In the New Testament it’s not unusual to see Jesus or one of His disciples running into someone that was possessed by a Demon. There was the girl that was chasing around Paul telling everyone that they were from God– hoping to get them imprisoned. There were ones that were tearing at themselves, or hurting others. And who could forget “Legion”– the many demons that were given pigs lives and ran them into the sea.
What I wonder is, was this just a New Testament thing?
You all know that I don’t believe that the gift of tongues is around today. But I wonder– for those of you that believe that it is, or even those of us that do not, where are all the cases of demon possession? I mean, it seems like a fairly common occurrence in the New Testament to find someone with this malady. And everyone knew it too! So, where are they now?
I guess I really wonder about all the things that we medicate people for– especially children. I wonder if some of the things that we diagnose as schizophrenic or bipolar are really something that’s going on in the spiritual realm rather than in the physical, but since science and medicine usually avoid dealing with the supernatural realm we have to diagnose it as something and then we have to try to treat it. Most cases, we end up treating it by erasing the person and turning them into vegetables.
Now, I’m not saying this is the case– I’m musing along those lines– but suppose this is the case in some of these “mental illnesses”. This would be a place where a Christian could minister to others in that they could introduce Christ to these people and, should it truly be a demonic possession, the people would be freed of their curse.
But I’m just not sure how you would go about finding out which it was. I guess you could see how the person responded to the name of Christ. Any thoughts?
42 thoughts on “In The New Testament, It Was Demon Possession”
I have thoughts.
I used to have bipolar disorder. I believe it is a physical AND an emotional AND a spiritual problem.
At just the right time God led me to just the right people who prayed for me very specifically. Something left me.
Along with the bipolar disorder.
I visited my doctor the next day. He skeptically permitted me to quit taking my meds as long as I agreed to come see him in a month, or to call if I tanked.
I came and saw him in a month, and I was fine. We did this for several months. He then basically threw up his hands and discharged me as a patient. I continue to be just fine.
Meanwhile I now am in training to be part of a prayer ministry that among other things, does cast out demons. I have seen it happen. I have also seen the radical difference in people’s lives afterward. Of course, that is not all we do-we lead people through repentance, help them replace their ungodly beliefs with the truth in God’s word, etc. But the truth is that demons do exist, and we do NOT have to allow them to afflict people.
Having said all that, I am not anti med at all. For years it was God’s provision for my stability. I took them in obedience to Him, until He led me in a different direction, in His timing. I do understand there are physiological things that go on in our bodies. But I also understand that the devil came to steal, to kill and to destroy, and that many true medical illnesses do seem to have a diabolical origin.
I have often wondered about this very topic myself and look forward to hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions on it. Thanks for the thought provoking post MIn.
I think people in those days saw epileptic fits as demon possession. I daresay Jesus would have been as good as healing epilepsy as blindness but it would have been interpreted as throwing out a demon.
Connie– That’s amazing. Praise the Lord.
Buffy– There certainly could have been both, and Jesus was efficient in taking care of both. But there were actual cases of demon possession then, and I have a feeling (like Connie) that they’re still around today and we’ve just given them a medical term instead of realizing the spiritual dimension.
Wow, Min, what an unbelievable question. I have never been to Africa, but my best friend went for two years with the Peace Corps and talks about how demons were very prevalent there. This seems like a very “I-live-in-America” naive question.
I strongly believe that we in America do not see much healing from demonic powers because we do not believe that Satan has the power to possess people through his demons and we don’t truly believe that Jesus has the power to heal all things. Instead, we have become an extremely prideful culture and there is always a scientific reason for everything. When God does perform miracles a lot of times they are explained away.
Now, do I believe that there is demon possession? Most definitely, how else do you truly explain some of the things that we see in the news almost every day? How do you explain a mother drowning all her children or some one dismembering a person and burning them body part by body part on a barbeque pit?
Not only that, I have read many accounts of the deliverance from demon possession in other countries. I encourage you to read some of the articles from Voices of Martyrs and also some of the stuff from Gospel for Asia. We get the Gospel for Asia “Send” Magazine and there are always stories and testimonies of those who have been delivered from demon possession. In fact, I found one article that mentioned a few stories of such deliverance on their website.
Check this out.
Okay growing up i never felt gay or had any homo feelings.? Recently, I have been looking and imagining being with women, emootionaly, physically and spiritually.? I have had a bad relationship with a man that i wasnt attracted to at all during intercourse, i didnt feel him and was not attracted to him.? I would get disgusted every time he touched me.? We are now broken up because of other isssues.? Ever since then, something in my head says maybe your bi, or homosexual.?Also, i am not finding men attractive anymore, which was NEVER an issue I was always boy crasy and thought about men and only men. I never imagined threesomes or had fantasies about other women. I have never felt like this and actually i opposed the homo idea upon anyone who was.? Am i going through a phase, i hate the thought of being with another woman and I will resist any urge that comes about, I JUST WISH I CAN STOP THINKING ABOUT WOMEN.? Is the demon inside of me playing a test?? Trying to manipulate my thoughts against what I am doing??? Somene please help, i hateeeee the thought about being homo i want to marry a MAN and have a family…I hope i can renew myself and my homo thoughts through the healing of the christ.
I guess I would have to start out with some basic questions. What kind of relationship were you in with the man that you mention– how did you get into it? I’m assuming that you were not married, but were having sex. Can you give me more background on him? What were the “other issues” that you broke up over?
How we feel is directly related to what we think and do. The fact that you came through a bad relationship says to me that you’re looking for a good one, and your bad experience is coloring what you believe will happen in the future– and you may be reinforcing this with what you’re thinking.
Instead of being worried about whether or not you’re a homosexual and focusing on the sexual aspect of the situation, take a good look at how you got into the relationship you were in and the aftermath. I can only hypothesize from there, so I’d need more information to be of further help.
As we all well know, according to the fact that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but not written by Him, certain illnesses, such as scisofrentia, the illness of the earth (well known in Europe and the Middle East), and may fraction of mental illnesses were believed to be cased by the devil, and whoever was affected by such illnesses was considered to be possessed by the the devil. Therefore, unless you want to say that we do not have people with mental disturbances anymore, we do have people that were believed to behave as if the devil controlled them. So next time before trying to ridicule the Bible next time, you better start researching some more, not letting space for other people to ridicule you!Hope God will be with you,George
I guess I’m not quite following you, George. Do you believe that all accounts of Demonic possession in the Bible were schizophrenia and other things we call them today? In that case, how do you reconcile that the whole account of the demons leaving the maniac from Gedara and going and inhabiting the pigs such that they drowned in the sea?
The other problem I have is that Christ is quoted as saying that His followers would have power over demons– and that some only come out with prayer and fasting.
I believe there’s a strong case to be made that Demon Possession was real, and that it’s exactly opposite– we now label it something that is the external manifestation of a spiritual problem.
As i said before, the Bible is inspired, the Holy Spirit has helped the writer get away His central message, which is that God gave His life for our salvation. However, since all four of our Gospel writers were human, they actually make minor mistakes depending of the social construction of the time, and one of the social constructions was that what a person acted weirdly (had mind disturbance) the demons were the ones that were guiding him or her to destruction, and therefore the person was believed to be demonized. As for the quote you mention, from what i said before, i really wouldn’t count on a biography of someone’s life (because that is what the Gospels are) written 200 years after the person in having actual quotes from that person!
George, the last living disciple died in 90 AD and that was John the Apostle. I don’t know where you’re getting the “200 years after the person” time frame, but I believe you are mistaken.
I disagree with your assertion that “His central message” is the only thing that is accurate in the Biblical accounts. If I were presented with a Bible with historical errors near the time that it was written, it wouldn’t accomplish its purpose. The Disciples had to be accurate in their recordings. Also, Paul claims that the Bible was not written solely by men, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is “God-breathed.”
As for society, yes, there were different understandings of different things at different times. That does not mean that they were not demon possessions, and that there are not demon possessions now. Just in this thread alone someone stated that they believed that they were demon possessed. Let alone the fact that science cannot test the spiritual realm, nor mental realm for that matter, and so they must come up with a scientific explanation for strange behavior because they have no desire to acknowledge the spiritual realm.
And you have not explained the pigs jumping into the sea. The townspeople would have known whether it was true, as would the man, and the disciples who were chased away. Why embellish the story to add the part about the pigs if it was not true?
i will write back in about a week, because i am having exams now, so i need to concentrate on that,but we’ll talk later
Hi again!As i was telling you before, John the Apostle did die in 90 AD, however the first gospel, that of Mark, was written in 70 AD, which means that i was ultimately wrong, because that is 40 years after Christ, HOWEVER, let us not forget that Mark did not know Jesus very well, and since we are in the theme, none of the other gospel writers had ever seen Jesus (Matthew and John the Gospel writers were not the apostles). The last Gospel, John, was written in 95 AD, and the point is, in structure is different from the others, in fact every Gospel is different from the others, and if you do a little research, you will find that every Gospel was written for a different audience. The earliest Christian writer was Paul, and he did not directly quote the words of Jesus, plus since you bring out that quote from Paul, he never saw the Gospels, so… (if he was talking about the Bible he would be talking about the Old Testament, which was called the Bible until 300 AD)
Now, talking about the pigs’ example, i researched the context and i found out that nobody herded pigs in Israel at the time. Ti herd pigs would be lower than death in Israel at the time (that’s why it is used in the provers of the lost son). Not only there existed no pig herders at the time, but if they came to the village and told the people that somebody killed their pigs they would be stoned to death and the person who did that would be welcome in the city. I would be very surprised that this story would be in the Gospel of Matthew, since he wrote to a Jewish-Christian audience, while it would be very probable that it would be on Luke’s Gospel, because he was neither a Jewish person, nor did he write to an audience that acknowledged the Law.
From the law which as you say from Paul is “God-Breathed” it is clearly stated that it is an abomination to touch, be around, and worse than all feed pigs. Whoever does that is unclean for life. And so it seems a little awkward to me that Paul contradicts himself, especially since in the letter yo the Hebrews he talks about bits of the law which cannot be followed anymore. And just so that it you can see for yourself that the Bible does have mistakes in it, if you go to 1 Samuel, you would see that first David is Saul’s harper and armor bearer, then not only he is not anymore the armor bearer but Saul asks him who he is, after he slays Goliath. Then it says that the head of Goliath is sent to Jerusalem, when Jerusalem was not founded until David came to power. And to put the cherry in top of the ice cream, in 2 Samuel another person is attributed with killing Goliath. Now unless you are suggesting that God was confused, that does not seem that “God-Breathed” to me, and we come again to the idea that one must look for the central idea and morale when reading the Bible, not take it literarily!
Hey George, nice of you to return. Now to your comment.
There is some discrepancy to the amount of knowledge that Mark had of Jesus. Some say that he was the man that fled naked from the Garden of Gesthemene, and therefore he would have at least seen Christ personally. However, you can’t dismiss the fact that Mark was a constant companion of the Apostle Peter, and would not have a problem writing down that which Peter said. True, that makes him a secondary source rather than a first, but two of the four Gospels are from primary sources.
Matthew was a first person resource, as was John the Apostle. Your comment about John not being first hand is confusing if not simply an error. Luke was a second hand witness, and had access to the first hand witnesses. He is also considered to be a fine historian at the time– both in his attention to detail and structure.
I agree that each Gospel has a different target audience. Matthew taught Jesus as King, Mark as a Servant, Luke as the Son of Man, and John as the Son of God.
Paul actually did quote some of the words of Christ– those that were given to him directly. Whether or not he saw the Gospels is a moot point.
As for the pigs example, I would like to see the research that said that it was not possible to have a herd of pigs in the Decopolis at the time of a Roman invasion. Obviously it was wrong for a Jew to eat or touch a pig, but it would not be a problem for a heathen or a Gentile. The place where this happened was on the East side of the Sea of Galilee, a place where the seat of the Gentiles was located. Also, it would have been illogical for God to make a command about pigs (and even to reference them in the story of the Prodigal Son) if they were not around, and people were not keeping them. So, your statements about pigs neither refute the account nor cast any reasonable doubt on it.
Jesus told Peter through a vision in Acts that all meat is clean because God made it. So, is this a contradiction? Not at all. The law that was given in the Old Testament was given as a law for Israel, not the world. And the prohibition against partaking of pig was a ceremonial or cultural law more than it was a moral law. In fact, I don’t remember that there being a punishment like death being attached to eating pig. It would make you unclean (and probably sick because of the climate conditions) but there wasn’t a moral component.
There is a whole discussion in the book of Acts about what rules new Christians had to live by– the complete law or something else. This was for two reasons: 1) Christ fulfilled the law– the Christians were no longer under the law but under grace. 2) Some of the new Christians were Gentiles, and were not subject to the law by virtue of not being a part of that government.
As for David and Saul– there are probable explanations for the way it’s rendered in the text. Rarely is the Bible text as concerned about the sequence of events as we are today. If you note some of the accounts of the Upper Room in the New Testament, you’ll see a different order there as well. It’s improbable that they did a non-traditional order, and yet the writers, because of their subject matter and style, may be trying to present their account in a way that makes logical sense, but may not be chronological.
And the question of Goliath? The translators are never perfect, which is why you often have to go back to the Hebrew/Greek.
And that still doesn’t answer the people above that claim to have gone through similar circumstances.
The point is, a skeptic can always come to the Bible and find something with which to back his criticism, but a believer can also come to the Bible and find a reasonable explanation for the supposed contradiction.
i have tried to comment twice but i have been forbiden (403 code…) do you know what is happening?
well, i guess it works now… i will try again
Now I want to offer to you quotes from my book (Finding God’s Word by Benziger. It is a theology texbook
You say that Matthew and John were both primary sources…
“The author of the Gospel according to Matthew could not have been the same person as the apostle mentioned in Acts of the Apostles 1:13. His gospel was written in 83-87 AD.” That means that Matthew the apostle would be dead by the time. As for the other guy mentioned in the gospel of Matthew, if you have the New American Bible see the note for the story.
“The Gospel according to john was written in 95-99 AD.” That means that as you posted earlier, John the Apostle would have had to have resurrected from the grave to have written this gospel, and that didn’t quite happen…
Now since we agree on the point that the herdsmen were not Jewish… I never said pigs were not around at the time, but just that the Jews would rather choose death than accepting to herd them, meaning that the pigs were property of the wealthy Romans in the land, and the herdsmen were slaves. The problem is though, that if the herd was of a Roman, the guy would be kindda angry at Jesus. Let us look at he Bible. “The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned.”(Mark 5:13) Now 2000 pigs of a influential person were drowned, and 2000 pigs are a lot of money… It is clear that Jesus would not have just finished by just getting kicked out of the district, but he would be hunt down from the Roman army, arrested and most likely crucified or even worse, sent to the Colosseum to fight for the amusement of the crowd (not very godly…) and since thank God that did not happen… I do not see how the story can be true…
You talk about how God told Peter to eat unclean animals, but he had not told the Jews while he was physically in Earth, and that is why Peter refuses at first, so I don’t see how that has any effect. Then you say you don’t understand how touching pigs ends your life… According to the book of Leviticus touching pig is an abomination (abomination=very big sin) and you become unclean. That means that nobody touches you, nobody likes you all of the sudden, nobody want to talk to you, etc. you feel like a total outcast, and being that isolated from the world really brings your morale down…
Paul might have quoted famous quotes from Jesus, but not enough to say Paul used direct quotes from Jesus, for example if he quoted the famous saying, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God,” that doesn’t really mean anything, because that would be like a saying in those times, like for example if I quote JFK in saying “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country,” that doesn’t mean I always quote his words when I am talking about him. And whether he saw the gospels is not that much a moot point, given that the oldest one (Mark) was completed in 70 AD (Nero had died at that time, while Paul was killed by Nero)
4. Inconstancies in the Bible
As for the examples I gave you my point was that that is how poorly history were recorded and that is how sloppy writings were, and therefore there are mistake everywhere. As for the Goliath example, I don’t see why Goliath’s brother would have been mentioned since he is not mentioned during the battle with the Philistines. After all I am not sure if Goliath had a brother, so I see that point as invalid, given that Goliath’s brother (if he ever existed) would be of no interest to Israel, and still that does not explain how the head was brought to Jerusalem when Jerusalem was not built yet… and since we were talking about the “legion” story, did you check the Matthew version of it? That is as well one of the points why it cannot be true, because we cannot have 2 different accounts of the same event that have no similarity to each other right?
And finally, I want to make something clear to you, I am not the skeptic in here, I am not trying to overthrow the church or anything, after all I am majoring in theology, and I am reading Church approved books, so my books are not feeding me with “dark” ideas ok, I am not the one talking untrue stuff, I am afraid you are…
George, it’s one thing to state your opinion or the opinion of a book that you hold in high regard, it’s another thing to call a person a liar. When it comes to dating, authorship, etc., you do not have “facts” you have a scholar’s opinion. Therefore it is premature to call anyone a liar.
The traditional date of Matthew is 65 AD. The reason for the later date that you quote is that there is a believe by critics that states that Matthew was not the author since he copies Mark– and yet there is evidence that Matthew is the author and that 65 AD is not unreasonable. Aristotle said that we should give the text the benefit of the doubt when it comes to authorship, and it claims that it is the work of Matthew. Furthermore, the later date is based on skepticism of prophecy (i.e. Matthew can’t know the future, so he can’t quote Christ saying what happened, he had to wait for it to happen, so it has to be after 70 AD, etc.).
There are also reasons to believe that John was written by the Apostle John. Besides Polycarp and the whole self attestation, the date that you mention is a construct of critics, yet again.
You have to detail what are the presuppositions of the critic before you can state with any degree of authority why their date method should be accepted and another discarded. The dates people quote change over time, so you cannot say with ultimate authority that you know for sure without you having been there. It’s your opinion, George, be it an educated one or just you copying what someone else states.
We know that the pig’s owner was upset– as were some in the town– as to drive them out. The question you post is, “why didn’t they try to kill him?” There’s a simple answer to that question that’s right in the text. Sitting in front of these people was a man that was possessed by a legion of demons. He lived amongst the graves, he was naked and a lunatic. And now, as the pigs go into the sea (with no person herding them there) there stands before the people a man in his right mind, clothed, testifying that Jesus cast out the demons.
This is a different society, and they had just seen a miraculous transformation in the man and seen the pigs cast themselves into the sea. Furthermore, when Jesus visits this area again we see that the formerly demon possessed man has been witnessing of Jesus because there’s a positive reaction when he returns.
So, are you going to be the one that wants to come up against a Person that can cast out demons? What kind of power must that Man have?
You’re forgetting that Paul actually spoke to Jesus– on the road to Damascus, in the third Heaven and at other times.
Mark should definitely be dated before 70 AD. Only the critic that doesn’t believe in prophecy would date it later. Mark 13 speaks of the temple still standing. It quotes Jesus predicting that the temple will fall, but has not fallen yet. And there are more reasons that you should not trust the late date.
If you come to the Bible looking for it to be sloppy and filled with mistakes you will find that which you are looking for. If you come at it with the expectation that it is God’s Word and that there are reasonable answers in the text you will find that that is the case.
Goliath had 4 brothers– which would be the reason that David took 5 smooth stones for his sling and not 1. Since Gath was in Philistine territory and brothers would avenge their brother’s death, it would be something that David would have to be aware of. And what do you mean Jerusalem wasn’t build yet? Jerusalem was a town that was around when Joshua brought in the children of Israel. In fact, Joshua conquered it.
If there’s no similarity between the events what makes you think they are the same event? So, to answer your question, you’d have to prove that two dissimilar events were the same event and not two separate events.
Again, don’t call someone a liar because he doesn’t believe the critics or the skeptics. I’m not talking about you personally, but about the people that you believe and quote. They are the skeptics and the critics.
Now again, i want to remind you that this is a text chosen from the CHURCH so the articles you show up there are considered by the CHURCH to be inferior and/or less accurate than the ones in the book. I want to as well remind you that the authors of some of those quotes are people from the Jesus Seminar, a foundation of the top 100 religious scholars of the world looking to have a clear idea of what actually happened in Jesus’ life and what was later added to his “curriculum.” And after all you cannot argue that they are intentionally being skeptic and trying to sling mud on Jesus or the Gospel writers because after all the CHURCH has authorized the text…I am not the one out there looking at the Bible to see for mistakes, i am being offered examples to understand that as my teacher used to say, “Jesus did not throw the Bible from the sky with a parachute and it landed in Israel…” the point is that the Bible should most of the time not be taken literarily, because Jesus never spoke literarily, and the prophets never spoke literarily, and if you see all the wisdom books, there is nothing literary in them, and that a person is in danger if he reads the Bible literarily (we then worry about demonization or as you might have noticed from reading Paul’s letters, we get worried that Jesus is going to come and retire from our job and give up to our family… or we think of the Kingdom of God as a real kingdom overthrowing the Romans (that is what the people in Jesus’ time believed in)) The point is, you can continue forever repelling what i say, i have no problem with that, after all it is your opinion, but i am telling you a very simple advice, if you will read the Bible literally you will never understand its meaning. I don’t know if you had any religion classes in college but believe me if you talk to a cathekist or a priest or a pastor they will certainly tell you the same. In the internet people can post whatever they want, and i wander if your sources have Ph.D.s which my sources do, the point is a book with stated famous authors is a much more credible source than online pages with unknown or very little known authors…
First of all, you need to define who is “the CHURCH”. As far as I know there is no such being in the way that you imply.
Second, because a given denomination or local church body has a book in its library or teaches something as a course does not mean that it is superior or the TRUTH. So far, you’ve given no evidence to prove any one of your assertions except that you’ve read in some book that I’m wrong and you’re right. Hardly convincing when I can produce logic, reason, and sources that say the same thing about your source.
According to Craig Blomberg “The Jesus Seminar and its friends do not reflect any consensus of scholars except for those on the ‘radical fringe’ of the field. Its methodology is seriously flawed and its conclusions unnecessarily skeptical.”
These people in this seminar actively seek out publicity and they use colored beads to vote on the whether something actually came from Christ. “The result of their work is the conclusion that only fifteen sayings (2 percent) can absolutely be regarded as Jesus’ actual words. About 82 percent of what the canonical Gospels ascribe to Jesus are not authentic. Another 16 percent of the words are of doubtful authenticity.”
As to their character:
The Jesus Seminar employs a radical fringe scholarship.
“Truth cannot be determined by majority vote.” – Geisler, BECA, 397 (Geisler, Norman L – BA Wheaton College, MA, Wheaton Graduate School, Th. B. William Tyndale College, Ph.D Loyola University, Th. B. Detroit Bible College.)
“Most of the proofs they offer . . . are uncompelling and often nonexistant except for quotations from one another and from liberal scholars.” (Geisler, BECA, 388)
They are Unjustifiably Anti-Supernatural
“The are honest enough to state at the outset their aversion to the supernatural, including the deity and resurrection of Jesus, preferring to think that the modern scientific worldview simply rules out such matters.” – Habermas, HJ, 124
The radical conclusions of the group are based on radical presuppositions, one of which is an unjustified rejection of any miraculous intervention in history by God. – Geisler, BECA, 388
Unfounded Acceptance of Late Dates
“The reasoning process of the Jesus Seminar is a sophisticated form of the logical fallacy known as Petito Principii, or begging the question. Its circular reasoning begins with a desupernaturalized view of a first-century religious figure and concludes at the same point.” – Geisler, BECA, 388
“Another point of logic concerns the Seminar’s commission of the genetic fallacy, which occurs when one challenges the origin of an idea without actually addressing its facticity. In other words, if it is thought that merely attributing a Gospel report to the author’s style, or to other ancient parallels, or to a pre-modern mindset thereby explains it away, this is a logical mistake. These charges do not preclude historicity.” – Habermas, HJ, 125
Basically, the Jesus Seminar is filled with liberal skeptics who don’t believe in the supernatural, don’t believe that the Gospels contain Jesus words, and I don’t believe in them. They are intentionally coming to the Bible believing that the supernatural is not real, prophecy does not happen, and they inflate the dates that they give to meet their conclusion, which they came to before examining the text.
You may choose to believe whom you want. I suggest that if you cannot take the Bible literally, then you can never be sure of salvation, since it’s part of the Bible.
Did I have religion classes in college? Yes. I suggest you go out and find yourself The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict Fully Updated To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians Today, which you can get through Amazon and that link. It presents the case much better than I could about why we should take the Bible literally, why history backs up a literal reading, and provides scholarship with Ph. Ds to your heart’s content.
Seriously, if you are open minded enough and want to find the truth for yourself, you’ll take a look at this book.
look let me explain something to you, by the CHURCH i mean the clergy body of our Church, and the book i am referring to is not a “book in a local church’s selves” THIS IS A COLLEGE THEOLOGY TEXTBOOK get it right!!!!!!! As for the Jesus seminar, you bet there is going to be some people (like somebody here…) that are going to disagree with its views… but i don’t care what happens to them as long as the church accepts the Jesus seminar’s ideas…And then, since you mention that book, if you don’t mind i want to know the college you went to, so i can make fun of them in my class you know what i mean, but again, i cannot shine the light of truth on you now… but many things will be clear as we pass on to the next life…
There is no need to get hostile. If you can’t discuss this topic without getting worked up, perhaps you should just let it go.
I do not attend the church that you attend, obviously. So, it’s not “our Church”. It may be your church, it may be your denomination, but it’s certainly not mine.
If I have to choose between a College Theology Textbook and the Word of God for which to believe, that’s easy. The Word of God every time. The Bible makes clear what it is.
As for the Jesus Seminar, if they can’t come to believe in the supernatural, and they have doubts about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, why believe them?
Why not go back to your class and ask them why they should trust the Bible at all if only 2% of it actually contains something Christ might have said and there’s no such thing as miracles? How about asking them why they have to trust a group of men over God? And then follow up by asking them the question that I asked you earlier– what do you say to someone who, in this comment stream, stated that she was demon possessed and the Lord set her free? What do you say to people whose lives have totally changed? What about those that have seen miracles?
If all of your belief is caught up in “the CHURCH” or a book about a group of guys who sit around with their colored marbles voting on lines of text (talk about something that’s worthy of ridicule), I feel sorry for you and your class that you do not know the God of might and power that’s able to impart His Word to His people and keep it true to the text.
As for supposed scholarship, I have to say I’m amused. You should know as well as I it doesn’t matter what degree is behind a person’s name as long as they speak the truth. And I’m really impressed that when I produce the Ph. D.s and ask you to consider them, all you can come up with is a childish taunt. And what’s so funny is that if you just took a look around you’d have the answer to your question, but perhaps you need “the CHURCH” to tell you what to believe about where I went to school, because reading the part of this very page that states in clear words where I went to college isn’t good enough for you.
now, since i heard something about the Jesus seminar saying only 2% of the sayings are said by Jesus, and that the other part is a lie. That is definitely not true!!!!!!!!!! Nothing in the Bible is a lie. The Jesus seminar makes a distinction between words the historical Jesus is remembered to have said, and the words that the Christ of Faith has said. The meaning of the 2% thing is words that one could historically trace down to Jesus’ mouth. The other 98% was given to the gospel writers by the Holy Spirit. HOWEVER when it was given to the gospel writers, it was given with the social construction of the time, demonization being one of them.Now i want to ask you this question, if we should always take the Bible literarily, i believe in Matthew’s Gospel there is a quote (very famous) about how whenever two or three people are assembled in Jesus’ name he will be with them too. Now since you suggest we should take the Bible literarily… what do you suppose that quote means??????Since you are “sorry” about me looking at education, let me remind you that these people have read far more books and have taken far more courses in theology than the both of us together… so if i were you i would believe their words.Now i still haven’t heard what college you went to (for entertainment purposes only) will you tell me?
oh and by the way, about the church thing, i would assume you are a baptist, while i am an orthodox, the idea is however that orthodoxism is the oldest and most conservative division of christianism, so if they would say you need to see the Bible literarily it would mean that a vast majority of other divisions would have already accepted if for years…
i ment not see the Bible literary 🙂
First, all of your explanations rest upon a faulty basis. If you understand logic, you will know that you always start with a set of givens that have been proven true. The problem is that every time you present your case you start with a set of givens that you haven’t been able to prove true other than using appeal to authority.
For example, the only reason the JS has to decide what text came from the Jesus of Faith versus the Historical Jesus is because they don’t believe that the Gospels were written by first hand eye witnesses. And they don’t believe that because they don’t believe in miracles.
However, classical documentary research assumes that the document is right, rather than approaching it as being wrong– which is exactly what the JS is doing.
Same thing with demon possession– the point of this whole post. You and skeptics approach the text saying “there’s no such thing as demon possession.” You don’t explore the topic. You don’t recognize the possibility of the supernatural component. So, instead, you have to rationalize what “must have happened” rather than believing what the text said did happen. (And you ignore the fact that Paul cast out a demon from a little girl– unless you’re also saying that Paul didn’t really write the Epistles attributed to him either.)
You approach the Bible as something out of this time and with the eyes of a scientist rather than approaching it as being true until something proves that it is not.
As to your question, the “where two or three are gathered,” what does that mean? I’m not quite sure what you’re looking for. Obviously it doesn’t mean physically. And since God can be anywhere, He’s stating that He will be with His people that are gathered in His name. Some suggest a cultural application, which I think might merit more study.
George, I’m not going to give you something that you could find out so easily. This very page tells you the answer to what University I attended. It’s been here every time.
I have no idea what your second comment is talking about. Perhaps you could rephrase so I can get your meaning.
now, PLEASE read my comments right, I said that demon possession was not what you take it for! As i said before, these Gospels were written with the social construction of the time, meaning that certain illnesses (as i have mentioned before) that make a person look as if he were out of his mind (epilepsy,the illness of the earth, etc.) as in the example of the boy that sometimes threw himself into fire, or other illnesses where a person would be crazy in a daily basis (caused by illnesses such as schizophrenia) as in the case of Legion or the little girl that Paul healed were considered to be cause by demons “possessing” the body of the person and driving them into madness, whereas we not know that they are but “defects” in certain parts of the brain! And even about the girl, there are other explanations to it, such as that the Romans bribed her to actually signal when Paul came, or that she was actually evil, and that after the talk with Paul she found her real self, although i am not going to take away the possibility that it was a mental illness problem, and that Paul had no way to know, or to write to others, “I cured a person suffering from schizophrenia today, by giving her an intense therapy on her ways and how she needed to fix them, i told her parents to bring her to me after six months so i can check her and diagnose her better…” they would look at him as if he had two (or maybe three) heads. Again, as i said before, social construction may mislead many people looking for the message of Christ.
About the CHURCH thing, as i made it clearer in the comment afterwards i am an orthodox, which is the most conservative branch of the Christian Church, while i would guess you are a protestant, which is far more liberal than orthodoxism, meaning that “reforms” on how to view the Bible and other writings always come from Protestants, then they are studied in Panchristian convents, then they are applied to conservative branches (always if their patriarchs agree). So now get i meant to say by the CHURCH? I always refer to the Church as the whole Christian body, because as you well know, Jesus intended all Christians to be of one Church.
As for what i asked you, which is in Matthew 18: 20, there is only a problem. By gathering i mean coming together, meeting each other, being in the same place, while in Jesus’ name it is clear that the people are together in Jesus’ cause and life and proclaim themselves to be his followers (aka Christians). Now, if you take the Bible literarily, Jesus never says he is everywhere, or that since he is everywhere he will stop by and check what these guys are doing… He says it pretty straight forward… I WILL BE WIHT YOU. Now i want you to show me where (because maybe i am blind) it says in that passage (or anywhere in the Bible) that Jesus is everywhere, because that looks to me more like an interpretation of Jesus’ words rather than a literal understanding…
Now about the University issue… i don’t see why you get so stressed out in saying you are from Bob Jones University, not that i know anything about them but I think that Holy Cross (Boston, MA) and an invitation to go to the Divinity School in Harvard afterwards is not that bad…
Again, George, I’m reading exactly what you are saying. You’re saying that demon possession is not what the Scriptures claim it is– that it has some scientific explanation that’s not supernatural. And yet I don’t agree with you. And neither does the comment from the person that actually went through it.
This is exactly what I’m saying about how you approach the Bible. You approach it as something that is incorrect on its diagnosis. For another example: The disciples came to Jesus in Mark Mark 9:20 with a man possessed by a demon.
They couldn’t cast it out. And yet Jesus held out his hand and the man rose. They then ask why they couldn’t cast the demon out, and Jesus replies that “these kind do not come out without much prayer and fasting.
Jesus talks to the spirits inside the person in this instance. I don’t believe that He is a glorified psychologist. Nor do I believe that this was purely a physical problem, but a spiritual one.
I’m pretty sure that the anabaptist history traces alongside the orthodox history pretty closely as far as relative age. As if that matters.
As for my University I find it amusing that you think I’m stressed about where I went when I have it listed all over the place. I was simply using it to illustrate that you simply needed to look around you instead of trying to cajole the place out of me. It’s akin to having to do all this scholarship to justify a tenuous position rather than take the Bible for what it says about it.
anabaptist? simpler english please…
if that is what i think it means, it is untrue, it is costume in the orthodox church to baptize as early as a baby reaches 40 days of age, and i don’t see how that has any connection with what some radical protestants believe about baptizm being only for adults…
as for the scholarship point, again mine was just an example of the “experience” of my professors compared to yours, let us not forget that i am majoring in theology, while you just “took classes” in the subject.
Again, i find confusing the fact that you say Jesus was not a psychologist… really are you kidding me or something? do you think that a person with that much of a potential to drive large masses of people to his cause knew nothing about psychology and psychiatry? That is leaving out the fact that he is god, he is the Omnipotent God, who heals people, who resurrects people, who resurrects from death and ascends to heaven… do you really think he is an “ignorant” when it comes to psychiatry?
And then, what do you think Jesus could have said to his apostles, “Here, read this book, it is from a famous writer of the 21st century, that would help you…” rather than just tell them to believe in God, so that he could pass that knowledge to them through the Holy Spirit? And since you say i don’t believe this i don’t believe that… just you believing or not believing something doesn’t necessarily make that thing wrong or untrue right….
Just to summarize it all, since you mention the person what was “demonized” which i would guess it was the woman that was feeling gay instances in her life… i want to ask the person, as somebody did before me, to explain why she broke up with the person, whether she really felt she could not trust a man afterwards and in what ways did she think about women, more importantly, if she would look at a photo of a woman (a normal one) what would be the organ (or the general aim) that she would try to look at. As for the one that said her cousin was in africa and he saw demonized people, i want her (or her cousin) to explain to us all what the image was, what was the behavior of the people that s/he calls demonized, and finally whether s/he has any scientific proof that whatever he was was not caused by any of the illnesses i have mentioned above (epilepsy, the illness of the earth, schizophrenia, misantropia, etc.) if those people can answer i implore you to do so!
and just so you know Min, if demonization is scientifically true, then tell me why John, who you consider to be a first source, does not depict any demonization story????????
for anybody reading, i would invite you to http://www.christianityandus.blogspot.com, there you will receive more information and can request me to research and talk about anything that concerns you.
George, you’ve consistently missed my point. What I’ve tried to say from the post forward is that science has described a condition that may have a spiritual component to it that science cannot test. So what I’m saying is that we’ve explained away with science something that may be more than a scientific ailment. We’ve been “all around Jacob’s barn” because you don’t believe that the Gospels are historical, are written by whom they claim to be, and now because one of them doesn’t include a reference to the thing happening, but all of those are red herrings. Luke, who is claimed to be a first rate historian, includes the accounts in both his Gospel and the book of Acts.
In any case, the main point was not to debate the historicity of the Bible, but to talk directly to the concept of demon possession as described in the Bible and how it pertains to different “diseases” that science describes now.
Thanks for the contact info, btw. You could include that link with your future posts in the URL box of your comments.
now min i think we have argued in vain for the last months… i do believe there is things that cannot be explained by science, such as the Trinity, the resurrection, the healing of the people that were “demonized” and much more. My argument was just that demonization should not be taken literally, but seen in the context of the story.
George’s last blog post..Darwinism and Christianity
And what I’ve been trying to say, George, is that there may be a supernatural element to Demon Possession so that it’s not as easy as saying “It’s schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.” Neither of these scientific explanations explain the pigs, that the people said to have these possessions knew things about people that they shouldn’t have known, or that the disciples actually had conversations such as “Jesus and Paul we know, but you we don’t know.” There’s more to Demon Possession than what science says about it.
I think we need to bear in mind that mental illness is a disease just like any other. The evangelical church still reists this medical reality however, as there’s this urban myth abroad about beating back every life difficulty with a simple prayer (so can they pray away the onset of Heart attacks or CVA’s? – five gets you then they can’t for some strange reason.)
Plus they can’t tolerate the fact that medicine is a qualified opinion, as opposed to the group hysteria that can conceivably occur when a mentally ill person, meets apparently sanctified christianity on this issue, which sometimes says the most hurtful things (in the name of compassion and mercy) to sufferers, such as..’snap out of it’…’you’re not really ill’…’you’re oppressed by demons’ or…You’re not co-operating with our prayers/showing enough faith.’ This last answer tends to be the most offensive, as I’ve never met any mentally ill person, who wouldn’t be rid of their disability that very second. The church folk who espouse these opinions do so (in my experience) out of wilfully unenlightened fear. They feel threatened by MI people (fear of themselves or their children being in the same boat one day) and wish to have done with them (quickly) one way or the other, subtly ignoring the fact that 1 in 4 will complain to their family physicians on this issue and if (for any reason) that’s them, then they’d want all the love and understanding that they’re sometimes reluctant to extend to others…Hmmm.
It’s important to state that this ISN’T every church person you speak to (by any manner or means), but evangelical churches are much troubled by the subject of MI and are still far too ready to ascribe its origins as demonic, although though this kind of unhelpful prejudice is being challenged and slowly the tide is turning.
This is not to say (not at all) that demons are incapable of compounding or causing mental illness, as they certainly are. However the church has to stop treating the majority of cases as demonic, when that may not be true. In fact to harp on about demons on an unwarranted ticket, can actually give glory to Satan, the churches greatest enemy on any contention. If MI people are perceived as hard work, then Christ said carrying our crosses would be far from a walk in the park, so get on with that salient fact.
Churches have to start treating MI sufferers as human beings and radically shift their attitudes…the comfortable middle-class club
mentality doesn’t assist anyone (even Christ) at the end of the day. ‘Come just as you are’ says the mantra’..problem is, when MI people do, they seem to be less than welcome and I wonder if the church really wants them.
I’ve been a Christian for 14 years, an MI sufferer for 28 years and I hold a postgraduate degree in a theological discipline….just before anyone starts offering alternate diagnoses of any kind
As I said before Min and Barry, there is too much proof against the idea of demonization, which is deeply rooted in Jewish beliefs of the Old Testament and the early Church. Let us not forget that the people that wrote the Gospels had the ideas of the time in them, and therefore we need to study the social construct of the time to fully understand their words and what they mean by them.
As Barry clearly explained in his comment has has suffered mental illness for 28 years and clearly neither he nor I think that that was caused by any demon playing around, nor was he cured from any saint or anything like that.
So I would call this case closed Min 🙂
Georges last blog post..Darwinism and Christianity
@Barry: Thank you for commenting. I opened the discussion on this topic because I’m truly curious about it. I appreciate you sharing what’s going on with you and your illness. My sympathies are with you and your family, and I’m grateful that our God is able to provide for us in the hardest of trials.
@George: LOL. Of course you’d like to call this case closed. You didn’t want to close it when connie stated that she suffered from it and believed that it was demonic possession.
To both of you– two points.
One: Each and every case is different. What I’m coming now to think is that some mental illness can be just that, but that others might be demon possession. I would find it hard to rule it out based on the Scripture.
Two: Personally, I know of no one now that truly has the gift of healing like those that did in the New Testament period. People were coming back from the dead, being healed from all types of life long diseases, etc. That’s not happening now.
Thanks for lol-ing me Min… but the point is i cannot consider connie as viable evidence unless she has proof that somebody cast out the demons from her, because I believe we both agree they don’t just fly away right? And if you talk to her/know her tell her that I want to meet the guy that freed her from the demons… you know, I will ask him for a check-up, lest I am demonized too (hmmm)… but the idea is though Min, any way you look at it, this case is closed and clearly in my favor 😉
Georges last blog post..The Gospel of Prosperity, what to expect
and again going back to connie, who is she, do we have any proof that she is a real person? What if she is a robot, spamming around in cyberspace, what if she is just writing to just agree with you, and not because she really suffered from MI and believed it had anything to do with demons.
On the other hand I have crucially relevant proof, such as the Gospel of John, science, the Jesus Seminar, books written about Biblical study, and finally the last chip of the puzzle, Barry a far more serious source then connie, first since he doesn’t take any side, second because his name is more accurate, and third because he actually took the time to write in paragraphs, and write a fairly big comment, which robots don’t do these days 🙁 for you Min.
So for the third time, I definitely think it is case closed 🙂
Georges last blog post..The Gospel of Prosperity, what to expect
I need to say that the way you handled that strange dialogue was commendable.
On the demonic issue, I have pondered similar things.
Could the physiological symptoms be a reflection of a spiritual cause (at least in part or in some cases).
Sometimes frightening circumstances have caused my adrenal glands to pump adrenaline into my blood stream.
A physical change happening to me because of a change in external events.
I sometimes wonder if some of these chemical imbalances in some of the mental disorders couldn’t be a symptom of some “external” stimulus.
How does our immaterial soul, affect our physical brains?
Couldn’t it be possible for other immaterial souls to use the same method to exert some kind of stimuli to our brains (if some conditions have been met) ?
I’m pretty sure the enemy has fired many thoughts into my head, which is why I constantly need to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ.
What if someone meets some kind of criteria that opens them up for something more sinister to take place.
I should say that I don’t believe that a Christian can have a demon. But they can be oppressed (intense temptation and trial). Couldn’t an intense oppression manifest itself with physiological side effects?
Go to Fontana, CA or San Bernardino at 2am and see all the tweakers and tell me you still dont believe