04 Mar Investigating the Practice of Christian Exorcism
Investigating the Practice of Christian Exorcism and the Methods Used to Cast out Demons (JCM, Vol. 4 – 2012)
Kenneth D. Royal, Ph.D.
American Board of Family Medicine
Adjunct Professor, University of Kentucky
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them” (Lewis 1962, 7). Some Christians focus too much on evil instead of keeping the focus on Jesus Christ. Many other Christians pretend evil beings do not exist or have no contact or influence with believers. Due to the influence of the enlightenment, Western Christians not only tend to do away with evil things, but also devalue the ministry of exorcism. For a healthy balance between these two great dangers in the church today, we need to better understand the function of exorcists. This study will investigate the topic of Christian exorcism and how Christian exorcism is practiced in North America today.
There are numerous passages in the bible that may lead Christians to subscribe to a warfare perspective.
Perhaps nowhere is the warfare perspective more clear than in Ephesians 6:12, where Paul states “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Paul instructs us to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11). Specifically, God instructs Christians to use a specific set of armor and weapons.
Ephesians 6:14-18 reads:
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with the truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…”
Quite possibly the clearest example of spiritual warfare in the bible can be found in Daniel 10. The prophet Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks as he sought understanding from God. When an angel finally came to Daniel to deliver a message from the Lord, the angel explained that he had been dispatched the very first day that Daniel began to pray, but that the “prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days” (Daniel 10:13). The angel explained that Michael the Archangel then came and overpowered the prince of Persia [a demon], thus allowing the messenger angel to make contact with Daniel.