What About Deliverance?

Deliverance. It's a word used in a Christian context as a euphemism for kicking demons out of a person; it's basically exorcism, but not necessarily done by a priest as a part of a complex rite involving recitations and holy water (as one usually expects with the word "exorcism").

I had not taken deliverance very seriously for many years, for a couple reasons. First, as anyone who has read my pages is aware, I have not come from a conservative Christian background, and still do not feel comfortable in such, and I had the impression some time ago that deliverance was only done by very conservative Christians. Secondly, some years ago I talked with a "deliverance minister," and afterwards found out he was probably emotionally unstable - and I got the impression that was a risk with other "deliverance ministers" as well. I resolved that, unless I got a divine breadcrumb trail to deliverance ministers who didn't give me the creeps, I would just avoid them altogether.

Well, finally, I got introduced to a whole Christian outlook that includes deliverance, which doesn't give me the creeps (in general, with exceptions). I have been pleased to find there is a subset of Christianity that believes in doing the work of God in the supernatural (healing, casting out demons, etc.), without regard for the other person's current religious status, rather than shoving Bible quotes down people's throats with threats of hellfire.

Yes, healing. We are talking miraculous healing: yes, the type so often faked for TV audiences. But it could in fact be happening at rates far beyond what I'd ever expected could be possible - even after years of reading such things as Guideposts or accounts of miraculous Near Death Experience recoveries (including even Anita Moorjani's incredible recovery in Dying to Be Me).

I am not ready to write extensively on this topic yet, but I will point to some resources for those who are seeking deliverance and/or who may be excited by the idea of actually healing the sick. Be warned that Christians practicing in this field DO take the Bible literally - though interpretations range from unusual/non-traditional, to (yes) very, very conservative. I think my LGBT friends may have a rough time reading many of these books, for example. But still, a surprising number of people involved in Jesus-like patterns of healing and deliverance are not typical evangelists for typical conservative churches. It turns out a lot of churches reject the supernatural completely, and also tend to be more focused on promoting attendance growth and tithing than healing and rescue. In fact, there's a deliverance term for the spirit that's more about appearances and church income than doing the work of God: the spirit of religion.

BUT a big caveat. Some Charismatic teachings may go too far into New Age-y stuff. There's some evidence that "hyper-Charismatic" outlooks are invitations to false spirits. I've seen it for myself: people lined up to get anointings has the same "feel" as the New Age: me me me me! Give me power! Give me cool stuff! Some of the emphases on gold dust or gems appearing out of nowhere reminds me of things I've seen in other religions or cults involving manifested objects. Does that mean everyone associated with such things is wrong? Not necessarily, but be aware of it.

So, anyway, in large part because mainstream Christianity is so aghast at the idea of people doing what Jesus told His followers to do (heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, etc.), many books on deliverance go through the same background discussion over and over again: arguing that Christians can have demon problems, explaining that demon problems don't necessarily equate to "possession," explaining how and why Christians have been given authority to cast out demons and to heal people, and so on. Be prepared to see at least one third of most books devoted to those topics.

Another caveat. Some books take on a more pedantic or legalistic tone than others; yes, some are distinctly more "fundamentalist" than others. When they get too preachy, it's stifling. Like they are bashing one over the head with the letter of the law, not speaking life through the spirit.

And one other big caveat. Reading deliverance books can be yucky! A number of deliverance books foray so far into describing scary evil stuff and influences of demons as to build up quite a pitch of unhealthy paranoia and fear. The more the books discuss creepy events and details, the less I like them. It's like glorifying evil (inadvertently). I've heard it said that deliverance book authors are themselves needing deliverance, and sometimes I totally agree!

Anyway, here are some basic deliverance resources I personally found useful:

There are countless other books on deliverance, breaking curses, breaking generational curses (stuff inherited from ancestors), the authority of believers (meaning, of course, Christians), and ways of countering evil influences over not just families, but cities and nations. But yonder that way is more risk. See Needless Casualties of War by John Paul Jackson as a warning against jumping into Christian spiritual warfare without preparation.

In any case, deliverance authority also starts tying into having authority to heal people! Deliverance also goes hand-in-hand with healing; it seems that often healing isn't possible without kicking a few mean spirits out first. Here are some books on healing:

There is a LOT of variation even in such a narrow field, however. For a write-up on some of the variants I've encountered, please see The Divergent Flavors of Deliverance.

These also go through long pages of justifying healing Biblically (it gets a little repetitious after the second book of it), but the how-to sections are all remarkably consistent in terms of the nitty-gritty techniques involved. Which is actually very interesting after being frustrated by the lack of healings I've seen in my prayer life. I think they may be onto something!

If any of this appeals to you, here are some search terms that might help:

Anyway, more to come eventually....

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