Demon Possession (and the Charlatans That Promote It)

Demon Possession (and the Charlatans That Promote It)

Shortly after giving my life to Christ when I was 18, I attended Pentecostal TV rock-star pastor Rod Parsley’s church for a brief period of time.

It’s a good thing, too, for if I hadn’t I would never have learned how to eject a supernatural demonic being from a person’s body, all within time to get to Sunday lunch.

Here’s how Rod did it:

  1. Place your hand on the possessed person’s forehead and position your body in a Heisman Trophy stance
    I’m not sure what it is about the hand on the forehead or the crazy touchdown pose, but it worked for Rod every time. Any time someone came forward with a demon and Rod broke out the Heisman pose, we all knew we were getting to Denny’s in time to beat the Baptists down the street.
  2. Yell directly at the demon, preferably in King James English
    Evidently demons are either hard of hearing or easily intimidated, so always remember to speak LOUDLY and always have a few handy phrases memorized from 16th century Shakespearean English. “Arise thou foul demon” and “returneth to thy abode” seemed to be a few popular phrases used.
  3. If you find the demon doesn’t want to leave, always remember to speak in tongues
    Every once in a while Rod squared off with a demon of the black-belt variety, and when Rod saw this coming he always knew what to do: speak in tongues. With hand planted squarely on the forehead, body in assumed demon expunging position, Rod would break out with a few raucous Ho-ba-ba-ba-shinge’s and it was all over.

It can get a little crazy when you’re called upon to cast a demon out of someone, so it always helps to just remember the acrostic F-S-Y-T (forehead, stance, yell, tongues).

It works like a charm.

Unless you have a brain.

And actually believe in demons.

And really want to help people.

In that case then, the acrostic probably won’t help, because the acrostic F-S-Y-T is really for show, for effect, for the camera. It’s really about hype and crowd control. It’s all about half-baked theology and the loons who promote it.

Here’s what scripture appears to teach about exorcism and demons:

  1. Demons exist.
  2. Demons can afflict people, but do not actually “possess” people.

The word “demon-possessed” occurs twenty times in the New Testament. Nineteen times it occurs in the gospels (Matthew 4:24; 8:16; 8:28; 8:33; 9:32; 12:22; Mark 1:32; 5:15; 5:16; 5:18; Luke 4:33; 8:27; 8:36; John 7:20; 8:48; 8:49; 8:52; 10:20; 10:21) and only once in the Book of Acts (Acts 19:13).

When we study this issue we are immediately faced with a translation problem. Being physically “possessed” (the way a tenant possesses a house) by a demon is not what the Biblical writers were trying to communicate.

In the original Greek the Biblical authors used participle phrases such as “being demonized” to communicate that a demon had interacted with a person to such an extent that the demon was able to influence the mind, body and soul of a person. They weren’t implying that a demon actually lived inside a person.

  1. The best way to get rid of unwarranted demonic attention is to heal the root cause of why a demon might be hanging around in the first place – deep emotional wounds.

As one Vineyard pastor friend told me once, “Get rid of the trash and you eliminate the maggots.”

  1. While it appears that certain miraculous spiritual gifts are no longer active, that does not mean demonic activity has ceased.

Demonic activity and miraculous spiritual gifts are two unrelated issues in scripture.

We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Do you believe in demon possession? 

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