When you hear the word Christian deliverance of just deliverance, what do you think of? (Try googling it!) The word is used liberally in the Old Testament. Depending upon your translation, the word appears only one or two times in the new testament and in all instances it is generally interpreted in the context of physical release from captivity or bondage.
In our counseling ministry, we use the word explicitly to mean driving or calling out demonic spirits. It is clear from Scripture that Jesus drove demons out of people, he trained the disciples to do it and he expects the church to do it (Mark 16:17). A rose by any other name is still a rose so we narrowly use the term in that context and explain it explicitly.
The word deliverance is used extensively in the church but I believe it has very different meanings depending upon one’s point of reference. It can become very confusing because many people associate it generally with freedom or release as used generally in the bible.
In our counseling offices in Tampa or Clearwater, I have had many conversations with Christians who not their heads in agreement when we speak about people getting delivered. Many will share experiences of God delivering them from some affliction. Make no mistake: God dies sovereignly deliver His people but we also believe deliverance is a viable modern day ministry for the church to be involved in. Eyebrows get raised however when we talk about Christians getting delivered from demonic spirits.
Deliverance is more than winning the battle of the flesh. It is more than winning the battle of the mind. Deliverance is not being free from bad thoughts. We understand that spiritual warfare is an ongoing part of our walk as Christians. It ends only when we die or when the Lord Jesus returns from the heavens. However, in our ministry, we try to be very explicit and clear, even using a PowerPoint presentation, illustrate the fact that demonic spirits can reside in our soul man and deliverance involves calling these spirits out.
For some of our clients, this goes against the theology they have believed. We do our best to address those issues and answer their questions and if they are willing we continue to take them through the deliverance ministry process that the Lord has shown us.
Deliverance Ministry: Driving Out Demons
I appreciate that people can use the term deliverance in a different context in terms of God delivering them from a difficulty or situation and that is fine. Words can mean different thing to different people and we explicitly point out that the word has a certain meaning in our ministry too, that is the driving or casting out of demons!
For some clients however, this discussion presents a roadblock that hinders us from helping them further, at least as it relates to progressing with deliverance. If I believe that they need deliverance but the client is unwilling to proceed then often times I tell them quite candidly, during the first appointment, that they are probably going to be best suited by finding another counselor. They usually agree and we part amicably.
I am not discouraged when this happens because I know for many that I have planted seeds in them to contemplate and think about. Many come back at a later time and are willing to hear the teaching in more depth and go through the deliverance ministry process. There are not demons behind every tree or behind every problem in our life. However we have found that deliverance can address issues that people had been in counseling for years for and not found resolution.