Deliverance from demon possession is not common here. Some churches don't want anything to do with it. Their doctrines state that the moment someone repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, all evil in their lives is spontaneously defeated. No point in making deliverance prayers for the saved if demons can't affect them any more other than just tempt them to sin. And why go through the fuss of deliverance for those who are not saved, if all they need is to answer an altar call, repent and say the sinners prayer? Get them baptized, give them a certificate, and once they're teaching Sunday School and know the appropriate lingo, they are as good as gold. Nope, no demons there!
Yet other churches do have deliverance prayers. They acknowledge that even though people are sincerely seeking God, have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, something very evil continues to work in their lives. They may suffer depression or the trauma of childhood abuse. They sincerely want to follow Christ, but struggle with addictions, anger or self-hatred. Just reading the Bible isn't enough, and so a deliverance ministry is formed to help them. But what do most deliverance ministries entail? A group of very concerned people, under the leadership of a minister or deliverance counselor, who gather in private to respect the very delicate nature of the person who is in suffering. With great sensitivity, they gather information about their past, deduce what might be going on, lead the person in a sinner's prayer, go through a process of helping them repent and forgive their abusers or those who have hurt them, and then begin the mysterious process of the casting out of demons. Much singing, speaking in tongues and waiting around for God to give words of revelation goes on in these sessions. Demons do manifest, speak, fight and react, but it can last for hours, sometimes needing breaks to reassemble another day when all are worn out.
So we have one set of churches that gives no credence to demons, just teaches the basic gospel truths of salvation, while the other group gives an honored place to the process of deliverance.
Church type A, doesn't know what to do with the alcoholic father who leads the choir and coaches the kids softball team. He's such a great guy… when he's not drunk. Rehab hasn't changed him, prayers of repentance haven't changed him, he's eager to help and so friendly but is a real embarrassment when he's locked up in jail for public disturbance. They don't know what to do about the gossip that is rampant in their church, the bickering between the church committee members, how to stop the teenagers from getting pregnant and so on. Keep teaching people to repent, and hope that they change.
Church type B, may be very involved with deliverance, or may just allow a traveling deliverance ministry to come through and set up a series of sessions that are not held during the normal services. Cleansing Stream and others like that, provide specialized demon-casting-out services so that pastors can continue their regular functions and not have to get all messy with the business of deliverance. As they say in their website, "The thought of a church of people equipped and functioning in such a manner [doing deliverance] can be scary for many pastors." Pastors scared of the devil. Go figure.
It's very convenient for the pastor who doesn't want to get his hands dirty, like calling in a plumber when Drano doesn't do the job anymore.
There are other churches that are more hands-on, where the pastors incorporate deliverance into their regular ministry of preaching, teaching, discipling, evangelizing, healing and community outreach. These churches are few and far between. And even those I have come across, the prevailing attitude towards dealing with demons is a sense of awe and gravity. Nothing like Jesus and his disciples.
So it all comes down to two general categories: denial of demons, or awe and respect for demons. Both of course, are just fine as far as demons are concerned.
Coming in my next post:
The great deception:
How God is disrespected in the American church, while demons are revered
Watch this video about our first deliverance meeting in Brazil for this trip beginning January 17th.