No. A Christian is already possessed by Jesus. This point of confusion/contention, however, has theologically paralyzed the church. Demon "possession" is a confusing and misleading term. Certain translations of the Bible refer to a person being "possessed by a demon," but the word referring to possession is not present. The Greek words used, daimonizomai ("to be under the influence of a demon") or echein daimonion, ("to have a demon") may be better translated as being "demonized."
Possession implies ownership, and demons own nothing. The New Testament views demons as squatters or invaders of territory that does not belong to them. A burglar can trash my home but that doesn't make it his. Demonization is defined as being under the influence of one or more demonic spirits.
This continuum of influence can range from mild to serious, even life-threatening.
The Bible tells believers to stop giving a place to the Devil in Ephesians 4:27, suggesting at least a minimal association with a demonic spirit. Acts 5 says that Satan "so filled" Ananias and Sapphira, two members of the early church, that they lied to the Holy Spirit, an involvement major enough that God struck them dead (a particularly effective, but not recommended form of deliverance).
So Christians may not be "possessed," since they belong to Christ, but they can certainly be demonized, or "under the influence" of demons. For such situations, deliverance is the biblical remedy.
—David W. Appleby is president of Spiritual Interventions, Inc. in Lynchburg, Virginia, and author of It's Only a Demon (BMH, 2009); adapted from our sister publication Leadership Journal, © 2012 by Christianity Today. For more articles like this, visit www.LeadershipJournal.net.
share this page
Also of Interest
Leader's Guide to Understanding Addiction
Stories of addiction and recovery to help you understand those seeking help and healing.
Disaster and Emergency Readiness
In "Disaster and Emergency Readiness," you'll find a variety of forms to help your church be ready for the unexpected.
Find an army of trained shepherds and help your leaders care for chronically and wounded people in the church.
Where Would Jesus Hang Out?
Using a coffee shop as a remote office or meeting room is, I believe, a great strategy for leaders.
Join the BuildingChurchLeaders.com Facebook groupFollow us on TwitterSubscribe to the Building Church Leaders RSS feed
Meet Our Editorial Advisors
More from Christianity Today