Your Opinions On Exorcisms?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Nov 20, 2018.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    So this topic just popped into my mind. I think probably because we have a new resident at my job who is a retired priest (a really nice guy btw). I guess there really isn't any way to prove these things, but when someone like this gives a credible confession, should we believe it?

  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My opinion:

    If you need one, get one.
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    A story:

    An old man I counseled kept saying his family demon was telling him to kill himself. He was depressed and suicidal and seemed psychotic. The man wore his family's amulet, which he claimed to contain his family spirit. We counseled him to pray and we read the bible to him. Since he said the amulet contained the spirit we told him to take it off and throw it away.

    When he did so, the voices stopped and he prayed to the Lord. question is....what exactly IS an exorcism? And when does a person need it?
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I think the plain reading of Scripture, plus the universal testimony of human experience, and the ancient liturgies of the church (which one can even find in Lutheran liturgies today) testify that exorcism is a reality.

    Of course, whether every case is demonic needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    What is the alternative? A simple psycho-somatic disorder? On that note, I have often wondered whether some of the things we call disorders are actually demonic activity. Schizophrenia, for example?
  6. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

  7. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    My cousin suffers from schizophrenia. It's pretty messed up, but I wouldn't call it demonic.
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Maybe. Could be drug use (which the ancient church often associated with sorcery), or a history of psychoses, or whatever. My point is that those of us who take the spirit-world seriously realize that not every issue is a demonic one (though given the current re-paganization of America, this will be more likely the case).
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

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  10. Filter

    Filter Puritan Board Freshman

    While I believe it prudent to evaluate the credibility of the testimony given concerning exorcism, I do have a personal testimony myself of such an event taking place on the night my own conversion at the age of 20. I would typically prefer to use the term deliverance over exorcism, although it seems the distinctions some put between those two terms may confuse people when it comes to what actually happened.

    I tend to have an overwhelmingly rational mind which seeks to make sense of everything that happens in my life, and this certainly is one of those which confounds me. From what I can best tell, a demon manifested itself within me, and a process (which took no longer than one hour, mostly due to my terror/confusion/insubordination) of declaring God's power and authority rid it of me. Growing up in a nominal Lutheran upbringing which never ready made a point to emphasis the existence of angels and demons, I was extremely skeptical when others that night suggested that a demon was manifesting himself in me. Indeed, very strange things happened that night and I have no other hypothesis about what took place.

    Although only 5 years ago, already time has faded away some of the details, and at times for a short while I wonder if it even really happened. But absolutely it did. The memory of what I sensed while the demon was manifest has dwindled, but the feeling of the power of the Holy Spirit entering into my life is as tangible now as it was when it happened. From confusion and terror over what was happening to sheer joy and peace once the Holy Spirit came upon me is a testimony of God's goodness, and the immediate change in my priorities, ambitions, and convictions are are a witness to what took place that night.

    Something inside my mind still wants to rationalize it - to reduce the experience to a series of causes and observable and rational phenomenon, but I am at a loss. I don't understand what all took place that night, and I probably never will. To be honest I don't know how it all exactly fits into my theology and observance of the Biblical text, but one thing I realized that night for certain: God is real. And He is good.
  11. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    Piper did one or two If I recall correctly.

    Anyway, does seminary training cover this?
  12. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    I was once tasked with assessing the forensic psychiatric patients in a relatively rural part of South Africa.
    One of the patients was there because of a murder for which the plea of psychiatric illness was entered. I saw him on a weekly basis and in general he was a very amicable and intelligent individual.
    At one of these follow-ups (whilst waiting for the patient), a strange man entered the room. I was confused and asked where our regular patient was. The head psychiatrist informed me that the strange man was our regular patient and the "fact that he looked different was a clear indication that he had relapsed".
    I did not recognize the patient at all. And he did not show any signs of recognition towards me.
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Almost never. While I don't know much about charismatic seminaries, I would be surprised if even they covered this material in any depth. Vern Poythress has some outstanding material on it, but I doubt that translates into a deliverance course at WTS.

    Talbot touches on it. JP Moreland exorcised demons from two of his students.
  14. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I believe most Western Christians are functional deists who believe God and the supernatural realm are not operative in the world today.
  15. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Maybe so, but I believe many, if not most Christians, do not see satan behind every sin today.
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That's a huge step forward for you on this discussion. Your previous position used to be something like "it's impossible."

    I actually don't see Satan behind every sin because he is not omnipresent.
  17. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Yup. I agree - saying that Satan is behind every sin, leaves no room for the deceitful enemy within. But I think we are derailing....
  18. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Moderator Note:

    The OP is a topic of much debate and disagreement. Let's avoid posts that propose methods of performing exorcisms. For not a few, it is nearly akin to making posts that would teach another how to be a Federal Visionist, New Covenant Theologian (NCT), etc.
  19. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Modern malarkey.
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    All exorcisms? Or just some? Are WTS profs like Poythress (and one other WTS guy Poythress mentioned, but whose name escapes me) and Biola profs like Moreland malarkey?
  21. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I do not think those men are malarkey.
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    So they might be correct on the exorcisms they performed, and hence, not all exorcisms today are malarkey?
  23. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    Demon possessions are of course real, but we shouldn't be performing exorcisms any more than we should be performing Benny Hinn-style healing conferences. Christ was quite clear that the ability to cast out demons was a miraculous ability he was giving to his disciples together with the gift of miraculous healing. Moreover, their gift still did not enable them to cast out all demons, since some come out only by prayer. So if we encounter one who is demon-possessed, prayer, and not an exorcism, is undoubtedly the prudent option, just as it would be for a physical ailment.
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I mostly agree with what you are saying, and I would want to follow up on it, but I fear that it would come across as an exorcism manual, which of course I do not intend it to be.

    Our culture's problem is that most people, Christians included, think exorcism means Exorcism of Emily Rose, including the elaborate Roman Catholic rituals (all foreign to the New Testament).

    Definitely begin with prayer. Then, if necessary, the Name of Jesus.
  25. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I don't believe such. There are plenty of smart/wise/prudent/godly people who can still hold to nonsensical positions. I was asked for my opinion, I gave it. I have not read the men you reference, which is why I'm not saying they, particularly, are full of malarkeyarity. However, the things that pass as evidence of "demon possession," and subsequent "exorcisms" that I have read testimony of, I find to be nonsense (not in the denotation of the word, since sense can be very misleading in our fallenness). Others, certainly, are able to hold to a differing position than that of mine, and call me a rationalist, functional deist, etc. That's okay. (I am not saying that you, dear Jacob, did such)

    My primary objection to what many folks today call demon possession, or exorcism, or ________ is that I lack the biblical revelation which tells me how to identify such. I see extraordinary circumstances of devil possession recorded in Scripture, and the Lord -as well as apostles, etc.- being able to identify and subsequently deal with those possessed of devils, but I see no doctrine/regulation of how the Church, generally, is to identify devil possession and subsequently deal with it, other than the general direction of the preaching of the gospel and the manner in which we are to deal with those with whom we are in contact daily. Other men's anecdotal experiences -or for that matter, my own sensual experience- with alleged/perceived supernatural phenomena cannot be the rule of me assenting something to be the truth.

    We all have our framework by which we interpret the world, or understand even certain things in the Scriptures. With regard to devil possession, I am more along the lines of those being extraordinary things going on pointing to the coming of Messiah in the flesh, and demonstrating His rule over all creation. Malarkey, I confess, was not the best choice in response to the question on my opinion about "exorcisms." In retrospect, perhaps even counter productive to the point. With you, I "take the spirit-world seriously," yet differently.
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  26. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It is a logical leap to move from some cases are fraudulent to all modern cases are. Perhaps they are, but that's not a logical argument.

    The apostles' actions don't count as such? I mean, one of the most obvious reasons that Rome is wrong on this point is that the apostles' actions are so different. But if we can't get guidance from the apostles' practices, then it's only our opinion that Rome is wrong on this point.
  27. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    No step at all. I simply disagree with many in how satan actually works. All the effects of the fall can be attributed to satan. The idea he (satan) jumps into a person and pulls the strings against their wills is superstition.

    NEO-CHRISTIAN Puritan Board Freshman

    My apologies for my previously deleted post - my intention was never to offend. Obviously in Mark 5:9 Jesus cast out a multitude, or legion, of demonic spirits. My opinion is that anyone affected should seek spiritual guidance from their minister as well as medical or psychiatric assistance. We are only aware of a thin sliver of reality in time and space - our present moment. It is possible that people may be oppressed from spiritual influences and I agree with other posts that prayer and reading the Bible are very useful.
  29. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Which is a position I've never said. In fact, most of the guys in deliverance ministry that I read openly reject that caricature.
  30. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    This issue will likely become a more common topic of discussion in coming years.

    Here's an article from the Atlantic (a liberal publication) discussing the issue of possession. It deals mostly with Catholic cases, but the incidents are rising.

    A helpful quote in the article from a historian is this:
    "But more described how, during periods when the influence of organized religions ebbs, people seek spiritual fulfillment through the occult. “As people’s participation in orthodox Christianity declines,” said Carlos Eire, a historian at Yale specializing in the early modern period, “there’s always been a surge in interest in the occult and the demonic.” He said that today we’re seeing a “hunger for contact with the supernatural.”"

    Also, they note a strong correlation between a history of sexual abuse and the reported possession cases they dealt with.

    The article author is merely observing the phenomena, not indicating whether it's true or not. But he does acknowledge that some of the events simply can't be explained by mental health disorders.

    Whether you believe they are just malarkey or not, as Reformed believers, we are going to have to prepare a Reformed pastoral response to people suffering under such afflictions, especially if the incidents are rising in the West.
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