BEN: You take the position that ‘possession’ is the wrong word for what the NT describes for instance in the case of Mary Magdalene. You prefer the term demonized. At the same time you argue that while genuine Christians can’t be owned by Satan (they are the Lord’s), nevertheless they can be demonized, which can include persecution, harassment, succumbing to false teaching, and even enslavement to sin. You distinguish this, for example from the Gerasene demoniac where the control center of his personality has been taken over by demons and they speak through him. Now it would seem to me that the latter at least characterized as ‘he has demons’ is fair enough, and the net effect is not merely influence BUT CONTROL of the center of that poor person’s mind, heart, will. That certainly sounds like some kind of possession by a hostile power, rather like a hostile take over of territory by force in a war. Would you be comfortable with that characterizing of things? One further point. 1 Cor. 10 says that no temptation can overcome the believer which they cannot, with God’s help, escape. So it seems to me that enslavement by a demon or sin or both can only happen to a believer if they commit some sort of apostasy, willingly choosing to go down such a road. Right?
MICHAEL: The terms really aren’t that important to me. What’s important is to deny that Satan or any other power of darkness can OWN a human who is joined to Christ. Possession sounds like ownership to me; it transcends control. So I don’t like the terminology due to that element. If a believer chooses to reject Jesus and his salvation, then the question of whether Satan or demons can possess a believer is moot – that person isn’t a believer.