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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Friday, 4 July 2014

Errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement Part 10

These posts stem from a series of fifteen studies conducted, in our Youth Fellowship meetings, at the request of the young people who attend, dealing with the errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement

Study 1 - Introduction
Study 2 - The Infilling of the Spirit
Study 4 - The Cessation of New Testament Supernatural Gifts - Part one
Study 5 - The Cessation of New Testament supernatural gifts - Part two
Study 6 - The Errors of Tongue Speaking
Study 7 - The Error of Faith Healing - Part one
Study 8 - The Errors of Faith Healing - Part two
Study 9 - The Errors of Demon Possession - Part one

Study Ten - The Errors of Demon Possession - Part Two
1. The belief in Demon Possession is sadly an ever increasing phenomena among many Charismatics. They base their belief upon misapplied and misinterpreted passages of Scripture. For example:
[1] The commissioning of the disciples, Matthew 10:1,8: And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease; Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

[2] The commissioning of the seventy, Luke 10:1,17: After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
[3] The promise made to the Apostles after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mark 16:15,17,18,20: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover; And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
[4] The words of the Saviour in Matthew 18:18: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Upon these four passages Charismatics substantially base their arguments that there is a ministry in casting out demons today. However, the first three of these portions were referring to the special gifts that belonged to the Apostles and early New Testament Church, to authenticate their message and only employed up until the canon of Scripture was completed. These gifts have ceased as previously considered [Studies 4 & 5]. It was one thing for the Apostles to have these gifts, it is another thing entirely to argue that they continue today and belong to a special group of individuals.

The last of these passages [Matthew 18:18] makes no reference to casting out demons, at all. The passage is speaking about an entirely different subject, ie. that of Church discipline. The passage teaches that God will recognise the proper exercising of Church discipline on earth.

2. Charismatics also argue that a demon can make a person ill without possessing them. They believe that a person can be afflicted physically and mentally in varying degrees. This possession can manifest itself as: blindness, dumbness, fever, paralysis or convulsions. This ties in with the idea that sickness is associated with sin. We have already sought to show that this is not always the case. Sometimes it is so, cf. 1 Cor 11:30: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep] but not always. The abuse of the Lord's Table had brought chastisement upon them.

There are five Bible texts that they normally employ to support this:
[1] Matthew 9:32: As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil;
[2] Matthew 12:22: Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw;
[3] Mark 9:17,18 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not;
[4] Luke 13:10-17, cf. v16: And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
[5] Luke 4:38,39: And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

There are clear references to the possessing work of the devil in the first three of these examples. The physical conditions displayed were but an outward manifestation of the devil's activity within. This is equally true regarding the woman of woman of whom it is said that she had a 'spirit of infirmity', Luke 13;11: And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

However, Charismatics employ the last of these five references, about Peter's mother in law, on the strength of the words: he stood over her, and rebuked the fever. There is no mention of the devil or his activity with respect to Peter's mother in law. Trying to make this statement suggest that the devil caused this illness runs into difficulty when we remember that Christ also 'rebuked' the winds and the waves of the sea of Galilee, cf. Luke 8:24: And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. Does this imply that they too were possessed and afflicted by a demon? Obviously not! Neither can it be said that Peter's mother in law was possessed.

3. The argument that demon possessed people can be so afflicted that they do not realise this to be so is also false. Sometimes it is spoken of today as 'demonised people'. In the Bible when someone was demon possessed it was readily observable that this was so. For example, a demon possessed person in the Bible was:
[1] seized with terrible convulsions;
[2] cried out in terror with voices that there were not their own;
[3] exhibited extraordinary physical strength,
[4] lost their sanity;
[5] displayed an ability to tell the immediate future and
[6] could be blind, dumb, deaf, or paralysed.
These symptoms are not concealable. You could not be possessed with a demon in this way and not know it. Neither would others fail to recognise the fact.

There is simply no parallel between what the Bible says about demon possession and the modern day Charismatic phenomena.

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