The Thomas Pages homepage
Views among Christians have varied from one extreme to the other –
from explaining almost any sickness or problem as a demonic/occult affliction,
to even denying the existence of the demonic by explaining it as
simply a primitive term for psychological/neurological illness.
'Can a Christian
  have a demon?'
As one would
expect, the truth lies between these two extremes.
Àkáthartos Pneûma – Unclean Spirits
over these, which was a significant feature of Christ's own ministry, was given by Jesus to His twelve apostles, and to seventy-two of His disciples, during His ministry to Israel in sending them out ahead of Himself as an extension of His public ministry (Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:7; Luke 10:17).
as a consequence of Christ's gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples at Pentecost, this same authority resides now in those who live by the same Holy Spirit.
The behaviour of these unclean spirits follows the character of their master who was a deceiver from the beginning:
Sometimes, these 'unclean spirits' display supernatural knowledge to impress an audience and so pre-empt Christ or His representatives (Mark 1:23-24,5:7: Acts 16:6-17).
Sometimes, they vengefully hurt their hosts/victims as they are expelled by Christian ministry (Mark 1:26: Luke 9:42).
Most often, they choose to present as naturally occurring physical and psychological problems (such as Mark 9:25); hence their particular satisfaction when, in a strange reverse, natural problems are treated by Christians as demonic.
Either way, these 'unclean spirits' whose primary characteristic is deception are the implacable enemies of everything Jesus Christ stood for, both about themselves and, especially, their activities. Even when they express the truth, it is in order to deceive!
Contention Among Christians
among Christian Bible teachers has often focused on whether a genuine Christian ('born-again') can have a demon. In order to avoid this conclusion in the face of indicative symptoms, some have created a theological category of 'oppressed' Christian as opposed to one 'possessed'.
The distinction is not biblical and is misleading for the following reasons.
Even though it is in the title of this article, the Bible does not use the term 'possessed'. It uses the term demonised (δαιμονίζομαι 'daimonízomai' Matthew 8:16;12:22); the state or condition of the person. Even in the very worst case of a demonically-afflicted unbelieving pagan, that person is not the 'possession' or property of a demon, any demon; not even of Satan himself. An unbeliever's spiritual nature might derive from Satan (as Jesus said of the Pharisees, John 8:44), but they are not his property!
See more below, under
'The Holy Spirit'
The earth is the Lord's and 'the fullness thereof'. Ownership of all vests only in God!
A demonically-contaminated person, Christian or non-Christian, simply needs supernatural healing. 'Casting out' a demon is a divine-healing function and so should not be labelled an 'exorcism' as though it fell into a unique category, for this error has helped to cloud the issue with associated pagan ideas. 
Not Exorcism
The first step in this healing is usually to understand the cause of the vulnerability, for as Jesus warned (Matt.12:43-45) the contamination will recur if the inner place of its activity is not adequately dealt with.
The Cause
– moral failure – is its root cause, but not all sinners have this problem. As much as nature itself is in bondage to corruption and in a state of distress through the human fall (Romans 8:21-23), so also is the human body. Human vulnerability varies according to circumstance and choice; 'circumstance' through the choices of others (parents, etc.), and 'choice' from our own preferences.
The medieval image of demons owning the spirits of the damned is utterly false! It is specifically the human body – including its brain, the seat of the personality – which is the field of operation for the demonic. The human will/choice may be a demon's target to enslave, but the tricks and tactics of its activity are played out in the sensibilities of human thought and flesh – the human body.
For this reason Jesus explained that a demon expelled will try to return, with a worse result, if that person is left empty after the demon is cast out (Matt.12:43-45). Expulsion of a demon must include healing in that part of the human personality that was occupied/corrupted or it will not last.
Healing Mercy
from demonic contamination is not always appropriate, as strange as that may sound. There are times when surrender to the Lord's claims must precede any deliverance. Where there is unwillingness to go God's way, continuing demonic affliction is simply part of the consequence of rebellion against the Creator, the Holy One.
  But this healing is available! It is the birth-right of the born-again!  
Deliverance cannot be imposed. It is received because it is appreciated. What precedes and what follows this deliverance is usually more significant than the deliverance itself, although the deliverance usually has more attention because it is more dramatic.
Confession of sin as sin;
    a declaration of faith in the sufficiency of Christ's atonement for that specific sin; and
        thanksgiving expressed for that forgiveness –
are often three sure steps toward deliverance, to such an extent that the healing may become a voluntary demonic evacuation in retreat from a personality feeding on God's presence.
Even where a deliverance is dramatically different, the principle remains that the 'space' set free must be filled with the Lord or, in some way, that freedom obtained will not remain. God's healing cannot be detached from God's gospel!
Nor are the effects of demonic-healing a purely private matter to the individual, for the results will always have social consequences. To be really born-again is to be born into a real spiritual family, who share together in the splendours of this many sided mercy.
The Holy Spirit
it should be said that the notion held in some circles that a Christian believer cannot have a demon simply because the body of that believer is a 'temple of the Holy Spirit' is a misunderstanding of what the phrase "temple of the Holy Spirit" actually means. It does not mean that the Holy Spirit is contained in that Christian's body, nor is this a reference to the presence of the Holy Spirit.
God always speaks in the language and idiom of the people to whom He speaks. In the culture of the people to whom that phrase was written, 'temple' was not a place which contained a god. If the god was Zeus, he was believed to live on Mount Olympus, but his temples contained statues of him because they were the place which represented him. The local temple was where the devotee went to present offerings to that god. It was the place of encounter with that god.
The Bible
was not written to us,
It was written for us!
Likewise then, when the physical body of the Christian is described as the 'temple of the Holy', it meant that the body of that Christian is the place of encounter between the world and the Spirit of God most High. God is not represented in stone. He is represented in His people, and their physical presence is the place of encounter with God. Not their meeting halls and church buildings, but their direct physical presence is the place where God is to meet any that seek Him.
think then that a Christian cannot have a demon because a demon and the Holy Spirit cannot share the same physical space is simply a display of gross ignorance of the issues involved and to underestimate the omnipotent omnipresence of the Spirit of God.
Satan, the master of all demons, comes before the Throne of the Most High to accuse God's people today, as he did about Job (1:6;2:1) and concerning Peter (Luke 22:31), and there is no holier place than the Throne of God, so the issue is not incompatibility of presence.
For those whose spirits are born-again through the redeeming work of our Lord and Saviour, His ministry continues in them regardless of their unworthiness, and their physical presence is where He has appointed to work His work.
When Jesus cast out demons, He cast them out only by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no other way!
Matthew 12:28.
No formula of words (such as 'pleading the Blood', etc.) or ritual actions (signs of the Cross, Holy Water, etc.) hold the answer; not even speaking the name of 'Jesus', and even less, reading appropriate Bible texts. Reactions may certainly be obtained by the provocation of some demons in this way; a demon which has already broken its cover, that is.
authority over any demonic condition belongs only to the Spirit of God, who addresses the unclean spirit by the word of faith from the mouth of an obedient believer on Christ's behalf.
It is only the rule/authority/kingdom of God, present by the Spirit of Jesus in the believer, which has all authority over the works of Satan of any kind (Matthew 12:28-29; Luke 10:19).
  The Path Out  
phenomena associated with the departure of a demon are conditioned by two factors:
    the kind of demon; and
    the duration of the contamination.
Both of these came into play in Christ's healing of the demonised boy when He descended from what what has become called the Mount of Transfiguration.
•  Kind of demon involved
  "And He said to them [His disciples], 'This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer'."
Christ's disciples had tried to cast out this demon and could not. They had previously cast out demons when sent out by Jesus in twos ahead of him, so they were puzzled concerning their failure on this occasion. Christ's explanation is that this particular kind of demon requires 'prayer', meaning a deeper level of prayer for a greater sensitivity to God. The persuasion of God in prayer is not the issue, but the spiritual preparedness of those who minister this healing really is.
•  Duration of contamination
  "Jesus asked his father [of the afflicted], 'How long has this been happening to him?' And he said, 'From childhood...'."
This is the only recorded time that the Lord asked how long the problem had existed, and this is also the only recorded violent convulsion to have occurred as part of the healing of a contaminated person during the ministry of Jesus.
  "And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse,
so that most of them said, 'He is dead'."
Mark 9:21-29.
conclusion then, supported by practical experience, is that the longer the contamination the stronger the physical reaction associated with the healing event. It is wise to take this into consideration concerning other persons present if the circumstance can be controlled.
Illustrative Anecdotes to help understanding
following five anecdotes of healing from demonic infection illustrate a little of the range of symptoms and the application of the above principles.
All five persons were active Bible-believing Christians before their healing.
Names have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.

Satan Animist Deception in Christ's Church Today Terminal Sequence

Return to Church Life Issues menu
Copyright © Lloyd Thomas 2004-2016. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Feel free to copy, as long as this full copyright notice is included.