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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 23 comments

Jerry Evans

March 19, 2015  2:28pm

Matt, 12:43-45 Read how Christ spoke of the state of that man and how the Unclean Spirit will bring seven worst back with that Foul Spirit, If a Christian Faints and falls by acting apon a sin. So this is why we are to keep filled by washing and regeneration of the Holy Ghost (KJV). If a man is prayed for and that oppressive Spirit has Left. It is very Important to lead a Person into the sinners prayer , Inviting Christ in , the Unclean Spirit Cant enter the house that once was Empty, Unless you give it Authority, which is by wrong Understanding. We lift up the Name of Jesus and thank him for the Blood Covering. Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. I paraphrased most of this not to change Gods Word. I hope this is Helpful In Christ Service.

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Jerad Morey

March 19, 2015  10:17am

It seems to me the author is claiming not just that Christians cannot be demon-possessed, but that NOBODY can be demon possessed. He writes this is because our concept of a demon possessing a person stems from a mistranslation of Scripture. "To be under the influence of a demon" or "having a demon" seem to be more appropriate terms. What follows is that demon possession is not a real thing and does not apply to anyone, but that people (Christians included) could be said "to be under the influence of" or "having a" demon. Are these still conditions where exorcism is an appropriate intervention, or is the entire practice of exorcism based on faulty assumptions due to mistranslation?

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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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