by Hank Hanegraaff
Over the years, I have read a wide variety of stories that convey 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 repentant Christian can be inhabited by demons. Inevitably, however, Scripture itself undermines their stories.
First, Christ Himself precluded the possibility that a repentant believer, faithfully united to Christ and the sacramental life of the church, could be inhabited by demons. Using the illustration of a house, Jesus asked, “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 condescended 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 faithfully honoring God are mutually exclusive. The two cannot be true at the same time.
Finally, Scripture does not contain a single credible example of a demonized believer. Instead, the consistent teaching of the Bible is that repentant believers cannot be controlled against their wills by demonic inhabitation. The principle is foolproof. If you are a faithful 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).
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 NKJV
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (Nashville: W Publishing, 2002).
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***