Are Deliverance Ministries Biblical?

Are deliverance ministries biblical? Are they taught in the Bible?

Deliverance Ministries

Deliverance ministries typically boast of the cleansing a person of demons or evil spirits in order to address problems manifested in their life as a result of the presence or possession of demons, who are said to be the root causes of their addictions, illnesses, or other problems. They claim that these demons have the authority to oppress people and bind them to addictions or particular sins, and sins from which they cannot esc ape, but as far back as I could go in church history and in the Scripture, I have yet to find a deliverance ministry, but today, it’s as if there are hundreds of them, and each one it seems has its own particular niche. Some focus on drug or alcohol demons, others focus on addictions to pornography or some other obsession (just name it), but are there demons behind these addictions, and can Christians be bound to these “demons of addiction,” or whatever else they call them? I believe they can be for those who don’t have the Holy Spirit, but do we need to be cleansed or have a demonic alcohol spirit cast out if we’re a Christian? Are there specific demons for particular sins? One deliverance ministry in Oklahoma boasts that clients can experience a delivery ministry over the phone, Skype, or face to face (if you happen to live in Oklahoma City, it’s free on Mondays). They include a four step program, and it’s only $75 an hour. Another “deliverance minister” claims to have delivered over a thousand people from things like voices in their heads, uncontrollable rage, addictive behaviors of all kinds, pornography, alcohol, drugs, and all sorts of demonic activity. He has even claimed to deliver believer’s from demonic possession, but wait a minute…the Bible teaches, “you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1st John 4:4). Does a believer need deliverance? Can a Christian be bound by a demon? Nope.

Preacher (3)

Divine Inspiration?

About two years ago, we had a guest in our church who came to tell me that God has spoken to him, and said, “God told me to tell you that you will not be here next year…God is going to place you in a ministry of deliverance…And, you are not just a pastor, but a prophet, which is just below being an apostle.” After I told him I wasn’t old enough to be qualified to be an apostle or prophet (Acts 1:20-22; Heb 1:1-2), he reminded me he was speaking for God. Sadly, there are many in the deliverance ministry who profess to have received divine inspiration from God and say they’re told by God to deliver such a person from some demon or evil spirit (Yes, but which God? e.g. 2nd Cor 4:4). On one specific occasion, a “deliverance minister” (in quotes because I’m not sure there is such a thing) even singled someone out of the congregation, calling them by name, and that person was stunned. Not because he was right, because he knew this man was wrong, and since he was wrong, he knew he was not of God. Even after some told him that this man was a godly man, he insisted that deliverance was needed from a possible demon or evil spirit, saying, “They had claimed authority” over them, but this man was a rock-solid believer. He was not oppressed by a drug addiction, a demon, or some other imaginary stronghold. It didn’t matter. They insisted that they pray and lay hands on the man, and do a few other things that were supposed to cast out the evil spirit or demon, but the man refused and he left that church…for good. Actually the Bible teaches that each one of us is lead away by our own lusts and when these lusts are conceived in the heart, they give birth to sin (James 1:14-15), so we don’t really need anyone’s help from being delivered from temptation and sin, however, we can be under spiritual attacks from the enemy and his minions (Eph 6:11-12), but we cannot be possessed by them. I see no example of that anywhere in the New Testament church. Yes, there’s a spiritual war going on, and we’re up against a powerfully potent, clever, invisible enemy (Eph 6:11-12), but we don’t need some man’s help to deliver us from our strongholds…we need the strength of Christ (Phil 4:13).  Besides, “everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1st John 5:18).

We Were Delivered

The Bible has much to say about deliverance. Deliverance, or being delivered, is mentioned over 160 times in all. It’s a concept God obviously wants us to think about. God promised Abraham that He’d deliver him out of his enemy’s hands (Gen 14:20), God delivered Israel out of their Egyptian bondage (Ex 18:8), and God delivered David out of all kinds of danger and fear (1st Sam 17:35-37; Psalm 31:8). In the first century, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men” (Matt 17:22), and “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25), and by this, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13), because we could not rescue ourselves (Eph 2:1-5). The point to all these references about deliverance is that it is a major theme of the Bible. We are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God and delivered from the domain of darkness, so deliverance is a good thing.

Conclusion

The Bible does have a lot to say about deliverance, but nothing about a deliverance ministry. Yes, Jesus and the apostles delivered some from demons (Matt 8:16; Luke 10:19-20), but that was the authority that Jesus had given them (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), so its fine to pray for a believer to overcome a sin, but laying hands on them to do that is not biblical. No unbeliever needs to be delivered from a stronghold or demon, but if that person is not saved, you can sweep the house clean and the demons can come right back in, and even bring their “friends” (Matt 12:43-45). To me, deliverance ministries give Satan and demons too much power, and too much authority. They’re defeated…it’s only that we’re still going to have a few skirmishes before the King takes cast them into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). Satan’s defeated…now we await his sentencing. Believers should be in the business of telling people how they might be delivered from the wrath of God, which Jesus says abides on all who disbelieve (John 3:36), so “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:22-23).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas.  Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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The Duality Of Biblical Prophecy

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  • Doug Barron

    Excellent article! I do believe in laying on of hands as show of unity, in physical, and in Spirit, but I can’t believe for the one that hands are being laid on. I can only come into agreement with them. I have always wondered..did Daniel pray by himself, or was there a company of like minded Hebrews who prayed beside him? Scripture is silent on this, but the Jews are a like minded and unified, social people; as we should be! What joy it is to unburden your heart before Abba, surrounded by like minded believers!
    I do agree with you that most of these “deliverance” ministers are coming from the cattle auction, and they are wearing the evidence all over thier boots!
    $75 an hour is cheap! I personally know one in California that will give you a week of his time for just $185,000! Where do I sign up?!
    Oh; and we all know the test of a prophet. I prophesy; but I am allergic to stones! I am led by the Holy Spirit in prayer or I keep my mouth shut!
    Keep up the good work! Shalom!

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you so much sir. What reallly troubles me is that some who think they have been “delivered” are really not, while some who are told (“A word from God,” stuff) that they are in bondage, when they’ve actually be set free by Christ. What unnecessary fear this can bring to people bring?. Yes, laying on of hands is biblical, and so is deliverance from the kingdom of darkness by Jesus atoning work in the Passion, you are so right Mr. Barron. We owe so much to the Jewish people, the chosen of God, holders, preservers and writers (2 Tim 3:16) of the precious oracles of God, becasue God has promised to preserve a remnant for Himself and one day, all nations shall come up to Jerusalem to worship God (Isaiah chapters 2 & 60, etc.),

      Yes, I have learned to drop the stone…lest it be aimed at me!

      • pud

        There is absolutely no evidence for a single thing you babble…Not a scrap.

      • Doug Barron

        Indeed; people that want to be “delivered” often times want someone elses faith to deliver them, and they sucuumb to religious shysters. Jesus gave Himself for each and everyone. We come to Him in faith as individuals, and rest and love in Him in fellowship. Matt. 18:20.
        Agreement is fellowship, and it is crucial, but only I can choose to truly believe for me!

    • pud

      You are a lunatic.

  • pud

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities–Voltaire” Religion poisons everything.

    It is a 100% FACT that no Jews were held as slaves in Egypt, none were let go, and no such thing as a 40 year wandering in the desert took place…This is abject absolute documented FACT
    No one name of Moses ever existed and you can offer NO evidence to the contrary…all the STORIES ascribed to him are carbon copies of stories that were written centuries before your buybull!
    There is no such thing as devils, satan, demons, deliverence, jesus, god, angels etc and you can offer absolutely NO evidence to the contrary

    “Believers should be in the business of telling people how they might be delivered from the wrath of God”…How sick. Your invisible “god” is a celestial dictator/wife beater, a moral monster and no rational person could deny this. You are ill for swallowing this rubbish and evil for promoting it

    You are one terribly messed up dude jack.

  • $75 an hour.

    You know that religious shysters are active when they start charging money for their religious services. Many of these are Pentecostal and Charismatic, though not all Pentecostals or Charismatics (by any means) are involved in such activities.

    It’s easy for someone who uses his/her feelings to think that God told them something (especially some pastors or others in authority), then charge someone who disagrees with their practices and theology with being “demon possessed”. If such people believe them, their mental and emotional well being can be seriously impaired and sometimes they can do severe damage to the psychological well being of the person so charged with “demon possession”.

    There is no empirical evidence for anyone ever being possessed by “demons”, nor for the existence of such beings. Christians ought to emphasise compassion, healing mercy and loving-kindness as these are great healing agents and will be likely to do more for persons accused than any deliverance of “demon possession” that these shysters are performing. If persons are suffering from mental health problems they need to seek professional help, not seek pastors who are involved in “deliverance” ministries.

    • pud

      Not seek pastors at all!

      • Of course! Pastors are not usually trained in psychiatry or in other mental health problems to professional level in these disciplines.

  • Sam Andrew

    These deliverance ministries are the same as crystal healers and reiki healers just with a Christian gloss. They oversimplify complex social, mental and physical problems, that have causes that cut across many aspects of a person’s life, to a single cause a ‘demon’ or ‘spiritual injury’. This simplification, and promise of a rapid fix is unfortunately highly appealing to people with problems such as alcohol, drugs, depression who may, due to their addiction or mental health issue not be able to properly understand the multi faceted causes of their problem, such ‘Deliverance’ preachers know this and take advantage.

    Deliverance in a biblical sense is far more about a return to true self, and community and the Law (or as Christians might put it God in general), to come back from the things that distance you from these three things. An example is in the proverb of the prodigal son, “But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.” The younger son realises his state of ‘exile’ as a result of his actions – that is to come to himself – and returns, that is deliverance, to see clearly the causes of ‘exile’ in himself and act on it accordingly.

  • Martin

    See also this article on deliverance ministry: http://correctmaple.blogspot.ca/2015/04/deliverance-ministry.html