Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tips for a Safe Exorcism.

Professor Giuseppe Ferrari head of the Italian occult watchdog group, The Group on Research and Socio-Religious Information, has pointed out in a Vatican backed exorcism course that the pop culture focus on the occult such as "beautiful vampires" like in the Twilight nonsense movies and "True Blood" (an HBO vampire series that leapt the shark somewhere in the middle of episode 2) is encouraging young people to dabble in the occult. 

This, of course, is not news, as wide awake Christians we know this is happening all around us, but from articles printed in The Independent it appears that the Romans are being inundated with reports of demonic possession although some believe that the Roman obsession with exorcism is causing gung-ho priests mistake mental health problems for demonic possession. The increase in 'gung-ho' exorcists isn't just a Hollywood or Italian phenomenon, England is reporting an increase in the number of exorcists too. 

First of all, if you're thinking of throwing an at-home exorcism here's a few safety safety reminders from Vatican City:

  • Exorcisms should only be carried out by properly trained priests, licensed to do so by the diocese in which they work. Priests can not perform exorcisms in different dioceses without special permission.
  • Lay people should never perform exorcisms, say the special prayers of liberation, nor bless or touch a possessed person.
  • Exorcists should defer to qualified doctors or psychiatrists, though priests may help by praying.
  • Priests should not perform the Eucharist during an attempt to exorcise somebody because that can make the process “too Hollywood”.
  • Priests must welcome and pay heed to anyone who reports that a demonic possession may have taken place.
  • Exorcists should consider the possibility that symptoms may be due to known medical conditions and seek appropriate professional advice if they suspect this to be the case.
While we evangelicals may think the Romans are being quaint with their industrialized, territorial imperative approach to spiritual warfare, we know spiritual warfare to be a real thing, something that has existed, does exist, and will exist in the future. One does not simply state "I believe the bible to be the word of God... except for those verses about demons" you either believe it or you don't. 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
During his ministry Jesus encountered many demons, and being God he drove out every one, (Mark 1:27) without the aid of an exorcist. Personally I don't think an exorcist is needed. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the instructions we need to fight Satan is encapsulated quite nicely in James 4:7 
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The key word here is, of course, "submit". We cannot drive away demons without the guidance of Christ Jesus. If His will isn't the driving will behind the battle, all is lost before the first shot is fired. But we, as evangelical Christians, don't hear that too much, do we. I believe that if we look at the writings of Clive Staples Lewis we can see a problem arising. In the Screwtape Letters CS Lewis stated
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
I believe that evangelical Christianity falls closer to the former (disbelieving (or ignoring) their existence) while the Romans falls closer to the latter with an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. It's been a very long time since I've heard a mainstream pastor preach about spiritual warfare. I see many articles talking about the evils of teaching about evil. Christ spoke quite a bit about (and with) demons, surely we can discuss it more often than when the Pastor's cycle of sermon matter comes around to Ephesians 6.

On the other hand the Vatican seems to be all about spiritual warfare. They even have a guy that's actually in charge of demonology and demonic field exercises. Father Gabriele Amorth has been the Vatican’s chief exorcist (top demon hunter) for a quarter of a century and he claims to have dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession. He points out the modern obsession with fantasy and his views about yoga are the same as mine: yoga is satanic. Well, not satanic as in the black mass & long cloak satanic, but the driving a wedge between us and God satanic.

Demons are real, there's ample warning and advice about demonic oppression in the bible, We need to determine how much importance we are going to give these warnings and balance that with the other teachings of the Bible, not getting carried away with 'deliverance ministry'. Then again, a full 1/3 of the bible is prophesy and I know of preachers that tell their flocks to ignore prophesy and get pretty nasty about it. But that's another blog entry in itself. 

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