What Does The Scripture Say

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus came to the aid of the suffering of humanity, working miracles by healing the sick and casting out demons. In the intervening centuries, God has called Christian men and women from time to time with miraculous ministries to the sick and afflicted. Yet, there are few records of people with a ministry of casting out demons comparable to that of Jesus. As a result, we have left most victims of demonic oppression or demonization to suffer with no offer of practical help from the Church. Therefore, the time has come to clear away the wreckage of religious tradition that has obscured the clear revelation of the New Testament, and to reestablish the Church’s ministry on the foundation of Jesus and the gospels. Mark begins his record of the public ministry of Jesus with an incident in which a demon challenged Him as He was teaching in a synagogue in Galilee. This encounter spread His fame immediately throughout the whole of Galilee (see Mark 1:21–28). From that point on, we see Jesus dealing with demons wherever He encountered them. Jesus sent a message to Herod that He would continue to cast out demons and perform cures until he completed His earthly task (see Luke 13:32). But the ministry was not to end then! When Jesus commissioned His followers, He transmitted His authority to them. In fact, He sent no one out to preach the Gospel without specifically instructing and equipping that person to take action against demons in the same way that He Himself did. I can find no basis anywhere in the New Testament for an evangelistic ministry that does not include the expelling of demons. Today, we must soon come to realize that Satan has developed a special opposition to this ministry, especially confrontational deliverance. He is, by choice, an individual of darkness. He keeps the true nature of his activities concealed. If he can keep humanity unaware of his tactics—or even of his very existence—he can use his two primary tools of ignorance and fear, opening the way for his destructive purposes. Unfortunately, ignorance and fear are not always repressed to non-Christians. They are often at work inside the Church. Some Bible translations use the word “expel” to illustrate the action of dealing with demons. Expel is a simple, everyday word that has no particular religious connotations. It brings the whole ministry down to the level of everyday life. Jesus Himself was extremely practical in His dealings with demons. He pointed out the unique significance of this ministry of expelling demons when He said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). Casting out demons illustrates two important spiritual truths. First, it exposes the existence of two opposing spiritual kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Second, it reveals the victory of God’s Kingdom over Satan’s. From the time of Moses onward, God’s prophets had worked many miracles that foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus. They had healed the sick, raised the dead, made miraculous provision for multitudes and showed God’s power to control the forces of nature. But there is no evidence that any of them had ever cast out a demon. God reserved this for Jesus. It was an extraordinary demonstration that the Kingdom of God had come upon the people of His day. Therefore, evangelism that does not incorporate the casting out of demons is not New Testament evangelism. I will take this a step further and connect it to the ministry of praying for the sick. It is unscriptural to pray for the sick if someone is not willing, also to cast out demons. Jesus did not separate one from the other. Just one thought here. I do not intend to be prideful or offensive, but to state the facts. We are disciples of Jesus, so we should follow in His footsteps. Directly, I see this as further evidence of Satan’s special and intense opposition to the ministry of deliverance. If possible, he seeks to eliminate it altogether from the Church’s program. If he fails, his ambition is to discredit it. I certainly did not volunteer, but was brought in supernaturally to deliverance! It confronted me with situations in which it forced me to choose between two alternatives: taking action against the demons or backing down and giving way to them. We know some people are under demonic oppression who do not know how to get free and are enduring the various degrees of torment that demons inflict. I sincerely believe that it is the purpose of Jesus, through the Gospel and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, to offer hope and freedom to such people.