What is the relationship between demons and the believer? More specifically, can a believer be what is commonly called “demon possessed”?
First, I want to establish that the Bible teaches that demons are active in the world today. I hold this position over against certain liberal theologians and hyper-critical de-mythologizers such as Rudolf Bultmann.
With that being made clear, I think it is important to define what we mean when we ask the question, “can a Christian be demon possessed”? If by this question a person means “can a Christian be dominated by demons to the point of being controlled, I think the answer is clearly “no”. Nonetheless, that is not all that needs to be said regarding this issue.
Following Wayne Grudem, I think the term demon possession (and even demonized) is an imprecise one and can easily lead to great confusion and misunderstanding. Grudem points out that by this question “We are simply asking how abnormal a Christian’s life can become…”. He then says “It seems better simply to recognize that there can be varying degrees of demonic attack or influence on people, even on Christians, and to leave it at that”.
I think this is the most balanced and accurate position to hold regarding this issue and I will reflect on this for the remainder of these posts.
Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 424-5.
Oct 29, 2009
DEMONS … and US
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