Robin's Charismatic "Deliverance" Story
Here is my story of "deliverance" as a teenager:
I remember being told, "You have seven demons in you. I can even see them looking out at me through your eyes, trembling with fear and anger. You need deliverance, child." This from a verrrrry intense person with penetrating eyes and a forceful loud, intimidating voice. Just talking to her was scary! I went through several "deliverance sessions" with her and her husband (who never spoke a word except in tongues during his wife's shouts of confrontation with my "demons").
First we had to confess a lifetime of sin, every single one I could remember ever committing (even ones confessed years before), to see which one(s) "opened the door" for the demons to enter. That whole agonizing ordeal was based on the unscriptural charismatic superstition that demons lurk around every corner and particular acts of sin "give them the right" to enter and oppress a Christian. When all the stuff about the sexual and psychological abuse at home was uncovered (I had just turned 14 and the abuse was getting pretty bad then), the "counseling" became every bit as cruel and hurtful and damaging as the abuse!
It seems that to a "deliverance minister," abuse must be the fault of the victim (of course I believed that anyway - even into my late twenties, strange as that seems, but I have since learned that most abused kids feel that way) because the abuse had given demons "the right" to enter my soul. There were demons of lust, a demon of murder, a demon of homosexuality, a demon of unforgiveness. They all had names, and the inquisitor (oops, I mean "counselor") kept trying to interview them, digging up more ugly history and more anguish.
Now since the devil is a liar and the demons are all liars, what the heck is the point of carrying on a conversation with a known liar? Borrowed from Jesus' encounter with Legion, this "counseling" was aimed at discovering which demons inhabited my soul, how they got there, and all the besetting sins they caused that were the source of my problems at home. All the family curse stuff was to be dealt with after my "deliverance." I was told that these are familial curses inherited by the children of parents who committed particular sins.
This charismatic idea suggests that demons are passed on to children rather than habits learned from parents, and is opposed to the biblical teaching of Original Sin. According to my teachers, these demons become familial companions, driving succeeding generations deeper into a particular sin. The two teachings seem alike (a lot of abused kids grow up to become abusers, children of alcoholics grow up to drink, etc.), but one offers hope and puts responsibility for sin where it belongs, while the other explains and excuses sin as the legacy of parents and offers no hope except through this process of "deliverance ministry" rather than through the forgiveness and liberty already purchased for us and secured for us by Christ. One points to Christ, the other points to the deliverance counselor. One is simple, the other immensely complicated. One is kind, the other is incredibly cruel. One is freely given, the other held out as a reward for work. One is done at the instant of conversion - the other "may take a lifetime" to work.
Well, anyway, none of those "demons" ever spoke through my mouth, and the "counselor" never got to interview the demons as she wanted. For some reason, those ol' demons just wouldn't manifest, even after shouted commands that could be heard from the parking lot across the street! I fully expected to hear a strange, gruff voice speak from my lips, saying stuff like, "Don't send us to the pit, thou mighty deliverance warrior," or maybe even say something defiant and profane. I was expecting to vomit up a buncha green stuff and turn my head all the way around like Linda Blair did in that awful Exorcist movie, or have a grand mal seizure or SOMETHING! But nooooooo, the demons just wouldn't give her the satisfaction of crying out in pain and begging to be spared from "the pit of hell they came from," despite her orders in the name of Jesus to go there. By the way, demons did not arrive on earth from hell in case you didn't know... they came here from Heaven, and they've never even BEEN to that pit my "counselor" kept sending them "back" to. Another unbiblical charismatic superstition.
Okay, so to finish my story: I cried a lot, all day and all night for weeks, repenting and begging forgiveness from God and begging Him pleeeeeease to take the demons away. It all stopped when my Inquisitor (oops, sorry, I mean "counselor") finally snapped, "You are just NOT cooperating here. Maybe you enjoy your sin too much to repent. Maybe you've gotten used to those demons in your soul and you don't even want to be free. I've NEVER failed to cast demons out of anyone who was WILLING TO REPENT. So I can only conclude that you are continuing in sin and refusing to be set free by the power of God. You've wasted a lot of my time, you little unrepentant brat! Get out of my sight."
So I did. I felt abandoned by God and gave myself over to willful sin for the first time in my life - at age 15, just at a time of life when a person is most vulnerable to some of the most urgent and most destructive temptations in their lifetime!
I didn't figure out until years later that this "counselor" was an agent of Satan to make me believe the lie that God had abandoned me, that I was beyond help and hope, so I might as well destroy myself. I thought about suicide a lot, how I might do it... I was angry a lot, guilty a lot, cried a lot. Guilty for feeling angry, then angry for feeling guilty.
The lie I had believed led me into despair, sexual sin, trouble with the law, and a total wipeout of everything I believed 'til then. My "counselor" said I had denied the power of God. But a REAL demonstration of God's power and LOVE is that He could bring me back to Himself even from that total faithless despair and hopelessness and rebellion! Oh, this is how I know salvation is by GRACE and not by works! I know it because He brought me back from utter defiance to humble, quiet, simple, squeaky-clean devotion to Him.
And y'know what? There never were any demons in my soul at all. Not ever. Because God had given me new birth years before, at age 8, and preserved me and restored me to purity and faith that even those years of utter prodigal rebellion could not undo.
God is GREAT! God is gracious and merciful and wonderful to the worst of sinners (me), and the lies of Satan still could not stop Him from reaching me. THAT is what Jesus meant when He said, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church!" Not that we'd invade hell and "kick demon butt," but that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Held by His grace, Kept in His grasp (not my own),
Posted April 13, 2002
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August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2016 by Lois E. Gibson
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