Right now in the body of Christ, a great deal of attention is being paid to the issue of deliverance. The compelling new movie by Greg Locke, "Come Out in Jesus Name," debuted in theaters this week and is taking the nation by storm. Charisma News has brought you complete coverage of this phenomenon and of miracles happening on site.
However, this is one burning question that has left many in debate about the spiritual gift of deliverance: Can a demon possess a Christian?
Cultural commentator and author Michael Brown, who writes a column for Charisma titled, "In The Line of Fire," answers the question with an unequivocal "no" in a recent interview with Charisma News' John Matarazzo.
"Can a Christian come under demonic power? Can a Christian be demonized in an sense where they are tormented or afflicted spiritually, emotionally, mentally and they need to be set free? Yes, it's possible. We can open the door in certain ways we can get beaten down and yield the authority that we have in the Lord. Any number of things can happen. That is possible."
But ... "Can a Christian be indwelt by a demon the same way they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit? No. ... Can a Christian be demon possessed so that a demon controls them and they have lost their own? Well, no, because then Jesus is no longer their Lord, and they are no longer under His authority."
Brown certainly believes that deliverance is for Christians. He says that he believes Christians can come under demonic power, and that strongholds can infiltrate the life of a believer due to demonic activity or perhaps a physical affliction that individual may have.
Healings, Brown says, are deliverances, and deliverances are healings. They overlap.
Decades ago, Brown says he began teaching on the subject of deliverance with a journey through the entire New Testament.
"Jesus often healed the sick and drove out demons. It's side by side. Demons are driven out and people are healed," Brown says. "Those things can happen with believers today as well.
"But again, if we mean that a Christian is indwelt by a demon the same way they're indwelt by the Holy Spirit, with demons and the Holy Spirit dwelling side by side within a human being, then no, I don't believe that is possible.
"If they are quote 'demon possessed,' which is probably a wrong way of translating the Greek anyway, then Satan owns them and Jesus no longer owns them. I see that as impossible.
"Over the decades, I've had no problem telling demons to get out or come out, because they are somewhere that they don't belong. But I don't believe a Christian is demon possessed or has a demon in that sense. It's a demonic stronghold that is entrenched somewhere in their lives and we're telling it you must leave in Jesus' name.
Brown says he has yet to view Pastor Greg Locke's movie, "Come Out in Jesus Name." In 2022, however, he was interviewed by the "Demon Slayers Podcast," members Vlad Savchuk and Isaiah Saldivar, whom he claims both said they were "controversial" and that they had practiced deliverance.
It was then that Brown realized that deliverance was "about to be a big hot subject in the church."
"It was then I thought, 'let's just start talking about what the Bible says about demons," Brown says. "I started doing that on the radio last year. And, of course, we have a whole series I did in the late 1980s on angels, demons and deliverance. We went back to that and went through every relevant scripture.
"And then, of course, with Pastor Locke's movie coming out and the explosion of controversy around that, I thought, 'OK, this is something we need to talk about as a body and as a family.'"
Division comes from misunderstanding the Bible, and from different definitions of terms like deliverance, exorcism, possession and oppression.
But how does the body of Christ not get caught up in petty discussions and disagreements about what these terms really mean?
"The first thing is that we have to recognize that we're going to have some differences here," Brown says. "It's not the end of the world, and we don't have to flip out over it. ... So, the defining issue of what makes us brothers and sisters is not where we stand on the topic of deliverance. Let's not magnify it beyond proportion. We may have some differences and that's fine, it's not the end of the world. We just have to accept that and move on."
Brown wants to make it clear that he is not speaking out against Greg Locke, Vlad Savchuk, Isaiah Saldivar or others who appear in the movie. Brown hasn't watched clips of the teachings of the "Demon Slayer Podcast."
One thing Brown does know however, is that the discussion of deliverance can get "whacky really quickly."
"It's so dramatic and it's so wild," Brown says. "It seems so supernatural. Our whole focus is on demons and deliverance, and it's not on Jesus. It's on intimacy with God. It's not on growing in the Word. It's uncovering demons and strongholds and uprooting them and we become more devil conscious than God conscious. That's always a danger. And there's always the danger that when you get enough people in the room with kind a mass hysterical reaction.
"So, when God moves, let Him move in reality, let Him move in power. And then, rather than trying to defend something, we need to say, here's what we believe based on Scripture. Here's the fruit that we see. So, interact with us based on Scripture, examine the fruit rather than trying to defend everything that happens."
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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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