How Christians Cast Out Demons Today
- How are people indwelt by demons?
- Can Christians have demons?
- How can demons be cast out?
- What does the Bible show us about how Jesus, his disciples, and Christians historically have dealt with this issue?
- What is the correct biblical theology regarding the demonic?
This book is already published and available. It includes a DVD that features a discussion of the topic and the book's contents between Kent Philpott and Bob Burns, who proposed the project.
While thoroughly rooted in Scripture, this 72-page book is concerned to bring ministry to those suffering under the hand of the evil one.
The author, Kent Philpott, has extensive personal experience in casting our of demons, also called "deliverance ministry," especially during the Jesus People Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and Bob Burns was one of those from whom demons were cast out during that time.
We do understand that, as Jesus said: "If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Luke 11:20).
Published by Earthen Vessel Publishing, 2009.
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How my views on the demonic changed...
At the time of my conversion to Christ in 1963, I was a junior in college. My major was psychology, and having embraced what I had been taught by my professors, I had trouble with certain segments of the Christian worldview, especially in regard to Satan and demons. I was not sure that the person of Satan as depicted in the Bible was something in which I even believed. The ideas of demons and demon possession were even more problematic, and I thought these were ancient and inaccurate descriptions of various forms of mental illness. That view dominated my thinking until I began living and ministering in San Francisco during the Jesus People Movement (1967-75). During that period, I was confronted with a stream of people who presented themselves in such a way that I had to conclude they had demons actually indwelling them. As a result, my views changed rather suddenly and became more closely aligned with that of the Gospel writers. It is a long story, and in what I hope to be a short and simple “how to” book about casting out of demons, I have decided to give accounts of only a few incidents that I think will help make essential points more concrete.
For ten years, from 1970 to 1980, in addition to leading a para-church ministry and pastoring a church, I operated the Marin Christian Counseling Center in San Rafael. Because I was unlicensed, I did not charge any fees but saw my work as a service to the community. In the process, I regularly conducted what came to be called a “deliverance ministry.” In 1973, I wrote a book titled A Manual of Demonology and the Occult, originally to be a thesis for a ThM degree and published by Zondervan Publishing House (still available at Amazon.com). The publication of this book brought upon me an avalanche of ministry that I never anticipated and grew to dislike—many hundreds of people coming to my office and home, wanting deliverance from demons. It quickly became overwhelming and led to the publication of The Deliverance Book, co-written with R.L. Hymers, published by Bible Voice in 1977. The goal was to teach others, pastors and Christians in the pews, how to do the work of casting out of demons, so they would not show up at my door. This may seem egocentric, but it was my attempt to return to a normal life.
Normal versus Awakening Times
Though I will set forth a brief theology of the demonic, there will be no attempt to prove the existence of Satan and the demons. This generally takes care of itself. Admittedly, it is so other worldly that I have sometimes wondered if all that contact with the demonic world really did take place. During that period it was routine to cast out demons, actually confronting demons directly, though not visibly apart from the persons they were indwelling.
In the years since the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that sustained the Jesus People Movement, during what are called normal times as opposed to awakening times, there is some need to cast out demons, but to a far lesser extent. Nothing I experience now is anything close to what happened from 1967 to 1975. The difference between normal and awakening times appears to be quite significant. From 1967 to 1975, though I was not aware of this and did not appreciate nor understand what I was experiencing, there was, in my estimation, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit alongside which was a counterfeit and demonic outpouring of unclean spirit. Beyond stating this, I cannot explain it. That time was a period of awakening, but from that time to this, in the region where I live and minister, it is normal time. Yes, some are converted, and there are occasions when demons are cast out, but to much lesser degree than in times of awakening. It is not as though the devil has taken a vacation, but for some reason Satan is not operating as during that awakening period.
New Needs Arise
Recently in 2008, there seems to be an upsurge in the need to minister to those who recognize they have demons and want to trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ to be free of demonic influence and control. Frankly, I never wanted to return to this time-consuming and exhausting work. At a time when I have achieved some semblance of respectability in my community, it is less than an enticing prospect to express belief in the devil and all that is commonly associated with historic episodes like the Salem witchcraft trials. It is somewhat intimidating to live in a materialistic, rationally-oriented culture and be talking about casting out demons. Reality and the commission to serve our Lord Christ must, however, trump contemporary worldviews and personal apprehensions.
So it has come around once more in my life time—engaging in this risky business and once again finding it necessary to produce a little handbook on how to cast out demons. The worry of risk, however, is well-balanced by the motivation of the knowledge that Satan has deceived too many people and that Christians need to and can bring this ancient service to those who are willing to come to Jesus and His delivering touch, clothed in the full armor of God and the complete victory of our Lord Jesus over the devil and all the Satanic kingdom.
A further declaration: I am an advocate of the Reformed tradition; that is, I hold to a Calvinistic theology, which for me is most closely represented by the Canons of Dordt. (Google Canons of Dordt and you will find the position of the Dutch Reformed theologians over against the theology of Jacobus Arminius.) I am also pastor of Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill Valley, California, dually aligned with American and Southern Baptists. The question may arise as to whether I am a cessationist—someone who holds that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the so-called power gifts like speaking in tongues and prophetic foretelling of the future ceased with the publication of the New Testament. “Only partly,” would be my answer. In my view, the casting out of demons does not, after all, involve any of the charismatic gifts as mentioned by Paul in Romans 12 or 1 Corinthians 12. The work at hand is not dictated by alignment with a particular theological camp. When I was theologically an Arminian, I engaged in the work of casting out of demons, and while now theologically a Calvinist, I engage in the work of casting out of demons.
DVD also available
Accompanying this booklet is a DVD that records a discussion of the subject of casting out of demons between Bob Burns and myself. I am not quite sure whether Bob is Arminian or Calvinist (maybe a little of both), but he is certainly my good and old friend, who also suggested this project to me/
Acknowledgements and Notes
Katie’s fine editing and rewriting has made me look good once again. Maggie Bates’ artistry and computer work is greatly appreciated. The work of Jim Parker and his tech crew made the DVD possible. Much thanks to the Miller Avenue Church congregation who listened to my material chapter by chapter and provided needed feedback.
Biblical quotes throughout this book are taken from The English Standard Version, published in 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. There is no perfect translation, and I have used many over the years, but the ESV is my current favorite.
Mill Valley, California