Compiled based on a survey taken of the top 170 North American exorcists. A link to the PDF file is provided.
Christians have been casting out “unclean spirits” since Jesus dispatched the 12 disciples throughout Israel (Matt. 10). But how do deliverance ministers deal with demons in North America today? A recent study by Michael Mohr, an Ohio pastor, and Kenneth D. Royal, an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky, found that today’s self-professed exorcists don’t see it as special or complicated. That is, most believe any mature Christian can cast out demons, and that no special items—water, oil, or crucifixes—are needed beyond the authority of Jesus’ name.
Considering how what was originally considered demonic possession is overwhelmingly – if not exclusively – explained by either mental illness like schizophrenia or a post-facto exaggeration of events to make them more consistent with an ideology that would support their existence to begin with, I think the “driving out of demons” may in fact be a little more complicated than the religious world might have us believe. We might also want to keep in mind that the same passage that discusses the ability of the faithful to cast out demons also went on to claim that they would also be able to drink deadly poisons and handle serpents with no ill effects.
Stuff like that usually doesn’t end too well. Just ask Pastor Mack Wolford. And then we have the great side commentary from the “big names” in the field:
“Dealing with spiritual/emotional ‘garbage’ first is more important than dealing with the ‘rats.’ I’ve clocked well over 2,000 deliverances, and this approach weakens the demons so casting them out is usually quite easy. Demons are ‘the little problem.’ ”
– Charles Kraft, author, Christianity with Power
Strange how dealing with other, more clinically relevant psychological issues first can help make the “casting out the demons” part much easier.
“God is bringing deliverance to the forefront again because he wants us to do it right this time—with love, credibility, and being biblically sound. Jesus spent about one-third of his public ministry casting out demons. Our ministry should be no different today.”
– Bill Sudduth, International Society of Deliverance Ministers
Thinking that the Christian ministry should be no different today ignores the tremendous strides we’ve made in the field of psychology and medicine, and treating cases of severe mental illness as we did back then can – and will – have deadly consequences. If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.
“For a group of people who rarely, if ever, have contact with one another, what exorcists from a wide variety of religious traditions share in common is astonishing. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is actually leading we who serve the Lord through this ministry.”
– David W. Appleby, president, Spiritual Interventions, Inc.
Wow, I agree. For a group of people who all read the same holy book to hold two or three beliefs in common among themselves is statistically impossible, and can only be explained by God. Or by such blind belief that you’re unwilling to account for any other more realistic possibilities. But mostly God.
Here are my favorite parts of the survey:
I have the demonized person or guardian sign a consent form. (69% 11% 5% 15%)
How in the hell is this supposed to work?
“By the power of Christ, I compel thee, demon, to release your hold on this member of the faithful! And also please sign this consent form. Just a legal check in the box … you know how it is.”
“ES MUNDUS EXCREMENTI ET SCORTUM OBSCENUS VILIS!! INTERFICE TE COCHLEARE ET VESCERE BRACIS MEI – oh, umm … sure. Blue or black ink, right?”
“That’s fine. Well, it looks like everything is in order. Thanks for understanding.”
“No problem. UTINAM LOGICA FALSA TUAM PHILOSOPHIAM TOTAM SUFFODIANT! ET CETERA!!“