Over the years, I have read a wide variety of stories that claim to support the notion that Christians can be demonized. In the end, they all have one thing in common: they greatly overestimate the power and province of Satan. Some deliverance ministers make a more valiant attempt than others to provide a biblical basis for the contention that a Christian can be inhabited by a demon. Inevitably, however, Scripture itself undermines their stories.
First, Christ himself precludes the possibility that a Christian could be inhabited by demons. Using the illustration of a house, Jesus asks, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man?” (Matthew 12:29). In the case of a demon-possessed person, the strong man is obviously the devil. In a Spirit-indwelt believer, however, the strong man is God. The force of Christ’s argument leads inexorably to the conclusion that, in order for demons to possess believers, they would first have to bind the one who occupies them—namely God himself!
Furthermore, I discovered an equally airtight argument against Christian demonization in the gospel of John. The Jews once again were accusing Jesus of being demon-possessed. Rather than circumvent their accusations, Jesus condescends to reach out to his accusers with reason. The essence of his argument is “I am not possessed by a demon” because “I honor my Father” (John 8:49). The point is impossible to miss: Being demon-possessed and honoring God are mutually exclusive categories.
Finally, Scripture does not contain a single credible example of a demonized believer. Instead, the consistent teaching of the Bible is that Christians cannot be controlled against their wills through demonic inhabitation. The principle is foolproof. If you are a follower of Christ, the King himself indwells you. And you can rest assured that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Adapted from The Covering
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (Nashville:W Publishing, 2002).
“You, dear children, are from God and have
overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4