Grace Ade-Gold | Deliverance and exorcism: Clearing the confusion
Many times, people mistakenly interchange deliverance and exorcism to mean the same thing. But far be from it that light and darkness go together. John 3:19 says that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Also, John 1:11 and 12 say, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God even as many as believe in His name.” When you believe in His name, you have the power to rebuke the Devil and it must be so! Also found in Mark 16.
Wikipedia says using the Greek word εξορκισμός, exorkismos – binding by oath - is the religious or spiritual practice of purportedly evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or an area they are believed to have possessed.
Exorcist by definition means someone who forces an evil spirit to leave a person or place by using prayers or magic. We have to be careful here. There are different kinds of prayers. Even the Devil and his evil workers or devotees pray as well as fast.
In other words, an exorcist is one who expels demons by the use of magical formulas. In the strict etymological sense, there is no exorcism in the Bible. The term ‘exorcists’ is used once (in Acts 19:13) in a way to discredit the professional exorcists familiarly known both among Jews and Gentiles.
METHOD OF EXPELLING DEMONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Jesus’s method in dealing with demoniacs was not that of the exorcists. While it is said (Matthew 8:16) that He “cast out the spirits with a word,” it is abundantly clear that the word in question was not ritualistic but authoritative.
In Luke 4:35, we have a typical sentence uttered by our Lord in the performance of His cures: “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
In Mark 9:29, we have Christ’s own emphasis on the ethical element in dealing with these mysterious maladies: “This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.”
In Matthew 12:28, Jesus gives His own explanation of the method and power used in His cures: “But if I by the Spirit of God ca st out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.”
In Luke 9:1, the terms ‘authority’ and ‘power’ are used in such a way as to show the belief of the evangelists that to cure demon possession, an actual power from God, together with the right to use it, was necessary. This group of passages gives the New Testament philosophy of this dread mystery and its cure. The demons are personal evil powers afflicting human life in their opposition to God. It is beyond man unaided to obtain deliverance from them. It is the function of Christ as the Redeemer of mankind to deliver men from this as well as other ills due to sin. Miraculous cures of the same kind as those performed by Christ Himself were accomplished by His disciples in His name (Mark 16:17). The power attributed to ‘His name’ and the authority supplies us with the opportunity for a most enlightening comparison and contrast.
EXORCISM IN ETHNIC AND JEWISH WRITINGS
Exorcism among ancient and primitive peoples rest largely upon faith in the power of magical formulas, ordinarily the names of deities and pronounced in connection with exorcist rites, upon the bodies of the afflicted. The words themselves are supposed to have power over the demons, and the mere recital of the correct list of names is supposed to be efficacious.
COMPARISON AND CONTRACTION
1. The ministry of deliverance is done by calling the name of Jesus Christ and by the power and authority given to us by God while exorcism is done by incantation and magical acts or witchcraft.
2. The ministry of deliverance demands a close walk with the Lord by the deliverance minister and a life of dedication and obedience to The Call. It also demands the cooperation of the victim (who is conscious) to enter into agreement with faith in God through the work of the Holy Spirit to set them free. See what the book of Acts had to say: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. O n the contrary, when certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits in the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preached. Among these the Sons of Scevas tried to do and were severely attacked”(Acts 19:11-16) because they were trying to exorcise rather than do deliverance. They were not in right standing with God.
Exorcism places no demand on the exorcist to have faith in Christ Jesus or for holy living as Obadiah (Chapter 1:17) has stated. Rather, it chiefly rest on the exorcist, who performs rituals, oblations, drama, et cetera, to carry out the act, which may not help the victim, but will invoke other spirits into the demoniac, e.g., obeah practice, voodoo priests, Roman Catholic priests, oblations, astrological and psychical practices, etc. Various life experiences can testify to this as several cases were brought to my ministry after having consulted these exorcists. We prayed, and they were set free in Jesus name!
The ministry of deliverance is a soul-winning ministry: The ultimate end of human soul matters to God (2 Peter 3:9).
Deliverance ministry is a teaching ministry - an eye opener. People can say, “If I had known, I would not have done that.”
It is a ministry of encouragement: binding up the broken hearted (as the counselling aspect does not just stop at psychological counselling, but we address the issues that influence divorce, pre-marital counselling, abortion, miscarriages, separation, untimely death, spiritual pregnancies, etc) and other issues of life as well.
The ministry of deliverance is spiritual warfare: ministry where we engage the enemies who are behind everyone in battle, and the battle line is drawn. ‘And in the Name of our Lord who is mighty in battle we must prevail’ - Psalm 24:7-9; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, etc.
- Bishop Grace Ade-Gold is the founder and bishop of Arise Shine Apostolic and Deliverance Ministries located in Kingston, Jamaica at 15 Parkington Plaza in Half-Way Tree. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org