We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, July 13, 2015

Demon Possession and Exorcism In the Bible

I was recently asked to read the book, “Demon Possession & the Christian,” by C. Fred Dickason, and then tell the person what I thought about it.  The individual loaning the book to me has accepted a lot of what this book claims, and we had had a short discussion as to whether or not a Christian can be demon possessed.  So before I read the book I thought the best thing to do was to search the New Testament for wherever it talked about exorcism.  I plan on sharing on my blog the results of my reviewing the book, but for today I just want to share with you what I found in the New Testament.  

The following are Bible passages discussing exorcising demons.  (NIV)  Please remember these when studying demon possession.


1.  Matthew 8:16
Cross reference to Mark 1: 32-34
Cross reference to Luke 4:40-41

Notice that Jesus drove the demons out with just a word.  Also notice that Jesus didn’t even let the demons speak other than their initial outburst claiming that they knew who He was.

2.  Matthew 8:28-32
Cross reference to Mark 5:1-7
Cross reference to Luke 8:26-37

The sequence of events is a wee bit scrambled, but appears to be in this order:

a.  The demon possessed men come out to meet Jesus and fell at His feet.  (Matthew says 
two, the others only mention one.

b.  Jesus told the demons to come out of the men.

c.  The demons asked what Jesus wanted of them and asked not to be tortured or sent to the abyss.

d.  Jesus asked the name of the demons and they responded with their name and asked to be sent into the pigs.

e.  Jesus then used one word to exorcise them.

3.  Matthew 9:32-33
No information is given as to the specifics of the exorcism.

4.  Matthew 12:22
Cross reference to Luke 11:14
No information is given as to the specifics of the exorcism.

5.  Matthew 15:22-28
Cross reference to Mark 7:25-30
All Jesus did was to say the woman’s request for exorcism was granted.  Nothing even said to the demon.

6.  Matthew 17:14-21.  Substantial manuscript evidence shows the last verse should not be here, but was copied from the long form of Mark 9:29.
Cross reference to Mark 9:17-29.  Substantial manuscript evidence shows “and fasting” was added to the text.
Cross reference to Luke 9:38-42

Matthew and Luke state only that Jesus rebuked the demon.  Mark says that Jesus called the demon a “deaf and mute spirit” and commanded him to come out of the boy and never return.  The only instance so far of Jesus calling a spirit by a type.  Only Mark originally had Jesus telling the disciples that prayer was needed for this type of demon.

7.  Mark 1:23-25
Cross reference Luke 4:31-37

The evil spirit in a man calls out to Jesus, claims to know who He is, and wants to know if Jesus is there to destroy him.  Jesus just commanded the spirt to be quiet and ordered him to come out of the man.  No conversation allowed.

8.  Mark 9:38-40
Cross reference to Luke 9:49-50
Others are observed driving out demons in Jesus’ name.  No other information.

9.  Mark 16:17  Although this passage is disputed, it only says that Christians will be able to drive out demons in Jesus’ name.

10.  Luke 10:17-20.  The 72 reported that demons submitted to Jesus’ name.  Nothing else noted about process.

11.  Luke 11:14.  Just says that Jesus drove out a demon; nothing else.

12.  Luke 13:10-13.  A woman was crippled by a spirit.  Jesus didn’t even address the spirit, rather he just said she was free of her infirmity and put his hands on her, and she was immediately healed.


1.  Matthew 10:1
Cross Reference to Mark 6:7
Jesus gave them their authority to drive out demons, and they did so.  No information given as to process.

2.  Acts 5:16:  Just says those with evil spirits were healed; no information as to process.

3.  Acts 8:5-8:  “With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many.”  No other information.

4.  Acts 16:16-18.  All Paul did was to command the spirit to leave in the name of Christ.  No conversation or prayer or rituals.

5.  Acts 19:11:  Paul’s handkerchiefs touched against those with demons cause the demons to leave.

6.  Acts 19:13-16:  Jews tried to drive out demons in Jesus’ name and were overpowered by the demons.

Although these passages give very little information in regards to demonic possession and exorcism, there is enough here to discern when something taught actually contradicts these passages or else argues from silence.  It certainly isn’t enough to build a whole theology about demonic possession.

Tomorrow I will post what I wrote up as a review of the book.

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