineffective. Only a gospel of power will set them free.
evangelize the demonized we must learn how to bind demonic activity from
the minds of demonized unbelievers. Demons cause confusion and resistance,
hindering unbelievers from understanding or responding to the gospel. We
can take control over these demons, allowing the unbeliever to exercise
his or her will to accept or reject Christ without direct demonic
The Subjective Personal Level of Spiritual Warfare
Before developing this point, I must strongly affirm two foundational
truths declared everywhere in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus in his
multifaceted redemptive act once and for all totally defeated Satan and
his entire kingdom of evil supernaturalism, and, the victorious Lord Jesus
has delegated to all his disciples full authority over the kingdom of evil
We war with foes who are not only already totally
defeated by our reigning Lord; they are already forced into subjection to
our shared authority with the Lord.
One of the greatest joys in an otherwise often wearisome deliverance
ministry is to take this position of authority in Christ. In the case of
severe demonization, part of the joy is to see demons change from a
posture of threats, boasts and attempts to injure us, to that of fear of
us. This soon leads to their spontaneous confession of our authority over
them. Soon they will be pleased that we released them from their
sufferings, and send them quickly out of their victims — anywhere, that is,
except to the abyss. It is for this reason that while we are told to fear
God, we are never told to fear Satan or his demons. In Christ, we are more
than a match for them. While we are not told they will submit easily to
our authority in Christ, we are told not to fear them. They will
eventually submit (Mark 9:14-29; Matt. 17:21).
Although this is the most important side of the coin, it is only one side.
The other side is that, while Satan and his demonic hosts are totally
defeated, they are not dead. They are very much alive and continually
active in promoting evil wherever they can find responsive hearts and/or
ignorance of their schemes of deception. Thus, the title of Hal Lindsay's
popular 1974 bestseller is accurate, Satan is Alive and Well on Planet
Contrary to popular opinion, true believers are the main objects of
Satan's' subtle deceptions. The apostle Paul warns us of this reality in 2 Cor. 11:3. While spoken specifically to the Christians at Corinth, his
words have universal application to all believers: "But I am afraid, lest
as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led
astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (NASB). In
the same epistle he writes, "in order that no advantage be taken of us by
Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor 2:11, NASB). By
implication we hear him saying, if we are ignorant of Satan's schemes, he
will take advantage of us.
The popular notion that is we just focus all of our attention on the Lord
Jesus we can ignore the devil and his demons is thus revealed to be
contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
What adversary would not be
delighted if those he seeks to deceive chose to totally ignore his tactics
of deception? Satan's goal is, through deception, to entice believers to
sin or commit any act which quenches the Holy Spirit in their lives and/or
to lessen their effectiveness in glorifying God through both personal
conduct and Christian service.
His desire is to find any area of our lives
to which he can attach himself (Eph. 4:27). Through his demons (Eph.
6:10-12) he seeks to find any sin handles which give him the right to
influence us into actions of disobedience to God.
Satan was unsuccessful
in his attempts to do so with the man Christ Jesus. He did, however, have
success in the life of the apostle Peter (Luke 22:31-34). And, he
continues to be successful in the lives of many believers.
Paul warned the Corinthians of the satanic dimension of sexual temptation
(1 Cor. 7:5). He also expressed his fear that Satan would be successful in
drawing the Thessalonian believers away from a life of obedience to God (1
Thess. 3:5). We tend to focus almost exclusively on the sins which have
their origin within us, the problem of the flesh, or from without, the
problem of the world.
We tend to ignore, or at least minimize, the incredible power of the sin
energy released against us directly from Satan through the demons he has
assigned us as individuals, churches and Christian institutions.
Stedman goes so far as to affirm: "We often hear the idea that The enemies of
the Christian are the world, the flesh and the devil," as though these
were three equally powerful enemies. But there are not three. There is
only one enemy, the devil, as Paul brings out in Ephesians 6...But the
channels of his...approach to men are through the world and the flesh."
This failure to understand the demonic dimension to the Christian's sin
problem is perhaps the weak point, the 'Achilles' heel, in our evangelical
theology of evil and temptation. We would do well to heed the apostle
Peter's warning: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the
devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet.
5:8, NASB). If this is true, then it must be possible for a true Christian
to be devoured by the devil (1 Tim. 3:6, 7; 5:15; 2 Tim. 2:26). This
statement prepares the way for the consideration of the third level of
The Christian Level of Spiritual Warfare
The Christian level of Satan's activity and demonization is the most
troublesome for us to understand and/or accept. It is also the one that
divides us most as Christians. Yet, it represents one of the most critical
areas of ministry need facing the worldwide Church today. I call this
level of spiritual warfare the Christian level because it deals with the
need to bring deliverance to demonized Christians. Such afflicted
believers are probably found in every local church and Christian
1. The Enigma of Demonized Christians. First, a word of clarification.
True believers cannot be demon possessed. Satan cannot possess or totally
control children of God. Next, a word of affirmation. True believers,
through unusual conditions of sin—either their own or that of others
against them — can become demonized. When this occurs they need to
experience deliverance from these demons. If the demonization is severe,
the believer will usually need the help of others to become fully free. If
it is mild demonization, any group of godly, sharing-praying believers who
have received basic instruction in spiritual warfare can effect a healing
(James 5:15 with 4:1-8). Often the afflicted believer can practice
self-deliverance with just a little instruction in this area.
It would be helpful to state again my definition of demonization.
Demonization means that Satan, through his demons, exercises direct,
partial control over an area or areas of a person's life, a believer or
Traditionally, the Protestant Church has denied the
possibility of demonized believers. While admitting that believers can be
harassed, oppressed, afflicted and tempted by Satan through his demons, it
has denied that demonization can occur with one who is truly a child of
The usual basis of this negative position is the assumption that the
Holy Spirit will not or cannot dwell in the same body with demons.
Again, the issue is not always that of demonic indwelling, but more of
demonic attachment. Having said this, however, it must also be stated that
demons can enter the body of some sinning Christians.
The presence of the
Holy Spirit does not, in itself, prevent the Christian from sinning. It
can also occur the other way around. The Holy Spirit will enter the body
of an individual even if there are demons dwelling there. The Holy Spirit
is not afraid of the demons. Nor do they contaminate Him by their
sinfulness any more than He is contaminated by the sinfulness of the
believer's flesh. The Holy Spirit's presence there is the only guarantee
of the new believer's final deliverance from demonization.
The negative view denying the possible demonization of some Christians is
being successfully challenged on at least three essential levels:
Scripture, church history and worldwide contemporary experience. The
argument from Scripture is relatively simple. It follows at least two
lines. There is not a single verse of Scripture which states that true
believers cannot under any circumstance of sin become demonized; and, the
Scripture presents both case studies of demonized believers and warnings
of the possibility of such demonization. The argument from church history
is even simpler. A study of the writings of the early church fathers
reveals they understood that true Christians could be demonized. Because
of this they created a lay order of exorcists who took new believers
through deliverance after their conversion to Christ and before their
The argument from worldwide contemporary experience with demonized
believers is unanimous. This point is so crucial, I feel I must look at it
in more detail in the rest of this study. I refer you to one of the most
thorough, scholarly, biblical and exhaustive studies of this issue in
print today, C. Fred Dickason's monumental work Demon Possession and the
Christian. Dr. Dickason who is a professor of new Testament Theology at
Moody Bible College, has been involved for years in an active deliverance
ministry. He is a fair-minded scholar, and he presents in detail the major
arguments on both sides of the issue.
His personal position, however, corresponds exactly with what I am
presenting here. From Scripture, logic, church history and contemporary
worldwide experience with the demonized, he supports the position that
some true Christians, under unusual conditions of sin, can become
demonized. One of the most valuable sections of Dickason's book deals with
a great number of case studies of demonized believers that he presents.
These come from the experiences of various theologians, pastors,
counselors, missionaries and lay believers worldwide who work with the
I believe it would be accurate to affirm that anyone worldwide who is
actually involved in a ministry of helping to deliver the demonized will
agree that true believers can be demonized. It is only those who are not
actively involved in such a ministry who affirm the opposite. It is also
important to recognize that it is not a matter of winning a theological
argument that is in question. It is a matter of ministering to afflicted
believers and delivering them from their sufferings caused by the demons
attached to their lives. That is, after all, all that really matters.
2. Two Explanations for the Enigma of Demonized Christians.
were demonized before their conversion to the Lord Jesus. What I am
affirming is that all demons do not automatically leave the body of
demonized unbelievers the instant they turn to Christ. This is especially
true when the demonized are brought to Christ by the traditional Western
world's logical-analytical approach toward evangelism already mentioned.
In the case of severe demonization, even when unbelievers are brought to
Christ through a gospel of power, there is still no guarantee that all of
the demons attached to the victim's life will immediately release their
hold on the new believer. Thus, the importance of post-conversion
I follow what I call a 45-10-45 percent deliverance procedure, with 45
percent of the time spent in pre-deliverance counseling, 45 percent of the
time in post-deliverance counseling and only 10 percent of the time spent
in the initial deliverance. Post-deliverance biblical counseling will
usually involve ongoing deliverance. This must continue until the new
convert is firmly enough established in his faith and the Word of God,
prayer, spiritual warfare, warfare praying and the use of his spiritual
armor to be able to live in freedom without the continued help of the
Second, the believer picked up demons after his conversion through his own
sin and/or the serious sin of other committed against him. For the
believer who finds it difficult to accept these possibilities biblically,
I would again encourage the serious study of Dickason's book, Demon
Possession and the Christian.
As to how demons may be able to attach
themselves to or penetrate the life of true believers, I present figure 1
as a possibility. As figure 1 reveals, the believer would seem to have at
least a threefold protection against the attacks of the enemy. They are
the hedge of God (Job 1:10), the angels of God (Ps. 34:7; Zech. 3:1; Heb.
1:14) and the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16). Although all are available to
all believers, nothing is automatic.
God, in His grace, however, continually protects us from many of the
flaming missiles of the enemy. If this were not so, none of us would
survive his relentless attacks. Most carnal Christians are also protected.
Otherwise, our churches would be filled with demonized believers. In some
cases, however, because of sin a demon may be able to gain a foothold in
the believer's life. Satan and his evil spirits are sin personified. They
thrive on sin, love sin and live sin. They exist to spread sin among God's
people. Where possible, they will attach themselves to sin areas of a
believer's life and work continually to increase their control over these
areas. If possible they will try to gain entrance into a believer's life.
That control is only partial, however, never total. Thus, demonized
believers are able to, and, are responsible to turn against the demons
attached to their lives. This is one of the purposes of pre-deliverance
counseling — to lead believers to confess and reject the sin in their lives
and turn against Satan and his demons (Jas. 4:1-7).
If the demon succeeds
in entering the body of the believer, he will usually try to draw other
demons into the believer's life — and they are usually successful in doing
so. Most cases of demonization in our day seem to involve multiple demonic
invasion. These demons will affect the believer's inner life, disturbing
his emotions, his mind, his will and his spiritual well-being. The
internal spiritual warfare all believer's face will become intensified.
With multiple invasion the believer's condition begins to deteriorate.
The rest of figure 1 is self-explanatory. Although it is based on a
trichotomous view of the human personality, with minor changes it can be
used by one who holds a dichotomous view.
The Three Levels of Protection Around Us
3. Primary Sin Areas of Demonized Christians. While the percentage of
demonized believers in our churches may be low in comparison with those
who are not demonized, it is much higher than most of us realize. These
believers need help. They need deliverance from these binding demons.
Fortunately, the demonic condition of most demonized believers is mild.
Most are able to maintain a somewhat normal life. They usually realize,
however, that something is wrong with them, though they seldom suspect
they are suffering from demonization. Many are very sincere Christians.
Many are Spirit-filled Christians. Yet they are bound by unexplainable
fears, confusion, uncontrollable emotions and other disturbing phenomena.
Usually certain sins dominate their lives, if not in actual, open sinful
activity, at least in their thought life, their imagination or fantasies.
They are often very disturbed, even obsessed, in four primary sin areas:
One — illicit sexual practices or fantasies.
Two — deep-seated anger, bitterness, hatred, rage and rebellion, often
leading to destructive
and/or self-destructive impulses.
Three — a sense of rejection, guilt, poor self-esteem, unworthiness and
Four — strange attraction to the occult and to the spirit world, often, but
not always, with a desire for illicit power over their circumstances and
over other people.
Fortunately, most demonized believers do not need dramatic, spectacular,
prolonged deliverance sessions. They often need only to be counseled by
believers who know the spirit world and can help set them free, teaching
them spiritual warfare and self-deliverance. (Jas. 4:1-8; 5:13-20).
4. Doors to Demonize Christians. For both mild and more severe forms of demonization of believers, there seem to be at least three major doors
through which demons enter a human life. The first door is at birth. Some
Christians were born demonized. This is often called by different names,
such as generational sin, familial sin, demonic transference, demonic
inheritance or the law of the inheritance or the law of the inheritance of
Direct and clearly defined biblical teaching or examples of demonic
transference are not found in Scripture. What is found are divine warnings
that the sins of parents do have potentially devastating consequences upon
their children, up to four generations (Exod. 20:5; 34:6-7; Deut. 5:5-10).
The Jews interpreted this warning in this manner, at least by the time of
the divided kingdom (Jer. 31:27-30; Lam. 5:7; Ezek. 18:1-20). The negative
approach of the prophets toward this law of the inheritance of evil was
not to deny its reality ,but to correct its abuses. Plumtre states: "Men
found in it an explanation of their sufferings which relieved their
consciences. They were suffering, they said, for the sins of their
fathers, not for their own." William H. Brownlee, in his commentary,
Ezekiel 1-19 in the The Word Biblical Commentary, agrees, but adds another
"In society, this would be a popular maxim for cautioning parents with
regard to their behavior, lest they bring harm to the next generation. It
is not this, however, to which Ezekiel objects, but to the perverse usage
by which one infers that if past generations were as wicked as Ezekiel
claims (2:3, chapter 16, 20, 23), then it will be of no use to repent in
order to avert the doom he predicts. They say, in effect: "Of what use is
repentance? Our fate is already sealed by the sins of the fathers."
Against this Ezekiel directs a lengthy disputation."
Plumtre declares that Scriptures support both laws: "the law of heredity
tendencies and punishments that fall not on the individual
responsibility." This law of the inheritance of evil is not automatically
binding. Neither is the opposite law that the children of godly parents
will automatically love and obey the Lord (Prov. 22:6). Both reflect
general principles of order within God's kingdom which, under normal
circumstances, will prove to be true.
In light of the biblical principle of the law of inheritance of evil,
demonic transference or inheritance would not appear unlikely. The most
obvious possibility would be within the occult realm, that, parents who
rebel against God and join themselves to the "no gods" of the spirit
Studies in non-Christian religions and occultism reveal this
transference to be a fact. The experience of most, if not all, believers
who are involved in deliverance ministry, including my own, would reveal
this dimension of demonization to be a vivid reality.
The second door to demonize Christians is through child abuse, in at least
four possible areas—sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual.
Spiritual child abuse demands a further word of explanation. It can occur
when a child involuntarily receives demonic psychic/occult powers that are
passed down through the family line. It can also occur when a child is
voluntarily subjected to a spirit ceremony with the purpose of passing
demonic psychic or occult spirits into its body. It can also occur when a
curse is placed on a child by a malevolent spiritual practitioner, or by
an angry person operating in the spirit realm. It can occur even in jest,
or when one is not fully aware of the spirit focus activated by his or her
anger or curse.
Ritual spiritual child abuse is the most horrible of all. This most
horrible form of child abuse usually is a combination of the above:
sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse. The third door to
demonize Christians is through his or her own willful sinful actions in
childhood, youth or adulthood. This usually occurs in the realms of
sexuality, the occult and destructive interpersonal relationships.
been the scourge of humanity since the Fall. With sin comes demons. They
are drawn to sin like flies to filth. Indeed, their reason for being is to
promote sin. Our age is excessively sinful. Both on a personal, national
and international scale sin seems to be on a rampage. Increased demonic
activity and increased sinfulness go together.
Demonic powers have come out into the open in most of the Western world,
and especially in the United States. Our society seems to have been
captured anew by the horrid, the brazen, sexual extremism, occultism,
satanism and witchcraft.
Christians are suffering demonic harassment and
oppression at an alarming rate. Many are becoming demonized and are
seeking for someone to help them. Thus, it behooves us to learn the spirit
We must not be ignorant of Satan's schemes. We must go on the
offense and challenge and dethrone the evil powers afflicting so many
believers, our homes, churches and Christian institutions. We are at war!
Ed Murphy is vice president and director of the International Ministry
Team of Overseas Crusades. He taught Bible and mission part-time at San
Jose Bible College and trains Christian leaders in spiritual warfare
throughout the world. A former missionary to Latin America, Dr. Murphy is
the author of three books.
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