by Rayola Kelley
Q: “I have problems with the following comments in Apologist John Beardsley’s, Spiritual Warfare: Can a Believer Be Demon Possessed?: ‘[T]he only legitimate casting out of demons happened in the time of Christ and the apostles. This demonstrated that Jesus truly was the Messiah the Old Testament predicted would come. The Jews at that time would recognize that casting out of demons meant that the Messiah was present and offering the kingdom to the nation Israel. The apostles were given this authority to cast out demons as representatives of Christ. This authority cannot be transferred to anyone else.’ My problem is that I have, on occasion, personally witnessed demonic manifestations in Christian circles for a number of years, and I have also witnessed genuine deliverances when demons were cast out. I believe that the Bible is clear that believers have also been given authority and the responsibility to carry out Christ’s commission by the power of the Holy Spirit. Can you please bring clarity to this conflict? Thank you.”
A: In our ministry, we have encountered much demonic activity in the Church. It is important to point out that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian. In other words, these individuals are not born of the Spirit and water as John 3:3 and 5 clearly states.
If a person is truly born again of the Spirit of God, he or she cannot be possessed by the kingdom of darkness. Possession entails the demons controlling a person’s spirit and owning his or her soul. Ultimately, a possessed person has no control over any area of his or her life.
However, Christians can be oppressed in the soul area by demonic influence. This oppression can manifest itself in various ways from depression to spiritual hindrances in growth and prayer. When the light of God exposes demonic activity, whether it is possession or oppression, there can be some bodily manifestation of it.
Another important aspect of this subject is to realize Christians may possess the authority to cast out demons, but only Christ can deliver people from their rights or hold on them. Deliverance comes when Jesus takes His position as Lord in a person’s life. Lordship points to ownership. As already stated, in possession, Satan owns the soul and in oppression, he is hindering some aspect of the soul, whether it is the will, emotions, or intellect. It is for this reason that people who are possessed cannot declare Jesus to be Lord, and those oppressed have a hard time believing that He is Lord of their lives.
The demonic realm must be properly discerned. The Bible tells us that we must not be ignorant of the devices of Satan. We must recognize his avenues, doors, and attachments that he operates through, if we are going to resist his advancements and take authority over him.
I hope this helps to answer your question.