Results 1 to 26 of 26

Spiritual Warfare discuss Demonic Attack? in the The Christian Walk forums; How can you tell if what you are going through maybe an demonic attack or not? Example: yesterday I was overwhelmed by a feeling of ...

  1. #1
    Reformingstudent is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,763

    Demonic Attack?

    How can you tell if what you are going through maybe an demonic attack or not? Example: yesterday I was overwhelmed by a feeling of depression that I could not seem to resist. Thoughts of despair and darkness overwhelmed me almost to the point of wanting to give up on life.
    I was up till 4am this morning and almost missed Church but decided to go ahead anyway even though I was give out. I feel a lot better now though but have wondered if what I had gone through may be demonic in nature. Now I am not one of those who see demons around every corner but I do believe there are evil spirits who try to hinder us with our walk with Christ. Could what i went through be an attack from an evil spirit? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Tom

    P.S feeling a lot better now and would apprecaite prayers that this would not come back on me again.

    [Edited on 4-25-2005 by Reformingstudent]
    Tom Mitchell
    Opp, AL
    Member of First Presbyterian Church PCA Florala, AL

    O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin
    Romans 7:24,25
    www.myspace.com/tom_mitchell1960
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607055102

  2. #2
    BobVigneault's Avatar
    BobVigneault is offline. Bawberator
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,943
    Tom, there's a few ways to look at that. Depression and dread may be a chemical/physical response to something happening physiologically; or it could be some type of demonic oppression, it could be God moving you in a certain direction or it could be the demonic using a physiological weakness to attack you.

    It may be impossible to tell unless you actually witness some supernatural activity. Regardless of the cause of your dread and depression the scriptures never come out and tell us to engage spiritual forces directly. We are to resist the devil, we are to pray that God will deliver us from the evil one. Reading through the psalms we find that when we are hit with depression or 'our countenance is fallen' we should worship God, we should acknowledge his attributes and the ways he has provided for us and sustained us. Think on his mercy and soveriegn power and plan. Remember that Satan is on a very short leash and is nothing more than God's agent of wrath.

    A lack of worship can lead to mental ill-health, to resentment and all kinds of disorder. If the depression gets chronic then see a doctor, if it takes a blatant supernatural turn then seek the elders of a church.

    Make sure that no one in your household is involved in the occult or any activity that might might invite the demonic. The demonic has no right to oppress the believer unless the right has been given by invitation. If you find someone has done this, expose it and repent and ask God to be your strength, your protector, your fear and your dread.

    Isaiah 8:12 "œDo not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary...."
    When it comes to havoc, I WREAK!
    Bob Vigneault
    Seventy And Fourteen (blog)
    The Heartbeat of Heaven (blog)
    Spiritual Warfare (blog)
    Member, Grace Evangelical Free Church (Reforming!), Afton, WI
    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  3. #3
    Joshua is offline. _
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    20,082
    Blog Entries
    3
    "Submit yourselves, then, to the Lord. Resist the devil and he will flee."
    Josh
    CCRPC, RPCGA
    Board Rules - Signature Rules

    It is our interest, as well as duty, cheerfully to acquiesce in the will of God, whatever befals us. That we may not complain of what is, let us see God's hand in all events; and, that we may not be afraid of what shall be, let us see all events in God's hand. - Matthew Henry

  4. #4
    Irishcat922 is offline. Inactive User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    851
    Isa 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
    Sean Jones
    Covenant Presbyterian Church OPC
    Fort Worth Texas

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.
    2Timothy 2:15

  5. #5
    Augusta's Avatar
    Augusta is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    7,924
    Tom, I have wondered this too. I have told my sister who is very charismatic/pentecostal that the devil has no power over us. She sees everything as the devil and or demons attacking her. I have come to reject this in terms of God's elect. We are sealed and I always thought of this as meaning Satan sees this seal and know we are off limits.

    Then a couple of months ago, in church no less, I had this very strong sinful train of thought that I was really fighting with. This had never happened to me before that I can remember. I sat there and just had to pray quietly to myself to make it stop. It was as if my flesh was just banging to get out or something. It was very weird. I have never had that kind of inner struggle over sinful thoughts like that before. I don't know if it was a test or trial or what.

    I am unsure as to wether God still allows us to be tested like Job was. I know that Jesus told Peter that the devil has been asking to sift him as wheat. That was before the cross though when Satan was bound. Was he only bound from decieving the nations? I asked one our professors and he said he is hindered but not totally bound.

    I know there are verses that talk about trials and like metioned earlier, that we should resist the devil and he will flee. Is that what I did by praying through that incident?

    I would appreciate any comments some of you have on this subject also.
    Traci
    Lynnwood OPC

    "I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace."--David Dickson

  6. #6
    Irishcat922 is offline. Inactive User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    851
    J. MacArthur wrote a very good book on the subject called "How to meet the enemy", coming out of a neo-pentecostal background myself it cleared up alot of my misconceptions.
    Sean Jones
    Covenant Presbyterian Church OPC
    Fort Worth Texas

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.
    2Timothy 2:15

  7. #7
    BobVigneault's Avatar
    BobVigneault is offline. Bawberator
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,943
    The problem with this topic is there is so much experience that begs for a systematic approach to dealing with specific activities, but it is very difficult to form a systematic approach from what few scriptures relate to it.

    Most of the scriptures are from the gospel narratives and don't lend themselves to building a doctrine. The temptation is to meld a few incidents from scripture with a bulk of varied experiences and then compile a system that really has little foundation.

    Again, I caution, as one who has come under severe attack and blatant activity, there are no scriptural directives to directly battle against the demonic, this is the realm of the angels and our Lord. We must seek to acknowledge his truth, his attibutes, his promises. The angels fight a battle of power, we wage a battle of truth. We are no match for the demonic in a power struggle.

    I fear that many have set out to engage in 'spiritual warfare' or 'deliverance ministry' only to invite and incite the demonic to do more damage.

    While we wrestle not against flesh and blood, our weapons are still, truth, prayer and steadfastness. Don't try to give Satan a black eye, Jesus has already done that. Don't boast about how you will defeat the demonic, the charismatics have overstepped themselves there. Seek first God's Kingdom and his righteousness and do not give a foothold for the devil. Ephesians 6 is the best teaching in this regard.

    [Edited on 4-26-2005 by maxdetail]
    When it comes to havoc, I WREAK!
    Bob Vigneault
    Seventy And Fourteen (blog)
    The Heartbeat of Heaven (blog)
    Spiritual Warfare (blog)
    Member, Grace Evangelical Free Church (Reforming!), Afton, WI
    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  8. #8
    Augusta's Avatar
    Augusta is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    7,924
    The main question missed here is can a child of God be touched or even messed with by a demon? Was it Satan speaking lies to us or was it just a struggle with our flesh? Or can we even know? You can see we both resisted and were eventually fine. In both cases is just seemed to be outside forces. Not something we normally deal with.
    Traci
    Lynnwood OPC

    "I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace."--David Dickson

  9. #9
    Robin is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,597
    Originally posted by Augusta
    The main question missed here is can a child of God be touched or even messed with by a demon? Was it Satan speaking lies to us or was it just a struggle with our flesh? Or can we even know? You can see we both resisted and were eventually fine. In both cases is just seemed to be outside forces. Not something we normally deal with.
    For the record, the whole of the New Testament teaches we have 3 struggles: the world; the flesh; the devil.

    The struggle with the devil has nothing whatsoever to do with car problems; law suits, or other various perils of living in this present evil age. Sickness, persecution, and death that the Christian experiences are sovereignly governed by Christ.

    We are not to pay attention to the enemy -- but Christ, trusting in Him and knowing His Word. As we seek to live under His gracious reign, it is wise, responsible and good to take those actions (when possible) to get medical help; legal advice; or car repair when occasions arise.

    The entire Bible clarifies the practices of the Enemy - which is thwarting the Gospel. Period.

    Meanwhile, we are to test everything with Scripture! Most importantly, we cannot apply "one-time" events during the early Church (in Acts) as though they are normative-regular happenings.

    Tom ---- God has given us all the horse-sense to detect a problem, then attempt to make those efforts that will honor the life He has given us. Please see a doctor soon and find-out what is the best course of action is. Don't procrastinate, OK? God has also provided reliable medical procedures to intervene!

    Praying for your health,

    Robin
    Robin
    Christ Reformed Church, Anaheim, CA
    Laity, under the care of Pastor, Kim Riddlebarger
    Heidelberg, Ursinus, Belgic Confessions; Canons of Dordt
    Revelation 14:2

  10. #10
    Apologist4Him's Avatar
    Apologist4Him is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    251
    Originally posted by Reformingstudent
    How can you tell if what you are going through maybe an demonic attack or not? Example: yesterday I was overwhelmed by a feeling of depression that I could not seem to resist. Thoughts of despair and darkness overwhelmed me almost to the point of wanting to give up on life.
    I was up till 4am this morning and almost missed Church but decided to go ahead anyway even though I was give out. I feel a lot better now though but have wondered if what I had gone through may be demonic in nature. Now I am not one of those who see demons around every corner but I do believe there are evil spirits who try to hinder us with our walk with Christ. Could what i went through be an attack from an evil spirit? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Tom

    P.S feeling a lot better now and would apprecaite prayers that this would not come back on me again.

    [Edited on 4-25-2005 by Reformingstudent]
    Hi Tom,

    Know this my friend, you're not alone. I have had the same struggles...and more often than I would care to admit. I have struggled with thoughts to the point that I've doubted my salvation along the lines of "how could one of God's elect have these wicked sinful thoughts?" But the Lord continues to remind me, that it's by grace I have been saved through faith; and that not of myself. When I am reminded of the grace of God, I am humbled, that God would save a wretch like me. Praise God!
    Andrew
    First Presbyterian Church
    Branson, Missouri

  11. #11
    Apologist4Him's Avatar
    Apologist4Him is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    251
    Originally posted by maxdetail
    Tom, there's a few ways to look at that. Depression and dread may be a chemical/physical response to something happening physiologically; or it could be some type of demonic oppression, it could be God moving you in a certain direction or it could be the demonic using a physiological weakness to attack you.

    It may be impossible to tell unless you actually witness some supernatural activity. Regardless of the cause of your dread and depression the scriptures never come out and tell us to engage spiritual forces directly. We are to resist the devil, we are to pray that God will deliver us from the evil one. Reading through the psalms we find that when we are hit with depression or 'our countenance is fallen' we should worship God, we should acknowledge his attributes and the ways he has provided for us and sustained us. Think on his mercy and soveriegn power and plan. Remember that Satan is on a very short leash and is nothing more than God's agent of wrath.

    A lack of worship can lead to mental ill-health, to resentment and all kinds of disorder. If the depression gets chronic then see a doctor, if it takes a blatant supernatural turn then seek the elders of a church.

    Make sure that no one in your household is involved in the occult or any activity that might might invite the demonic. The demonic has no right to oppress the believer unless the right has been given by invitation. If you find someone has done this, expose it and repent and ask God to be your strength, your protector, your fear and your dread.

    Isaiah 8:12 "œDo not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary...."
    Thank you for posting in this thread Bob. I really enjoyed reading your post. I would like to add that it could be a combination of clinical depression and demonic attacks...which start out as temptations in the mind. Because of life circumstances, I have certain weaknesses, and am prone to falling into temptation to think about things I shouldn't...things I would be much better off not thinking about. The Lord gives me the strength to resist sometimes, and sometimes the Lord allows me experience the true depths of my depravity in my mind. It scares me, what I could be without Christ. Perhaps He allows me to experience evil thoughts to scare me back to Him, to remind me of my need for Him...every minute of every hour of every day, and to remind me that I am nothing without Him.
    Andrew
    First Presbyterian Church
    Branson, Missouri

  12. #12
    Texas Aggie's Avatar
    Texas Aggie is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    380
    Take a look at a concordance and run a list of the spirits. There are many of them. Identification is very interesting and you may begin to see manifestations in people you associate with.

    Christians are to put on the whole armor of God. A breastplate of righteousness is for warfare not a wedding feast (you get a robe for that). Your breastplate is for the spears of the unholy. Don't be fooled into thinking they will have no reign over you just because of your faith in Christ.... your "will" is directly involved.

    Your job is to guard your gates. Guard the gates into the temple of God which is now your body. Discern what is good and evil and flee from that which is not of the Spirit. The unholy begin to manifest within because you may have encouraged/allowed their presence in some fashion. Obedience to the will of God provides a protective measure.... follow the lead of the Spirit and keep on the path of righteousness. Watch and guard carefully, with all diligence, what you allow into the temple of God.

    Best Wishes.
    Matt Daniel
    Attending First Presbyterian Church, Las Vegas NV

  13. #13
    Brian's Avatar
    Brian is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    102
    Originally posted by Apologist4Him
    I would like to add that it could be a combination of clinical depression and demonic attacks...which start out as temptations in the mind. Because of life circumstances, I have certain weaknesses, and am prone to falling into temptation to think about things I shouldn't...things I would be much better off not thinking about. The Lord gives me the strength to resist sometimes, and sometimes the Lord allows me experience the true depths of my depravity in my mind. It scares me, what I could be without Christ. Perhaps He allows me to experience evil thoughts to scare me back to Him, to remind me of my need for Him...every minute of every hour of every day, and to remind me that I am nothing without Him.
    I think this to be very wise. I do not think it in accordance with the biblical process, and rather a product of modernity, to view things as either demonically fingerprinted or not. Continuums and spectrums are much more the norm. We have physical, pschological, and spiritual elements always at play.

    And while the Christian is to always remember that God is lovingly in control of their mental chemical ph/balances and surroundings, when God blows Job's house down He uses Satan, and when He wants Ahab to go to war He uses a lying spirit. This is not a contradiction in God, it merely proves that Satan's house is divided and will not stand.

    I think believers are charged to know themselves, know their peculiar weaknesses and shortcomings, know their idiosyncracies (e.g., when one is tired, on a different schedule, it will be easier to give in to temptation than normal), and look to fight these by faith.

    Therefore, individual instances experienced like those of Augusta and Reforming Student shouldn't be viewed as whether or not demons were involved. Rather, to what extent were various factors involved with these thoughts/feelings, and these factors can include demons, lack of sleep, the pepperoni from last night, and dismal quiet times (obviously, I don't think any of this is particular to anyone on this thread).

    Robin is right: We should focus on Christ and we will always struggle against the unholy trinity of flesh, world, and devil. However, I think to say that Satan has nothing to do whatsoever with the evil that befalls Christians to be coming up short. Real evil really happens to Christians, and demonic force really plays a part. However, the beauty of Reformed doctrine is that the harder the demons fight, the more they lose as believers suffer and are purified by holy fire into the image of their coming Savior.

    My
    Augusta and Reformed Student: I'm praying for you. Pray imprecatory psalms against the sinful tendencies, and like Luther, hold God to the promises He made through Christ. They are yes and amen to us, and this is when God means to be put to the test. Hold Him to His covenant; He will not sacrifice the glory of His Name and let you down. I'm praying for you both.

    For Christus Victor,
    BRIAN
    For the supremacy of Christ Jesus in all things for the joy of all peoples.
    Brian J. Lund
    M.Div @ WSC
    Zion Evangelical & Reformed Church
    Garner, IA
    My Blog

  14. #14
    Scott's Avatar
    Scott is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,938
    The psalms (which are prayers and songs) often address the psalmist's specific enemies as well as the wicked in general. There is nothing wrong with addressing enemies in prayer - that is what these inspired prayers and psalms do. They are to be our prayers as well as models for our prayers.
    Scott Roberts
    Ruling Elder, Lakeside Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Southlake, Texas

  15. #15
    Scott's Avatar
    Scott is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,938
    Tom: It may very well be a demonic attack. It could be other things. I advise talking to your pastor about it.
    Scott Roberts
    Ruling Elder, Lakeside Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Southlake, Texas

  16. #16
    Augusta's Avatar
    Augusta is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    7,924
    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers Scott. I have only ever had the one incident but I do have a friend who is recently reforming who is trying to sort out past experience with the occult with an understanding of just what kind of power demons etc. have in this age.

    I am struggling with her because my knowledge in this area is rooted in my charismatic upbringing with demons lurking in every corner. I have since gone to the other extreme thinking they really have no power at all over God's chosen. I have no idea how much or little power if any they have over anyone.

    I would love any links, book recommendations, etc that would help me to have a more biblical understanding and perhaps help my good friend in her struggle for understanding in this area also.

    Thanks in advance to anyone with resources or advice in this area.
    Traci
    Lynnwood OPC

    "I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace."--David Dickson

  17. #17
    Puritanhead is offline. Puritanboard Professor
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    5,108
    It could be insomnia...
    Ryan
    1689 London Baptist Confession

  18. #18
    turmeric's Avatar
    turmeric is offline. Megerator
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    11,409
    Blog Entries
    1
    The devil can certainly try to convince one he/she isn't saved or savable, he can tempt one to despair among other things, but these are spirits, not material; I do not believe they can do anything physical to a believer, except thru another human being. They can certainly do what the first poster described, but once the source is recognized they usually fade back into the shadows. They can take advantage of pre-existing depression. You should get a medical checkup. We should pray for you, Tom.
    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
    Meg
    Blog
    Member, Intown Presbyterian Church,PCA, Portland, OR

    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  19. #19
    py3ak's Avatar
    py3ak is offline. They're stalling and plotting against me
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    12,687
    Tom & Traci:

    I have 3 items of advice.

    1. Listen to Bob (Maxdetail). He has thought through this, and has more experience than most in this area.
    2. If you can, obtain a copy of Lloyd-Jones book, "Healing and the Supernatural". It has an excellent article on diagnosing different difficulties a Christian may experience. I have a summary of the diagnostic points that I typed up for a friend, which I will post after I can access it (not at the right computer at the moment). In addition, his book "Spiritual Depression" has been a great help to many people.
    3. Be careful about approaching a doctor with this sort of thing. The fact is that if it is demonic it would be a very rare doctor who would detect that. They are likely, though, to prescribe drugs which are not only expensive, but directly interfere with a delicate brain chemistry that no one understands very well. There is a place for such things, but it is not the first resort. Theory always affects practice --and a lot of medical theory operates on distinctly unChristian assumptions. So do a lot of disciplines, naturally --but not all of them have the power to mess us up the way medicine does.
    Ruben: Administrator
    F.P.C.Indianapolis

    ...analogy does not mean identity. When we make a comparison we do not make an equation. -John Murray

    Board Rules - Signature Requirements - Suggestions?

    Teología en Mexico
    The Howling Wilderness

  20. #20
    Scott's Avatar
    Scott is offline. Puritanboard Graduate
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,938
    Traci: Check out Thomas Brooks' Precious Remedies Againat Satan's Devices. I think there is a modernized version available too. I also believe that Richard Baxter's Christian Directory has good sections dealing with this, but I would have to confirm. His directory speaks to almost everything, though.
    Scott Roberts
    Ruling Elder, Lakeside Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Southlake, Texas

  21. #21
    py3ak's Avatar
    py3ak is offline. They're stalling and plotting against me
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    12,687
    Here is the summary of Lloyd-Jones I mentioned:

    Dr. Lloyd-Jones on diagnosing the various types of troubles that a Christian may experience. It is important to note that he is speaking about Christians. In dealing with distresses the first point is always to settle whether a person is regenerate or not "“an unregenerate person has really only one need, and that is to be begotten with the word of truth. But speaking of Christians, Lloyd-Jones gives some general considerations for ministers, which are these:
    1. You can bring yourself almost to the point of a breakdown in trying to identify with the troubles of members of your congregation: there is a danger of becoming too emotionally involved.
    2. You can regard every case as being spiritual.
    3. People in distress may feel that they cannot trust you, because they feel that they may be used as illustrations from the pulpit --this is a terrible thing that many ministers do.
    4. There is (at least at the time that Lloyd-Jones was speaking, and in his circles) an over-reliance on psychology.
    5. Lay Christians can do almost untold harm to the sufferer with glib generalizations and cliches.
    Now Lloyd-Jones comes to the specifics, utilising his own practice over the years.
    I. The first task is diagnosis.
    1. You need some degree of horse sense.
    2. Experience is valuable
    3. We are dealing with souls, and need to be very careful on that account.
    II. There are several questions to put to oneself when dealing with a troubled person.
    1. Is it physical? Just because they seem to be in a "œnervous" condition, that does not mean that it cannot have a purely physical cause. If it is physical, treat in accordance with the best medical standards.
    2. Is it spiritual? (Lloyd-Jones mentions that that was the order he adopted through the years, though he felt at the time of lecturing that perhaps he might vary it a little.) A spiritual problem is one that can be dealt with entirely in spiritual terms.
    A. The most common problem is lack of assurance.
    B. Also common is the question of how to be rid of a particular sin, or the memory of a particular sin, such as blasphemy.
    C. These cases may have very alarming "œpresenting symptoms." For instance, a person can be in such great agitation that he is scarcely able to contain himself.
    D. A diagnostic point for spiritual problems is that when you present the Biblical teaching, these people have a readiness to listen, and almost jump at any verse quoted which gives them relief. They may demur a little, saying, "œyes, but"¦." However, they are just hoping that you can make your case stronger. (Incidentally, an important question to put to people who want to know the name of a Christian psychologist, for instance, is simply, "œWhy do you want to see a psychologist?")
    In dealing with these cases there is need of detailed proof. We must be precise and detailed in bringing Scriptural arguments to bear. We can´t just pat them on the back and say "œDon´t worry." That can be real cruelty. Patience is very necessary: you may need to go over the same arguments more than once. They may need multiple visits.
    3. Is it psychological? You could also call it mental illness. Elsewhere in the lecture Lloyd-Jones specifies that he think it has a chemical cause, ultimately. Perhaps the best way to distinguish it from the physical is to say that this is a problem whose symptoms are mental, and which is ultimately a problem of the nervous system: while other physical problems may affect the brain, it is not the brain which needs the treatment. Lloyd-Jones mentions that there are some who do not believe that there is mental illness. And he says that they ought to be listened to, because the concept is abused: but the Doctor also mentions that they are overstating the case. Here are some proofs that it exists:
    A. The hereditary madness that has been documented
    B. Periodicity "“it occurs, and regresses, and reoccurs
    C. It does not respond to Scriptural treatment: at times, it is even made worse by it. He gives William Cowper as an illustration of that fact. He also mentions that Richard Baxter has 35 diagnostic points for the difference between mental illness and spiritual problems: I assume it is in his Christian Directory. Lloyd-Jones summarises Baxter´s points as realised in his own experience:
    "œI think that you will almost invariably find that those who are mentally ill do not really listen to you. You quote Scripture, they do not listen. They keep repeating the same statements and give the impression that they are waiting for you to finish so that they can say their piece over again. This is almost invariable. You notice the difference as compared with those in spiritual trouble. The latter are anxious to have help. The others are not. I always feel with them that I am a kind of tangent to a circle. One never penetrates, they are almost impatient and go on repeating the same thing."
    Here the real hope is in clinical pharmacology, for this has a chemical basis, Freud notwithstanding. It is important to understand that it is not sinful to take drugs that help one´s brain, and that doing so does not undermine Christianity. The Christian case is based on great external, objective facts: that some elements of experience can be duplicated by LSD is no objection.
    4. Is it demonic? Some have thought that demonic activity ceased at the end of the apostolic era. But there is no evidence for this. In fact, Lloyd-Jones thought that demonic activity was on the increase because of:
    A. Lowered spirituality. After the great revival of the 1700´s, and the smaller ones that followed up until 1904 in Wales, there was a kind of spiritual hangover that continues for several generations. But when Lloyd-Jones gave this lecture, it had been almost 200 hundred years, and he thought that they had come the end of the restraining influence of those revivals. So as the whole concept of God in the public mind decreases, there is more demonic activity.
    B. Drug taking, also, contributes, in that it knocks out the higher centres of control and the ability to discriminate, leaving the victims a prey to the evil forces.
    C. Another factor is the more widespread dabbling in the occult.
    D. Hysterical agencies such as "œpop music," which also knock out the higher control centres -- I assume he means rock music.
    E. People who are subject to crazes and fashions: instead of testing the spirits, they abandon themselves, revolting against reason, and seeking experience. And here of course the Charismatic movement does not do much to help.
    Now the demonic is divided into two categories:
    1. Demonic oppression "“which is not depression"“: Lloyd-Jones calls it "œsatanic attacks"
    There is a great deal of literature about this in the lives of the saints. The diagnostic points are these:
    A. Sudden onset
    B. Something unexpected from that type of person
    C. Extreme physical weakness with no physical cause
    D. The oppresive thoughts coming immediately upon waking.
    E. No response to medical or psychiatric treatment
    In treating these cases, it is necessary to let the people talk freely. Lloyd-Jones also mentions that this type of case is commonest amongst ministers, missionaries, and evangelists, who have seemed to have been welcomed and successful in their work. With one example that he gives he adds the comment that the devil wanted to keep that man out of the pulpit because he knew that this man would have a good ministry.
    Lloyd-Jones emphasises that if it is demonic oppression you will always be able to deliver them by reasoning with them out of the Scriptures "“not just quoting Scripture"“ but by deploying the whole basic arguments of Scripture concerning salvation, calling and service. Sometimes there is also the need for detailed reasoning out of the Scriptures. You must know where things are in the Bible, because they will ask, and if you do not know, half of your influence has gone. You must know your case, demonstrate it, and produce your evidence.
    2. Demonic possession: Lloyd-Jones says that it can happen to Christians in certain circumstances, and says that the idea that it cannot is because we think of the Holy Spirit as a liquid: thinking that if He indwells us there is no room for any one else, etc. Diagnostic points are these:
    A. A history of dabbling with spiritism, or the occult, or drugs
    B. A dual personality: this can be seen in the face, heard in the voice "“unnatural and different"“ often accompanied by horrifying facial expressions.
    C. Alternation between normal and abnormal: first they are fine, then the other person takes charge.
    D. Consciousness of suggestions and voices
    E. Abnormal powers --one woman in Lloyd-Jones´ experience was able to hold an entire conversation in Swedish, though she had never learned a word of that language.
    F. Their reaction to the name of Christ. If violent, it is probably demonic.
    It is good to talk about the blood of Christ, and to use the phrase "œJesus Christ is come in the flesh." Before dealing with these cases it is wise to pray for protection. The only thing to do is to seek divine assistance in exorcising the evil spirit.
    In conclusion, avoid all fashions and crazes: maintain balance: "œprove all things; hold fast that which is good;" "œtry the spirits;" diagnose man in terms of the Scripture´s view of man, of man in sin and of man "œborn again." The necessary aid is all there in the Bible. It simply needs our careful study and wise application "“with great care"“ to given cases. "œWho is sufficient for these things?"
    Ruben: Administrator
    F.P.C.Indianapolis

    ...analogy does not mean identity. When we make a comparison we do not make an equation. -John Murray

    Board Rules - Signature Requirements - Suggestions?

    Teología en Mexico
    The Howling Wilderness

  22. #22
    Robin is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,597
    Nobody has mentioned sin and spiritual weakness (immaturity.) The NT describes our weaknesses from these categories. Consequences of persistent sin; consequences of irresponsible study; non-Christian thinking (i.e. worldly thinking.)

    Calvin considers these in great detail...see "Calvin's Doctrine of the Christian Life" by Ronal Wallace.

    This place should be our first consideration, according to Calvin. The advice and support of pastor/elders is essential, too.

    r.
    Robin
    Christ Reformed Church, Anaheim, CA
    Laity, under the care of Pastor, Kim Riddlebarger
    Heidelberg, Ursinus, Belgic Confessions; Canons of Dordt
    Revelation 14:2

  23. #23
    Larry Hughes is offline. Inactive User
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    953
    Tom,

    It is hard to say at a distance. I personally know what, at least based upon your written description, you are talking about.

    It could be trials and crosses to bear and this could come at the hands of Satan, but only as God allows. It sounds a lot like what Luther called the theology of the cross as opposed to a theology of glory. That forelornness and foresakenness one feels that God has abandoned them. This like the Law is designed to kill the flesh and to drive us fleeing to Christ alone. There is an irony in that foresakenness and despair and that is that God is really the closest rather than fartherest. Where God is not expected to be, there He is. Where the eyes of unbelief see nothing but a pointless nothingness trial or suffering, the eyes of faith see a cross and that small cross is linked by faith to THE Cross.

    With our eyes and senses all can apprehend the chosen things and events of God's choosing within time and space to use. Yet, only with the eyes of faith (trust) can one apprehend our suffering Saviour and righteousness accomplished by these same things and events that other wise seem unglorious.

    This is most clear at the cross of Christ where the eyes and ears of the world (like the one thief) hear of and see a crucified man on an instrument of capital punishment (a thing) during an exercising of said punishment (the event in real time). They say scowling because their theology one of glory, "where is God in all of this!". They see Christ the man hidden in human flesh being crucified at the hands of finite men, yet they don't see God the Son reconciling the world. It is foolishness to them and the religions of glory that God would be found hanging on a cross, derelict without hope and abandoned, the lest of all men at this point and even all men crucifying God. God is hidden to them behind the suffering Christ. Yet, that and that alone is where God is truly revealed where fallen sinners may see God and live, and only the eyes of faith can and will see that. Hence the cross is foolishness to the world but life to those being saved.

    And like Christ who drank the full undiluted dregs of the wrath of God to the cup's bottom, draining it all, crying out "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me." So, too might Christ's people sip as it where and taste but a small porition of that cup as it where at various levels of experience in this life by similar events of forsakenness and so cry out like their Lord. This may come as physical persecution or internal (worse) when God seems to have totally abandoned us, no relief is given and is He seems to be nothing but angry and wrathful at us. Yet, behind this mask of suffering there is God as salvation and to Him we call out in the midst of otherwise despair and no hope. It is truly hope against hope. To still trust God under such dispair when He seems to have abandone us, to be able to say, "Yes Lord but even the dogs eat the crumbs from the Master's table", is true faith - though truly painful it is truly a precious thing for only faith can shine through this. As you feel your need of Him and thus cry out, your prayers are richer and more full than normal under this stress and trial for then you truly need the mercy of God.

    For the sufferer, the preacher of the cross has nothing but good news, not solutions like the theologians of glory who would send you to 5, 10, 15 ways to fix the probelm. Because the proclaimer of the cross proclaims the God who declares the fact that in the nothingness of suffering, misery and death arises grace, mercy and life. The suffering is real and it in and of itself is not good or blessing, but the Good News it brings the sufferer to, THAT is the blessedness - as it is always good even under extreme trial when God seems gone, that God is no longer angry with me for Christ sake - this I must trust even when God seems nowhere near.

    Listen to the words of the Great Reformer Luther himself in his own experience:

    "I also "knew a person" [2 Cor 12:2] who asserted that he had very often suffered these punishments-to be sure over a very brief period of time. Yet they were so great and so much like hell that no tongue could adequately express them, no pen could describe them, and no inexperienced person could believe them. Thus, if they had been endured or lasted for half an hour-nay rather for one tenth of an hour-he would have perished completely and all of his bones would have been reduced to ashes. In such a situation, God appears terribly angry, along with all creation. At such a time, there is no flight, no comfort-inside or out-only accusation of everything. Then he cries this verse, "I am cut off from thy sight" [compare Ps 31:22], nor does he scarcely dare to say, "Lord, do not chasten me in thy wrath" [Ps 6:1]. In this very moment (amazing as it is to say), the soul cannot believe that it can ever be redeemed except that it does not yet sense complete punishment. Yet, it is eternal [punishment], and [the soul] cannot imagine it to be temporal. <<<All that remains is the stark-naked desire for help and a terrible groaning>>>, but [the soul] does not know where to turn for help. In this situation, <<<the soul is stretched out with Christ>>> so that all of its bones may be counted [Ps 22:17]. Nor is any corner in the soul not filled with the greatest bitterness, with dread, trembling, and sorrow-and all only in an eternal way.

    It is similar to what happens when a ball crosses a straight line. Any point of the line touched by the ball bears the whole weight of the ball, yet it does not embrace the whole ball. Just so the soul, at the point where it is touched by a passing eternal flood, feels and imbibes nothing except eternal punishment. Yet the punishment does not remain, for it passes over again. Therefore if that punishment of hell, that is, that unbearable and inconsolable trembling, takes hold of the living, much more does such punishment of souls seem to be the same as that in purgatory-except that it is continuous there.... If there are those who do not believe this, we do not contend against them. We have merely proved that these preachers of indulgences speak too audaciously about many things of which they are ignorant or uncertain. For one ought to believe those who are experienced in these matters rather than those who are inexperienced."

    -Luthers Werke in Auswahl, 8 vols

    Larry
    Larry Hughes
    Geologist
    Tates Creek PCA
    Lexington, KY
    PCA

    Galatians 4:29, "But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also."

  24. #24
    andreas is offline. Inactive User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    515
    You have been transferred out of the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son, Colossians 1:13. You are a citizen of the kingdom of God. Romans 8 tells us, nothing can separate us from the love of God, neither life nor death nor principalities nor powers , nor anything in all of creation, nor things present, nor things to come, nor anything at all can separate you from the love of God. Jesus says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Rest in the Lord and do not fear demons for, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

    andreas.
    andreas; By the grace of God,a Christian .

    [font=symbol]
    ean gar kai poreuqw en mesw skias qanatou ou fobhqhsomai kaka oti su met¢ emou ei h rabdos sou kai h bakthria sou autai me parekalesan [/font]
    Psalm 23:4

  25. #25
    Herald's Avatar
    Herald is offline. Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    15,027
    Jude 1:9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

    I agree with some other responses. The battle is not ours, it is the Lord's. We are to pray and resist sin by the power of the Spirit...not our power. As far as fighting the enemy? That lies within the realm of God and God alone.

    Read some of the Psalms. David cried out to God in utter despair. God answered him:


    Psalm 3:1-8 1 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. 2 Many are saying of my soul, "There is no deliverance for him in God." Selah. 3 But Thou, O LORD, art a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. 4 I was crying to the LORD with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For Thou hast smitten all my enemies on the cheek; Thou hast shattered the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; Thy blessing be upon Thy people! Selah.
    One key is to drop on our knees (I believe literally is better than figuratively) before God immediately upon these type of attacks. Whether the source of the temptation or attack lies within or is authored by demonic attack, we must worship God and beseech Him to deliver us. We must be more like David.
    Bill Brown
    Elder
    Grace Baptist Church
    Student at Midwest Center for Theological Studies


    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  26. #26
    Brian's Avatar
    Brian is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    102
    for you both
    For the supremacy of Christ Jesus in all things for the joy of all peoples.
    Brian J. Lund
    M.Div @ WSC
    Zion Evangelical & Reformed Church
    Garner, IA
    My Blog

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72