This is a very delicate subject, and I am going to try to be very careful as to how I express my opinion. I know that the use of a wrong word, or my failure to fully explain my experiences, or what I believe regarding Scripture can further the misunderstanding and debate over Deliverance Ministries. And it is very easy for the Body of Christ to become religious and divided over the terminology. I'd like to share what I find in the Bible on this subject, and to give a testament of my experiences in this realm of Christian ministry.
First of all, I want to say that there is so much opinion as to what constitutes "Deliverance." [I will speak to the controversy as to whether it is a biblical ministry in a moment]. The word Deliverance has different meanings to different people, and it can actually look and be understood differently, even by those who serve in this manner. Of course, it is probably most identified with casting demons or spirits out of a person, such as Jesus did with the Gadarene madman/demoniac. Let me be clear by saying that sanctified Christians will not be "possessed" by demons who have taken over their bodies -- unless they fall away from their faith and agree to that possession. Unsaved people can certainly become possessed, and are in need of having demons cast out, which can be an effective way to introduce them to the power of Jesus [in us] to set them free. Notice I said it is Jesus's power in us! I do not claim that any man can do it on his own.
deliverance can also look like the tearing down of strongholds in one's
life [or the demolishing of deceptive thoughts/arguments/practices
that the devil has convinced us to receive through our own sin, or
through the sins committed against us]. In this case, we can partner
with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help and aid [minister to] the person
to have an encounter with Jesus to refute those lies [that keep them "oppressed"] and hear His truth
about who we are in Him. Once those strongholds are torn down and
Jesus's Light can pour into the darkness we've been carrying around in
our minds and souls, then we can cast out spirits of anger, shame,
guilt, unworthiness etc. that we've been holding on to. These are very
real low-level spirits/demons who are weakened when Jesus defeats the devil in our
lives. This form of deliverance ministry is more often known as Inner
Healing, and is what the Lord has so graciously given me and my husband
as an assignment to serve His Kingdom. We are able to bring a fuller measure of freedom by destroying the strongholds, and then casting out the demons whose ability to oppress the person has been greatly reduced.
So, I hope you can see just how confusing the term "Deliverance Ministry" can be, even within the ranks of those who have been called to serve in this manner. And I hope I've made it clear that there is a very distinctive difference between being "possessed" and being "oppressed". Now I want to address the Christians who will say that the use of the term "Deliverance Ministry" is not biblical. They will claim that Ephesians 4:11 gives a clear description of the ministries of the Church; namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Period. But that is not exactly what the Bible says. That is only part of a long sentence in which Paul teaches a bigger concept that we need to know regarding our service to our King.
Paul relates that Jesus ascended into Heaven so that His Presence might fill the whole universe with the knowledge of Him. Then Paul talks about the purpose of the various offices [apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers] ... "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes". [Boldface emphasis is obviously mine]. The fullness of the purposes of those offices actually covers Ephesians 4:11-14! I believe it is deceptive to limit this important concept to just one verse.
I hope you will consider this thought: the Amplified version of Scripture actually tells us that it is Jesus, Himself, who "appoints" these important offices [or assignments] within the Body of Christ, and He has done so with a specific purpose: that they might "equip the saints for the work of ministry". After looking up the origins of the words "equip" and "ministry", this is what I am discerning ... Jesus places a calling on one's life in one of those five positions. Then the job of those offices is to equip [or perfect a person fully] to minister [or do works of service; to administer works of relief or aid in service to the Body of Christ]. So, the idea that Deliverance Ministry is not mentioned as a Jesus-appointed office does not negate the concept that we are all to become fully perfected [made complete] to provide relief or aid to our fellow Christians [and nonbelievers, too] from the spiritual attacks of the Enemy [or the "craftiness in deceitful schemes" that the devil loves to employ].
Furthermore, Jesus lists the casting out of demons as part of His Great Commission in Matthew 28. He tells the disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you". And what did He command them to do? In Matthew 10, He says, "As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons". Jesus clearly states in John 14:12, "I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father". I believe that Jesus intends us to do the works of ministry that He did. And it is the assignment of those He has appointed within the Body of Christ to equip all saints to the ministry of these works.
I would like to close this expository with the conclusion about Deliverance Ministry that was written on the Crosswalk website. The writer ended their article with this summation: "Are deliverance ministries biblical? I believe they are not. I do believe that we are in a spiritual battle daily, but there is no ministry or person who can “cure” us. Christians have the spirit of God in them, which leaves no room for demons to take up residence. God’s Word specifically tells us that He alone can save us from our sins. When we accept Him, we are free from our sin. Our sin may haunt us, but it can never control us because we are children of God".
Let me respond to this opinion [which the writer is entitled to]. I consider my husband and myself to be "Inner Healing" ministers, which I would say is a form of Deliverance ministry. We would never say we could "cure" anyone of the spiritual issues that are part of their daily walk. And as previously stated in this post, if someone has received Jesus as their Savior, then they are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they cannot be "possessed", which is what I think the writer means when she says, there is "no room for demons to take up residence". But people can be "oppressed", or tormented by the lies, thoughts, and accusations [they hear in their minds] that the devil will try to get them to receive as their identity. We make it clear that we are not their Savior. Jesus is!
But what we can do is help them to know who they are in Christ by inviting Jesus and Holy Spirit to be present and counter those lies with the truth about who Jesus says they are. I have been blessed to witness -- countless times -- the presence of Jesus who appears to a person's spirit to wash the effects of sin from their mind and emotions, and they hear [in their innermost parts] His voice tell them they are "loved", or call them "my Son or Daughter", or "you are clean"... any number of personal encounters with the only One who can set them free. We ALWAYS make it clear that it is His power that accomplishes their freedom from oppression. We are just His obedient servants to work with Him to make it possible for someone to walk away from their bondage.
Lastly, I want to address the comment, "When we accept Him, we are free from our sins. Our sin may haunt us, but it can never control us because we are children of God". How many wonderfully saved Christians are filling the Church pews, but are struggling with spiritual oppression? How many come to Church on Sunday filled with guilt or shame or anger because they are not living in freedom from molestation, adultery, pornography, addiction? Yes, they are haunted, but I also have seen many who are controlled by such spiritual attacks through their anger, bitterness, self-rejection and fear.
Just because we have accepted Jesus as our Savior does not mean we are necessarily free of the oppression from the lies that Satan continues to whisper, and which steal our joy and peace He died to bring us. I believe Jesus wants us all, as His disciples, to be equipped to minister to our fellow Christians. And, just as He did, we can reach nonbelievers when we can introduce them to the healing power of Jesus that is in us. We just have to be willing to say, "Yes" to His invitation to minister as He did. As He said in John 14:12, we can do the things He did precisely because we have the same power in us that He did -- the Holy Spirit! And since He has gone to the Father, He is no longer here on the earth to do these freeing acts of service, so He needs us to work with Him [from Heaven] just as He worked with His Father [who was in Heaven].
I believe Jesus wants [and needs] us to fulfill this ministry as we get closer to His return. Satan and his demons know their time is short, and as many Christians as he can sideline and get off the battlefield, the more chance he has to cause destruction and chaos in the lives of Believers and nonbelievers, alike. Jesus died to set us free and give us life abundantly. Far too many people are open to oppression and torment as the days get darker. If we can become equipped by men and women whom Jesus has appointed to help us attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, then why would we deny this much-needed ministry to those who need it? Aren't we to grow up "in every way in Him"?
I am so encouraged by the spiritual awakening and spirit of revival that is beginning to be manifested in the world. But I believe that Deliverance is an important adjunct to receiving the fullness of revival. When revival comes, the demons may rise up in opposition at the command of their leader to squelch the movement. It has been so since the beginning of time. Deliverance by qualified servants of Christ -- who have been trained and equipped for just such an assignment -- will allow the power of revival to flow unhindered and unrestrained; allowing it to reach its full potential.
Without the option to receive Deliverance [if needed], the spiritual high of revival might become diminished by the spirit of bondage that still remains at the core of the person. As Pastor Greg Locke is quoted as saying on The Christian Post, "If you think back, every type of revival we had except one, there's never been a revival of deliverance," he continued. "As a matter of fact, you look at Azusa Street, the birthplace of the Pentecostal movement, it stopped, historically, because when deliverance began to break out, people didn't understand it. So they shut it down. You look at the Jesus Revolution, you look at Lonnie Frisbee, they didn't want to go into deliverance, and so [they] shut it down. It allowed him not to be able to fight his own demons and then not be able to move into deliverance."
Let us, as the Body of Christ, be willing to cast off the cloak of Religion and the spirit of fear to understand that whether Jesus was casting out a powerful demon in Gadara, or ministering to the woman at the well, the blind or the lame, He was portraying His ministry of Deliverance from the bondage of Satan. I want to do the things that He did! I want to work with Him to bring freedom to the lives of those who love Him! Let us not diminish His work in these times. We need His ministry in its fullness ... now more than ever!
#deliverance #deliveranceministry #innerhealing #theministryofjesus
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.