Casting out demons, with healing, is a prominent part of the Gospels, because the ministry of Jesus Christ gave, in the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, a prominent part for people’s deliverance.
However, the prominence of demon- expelling today, called “exorcism” in popular movies, especially horror movies, is confined to the Catholic Church, as if only priests could deal with demonic problems, treated as “paranormal phenomena.”
Priests in and out of movies face numerous difficulties when called upon to help people affected by such “phenomena.” But the incredible thing is that Hollywood insists on presenting such priests as the only reliable experts to deal with the “paranormal” — which is demonism. Joseph Farah, the WND (WorldNetDaily) chief, was the first to notice the religious exclusivity Hollywood gives priests on demonic possession.
Hollywood omits the very successful activity of evangelical churches that help people oppressed or even possessed by demons. And it does not touch the many demonstrations of Jesus casting out devils.
The Bible leaves no doubt that Jesus took demonic possession very seriously and he acted seriously casting out devils — and gave his followers the same power and authority to act. The Bible says:
“As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel.’” (Matthew 9:32-33 ESV)
“Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22 ESV)
“And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.’ And Jesus answered, ‘O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.’ And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.” (Matthew 17:14-18 ESV)
“And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.’” (Mark 1:23-24 ESV)
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons…” (Mark 16:16-17 ESV)
Demonic oppression or possession is a serious problem, which with the emergence of psychologists, psychiatrists and other ostensible “mental health specialists” has been significantly misdiagnosed, so that symptoms are often treated as the very causes of ills that are in the depths of the spiritual world — a world that the so-called experts do not see or understand.
Hollywood, which is the largest propaganda machine in history, brings much more confusion by presenting only two versions of demonic possession:
* The version of exorcist priests, where they are the only spiritual and religious solution for spiritually disturbed people.
* The version of so-called “mental health specialists,” where psychologists and psychiatrists are the only “medical” solution for psychologically disturbed people.
It is strange that Hollywood chooses to exalt Catholic priests as the only reliable reference in spiritual deliverance when in the vast majority of other cases Hollywood prefers to portray priests as pedophiles and perverts.
I have not yet seen a movie showing a priest exercising the authority of Jesus’ name to cast out devils. The few cases I have seen of priests doing this, outside of movies, were of priests involved in the charismatic Catholic renewal — a movement begun in the U.S. under the influence of an Assemblies of God minister called David Wilkerson.
Why does not Hollywood highlight charismatic priests?
Although many Pentecostal and charismatic churches cast out demons, one of the most balanced examples provided today in this area comes from charismatic Lutheran and Calvinist churches. John Wimber, who was a Calvinist, even wrote a healing handbook, entitled “Power Healing,” which included instructions on casting out demons.
Before I had this handbook, I would sweat blood to cast out devils. Afterwards, it seemed that demons were under my control, because it became so easy to deal with them by just using the name of Jesus. Quite different from Hollywood priests who seem almost equal to paranormal phenomena. Quite also different from radical and uncontrolled charismatic churches. Quite also different from psychologists, psychiatrists and other so-called “mental health specialists” who complicate cases that are already complicated.
Jesus’s focus was to deliver people from demonic oppression and possession.
Hollywood’s focus is to divert people from Jesus’s original focus.
The focus of psychologists, psychiatrists and other so-called “mental health specialists” is to divert people from Jesus’s original focus.
Your focus today should be to rescue Jesus’s focus.
Forget everything Hollywood teaches you as if only priests or psychologists could deal with demons.
If Jesus gave so much focus to delivering people from demonic oppression and possession within the proclamation of the Gospel, you should restore that focus to your proclamation of the Gospel.
Portuguese version of this article: Expulsão de demônios: verdades e confusões
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.