Myths about deliverance
Demons must be ‘welcomed’ to enter a person and dwell there: Many people believe that you must ‘welcome’ the demon wilfully before it can enter you. This theory sounds nice, but scripture actually states otherwise. In Matthew 12:45, we find a story that Jesus told of an unclean spirit that left and came back with 7 even worse spirits, and they all enter the man and dwell there. Clearly the first spirit that was cast out and the other 7 worse spirits were not ‘invited’ but rather bluntly entered in at their own free will because there was a ‘legal ground’ that hadn’t been cleaned up. This warning is clearly directed towards non-believers as Jesus referred to them as the ‘wicked generation’ at the end of the verse. If a person is a non-believer, their legal grounds cannot possibly be cleaned up because they have no access to the blood of Christ, which allows the ‘legal grounds’ to be removed. Another good verse to look at is Luke 13:11,16, “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself… And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” I believe if Satan had bound her, then it gives us a clear indication that it was against her will. When a person is bound by another, it’s a forceful act against the person’s will. Besides, do you think the woman honestly ‘wanted’ a spirit of infirmity? I wouldn’t think so. Neither would the man who was deaf, thanks to an evil spirit (Matthew 9:32-33).
Demonic possession is rare: This myth that is ear tickling, but doesn’t hold up in scripture. One of the most common things that Jesus did in His ministry was go around casting out demons… it seems like every time He turned around He was ministering deliverance. There are several verses that tell us that many (which translates to large amounts of people in NT Greek) came to Him and had demons cast out. Mark 1:34, “…cast out many devils…” Luke 4:41, “…devils also came out of many…” Acts 8:7, “For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them…” Mark 6:13, “…they cast out many devils…” Matthew 8:16, “…they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils…” To give you an idea of what ‘many’ can mean in NT Greek, look at the man with a legion of demons… he was said to have ‘many’ demons, and NT Greek tells us that the term legion meant almost 7,000… so almost 7,000 evil spirits came out of that man!
Demons can own (possess) a person: This is misunderstood because the word possessed makes us think of ownership, but that’s not how it’s properly interpreted from NT Greek. To be possessed with a demon means to be under the power of one, have one or to be vexed (tormented / troubled) by one. Demons cannot own people because in Ezekiel 18:4, God says clearly, “Behold, all souls are mine…”
Possession means ‘full control’ or ownership: This man-inspired idea has no backing in scripture. The phrase ‘possessed with a devil’ takes us back to the NT Greek word daimonizomai and literally translates to being vexed (troubled or tormented) by a demon, being under the power of a demon (if you have a spirit of fear, you’ll be fearful, a spirit of infirmity will give you a physical infirmity, etc.), to be exercised by a daemon (demon), or to simply have a demon. There were people in the Bible who were possessed with demons, and the demon only affected them in one or two ways, such as physical blindness or muteness. Matthew 12:22 tells us of a perfectly sane man who was simply unable to speak or see because he was possessed with an evil spirit, “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.”
A person cannot be fully controlled by a demon: Luke 8:29, “For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was shackled with chains, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.” (NLT)
Believers can’t be possessed: This is completely untrue, and has absolutely no scriptural backing. This is such a popular and destructive myth, that there are a few teachings that address this subject in more detail: Can a Christian have a Demon?, Deliverance is for Believers and The Daughter of Abraham.
Deliverance is about casting out demons… nothing more: This is also untrue. There’s also strongholds and legal grounds that need to be addressed in many deliverance sessions. Matthew 12:22 shows us where Jesus healed the demon possessed man, “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.” The term healed here in NT Greek also includes freeing a person from errors (strongholds) and sins (legal rights). In Luke 9:42, we find another instance where Jesus both rebuked a demon(s), and ‘healed’ (Greek word iaomai which means to make whole or restore) a boy who wasn’t said to have any need for physical healing (which is addressed with the Greek word therapeuo. – not the same as iaomai) the boy: “And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tore him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed (NT Greek word iaomai) the child, and delivered him again to his father.”
Demons only cause mental problems, never physical: Wrong again. There are many cases of demonic physical infirmities. One good example is the woman with the spirit of infirmity in Luke 13:11, “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.” Later on in Luke 13, Jesus tells us that she was bound by Satan, clearly making her situation demonic. There’s also stories such as Mark 9:25, “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”
All demons are the same: Some spirits are stronger and harder to drive out, therefore Jesus said in Mark 9:29 that “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” There’s also different spirits that cause different kinds of problems in a persons life, some affecting the person physically (Luke 13:11), while others mentally (Luke 8:27-36).
All demons manifest when they leave: This is also untrue. The woman who was bound and crippled by a spirit of infirmity in Luke 13:11 showed no manifestations as the demon left her.
A demonic manifestation is a sign of a successful deliverance: This is not true because I know that during a deliverance, if it’s not done correctly, the person can manifest demons, and the demons just quite down and remain in the person. If the bondage remains, then keep going after the demons, because they are known to poke their head out and just go back into ‘hiding’ in the person. Acts 19:13-16 tells us of a story where some non-believers tried to cast out a demon (which is dangerous), but it manifested and stripped the men naked, beat them and they went running out of the house naked and wounded. Obviously a demon can manifest without actually coming out. I know of times when even a believer tried to cast out a demon and it manifested but didn’t budge. It didn’t cause any harm like the story in the Bible with the non-believers (non-believer should never attempt a deliverance like that), but still it didn’t come out even after manifesting.
If a demon manifests and refuses to budge, there’s often a reason why he’s holding on, it could be a stronghold or a legal right, but either way I recommend trying to figure it out (you could ask the demon how he entered, what he’s holding onto in that person’s life or stop and counsel with the person about it, and of course it’s always a good idea to ask God to reveal the root of the problem) and get any roadblocks removed, then proceed to cast him out.
Only certain people can cast out demons: I think Mark 16:15,17 exposes this myth fairly easy: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature… And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…”
Demons leave people the moment they accept Christ: There is no scriptural backing to this theory either. If they auto-shed their demons at the time of salvation, then what would be the point in casting out demons at all? Just lead people to Christ, and their demon problems would be automatically handled.
Deliverance is a one-time 5 second experience: Some people can go in for a deliverance and come out completely free, while others may need to engage some offensive spiritual warfare and tear down strongholds in their minds or break up legal grounds before they can be completely liberated. Complete deliverance is often more then a 10 minute task, but it’s well worth it! In Acts 10:38, we are told that Jesus went about “healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” The word heal here refers to making a person whole, which includes the casting out of demons, the releasing from sins (legal grounds), and errors (strongholds). There were times when Jesus rebuked or cast out a demon, and it is said that He ‘healed’ them (Luke 8:29, 36 & Luke 9:42). Healing here is not referring to a mere physical level but a restoration of the person’s body and/or soul (mind) and includes expelling demons. Jesus was able to bring about complete freedom in a person’s life rather quickly, because He understood what the root of their problem was, and was able to get right to the point. Many deliverance ministers, unless the Lord gives them a word of knowledge, they can spend hours trying to get to the root of a person’s problem. It doesn’t mean the minister isn’t worth his weight in gold, it just means it takes more time and understanding to figure things out in that particular person’s life. I have seen a LOT of people set free through this ministry, and in my own life it wasn’t a quick and easy 5 second deal, but I can tell you this… it’s WELL worth the hassle!! The freedom a person comes into through a complete deliverance is absolutely priceless and often life-changing!