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Can a Christian Be Demon Possessed? (free sample)

Confusion over the meaning of the Greek leads to misunderstanding and confusion.
Store Code: UC17
Format: Microsoft Word
Type: Article

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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.

Topics:Crisis, Deliverance, Healing, Spiritual Warfare
Filters:Counseling, Pastor, Pastoral care, Shepherd, Spiritual director
References:Acts 5:1-11

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Displaying 1–5 of 21 comments

michael fapojuwo

September 13, 2013  7:20pm

Jer 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. After salvation comes the work of renewing the mind and subjecting the body. This is what most people confuse with demonisation. It is the responsibility of the individual and a daily process. This is why there is the gift of righteousness as we strive against sin, carrying our cross daily as Jesus commands.

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Gerry Bjorlo

September 12, 2013  5:01pm

We live in an age when neuroscience and psychology have taught us so much about our rational mind. It is shocking to me that an article like this which seriously considers the existence of superhuman beings which are not gods, would even appear in this publication.

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Vincent C

September 12, 2013  1:04pm

Short but helpful article that (hopefully) dissolves all the confusion. A helpful and easy to remember comparison I learned a while back is that a Christian cannot be possessed but can be OPPRESSed (i.e., harassed, disturbed, etc.) by the devil. The bottom-line issue is: whose servant and follower are you? If Christ is one's Lord then the Holy Spirit dwells in that person - forever (Eph. 1:13)! Then this person will always be under the protection of God and no other force, evil or whatsoever, can take him/her as a possession (1 John 4:4 and Rom. 8:9, 38-39).

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Marco Saavedra

December 19, 2012  9:39am

I totally agree, Christians cannot be possessed by demons.

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Colin W

December 17, 2012  9:43pm

The author's position reflects my own. I can never understand how Christians embrace the idea that they can be demon possessed while the spirit of Christ lives within them. Are they implying that the demon(s) can "bind up" the Strong Man of the house?

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