One of the tactics that opponents of deliverance ministry will use is to attack those who minister. They will say derisively that practitioners see demons everywhere and behind every problem in a person’s life.
I will be the first to say that there are some very unorthodox views and practices in the field (is it okay to use the word “orthodox” when talking about deliverance ministry?). I refuse to try to defend every practice and practioner of the ministry but I would like to address this common complaint.
My question is simple: “If you did see a demon, how would you know?” The bible tells us that there is a valid spiritual gift called “discerning of spirits” and that it is the Lord’s intentions that we see spiritually into that realm. The gift includes discerning the Holy Spirit but also to know when demonic spirits are operating.
I believe we need a balanced understanding of deliverance ministry, both it’s application and process, and that it be properly understood in terms of a believer’s pilgrimage towards Christlikeness in their life. We do not believe that demons are to blame for everything wrong in a person’s life. God, in His sovereignty, gave man a free will to make choices and decisions but demonic spirits can be influencing these decisions.
Discerning of Spirits Is a Powerful Spiritual Gift
At the other extreme error, people can fail to diagnose the problem correctly as a demonic stronghold and the tormented person does not get helped! They are preached at, medicated or otherwise made to feel condemned that somehow their faith is lacking or that there must be some hidden sin in their life.
Our contention is that deliverance is an appropriate ministry option for areas of a person’s life where they have been unable to get the victory. These areas include depression, anger, addictions, fear, perversions and more. This is where spiritual discernment is often lacking. How many pastors and counselors have ministered to people who they know are “saved”, who have had repeated counsel, prayer and more, have struggled for freedom and victory yet not seen it in a lasting way? For those people, effective and thorough deliverance ministry, done in gentleness without theatrics, may be just what they need to “get over the hump” as it were.
There are not demons everywhere, but I believe often times that people do not discern that they are battling a spiritual forces and that is why medications and other “treatments” are not working. Isn’t that possibility worthy of consideration?