Thursday, November 02, 2006

You’re going to think I’m crazy but... DEMONS!

Worship had just finished. Some people were headed to the fellowship hall for coffee and snacks. There were small groups of people still in the sanctuary talking, laughing and enjoying one another’s company. I was just hanging around and talking to random people. As I was getting ready to head to the “goodies” a young couple approached me. The conversation started something like this, “Pastor Lance, you’re going to think we are crazy…” The couple was fairly new to our church but I had known them (and their families) from a previous town and church. They were in a small group Bible study that was sponsored by another church. The leaders of the study were a young couple that had two very small children. This couple had been seeing some very startling “entities” in their house. These demonic presences were manifesting themselves with increasing frequency. The couple went to the pastor of their church. The pastor was leading the church through a major building project and about to retire and did not have time or energy to help them. They were frustrated and didn’t know what to do. They told their Bible study about the situation. The young couple from our church asked if it would be alright for them to tell their pastor (me!) about the situation and see if there was anything that Evergreen could do to help them.

Fast forward a couple of years… After church another young couple came up to me after church and the conversation went something like this, “Pastor Lance, you’re going to think we are crazy…” This couple was seeing demonic presences in their house!

Fast forward several years (last night)… I had an interesting phone call from my daughter. She had just received the care package I sent (muffins, scones, bagels, Starbucks gift card, Safeway gift card, her absentee ballot and a note) and wanted to say thanks. She did not start the conversation with the “crazy” line. She knew I wouldn’t think she was crazy. She had been a part of mission trip where we had to deal with a demonic presence. It appears that a gal that goes to the ministry she is involved in has a demonic presence in her. The staff person who leads the ministry has been made aware of the situation and has not done anything. He is overwhelmed with staff out of town, a wife who is expecting and with keeping the ministry going. My daughter does not believe that doing nothing is an option. She is frustrated.

Our church has had to deal with demons on several occasions. My daughter thought that most Christian ministries would have had to deal with them and would know what to do. I told her that I thought most pastors and churches intellectually believe that demons exist but have not had to actually deal with them.

Here’s my question for all of you blog readers… Have you had to deal with demons? Please post your responses!


At 10:57 AM , Anonymous Matt Ferguson said...

Yes, I have had to deal with demons and elders at this church have had some experience in dealing with them. I have preached on the topic as well.
Personally, I think Christians "bump into" demonic actitivity fairly often in life without realizing it. We also come into contact with God's activity in our life on a daily basis. We are surrounded by a spiritual reality most don't notice or take into account.
I think Neil T. Anderson's "Victory over the Darkness" is a good primer for those who are interested in doing some reading in this. M. Scott Peck (psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled) has a book titled "People of the Lie" which I found helpful.

At 12:18 PM , Blogger Dave Moody said...

In a former life, before ordination, my young family worshipped at an EPC congregation. There was a significant number of women who were really into spiritual warfare and the demonic, praying through houses, doing 'strategic' warfare -stuff- think George Otis, Jr, Pete Wagner in the early '90's.

Our pastor wisely introduced Anderson's stuff into the congregation. Not at all denying the reality, but placing it in a far more biblical context than what was happening.

What did you do Lance, in the two instances from years past? How did you respond to the couple's queries?

At 5:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The oversees missionaries that our congregation help support have run into evil forces in some of their ministry and God always had the victory. As they are seasoned Christian workers, I have no reason to doubt their assertions.

In my own life and ministry, there have been a few times where I ran into random people outside the church who seemed to be under the influence of an evil power. I could always sense something in the eyes that seemed to be under the control of >something< from outside of just a cazed person. It was just some sense that I got.

But as to spirits on the loose in houses, I think that may well fall outside the bounds of the Scriptural witness as to what demons are. And certainly demons cannot possess those who are in Christ or do any real harm in a Christian home.

Satan may be a power, but he's a defeated power, or in the words of Luther, 'the Devil is still God's devil'.

I take some comfort in that.

At 6:47 PM , Anonymous Viola Larson said...

Dear Pastor Lance

I agree with Toby. I have several articles on my web site that speaks to the issue of Christians having demons. One is by my son-in-law Gunther Juncker who is a New Testament Professor in GA. If you go to my web site, and then go to additional articles you will find the articles. Working in apologetics and concerned with cultic groups I have found that many so called "Christian" cults or abusive churches have gotten themselves mixed up with casting demons out of Christians. The problem is, besides it being unbiblical, the idea is used to keep people in line. They are too often told if they don't obey they will become demon possessed. The other problem is we start blaming demons for our own sinful behavior.

At 10:24 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

My family on my mom's side and I have had several unsettling experiences with what we can only determine is demons; through other people, and in presence form around us. Our take on it is that it is Satan seeking to take down as many of us as he can, even though he's already lost.

And that's the point. When you remember that he has already lost, it actually makes his attempts look really stupid. We have found that keeping our faith and our humor very strong has gotten us through.

These days the demonic, I think, has taken a dangerously "socially acceptable" form in terms of attitudes and changing societal mores. Very placid and inclusive on the surface, but fueled underneath by discomfiting lies.

At 7:19 AM , Blogger Bayou Christian said...


Dangerous stuff you introduce this week!

Yes Demons are real. The Bibilical witness is clear.

No doubt - we have all faced them whether we are aware or not. I believe often in the mundane of counseling many pastors cast out demons unaware - in other words by clearly expressing Christ they automatically confront evil and over time remove it's power.

"The Collapse of the Brass Heaven" by Brad Long and McMurray is still the best reformed book on this topic that I have read. We would do much better if we embraced a biblical worldview and confronted evil directly.

Having said that, I share Viola's concerns about deliverance ministries but I am not convinced that it is more an argument about vocabulary than facts. In other words one can be oppressed without being possessed.

if you watch hollywood movies on the issue you will realize that the world does believe in Manifested - personal - demons. All to often the Church the earthly body of Christ does not.

Rendering us all powerless.

At 3:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being willing to bring up and discuss difficult topics.

I've had the experience of feeling like Satan is insinuating thoughts into my head while I'm praying or studying the Bible. Has anyone else ever experienced that? I was quite worried about it until I did some studying on the topic and found that Martin Luther himself (and I am not comparing myself in any way to Martin Luther!!) often felt that Satan was attacking him.


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