Are deliverance ministries scriptural?

by Shawn

Devil possession is a very real phenomenon yet exorcism is NEVER used in the New Testament as therapy for born again Christians. God’s method of deliverance is (1) salvation through the glorious gospel of Christ, 2 Cor 4:4, 1 Cor 15:1-4, Rom 16:25, 2 Tim 2:24-26 and (2) justification by faith in which God's perfect righteousness is freely given to saved sinners.

The power of the gospel

The power of the gospel is what delivers us from sin, death and the devil, Romans 1:16, Colossians 1:13, Ephesians 2:1-5, not deliverance ministries. Please look up and read the verses to learn what scripture says about deliverance.

The best way to get deliverance is to repent of your sins, believe the gospel, trust Jesus as your Savior from sin and bondage and then by God’s grace, walk in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16. We all have a choice: we can believe the gospel and get saved and delivered or we can believe false teaching and live in bondage.

The warfare worldview

The warfare worldview is the false teaching which undergirds deliverance ministry. This worldview says a battle between God and Satan plays out in human beings over the span of history. For more information, please read: How deliverance ministries lead people into bondage.

There is a bit of truth in the warfare worldview. Christians are in a spiritual battle, Ephesians 6:12-18. Deliverance ministries believe that, acting on God’s behalf they, as spiritual warriors must fight dark spiritual powers to free people from spiritual bondage, using practices which are not revealed in the Bible, i.e., extra-biblical practices.

The gospel worldview

Contra the warfare worldview, the gospel worldview says that God “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” 2 Tim 1:10. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, Romans 1:16, and is the key to spiritual warfare, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, not human techniques like interrogating demons.

Modern deliverance ministries de-emphasize the power of the gospel and focus attention on non-biblical techniques instead of teaching the Bible verse by verse. Some deliverance ministers are themselves devil possessed and in bondage to Satan because he has hooked them on false teaching about spiritual warfare.

While their motives in some cases may be good, many are spiritually deceived. Instead of basing their ministry on truths about deliverance revealed by God in the Bible, they resort to false techniques and false teaching which can never solve the problem of devil possession. The sad result for many victims of deliverance ministries is false deliverance and increased bondage to Satan.

unSpiritual Protection Racket?

Some modern deliverance ministries (1) operate like spiritual protection rackets, (2) claiming to offer protection from demons by casting out demons (3) but the demons frequently return and need to be cast out again.

Deliverance ministries are (4) often associated with pentecostal and charismatic groups (5) which teach the false doctrine that Christians can lose their salvation when they should be grounding people in the truth of eternal security.

Ask them to show you in the Bible where
a devil was ever cast out of a Christian.

They focus more on casting demons out of professing Christians than verse by verse Bible teaching and if they cannot show you chapter and verse to answer your question, you've just discovered how unscriptural their ministry is.

Because they do not teach the Bible in context verse by verse, their victims must be delivered over and over. Often the deliverance racket is more like a spiritual con game than a scriptural ministry.

Unlike in the gospels where devils were cast out of unsaved people, (6) modern deliverance ministries deal mostly with casting devils out of people who profess to be saved. On the foreign mission field, (7) Baptists and others sometimes cast out devils but that occurs among unsaved people, as it did in the gospels and Acts.

The deliverance worldview teaches that trusting the finished work of Christ on the cross is not enough to deliver us from Satan and his devils..

According to deliverance teaching, even after we get saved, we still need tongues-talking exorcists, prophetic intercessors, ancestral curse breakers and spiritual warfare counselors to become mature Christians. These alleged deliverance specialists become our mediators in the place of Jesus Christ Who according to the Bible is our one and only mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5.

There is virtually no deliverance ministry in the Old Testament. No one in the Old Testament is told to cast out devils. Deliverance in the gospels was associated with Jesus' ministry to unbelieving Israel, Matthew 10:1.

Israel in apostasy had forsaken God and was worshiping false gods like Molech and Ashtoreth. The worship of false gods is inextricably linked to the problem of being devil possessed. Jesus Christ is the fulcrum of history. When Jesus the Messiah came, the way God relates to mankind radically changed, Ephesians 2:15-17.

Jesus’ deliverance ministry

When Jesus begins His earthly ministry, He is (1) dealing with unsaved Jews in the land of Israel (2) who worshiped false gods and (3) who refused to receive Him as their Messiah. (4) Deliverance ministry in the gospels is in the context of unbelief and rejecting the gospel.

When we get to Acts, God is still dealing with the Jews but is also beginning to segue to ministry to Gentiles, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8. In the Acts period, we witness a gradual turning away from Israel because Jews as a nation progressively rejected the gospel, Acts 13:45-46, 18:5-6, 28:17, 23-28.

The Pauline epistles tell us to follow Paul as He followed Jesus instead of simply telling us to follow Jesus, Gal 3:1, 1 Cor 4:16, 11:1, Galatians 4:12, Philippians 3:17, 4:9, Acts 26:29, 1 Timothy 1:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9, 2 Timothy 3:10-14, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Romans 11:14.

That is because Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, Isaiah 53, who ministered signs and wonders to Jews living under the law in the land of Israel, Romans 15:8. Paul was Jewish but he was also the apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 11:13. As Christians we certainly witness to Jews about Jesus. God gladly saves individual Jews who accept Jesus but Israel as a nation has been removed from the place of blessing in this age because as a nation, they rejected their Messiah, Romans 11:25.

The truth is, there is very little in the Pauline epistles and very little in Peter and John's epistles about deliverance ministry. (1) As the books of the New Testament were written and (2) as believers became grounded doctrinally about salvation and (3) were walking in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16, there became far less need for deliverance ministries.

(4) Walking in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16, is walking in obedience to the revealed will of God. It is walking in obedience to what God has showed us in the Bible and (5) obeying the scriptural leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. (6) Many of the ills deliverance ministers interpret as demons of lust, sex, fear, porn, greed and alcohol are nothing more than disobedience and self-will.

It is for those six reasons that we see no major emphasis on deliverance ministry among Bible believing Baptists, conservative evangelicals, Bible churches, non-charismatic churches, Brethren churches and non-Pentecostal churches except on foreign mission fields in non-western cultures.

As people in western cultures get saved and doctrinally grounded about salvation, the grace of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit, their lives get straightened out and following the Biblical model, there is little need for deliverance ministries.

Deliverance ministries do play a part in churches on the foreign mission field where missionaries encounter worshipers of false gods. In the US and other western countries, because there is less worship of false gods and more Bible teaching, there is less devil possession and therefore less need for deliverance ministries.

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Doing time in
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Comments for Are deliverance ministries scriptural?

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Aug 20, 2013
Demonic Activity
by: Terry Barnard

I believe that Pastor Rick is correct and demons cannot possess a Christian - but demons can possess the unsaved.

What is more common is demonic oppression. If we allow un-Godly thoughts, anger, anxiety, lust, vengence, resentment, to take root in our minds; if we nurture and dwell on these thoughts, we open ourselves to oppression.

Non-Christians are unaware of spiritual matters and have little ability to combat these strong spiritual influences, and that's why the non-Christian gets so caught up in sinful activities. We Christians should always guard our thought life to be sure we do not allow un-Godly stray thoughts or influences to make a home in our lives.

We have all met Christians who seem to always be angry or mean-spirited or seem to enjoy starting trouble among other Christians. This is not possession, but an unspiritual strong-hold that the person has allowed in their life. This is not resolved through deliverance, but through honest COUNSELING to help the person understand that they are permitting un-Godly thinking to govern their actions.

Repentance is required and prayer for God's mercy and blessings in learning to walk as a true disciple and to turn aside from every sin (and thought) which so easily besets us.

Mar 05, 2016
by: paula

I was just wondering why you call yourself gay christian?

Rick's comment: Hi Paula - the answer is in My testimony.

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