Spiritual Warfare book 3: Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare, by Steve Fernandez
PART 1: THE DISTINCTIVES OF THE DELIVERANCE MODEL
There are three central theological distinctives of the deliverance model of spiritual warfare. They are: the authority of the believer, the demon possession of the believer, and the commanding, or binding of Satan. Each one will be described and then examined in the light of scripture.
THE BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY
The first distinctive involves the believer's authority in Christ. According to Dr. Anderson, the believer must come to understand and exercise the authority he has in Christ over the demonic realm. The lack of knowledge and practice in this area is a primary reason for much of the spiritual defeat and lack of power amongst Christians today. Anderson says, "and as long as we fail to perceive our access to Christ's authority over the kingdom of darkness, we will fail to exercise that authority in our lives, and we will live in bondage."4
According to Dr. Anderson, the believer has the same authority, not only as the apostles, but even of Christ. He writes, "Do we enjoy the same claim to authority in the spiritual realm as those who were personally sent out by Him? Absolutely!"5
He then goes on to say further that our authority is the same as Christ's. He says, "Build your faith in your authority by studying how Jesus operated against the power of darkness in the Gospels and how we are commanded to do so in the epistles."6 He builds his case from Ephesians 1:22 and 2:6, which says, "and He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church...and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Commenting on these verses, he says, "Furthermore, when God seated Christ at His right hand and conferred on Him all authority (Ephesians 1:20,21), He also seated us at His right hand and conferred on us, through Christ, all authority (2:6) because we are 'together with Christ' (2:5)."7
Amazingly, Anderson, without any qualification, says that all of Christ's authority has been conferred on the believer. He must simply learn to exercise it. The believer exercises his authority by confronting and commanding Satan and his demons. For example, he advises one woman, who says she is terrorized by snakes that "crawl" on her at night: "I'll tell you what to do," I continued. "When you're in bed and the snakes come, say out loud, 'In the name of Christ I command you to leave'...The next week when Daisy walked in she said, 'the snakes are gone.' "8
The first element, then, in waging spiritual warfare, is recognizing and exercising your authority in Christ. This authority is equal to Christ's and the Apostles'. Exercising this authority involves commanding the demons in a direct confrontation.
Dr. Anderson's thinking is fraught with faulty biblical exegesis. He draws conclusions from faulty premises, and develops his methods and practices from them. He jumps from the false premise of the believer's supposed equal authority with Christ into his deliverance doctrine and practice, which involves "taking authority over" Satan and binding him.
It is true that the believer is identified with Christ and positionally seated with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). It is also true that Christ has been given as head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22). Having said that, it does not follow that the believer is equal in authority to Christ, nor does it follow that the believer is to confront demons as Christ did. Christ's authority is unique. He is the Lord of glory. Every knee will bow to Him (Philippians 2:11), not to believers. Christ will judge the living and the dead (I Peter 4:5), not us. God has fixed a day in which "He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). We are under the umbrella of Christ's authority. We benefit from it, and in that sense we share it.
However, the direct display of it over nature and the demonic realm was His unique prerogative. It clearly demarcated Him as the Messiah. Mark records that "whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him they would fall down before Him and cry out, saying 'You are the Son of God' " (Mark 3:11). Mark also records that an unclean spirit cried out, "What do we have to do with you Jesus of Nazareth. Have You come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!" (Mark 1:24). After Christ directly and openly rebuked the spirit, Mark says that people were "amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obeyed Him' " (Mark 1:27).
The terrified response of the demons was to Christ's unique authority. He was the Son of God and as such He could destroy them. He could consign them to eternal torment. It simply is not accurate to say we have Christ's authority conferred on us. The Ephesians passage speaks of Christ's enthronement in heaven and His headship over the church. It says nothing of the authority of His headship being directly conferred on us. Even less can it be deduced from these texts that Christ prescribes His authority be used by directly confronting demons. To do so is to go beyond what is written. It is to read an assumption into the text.
Apostolic authority was also unique. The authority of the apostles was something delegated by Christ specifically to them (Mark 3:15; Luke 9:2,3) and to those working closely in conjunction with them (Luke 10:17-19). They were given unique authority as those who would deposit binding revelation on the entire church. They were divine legislators. That is, Christ's authoritative will and law, by which He would govern and instruct His church, were committed and imposed on His people by the apostles. Their direct power over the demonic directly identified them with Christ. It confirmed their role as revelators of Christ's will and word to His people (Hebrews 2:4). Their ministry was unique. Who else has such authority? Who also can say that they are revelators of God's will and word, binding on all churches for all time? This was their foundational ministry, never to be repeated (Ephesians 2:20-3:3). If we have the same authority as the apostles, does it extend to revealing final authoritative revelation on the church? If not, then we do not have equal authority, nor the accompaning works that verify it.
The apostle Paul understood his unique role as an agent of divine legislation. He demanded compliance to what He wrote. He wrote to the Corinthians, "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But, if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized" (I Corinthians 14:37,38). The apostles were, in relation to the New Covenant, as Moses was to the old.
Miriam and Aaron sought to assume the same authority as Moses, and the Lord Himself defended Moses' unique position. He struck Miriam with leprosy (Numbers 12:1-6)! Just as no Israelite would be tolerated who claimed equal authority with Moses, neither should someone who claims equal authority with the apostles. The apostles' direct authority over the demonic was part of their credentials as Christ's personal, authorized spokesmen (I Corinthians 9:1) who impose Christ's law on the church for all time. Speaking of this, Paul said: "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance by signs and wonders and miracles" (II Corinthians 12:12).
CHRISTIANS AND DEMON POSSESSION
The central feature of the deliverance model of spiritual warfare is the belief that a true believer can be demon possessed. The proponents, however, do not prefer to use the terminology "demon-possessed." They instead refer to it as "demonic control," which can, if not resisted, become control from within. In fact, the chapter that deals with demonic indwelling in Dr. Anderson's book, The Bondage Breaker, is called, "The Danger of Losing Control."
Dr. Anderson writes, "In New Testament Greek the term 'demon-possessed' does not exist. It is only one word - daimonizomai (verb), or daimonizomenos (participle) - which is best translated 'demonized.' "9 The fact is, the verb daimonizomai does refer to demon-possession. Its meaning is derived, not merely from its etymology or root meaning, but from its usage in context. Every occurrence of the term indicates, either in the immediate context or in the parallel accounts, that a demon resides within the person. This is seen by the reference to the demon being cast out, or coming out of the victim.
For example, Matthew records that:
A Canaanite woman came out from the region, and began to cry out saying, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David: my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed' [demonized]...then Jesus answered and said to her, 'O woman, your faith is great: be it done for you as you wish,' and her daughter was healed at once (Matthew 15:22,28).
The parallel passage in Mark gives full explanation of what the term "demonized" meant. He says:
A woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit, immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter ...and He said to her, 'Because if this answer go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter' (Mark 7:25,26,29).
Clearly, the term "demonized" was a technical term describing someone who was indwelt by a demon. Every usage in comparison with a parallel passage bears this out. It is significant to point out that this terminology is never used of believers, and is never used when describing Satan's attacks on believers.
The insistence of making this unfounded distinction is in the end a semantic smoke screen. Irrespective of the terminology, Dr. Anderson clearly teaches that a believer can be indwelt by a demon.
Perhaps we should state the question this way: Can an evil spirit and the Holy Spirit occupy the same space in a human life? The god of this world occupies a place in our atmosphere, and so does the Holy Spirit, and Satan presently has access to our Father in heaven. So it should not be thought impossible that demonic influence can partially control the life of one in whom the Holy Spirit also dwells.10
Once again, Dr. Anderson shows his aversion to actually saying "demon-possessed," but his meaning is clear: a believer can be indwelt by a demon.
An Experience Based Position
Astoundingly, the basis for concluding that believers can be demon-possessed is not scripture, but what is referred to as "clinical experience". The primary authority to which Dr. Anderson and other proponents of deliverance ministry appeal is the book, Demon Possession and the Christian, by C. Fred Dickason. Dr. Anderson indicates his support of Dr. Dickason's views, when, after stating his belief that Christians can be demon-possessed, he writes, "If this possibility is difficult for you to swallow, I encourage you to read Demon Possession and the Christian, by C. Fred Dickason".11 In this book, Dr. Dickason goes from passage to passage seeking to support his view. After looking at every pertinent verse, Dr. Dickason acknowledges that a solid biblical basis simply cannot be built to prove that believers can be indwelt by demons.
Charles Craft commenting on Dickason's conclusion writes:
He exhaustively examined every scripture reference that could relate to the issue and found none to prove conclusively either that a Christian can or cannot be demonized. Without a clear scriptural position then, we need to consult those with experience in dealing with the problem under consideration. Those who work with cancer patents know that Christians can and do develop cancer. Likewise, those with 'clinical' experience with Christians having demonic symptoms have overcome their doubts and concluded that Christians can and regularly do carry demons.12
Incredibly, Craft says that "clinical experience," is the final basis for concluding a Christian can be demon-possessed! This is Dr. Anderson's final appeal, as well as his reference to Dickason shows. Dr. Dickason himself states:
I have encountered, from 1974 to 1987, at least 400 cases of those who were genuine Christians who were also demonized...I would not claim infallible judgment, but I know the marks of a Christian and the marks of a demonized person. I might have been wrong in a case or so, but I cannot conceive that I would be wrong in more than 400 cases.13
So here we have it. Clinical experience is the final basis for theology, and from this we build an entire system of practice and technique!
The scriptures that Dr. Anderson appeals to, to support his case, refer either to nonbelievers or to external attacks from Satan. None even remotely concerns demonic indwelling in a Christian. The following are two of his examples. He refers to Luke 13:10-18, which says, "There was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit, and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all." She is referred to as a "daughter of Abraham" in verse 16. Dr. Anderson says, "This woman was not an unbeliever. She was 'a daughter of Abraham', a God fearing woman of faith with a spiritual problem."14
This type of hasty conclusion and reading into the text is a common practice of Dr. Anderson's. The phrase "daughter of Abraham" was simply a term for a female descendent of Abraham, not necessarily a saved woman. Not all Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6). Jesus said to the Pharasees, "I know you are Abraham's offspring" (John 8:37). He also said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day" (John 8:56). No one would venture to say the Pharasees were saved. Yet, Christ said their father was Abraham, in a physical sense. Referring to this woman as a daughter of Abraham is a general reference to her physical lineage, not that she was necessarily saved. Dr. Anderson also reads far more into the text when he refers to the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-17.
Dr. Anderson says, "What is the purpose of armor? To prevent the enemies' arrows from penetrating the body and injuring the soldier. If it is impossible for Satan's arrows to penetrate us, there would be no need for us to put on armor."15 How someone can deduce, from an arrow penetrating the flesh and causing injury, that a demon can, therefore, indwell a Christian, I don't know. If a gunman shoots at me and a bullet lodges in my body, you may conclude that he has injured me, but you can not conclude that he indwells me! According to Dr. Anderson, somehow you can!
Dr. Anderson, following Dickason and Merrill Unger before him, builds his case on his "clinical experience" of demon-possessed people. He narrates case after case of "Christians" who are demon-possessed. Story after story is recounted of people that he regards as Christians who, among other things, are drunkards, drug addicts, schizophrenic, darvon junkies, and in general, people in "bondage to sin."
One example is of a young woman named Janelle. Dr. Anderson writes:
Janelle was a Christian woman, with severe emotional problems, who was brought to me by her elderly pastor. Janelle's fiance, Curt, came with them...as Janelle told me her story, I realized that the accuser of the brethren had really done a number on her.She had been the victim of one abuse after another as a child and adolescent. Her background also included a sick relationship with a previous boy friend who was involved in the occult. Over the years, she had come to believe Satan's lies that she was the cause of her troubles, and that she was of no value to God or, anybody else. Her self-perception was down in the mud. Recognizing Satans familiar strategy, I said, 'Janelle, we can help you with your problem, because there is a battle going on for your mind, which God has given us authority to win'. As soon as I spoke these words Janelle suddenly went catatonic. She sat as still as a stone, eyes glazed over and staring into space. [After enlisting the prayers of her fiance and the pastor, Dr. Anderson continues] "As soon as Curt began to read the prayer, Janelle snapped to life. She let out a menacing growl, then lashed out and slapped the paper out of Curt's hand...I addressed the demonic influence in Janelle, 'In the name of Christ and by His authority, I bind you to that chair and I command you to sit there.16
This case is representative. Here we have a woman living in immorality, filled with hatred with a demon speaking out of her. Dr. Anderson, as he does regularly, assumes the person is regenerated. If a profession of faith is made, and the facts of the gospel can be stated, then the person is categorized as a Christian. Nowhere is the biblical warning of false believers, or the possibility of a deceived faith addressed. Jesus' warning about the many who will say, "Lord, Lord" (Matthew 7:23) does not enter in. The Lord's warning of "rocky soil conversions" (Matthew 13:4,20) is not taken into consideration. The apostle James' warning that there is a faith in Christ and in God (James 2:1,14-26) that is non-saving does not enter into his analysis. At the heart of his analysis of a persons' salvation is a concept of faith that is purely intellectual.
Biblically, true faith in Christ is a repentant faith (Acts 20:21). It is a faith that has come to see the gravity of sin and idolatry (I Thessalonians 1:10). It is a faith that has received Christ, and as such no longer loves darkness, but comes to the light (John 3:19). What Dr. Anderson has done is to give credence to easy believism. Apparently Dr. Dickason's comment, "I know the marks of a Christian!" and Dr. Anderson's recognition of a Christian, has nothing to do with a changed life. In those cases where Anderson sees change, repentance is demanded, and the renouncing of Satan and turning to Christ is involved. Biblically, this would indicate a true conversion, not a defeated Christian who finds victory (I Thessalonians 1:10). Biblically and historically it described, not a true Christian delivered, but a sinner repenting and trusting Christ in true conversion. The entire deliverance theology is built on the false premise that believers can be demon-possessed, and this, in turn, is based on a faulty view of faith and the work of the Spirit that occurs in conversion.
This experience-centered approach to theology and practice is the most dangerous aspect of this deliverance model. There has been a subtle unwitting shift from scripture to external authority. Dr. Dickason writes:
The burden of proof lies with those who deny Christians can be demonized. They must adduce clinical evidence that clearly eliminates any possibility in any case, past or present, that a believer can have a demon...We must note that those who deny that Christians can be demonized generally are those who have not had caunseling experience with the demonized. Their stance is largely theoretical.17
His appeal to experience as the final authority is alarming. The proof of the doctrine, he says, is "clinical evidence". Moreover, the reason some doubt that Christians can be demon-possesed is that, in Dickason's words, "they have not had the experience!" Their position is "largely theoretical!" Could we not say largely biblical! The undercurrent here is that scripture is not sufficient when it comes to this critical area. The authority now is experience, and those who have this experience are to be regarded as experts.
We have come full circle in the Evangelical church. Luther stood before the Diet of Worms and declared, "Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason - my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything."18 Luther refused to bow to the experts and "clinicians" of the Roman Catholic church. Today large numbers of evangelicals have gone beyond scripture and allowed their "expert clinical experience" to decide theological positions, and to determine practice. Is the new Evangelical position, "Unless I am convicted by conscience and my 'expert clinical experience,' I will not recant!" If this be so, we have left the moorings of the Reformation. We will find ourselves adrift in a sea of relativism and mysticism, far from the rock of "Thus saith the Lord."
The Biblical Case Against Christian Demon-Possession
Having said that, it remains to look at what the scripture actually does say about whether a Christian can be demon-possessed. Contrary to what Dr. Anderson or Dr. Dickason may say, the scriptures clearly indicate a believer cannot be indwelt by a demon.
The New Testament repeatedly asserts the believer's new relation to Satan. There has been a decisive break from his dominion and power. The Lord Jesus Christ stated in His high priestly prayer: "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). Christ prayed that we would be kept from the "evil one." The preposition "from" is EK, which is a strong term of separation and removal. The literal meaning is "out of." Thayer says of the preposition, that the fundamental idea is "separation from something with which there has been close connection."19
The thought involved is that, while Satan may attack the believer, it will be from an external stance "out of," or "away from" the believer. Leon Morris writes: "Jesus recognizes the power of the evil one and prays for His own to be kept from him. They are to be 'in Christ' (John 16:33; I John 5:20), and therefore 'out of the evil one.'"20 The believer cannot be kept from the evil one and yet be indwelt by him. The two concepts are mutually exclusive. Such thinking removes normal meaning from language.
The apostle John reiterated Christ's teaching when he stated the believers new relation to Satan. He writes: "You are from God little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4). The immediate context is false teachers and the spirits that influence them (4:1). John ascribes the believer's victory over false teachers to the superiority of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. According to John there are two spheres in which reside two powers. The one is the world in which reside Satan and evil spirits. The other is believers, in which resides the indwelling Spirit of God. He does not envision a situation in which they overlap. The Holy Spirit is in the believer, Satan is in the world. Clear lines are drawn. There is no commingling. The clear principle that assures victory is the separate spheres of power.
A believer indwelt by a demon is, therefore, excluded. Being "of God" makes it an impossibility. The superiority of the Holy Spirit rules it out. Professing believers, out of whom demons speak, must be recatagorized to fit scripture. Scripture must not be stretched and distorted to accommodate them. John Calvin, on this impossibility, writes: "The apostle reminds us that we become strong, not by our own power, but by that of God. He hence concludes that we can no more be conquered than God Himself, who has armed us with His power to the end of the world."21 The application is obvious. The believer can no more be overcome by demonic indwelling than God Himself who resides within could be overcome.
John, later in his epistle, makes a further comment on the believer's new relationship to Satan. He writes: "We know that no one who is born of God sins, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him" (I John 5:18). John declares that Satan is not allowed unrestricted access to the believer. God limits what he can do. The issue is not how far the believer allows himself to go into sin. The issue is, what Christ permits. John says: "He who was born of God keeps him." Christ keeps His people. Specifically in relation to Satan, or, "the evil one," the believer will not be "touched." The translation "touch" does not adequately convey the meaning of the Greek term haptetai. Westcott writes: "It describes a 'laying hold on' more than a mere superficial 'touch'. Even when it is used of simple physical contact, a deeper connection is indicated, as when the Lord 'touched the sick.' "22
While John is not inferring that the believer will not be assaulted by Satan, he categorically states that the devil will never "lay hold" of him: that is, he will never have dominion and control over the believer. Calvin writes:
For when he says that he is not touched by the wicked one, reference is made to a deadly wound: for the children of God do not remain untouched by the assaults of Satan, but they ward off his strokes by the shield of faith, so that they do not penetrate into the heart.23
This statement of John is consistent with God's sovereign use of Satan in the lives of believers as described elsewhere in scripture. Satan sifted Peter (Luke 22:34), attacked Job (Job 1,2), and buffeted Paul (II Corinthians 12:6-9). From outward appearances an observer would say Satan had some measure of control. Yet always his activity was restricted by Christ. He accomplished God's sovereign purposes. To claim that a true believer can be indwelt by a demon denies God's sovereignty and unduly magnifies Satan's power. More than that, it goes contrary to what both Jesus and John state. It goes beyond scripture.
There are many other verses which could be discussed concerning the believer's new relationship to Satan. For example, there is Paul's rhetorical questions: "What harmony has Christ with Belial...or, what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" The expected answer is - nothing! God's temple is for God's presence, and idols dwell in pagan temples. Therefore, Paul concludes, "for we are the temple of the living God" (II Corinthians 6:15,16). Commingling in God's temple is an impossibility!
There are also Paul's statements that the Father "delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son" (Colossians 1:13), and that conversion involves, "opening their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 26:18). The believer is under the authority and dominion of the Son of God. This authority is not diminished or shared by Satan. Satan may incite and oppress, but Christ rules, and under His rulership the believer will be, "kept from the evil one" (John 17:15). To advocate that Satan can, somehow, sneak behind lines to indwell a believer is to minimize Christ's dominion over the believer. It ascribes authority to Satan that he does not possess. It unduly exalts Satan at the expense of Christ.
One last verse warrants attention, for I believe it settles the issue. The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, describes demonic indwelling in His confrontation with the Pharisees. He says:
Now when an unclean spirit goes out of a man it passes through waterless places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came:' and when it comes it finds it unoccupied, swept and put in order. Then it goes, and takes along with it, seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go and live there (Matthew 12:43-45).
Christ pictures demonic indwelling as analogous to someone dwelling in a house. When seeking a "home" to inhabit, the demon settles in a place described as "unoccupied."24 In other words, only unoccupied people; that is, unbelievers, can be indwelt. The true believer is already occupied. There is already a tenant. The Holy Spirit resides within (Roman 5:5). If repossession is attempted, He who is greater (I John 4:4) does not allow the believer to be touched (I John 5:18). Clearly, Christ's teaching rules out the possibility of a demon indwelling a Christian.
BINDING AND COMMANDING SATAN
The third distinctive of the deliverance model is the practice of "taking authority over the devil" by identifying, commanding and binding demons. This is where the theology works itself out in practice. In step two of his, "steps to freedom", Dr. Anderson advises people to pray the following: "Since by faith I have received you into my life, and am now seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6), I command all deceiving spirits to depart from me."25
In explaining his methodology in dealing with difficult people, he writes: "I often stop and take authority, again, commanding Satan to release them."26 This methodology is rooted in the unsubstantiated belief that we possess the full authority of Christ. This has already been dealt with earlier in the article. It is enough to say here that believers are never advised to use Jesus as their model in this regard to deal with Satan. Neither are there any examples of it being used by the apostles in the book of Acts, when they deal with believers.
Moreover, Paul, Peter, James and John each give instruction on how to resist the devil, and they never counsel believers to bind or command Satan. Paul specifically instructs believers to put on the "full armor" of God, with no mention of binding or commanding Satan (Ephesians 6:11). The practice is based primarily upon a faulty understanding and application of Christ's words in Matthew 12:29, and Luke 11:1,22. Christ says, "or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first bind the strong man? And then he will plunder his house" (Matthew 12:29).
Christ explains to the Pharisees that His ability to cast out demons was proof of his superiority to Satan. He is able to bind Satan, and thus to plunder Satan's house. In Luke's account, Christ refers to Himself as "someone stronger" (Luke 11:22). His sheer superiority in power is all that is required. Godet writes, concerning this binding, or (as Luke 11:22 says) "overpowering" of Satan:
The citadel of Satan is plundered: this fact proves the kingdom of God is come...a warrior, superior in strength, has appeared on the world's stage, and from that moment all is changed. This stronger man is Jesus...He alone can really plunder the citadel of the prince of the world. Why? Because He alone began by conquering him in single combat...as soon as a man can tell the prince of this world to his face, "thou hast nothing in me" (John 14:30), the strong man, the vanquisher of the strong man is come; and the plundering of the house begins.27
This "single combat" was Christ's victory over Satan in the desert temptation, but his vanquishing continues. Alford writes:
The work was not fully completed yet, till the Lord, by and in His death overcame him who had the power of death, and that His great victory is still proceeding: He is still taking from him one and another - rescuing the sons of man by the power of his gospel...28
This final victory over Satan was accomplished at the cross, and is described by Paul. He writes: "when He disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him" (Colossians 2:15). Speaking of Colossians 2:15, Hendrickson writes:
Now in the midst of this terrific struggle (cf. Ephesians 6:12) the Colossians receive a word of comfort. Says Paul, as it were, You need not be afraid of these hosts of evil, for in principle, the battle has already been won. It has been won for you, and God, Himself, has disarmed these principalities and powers...Yes, in and through this Son of His love, this triumphant Christ, God has achieved the victory over Satan and all his hosts: and that victory is your life and your joy. Whatever you need is in Christ.29
Christ has already vanquished Satan. It is His work to bind Satan, not ours. Ours is simply to preach the gospel (II Corinthians 4:5), put on the armor (Ephesians 6:10-12), and resist, firm in the faith (I Peter 5:7). The scripture nowhere tells us to command, or bind, Satan. We do not have to tell Satan he has been overpowered. We simply must act like it! Evangelism does not involve commanding Satan to remove his blindness as Anderson claims. He writes concerning the relation of binding Satan and evangelism: "He will hold on to these people until we demand their release on the basis of our authority in Christ. Once Satan is bound through prayer, he must let go."30
This puts the sovereignty in our hands and not God's!. In contrast to Anderson, notice Paul's description of how Satanic blindness and power is removed in salvation. He says: "For God who said, 'light shall shine out of darkness,' is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus" (II Corinthians 4:6). It is God's sovereign work to bind Satan in the accomplishing of salvation and the opening of a sinners' eyes. We preach the gospel and appeal to the sinner to receive Christ as Lord. Paul says: "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord" (II Corinthians 4:5). It is God who sovereignly deals with the forces that bind the sinner. It is God "who commands the light to shine." Nowhere does scripture indicate that a sinner cannot turn to Christ until Satan is bound by believers. We are only commanded to pray, preach and appeal. God, Himself, sovereignly commands the light of the gospel to shine.
As mentioned, believers are never instructed to identify or command demons. Paul, instructing on spiritual warfare, specifically refers to the believers armor (Ephesians 6:11,12) as "the full armor of God." In the Greek the term "full armor" is a compound made up of pan (all) and pleion (armor). In other words it is comprehensive and complete. Every provision necessary is included. This armor is designed to enable the believer to stand firm (vs 11,14), and to resist (vs 13). As such, it is all encompassing, envisioning every contingency against any and all schemes (vs 11) of the devil. Conspicuous in its absence is any instruction on identifying, commanding, or binding Satan. In Peter's instructions to Christians on how to deal with Satan, He writes: "but resist him firm in the faith" (I Peter 5:9). His counsel is also complete.
This is evident in the light of his concern that believers do not become vulnerable to Satan, who Peter says, "is seeking someone to devour" (II Peter 5:8). In spite of the spiritual stakes involved, Peter makes no mention of identifying or commanding demons. James, also in speaking of spiritual warfare, writes: "Submit, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts you double minded" (James 4:7,8). To James, resisting involves submitting and drawing near to God, cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts (vs 8). Once again, binding and rebuking the devil is not involved. All three authors give the same indication of what resisting Satan means.
Peter says it is being "firm in the faith," which Paul calls, "putting on the full armor of God", which James calls "submitting to God, and purifying our hearts." In the terms of Ephesians 6:14-18, it is truth, righteousness, readiness to make peace, faith, a resting in our salvation and the word of God, all saturated with persevering prayer. It is, in essence, battling Satan with daily repentance, obedience to the truth, righteousness, the application of the word of God and prayer. It is following Christ's example displayed in his victorious combat with Satan in the desert temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).
The deliverence model has gone beyond scripture. It begins with faulty exegesis, influenced by an unhealthy, unbiblical reliance on experience. An entire model of ministry, not based in scripture, is then developed and presented as a cure for defeated Christians.
Next Section: The Dangers of the Deliverance Model
Spiritual Warfare book: Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare ©1995 Steve Fernandez