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Christians can have demons - read your Bible! Created 27 May 2017

Yes, this article and video is based on clear Scripture. Watch the video below for a less detailed but more concise version.

Respectfully, Dr. MacArthur, I believe you have it wrong in this instance. In fact, I am a somewhat surprised that your argument is rather weak. No, I have not attended seminary. And no, I do not believe it is neccessary to do so - it would make both Jesus (John 14:26) and John (1 John 2:27) liers to suggest it is.

I am not picking on or attacking John MacArthur. I believe he is a sincere man, and he has much to offer. I sometimes listen to his teaching. I just also happen to believe that he and the pastors he teaches are barking up the wrong tree. And, I believe they are doing so in response to the crazy, silly and unbiblical behaviour displayed in some "Spirit-filled" [Charismatic/Pentacostal] 'churches' today. But, he and others are throwing out the baby with the bath water. They are missing God's gracious provision for believers today just because Satan has - as always - perverted that which is true and right, and they cannot see the tree from the forrest.

How is a person 'converted' to Christianity? Who qualifies as a Christian?

In short, a person who has genuinely repented and genuinely believed. For some that 'faith' was expressed openly. And, I believe Christians become baptized once they have genuinely believed. By definition, genuine Christians - those who have had genuine conversions - have received a 'made-alive spirit'; a human spirit that is [re]born of the Holy Spirit. It is not the Holy Spirit himself who is birthed in them, but it is the Holy Spirit who does the birthing (John 3:3-5). Some get this very wrong. But they should read their Bibles. In it, Christians are birthed by the Spirit following which they receive the 'infilling' (or "baptism") of the Holy Spirit by way of other Christians laying hands on them (Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:1-7).

Assuming hands were layed on a believer to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, some pastors argue that the Holy Sprit will not 'share space' with a demon. Thus, so they say, a Christian cannot have a demon. There is no Scripture that is presented to confirm this position, only a presumption: "Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling." To some, the argument sounds compelling. But, these very same people who deny the possibility of demons 'latching on to' Christians do not actually quote clear Scripture themselves. They arrive at such teaching from their own deduction whilst, at the same time, insist from the proponents of the 'Christians can have demons teaching' that they quote Scripture in order to prove their point. This I will do notwithstanding the double standard.

  1. James teaches that born-again believers can and are influenced by demons: But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (James 3:14-15). So, speaking to Christians, James says that there is a 'wisdom' that 'assends from below' to influence born-again believers to behave in accordance with demons. And, rightly so, he reminds Christians who's agenda they are promoting if they allow this to continue amongst themselves.

  2. Paul teaches that born-again believers can in fact let go of their commitment to Christ and depart from Him on the back of demon-inspired influence: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, ... (1 Timothy 4:1-3). Click on the links for the Greek word explanation. So, the Bible teaches that some born-again Christians will indeed leave Christianity altogether on the back of having accepted and applied themselves to the influence of demons. I believe such Christians will 1) not have been vigilant to pursue truth, and/or 2) have lent out their ears to the wrong teachers, and/or 3) have been directly influenced in their understanding by what Paul calls "spiritual hosts in the heavenly places". Note that such people will have thought that they were in pursuit of God, but in reality they were listening to ungodly spirits. Is this happening today? I believe the answer is a resounding 'Yes' and that we may be surprised at where such influences occur.

  3. Luke teaches in Acts 5 that many people were converted to Christianity and that, as they had done so, approached the Apostles for healing from disease and unclean spirits: And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (Acts 5:12-16). Okay, so let's read this passage carefully:

  • "Yet none of the rest dared join them". The Amplified Bible gives us a closer look at the text here. It explains the New King James Version's words noted above as follows: "But none of the rest [of the people, the non-believers] dared to associate with them". Thus, the unbelievers did not associate with the believers; the unbelievers were not the ones coming to the Apostles for healing and deliverence.
  • "believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women". The term "multitudes" is used to describe the many believers - Christians - who had come to the Lord in faith.
  • "Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem". Whilst these healings and deliverances started in "Solomon's Porch" - a part of the temple in Jerusalem - a "multitude" (the same term used for Christians only the verse before) also came from the surrounding cities to receive the same healing.
  • "sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed". Inasmuch as sick Christians were healed, they were delivered from "unclean spirits" as well.

Clearly, the Bible not only states in very certain terms that born-again believers - Christians - can and will be influenced by unclean spirits or demons, it states that some needed to be delivered from their "torment" by unclean spirits; some will not only be influenced in their daily living, they will end up departing from the faith on account of such demonic influence. But, importantly, the Bible teaches very clearly that in the days of the early Apostles, born-again believers - Christians - were indeed healed from diseases and delivered from unclean spirits or demons.

If the early Christians could indeed have unclean spirits, then how is it argued that they cannot have them today? It seems to not at all be a reasoable conclusion.

What I have learned in life is that some theologians - despite their 'learnedness' - do not fully accept (they do not actually believe) what the Bible says. They may know all of it, but they do not believe it all.

So, the argument goes as follows: "There is no clear example in the Bible where a demon ever inhabited or invaded a true believer. Never in the New Testament epistles are believers warned about the possibility of being inhabited by demons. Neither do we see anyone rebuking, binding, or casting demons out of a true believer. The epistles never instruct believers to cast out demons, whether from a believer or unbeliever. Christ and the apostles were the only ones who cast out demons, and in every instance the demon-possessed people were unbelievers", to quote Dr. MacArthur.

Really? That's not what the passages above say! Moreover, not having any "clear instruction" to do anything has never deterred Christians from pursuing any one doctrine, Dr. MacArthur included. I'll be a bit cheeky about this - forgive me: so, where does the Bible instruct Christians to consolidate into one ministry the 5 ministries given by God - Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, Pastor (Ephesians 4:11-12) - and then call such a unified 'office' "Pastor"? Nowhere. Where does the Bible instruct that Christians who have not attended Bible school or [Dr. MacArthur's seminary] should not be ordained to teach? Nowhere. Yet, this is exactly the philosophy which Dr. MacArthur and others like him have pursued and continue to pursue. So, clearly Dr. MacArthur does not uphold the standard he sets for others as far as a requirement to have 'instruction" from the Bible to do anything.

But, let's have a look at one argument made by John MacArthur which seems to stack up. 1 John 5:18 says in very clear terms that Satan cannot "touch" a born-again believer. When we look at the Greek we find that, indeed, the word translated "touch" is "háptomai", which means 'to fasten one's self to, adhere to, cling to'. So, we should understand that an unclean spirit or demon cannot fasten or attach itself to a believer. I think that is 100% accurate. But, what should we consider to be a born-again believer? Their soul or their spirit or their body? Both Old and New Testaments say we are made up of all three (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I believe the essence of a person is the spirit of the person. It is the spirit that gets born again. It is the spirit that is saved. It is the spirit which the Father receives. So, the spirit is the essence of the person. Satan cannot attach himself to the spirit of a born-again believer, because, if he could, he would 'own' that spirit. So, the Bible teaches that he cannot "touch" [the spirit of] a Christian. No - that spirit was birthed by God and belongs to God.

Is the same true for the soul of the Christian? No - the Bible says the soul - or mind - of a believer still needs to be renewed (Romans 12:1-2). So, the soul of a Christian does not (yet) belong to the Lord - it still needs to be sanctified. So then, can Satan touch or influence the soul - the decision-making capacity of a believer? Yes, as Paul teaches - they [allow themselves to] give heed to deceiving spirits: "some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

How do unclean spirits 'latch onto' Christians?

  1. Paul teaches in Ephesians 5 that Christians are engaged with demons every day: "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age" (Ephesians 6:10-20)
  2. But then he teaches in 2 Corinthians 10 that Christians' enemies are so-cally "strongholds": "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, ..." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Don't simply trust me for it. Decide for yourself. But, do look into it.

Allow me to end with this:

  1. Jesus has overcome the wicked one - Satan and his demons (Colossians 2:15). By repentance and faith in Him, you are born of Him. In faith, therefore, you too have overcome the wicked one.
  2. Jesus prophesied that His disciples will do greater miracles than Him (John 14:12). At the very least this should include what He did - casting out demons and healing the sick.
  3. A demon often appears as some sort of strength or talent, not as something wicked and crazy (Acts 16:16-19). Most often, demons are rather inconspicuous. They may 'manifest' internally through things such as anxiety (I'm not saying your anxiety is neccessarily a demon, but it is possible) or depression (I'm not saying your depression is neccessarily a demon, but it is possible), addiction or lust. Don't just assume you have a demon. But do consider the possibility.
  4. You can be set free from demons inasmuch as Jesus and His Apostles set people free from demons (Acts 5:16).
  5. There is no shame in deliverance. God looks at it favourably - this is part of the very reason why Jesus came into the world (Luke 4:18-19).

Can a Christian have a demon - Yes!



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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptural. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.


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