Skip to main content
Follow Us

Why do evangelicals stink at deliverance ministry?

Here’s something that’s always bothered me.  I was raised in a good Bible-believing church, but no one ever helped me grasp the reality of how to fight a personal evil (more on that here).  It was as though we believed that demons just disappeared from the earth with the Acts 2 church, …
By Seth Barnes
Here’s something that’s always bothered me.  I was raised in a good Bible-believing church, but no one ever helped me grasp the reality of how to fight a personal evil (more on that here).  It was as though we believed that demons just disappeared from the earth with the Acts 2 church, or that if we ignored them, they wouldn’t bother us.
Working extensively in Africa doesn’t give us that option.  Demons regularly show up in people and cause a ruckus.  They need to be dealt with authoritatively.  You can’t play patty-cake with them or ignore them.  As our missionaries are discovering, they can be obnoxious and obtrusive.  Lisa Smith describes her encounter with a witch doctor in Mozambique this way: 
“I hear the low rumblings of guttural
groans. I’m not entirely sure whether this sound is coming from a human
or from an animal. I open my eyes during the prayer and glance around. I see that Ana’s face
is slightly contorted and these strange sounds are escaping from her
The rest of the congregation seems completely unphased. I asked Solomon, our translator, what had
happened. He looks at me completely calm and says, “It was an evil
spirit.” In a culture where witchdoctors are more prevalent than
hospitals, this phenomenon is widespread.”
 In Tanzania, Marisa Banas filed this report:

One woman was laying on the floor and the
other was flailing about as if someone were kicking her belly.  She was
a 13 or 14 year old girl, who when she woke up that morning probably
didn’t realize that her Sunday- best outfit would be getting torn and
dirty on a church floor as she wailed. 

The parishioners and pastor were doing their best to lead the girl to
deliverance, but not much progress had been made since the girl had now
been wailing for about 30 minutes.  My curiosity got the best of me and
I found myself inching closer and closer to the victim.  Eventually, I
was kneeling next to her and what I saw….

This precious girl’s eyes were not that of a child.  Glazed over and
red they pointed straight up as if they were not allowed to look
anywhere else.  Between the screams she would growl and between the
growls and screams she horrifyingly spat out shrieks drenched in fear. 
When I asked my teammates for help in describing her shrieks, the most
common answer was like that of a woman being raped.  I don’t know that
any of us have actually heard a woman in this condition but the sound
was as if her core were being violated and violently ripped from her

Pointing his finger in her face the Pastor shouted, “In the Name of
Jesus come OUT!”  The demon didn’t listen.  He did this several times
and then he made eye contact with me that said, “Your turn.” 

I didn’t know what to do.  What can you do?  But something in me
was ready.  I was made for this.  To give Jesus to people in torment! 
Looking at her I wondered what her name was.  Asking the Pastor he
informed me that it was Beatrice.  With that I tried to see her how
Jesus saw her.  What did he think of her and if He were here, what
would he say?  I didn’t used demonology terminology because I don’t
know how to.    Looking her in the eyes I said, “You are Beatrice. You
are a child of God.  He calls you beautiful.”  Jerking from side to
side she lashed back at me in a freaky low grunt, “I am not Beatrice. 
Beatrice doesn’t want to be delivered.” 

That was enough to jumpstart my faith.  A demon was trying to talk
to me like I was going to listen to it…Right.   Continuing to watch
her God dropped something in my Spirit.  Ask her to go back to the time
before she was abused.   To the time when she was pure and untouched.  
I grabbed her little face and softly spoke what I was told to speak in
her ear and as I did so the congregation continued to worship in song. 
Immediately…Instantly…Abruptly…. as soon as the last word was
spoken her entire body appeared to fall asleep.

We all kind of looked around at each other, none of us knowing
what to do next.  Was it over?  The Pastor decided to answer our
curiosity by opening her eyes for her.  As he did so her eyes moved
side to side and alas…a little girl woke up.    Her name was Beatrice
and she was as gentle as a lamb.  I helped sit her up and we walked her
through a prayer, her voice so soft and sweet.  She had absolutely no
idea that a few minutes prior she had growled at me. 

Marisa just posted this update: “
I saw her on the road the other day and she
was absolutely stunning, fully delivered, bright, beautiful and quiet
tempered as ever.”  
This isn’t a figment of our imagination. This is spiritual reality, a reality that is foreign to too many of us to whom Jesus gave “authority to drive out evil spirits.”  So, here’s my exhortation to all of us: It’s about time that we evangelicals woke up to the reality of a personal evil.  We are being targeted by these things and we’d do well to acknowledge their existence and to better understand how to deal with them. Sticking our heads in the sand is hardly a strategy for taking on an enemy that wants to kill us.

Comments (30)

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.