Can Christians Be Demon Possessed
By Phil Scovell
I am going to try my best not to belabor all the aspects of
the article on the demon possession of a Christian written by
Chuck Smith. I could easily get carried away and write fifty
pages on all the things that jumped out at me as I read his
article. Instead, I will try and limit my comments to the most
obvious errors I feel are important to note. Let me recommend,
however, that you take the time to read his complete article. It
is also posted on my website with my rebuttal.
Let's start first with what I believe about the demonic
possession of a born again Christian. I don't believe it. In
fact, I believe it is an impossibility. So, I am in agreement
with the article in that regard. It is the other remarks Chuck
Smith makes which concerns me.
For example, he begins by saying this.
" The question has been forced upon us: Can a born again
Christian be possessed by a demon?"
Forced upon us? Holy cow. I remember this being debated
when I was a little kid in the Baptist church. I never got the
idea it was forced upon anybody. In fact, in my 47 years of
walking with the Lord, I have talked to literally thousands of
Christian people. I have never once, in my entire life, ever
heard any born again Christian say they believed, as a Christian,
you could be demon possessed. I'm not saying that some Christian
some place doesn't truly think Christian demonic possession is
possible, but I personally have never met one. I've heard over
40,000 sermons preached in my life time and I have never even
heard the weirdest of Charismatic Christians say they believed a
truly born again Christian could be demon possessed. Again, I am
sure there has got to be some Charismatic maniacs out there who,
no doubt, believe a Christian can be demon possessed but I have
never met one and God as my witness, I have met some pretty weird
Charismatics in my day. Furthermore, I would venture to guess
that I have personally heard preach, witnessed them as they
ministered, studied other writings and Biblical teachings, and
been around more people who claimed to be called to the
deliverance ministry than anybody reading these remarks, and I
have never known even any of those people to say they believe, as
a Christian, you could be demon possessed. So, this guy confuses
me right off the bat in the first sentence. I just question
anybody who starts out on the wrong foot as if he has an axe to
grind because they usually do, in fact, have an axe to grind.
Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive but things like his opening
statement always catches my attention and makes me suspicious.
Then he says the following.
"The answer based on the Scriptures and logic is an
unequivocal NO! The proponents of this unscriptural doctrine use
such terms as Christians being "invaded by demons" rather than
demon possessed. This is nothing more than word games and a smoke
screen to hide the Scriptural weakness of their position."
Hold the phone right there. Read that again. "The answer
based on the Scriptures and logic?" Sorry, it is either based
upon Scripture or it isn't. Logic has absolutely nothing to do
with faith. If you want to be logical, that's fine. When it
comes to the interpretation and application of God's eternal
word, there ain't no need for logic because you either believe it
by faith or you don't. So which is it going to be?
He says, "The proponents of this unscriptural doctrine use
such terms as Christians being "invaded by demons" rather than
demon possessed. This is nothing more than word games and a smoke
screen to hide the Scriptural weakness of their position."
Once again, he has an inside track on who these people are
whom he calls the "proponents of this unscriptural doctrine. I
would love to meet one of these screw balls he is talking about
some day. He, furthermore claims that these weird Bible nuts are
semantically dishonest. Well, if you keep reading, I'll show you
some pretty fancy semantical footwork which he uses himself that
is right down misleading and, for that matter, contradictory.
From this point, he starts getting down to brass tax when he
says the following.
"They also present an illogical supposition that the demons
can invade or control the mind or body, but not the spirit."
Already, we are apparently back to using logic to interpret
the spiritual application of God's word because he accuses these
people of being guilty of using "illogical supposition."
I am not going to quote all the text and Scriptures to which
he refers to on the Christian being the temple of God because it
all boils down to one thing and he says it pretty well. The
Bible most certainly confirms that our bodies are the temple of
God. What he fails to point out is that the physical body and
the mind and emotions of a Christian are not regenerated. That's
a good old Bible seminary term which means, theologically
speaking, your body and your mind and emotions, are not saved.
We know this, dare I use the term logically, because the body is
dying every day. The mind isn't exactly too holy either. If our
emotions were saved, born again, or regenerated, then we would
never get mad or lose our temper, now would we.
James 1:21 confirms that these areas of our unregenerate
lives are saved, disciplined, brought under subjection, by the
Word of God. I wonder why James, if, according to the article,
demons are apparently unable to have anything to do with the
mind, or the emotions, or the body, would be bothered even
teaching on the importance of discipline of these areas of our
physical makeup. Especially if they could not be tampered with
by demons in the life of a Christian.
During his attempt to get you to believe that the Bible
doesn't teach anything about demonic activity being possible in
your mind or your body, he says the following.
"To say that a Christian's body or mind can be possessed or
invaded by demons is to contradict the Word of God and declare
that there is a communion of light and darkness, that God and
Satan are dwelling together."
I am still at a loss here because I have yet to find someone
who believes the mind or the body can be possessed by a demon if
they are a Christian. Oppressed? Sure. Influenced? You bet.
Tempted? Sure thing. Possessed? I've never heard it said by
anyone that such was possible. Not of a Christian at any rate.
According to this article however, none of this is even possible.
Why? Because, we are the temple of God. Apparently we are,
therefore, immune from the demonics? Boy, I wish he was right.
He isn't, though, and that is why some of his teaching is
spiritually dangerous for the Christian.
I won't quote all of what he says next but he attempts to
use Scripture to confirm that we are seated in the heavenly
places with Christ Jesus. In this spiritual state, we are at war
with Satan. His logic is, if we are at war with the Enemy, how
can he possess us or do anything to us as we war against him.
Sounds mighty good. It's just simply wrong.
Now, here is another statement that should generate some
concern. If not concern, then confusion.
"We need the help of God to stand, for these rulers of the
darkness can and do attack us in a variety of ways. But they
cannot come in and take control of our lives."
Earlier he seems to imply, at least to me, that, since we
are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, that we are at
war with the demonic realm. Of course, his argument is, the
demonic realm is below us, and so that's why, since we are seated
high above in heavenly places, the demons cannot come to where we
are seated with Christ. If this is true, why does he say "for
these rulers of the darkness can and do attack us in a variety of
ways." My question is, how and where do they attack us?
According to Chuck Smith, the author of the article to which I am
referring, our body, soul, and spirit are somehow protected,
shielded, from such demonic influence.
This statement also concerns me.
"But they cannot come in and take control of our lives."
Now, I know he means this in light of actual possession so
I'll cut him some slack and just let this one go for now. I'll
comment on it again later.
The following likewise concerns me.
"Christ said concerning Satan, "The ruler of this world is
coming, and he has nothing in Me" (John 14:30). If I am in
Christ and Satan has nothing in Him, Satan can have nothing in
me. Praise the Lord!"
Is this true? Do you believe what he just said?
Then he asks the following question and provides his own
"What about these experiences of Christians having demons
cast out of them? What are the voices that name themselves, the
writhing on the floor, and the regurgitation? I do not know. I
am thankful that since I do not engage in these unscriptural
practices, I do not have to explain them."
First how does he know these people are not truly lost
unbelievers who are demon possessed? If they are, doesn't he
have an obligation as one of our Lord's disciples, if they have
come for help, to assist them? Perhaps, I'm guessing, he would
just get them to ask Jesus to come into their heart and bingo,
the demons would flee? Good idea. So, how would he go about
getting these people to stop their unscriptural practices as they
writhed and regurgitated on the floor in order that he might
witness to them? Would he flip open his Bible to John 3:16 and
begin preaching the love of God to them? Would he begin by
singing Jesus loves me, this I know? Would he start by taking an
offering or perhaps reading the bulletin for that Sunday? What
would he do?
Secondly, if they are Christians, writhing around on the
floor, as he suggests, practicing their unscriptural practices,
what is wrong with them? Are they mentally ill and in need of a
doctor instead of a pastor? If so, wouldn't he feel he should
get them, at the very least, some medical help?
Thirdly, when he says, "I am thankful that since I do not
engage in these unscriptural practices, I do not have to explain
them," what does he mean? What is he responsible for in such a
case? Does he think these people are doing it on purpose? Does
he believe they love doing this sort of thing? Does he believe
they choose to allow these things to happen which he refuses to
Now, here is a very curious statement he makes about demons
which puzzles me.
"Some of the names given by these supposed demons which are
more popular are: lust, hatred, liar, gluttony, envy, fear and
jealously. These things are classified in Galatians 5:19-21 as
works of the flesh. We are to "put off all these," (Colossians
3:8) or by the Spirit to "mortify the deeds of the body," (Romans
8:13, 6:3-14). Not once are we commanded to have them cast
I wonder what names he would prefer demons call themselves.
Does he prefer more graphic names or more common names such as
Joe, Harry, Melissa, or Philip? I'm confused by why demon names
bothers him at all. Obviously he doesn't even believe they are
demons. At least he refuses to explain it to anybody so why
would their names even remotely be of interest to him? After
all, he says, "Not once are we commanded to have them cast out."
If they don't need to be cast out, who cares what their names
Here is a curious statement.
"It seems to me that this whole demon trip is a cop-out for
I thought he just said he wasn't obligated to explain these
unscriptural practices. That sounds like a personal opinion and
an explanation to me. Does it to you? If I am not mistaken, I
believe we just found his axe to grind.
Consider the following statement he now makes.
"In the Scriptures there does not exist one piece of
evidence that Jesus Christ, His apostles, or the early Church
once sought to cast demons of the flesh out of anyone in the body
How would he know this to be 100 percent positive when we
are not always told when a person is a Christian or not? I am
really tempted to start quoting all sorts of passages about this
time, which clearly illustrate what I just said, but if I did, I
would have to quote a lot of the New Testament record concerning
demonology so I'll save that for a book. It is something worth
considering, however, because we might just have to explain it to
somebody some day.
Now this next statement is the one I really like.
"Even in the supposed cases from the Scriptures that would
confirm that demons could inhabit a Christian - Ananias and
Sapphira, "Why hath Satan filled thine heart" (Acts 5:3); or
Simon the sorcerer, "Thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in
the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:23) - Peter did not practice
exorcism. Instead, there was instant judgment of death in the
first case and a call to repentance in the other."
Boy. Take it easy Brother Chuck. If the married couple, to
whom you referred, were members of the local New Testament
church, but they were not born again, I could understand what you
are saying. If they were born again, we have a big problem
because these people died as Peter made his pronouncement. I
hope you aren't suggesting that Christians who are writhing
around on the floor and regurgitating as they engage in their
unscriptural practices, should be condemned to death as we speak
the Word of God to them.
By the way, these two people had to be born again, in my
humble opinion, because Peter said they lied to the Holy Ghost.
What difference could it make if you lied to God, Jesus, the Holy
Spirit, the Pope, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, or the president
of the United States if you weren't a Christian. If you are a
Christian, on the other hand, and the Holy Spirit is dwelling in
you, I would think lying to the Holy Spirit in that case could be
pretty serious. What do you think, Brother Chuck, or is this
something else you are not obligated to explain?
Here is a statement with which I agree.
"It is sad that many Christians and non-Christians seem to
have a greater interest in Satan and being possessed by demons
than they do in Christ and being possessed by His Holy Spirit."
In all fairness, Brother, I don't think anybody really wants
to be demon possessed; at least I sure don't.
This next one though, creates a problem for me.
"Those who fall into the practices of exorcism soon seem to
be looking for and placing a greater emphasis on the power of
Satan to attack than on the power of Christ to keep. Demons
become the center of their conversations and teachings rather
than Jesus Christ."
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, in 2
Corinthians 2:11, and said, "lest Satan should get an advantage
of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." I wonder what
would happen if born again Christians were ignorant of Satan's
devices. If we were ignorant of his devices, could he gain the
advantage? How would we receive such information if we didn't
look to God's Word. God never seems to be hesitant to tells us
about demons. I wonder if Jesus was labeled an exorcist or a
devil hunter because He talked with, and cast out, demons. Of
course, Jesus only had to cast out demons from the lost because
Chuck Smith has already told us there is no Scriptural record to
the contrary. Fantastic Biblical exegesis and hermeneutics if I
ever saw it. A little sarcasm there on my part. Forgive me. I
got carried a way there for a second and thought I was preaching
to a vast crowd and the offering was about to be taken.
Here is his last and final statement in this article.
"We as Christians are told in James 4:7 to "resist," not
"cast out," the devil, and he will flee from us."
Christians have to resist the devil? How's come? I thought
we were seated in heavenly places with Christ. I thought Christ
defeated Satan and all principalities and powers through the
shedding of His blood and His bodily resurrection. What is there
to resist at all, for the Christian, I mean?
I am pretty certain that Chuck Smith is attempting to state
the obvious. That is, Christians just simply cannot be demon
possessed. He admits that in spite of the fact, we are seated in
heavenly places with Christ, Christians are still attacked, in
various ways yet he doesn't feel obligated to even explain what
he means. He also concludes we are commanded to resist the
devil. Here's a good question. What if you, as a born again
Christian, do not obey the command to resist the devil? That's
right? What would happen if you didn't resist the devil as a
Christian? If you are commanded to resist the devil, how would
he come against you? You don't know? Does Brother Chuck know or
is he not obligated to explain it since he doesn't believe it is
Scriptural? Who is obligated to explain it then? Why should we
even be concerned about such things if it only happens to the
lost? Who cares about them anyhow.
Frankly, I am a whole lot less concerned about who can, and
cannot be, demon possessed, than who gets born again and who is
set free of demon oppression. Believe as you wish. Side with
those in whom you trust. Conclude that no such thing, in a
Christian, can happen. Then I invite you to come and sit with me
in a simple prayer session and explain to the person seated
across my desk from me, what is happening to them at that very
moment. By the time you get done fumbling around with your
Bible, trying to get them to understand your beliefs, and trying
to convince them that what they are experiencing can't be
Biblically authentic, I will have concluded praying with the
person in the name of Jesus Christ and the demons, or those
things that cannot bother Christians in their mind or body, will
be gone. Furthermore, I don't even cast them out, as is
suggested, because I let the person I am praying with do that
A friend of mine used to have a Christian counseling
ministry here in Denver. He now lives in Oregon and works with a
local church doing the same things he did here. He told me the
One day, a young man in his twenties contacted my friend for
some counseling. When he arrived for his appointment, it wasn't
long before he confessed his problem. He was a homosexual. The
problem was, he was a born again Christian, too. Now, of course,
I realize that some people believe that is impossible just like a
Christian cannot be demon possessed. That's fine. I am not
writing this entire article for those who choose to disagree and
deny the oppression and influence of demons in the Christian
life. I am, on the other hand, writing this to the Christians
who know better because they are, right now, being tormented by
the voices they hear in their thoughts telling them they are
going to hell, they need to kill themselves, they aren't worthy
to be loved of God, and hundreds of other demonic lies that come
from deceiving spirits. So those who want to hear the rest of
this story, please keep reading.
the young Christian man told my friend that he tried and
tried to stay away from anything homosexual in nature. Most of
the time, he confessed, he was successful. Occasionally, he was
not. He felt trapped and like no one understood nor believed in
his personal salvation.
Devil hunters, I'm joking, but often Christian counselors
who have to deal in this area of the demonics from time to time,
are called such, so I just thought I would use the term myself.
Anyhow, as I was saying, counselors who know who they are in
Christ, never have to look for demons. Why? They show up on
their own. In this case, my friend in no way thought this man
was being influenced by demons. He just did his normal, every
day, counseling work with him. Nothing was helping and the young
man still was not set free.
Finally, in one session, my friend asked this young man if
he would mind if they checked to see if there was any demon
presence in his life. Skip how this is done for right now
because it would take too long to explain. Simply stated, you
pray but you can read about that elsewhere on my website. Back
to my story.
The young man said he was willing but didn't think that was
the problem. After praying, nothing happened, that is, there was
no demonic presence made manifest. My friend, over the years,
has learned how tricky and unwilling demons can be when they
don't want you to find them. Why do they wish to be quiet and
not found? Simple. If you find them, and expose what they are
doing, they can't stay around. So they hide and they especially
like to hide if they have a stronghold in a person's life. There
is a difference between a foothold and a stronghold but again,
you can read about that elsewhere on my website.
Here is the first thing my friend tries. He lays his Bible
at the edge of his desk not more than a foot away from the person
who has come for counseling. Then he explains to the person what
he is attempting to do and what may happen. He did exactly this
with this young man who wanted to be free of homosexuality in his
life as a Christian. Since he had received permission from this
young man, my friend then began to speak to any demon presence
that was trying to influence this man's life. The demon spoke
through the man's thoughts and literally through his voice. This
generally is a good indication that there is a stronghold to deal
with and not just a foothold. My friend then told the demon what
he was going to ask the young man to do and commanded the demon
to do everything in his power to stop it but to remain silent.
He asked the young man to reach over and pick up his Bible just a
foot away. The man tried but could not move. He tried again and
began to grunt from the effort. His hand and arm on the armrest
of the chair wouldn't move. My friend encouraged him to keep
trying. The man grunted and groaned and struggle to move his
hand off the armrest to the Bible. He struggle so hard, snot
began dripping from his nose. Tears came to his eyes and soon
his face was wet from his tears. Finally, my friend told him to
stop. The young man almost collapsed as he relax back into the
chair. Then my friend took authority over the demons in the name
of the True Lord Jesus Christ, and commanded them to stand at
attention and to stop what they were doing. Then he spoke to the
young man by name and said, "Now, reach over and pick up my
Bible." The man easily and effortlessly reached over and picked
up the Bible.
In the next couple of sessions, my friend taught this young
man how he could be free from this demonic influence. When their
sessions were concluded, the man said that for weeks he had felt
no sinful desires and he left and began living a normal Christian
life from that day on; the homosexuality never returning.
The story I have just told is true. If you want to talk to
my friend personally to confirm the story, I'll be happy to put
you in touch with him. I don't know if he is still in contact
with the young, former homosexual, man because this healing
occurred years ago. By the way, I am in no way suggesting that
all homosexual people are demonically influenced or possessed or
anything else. This story is what it is and nothing more.
I could, at this point, spend page after page telling story
after story of my own personal experiences watching the true Lord
Jesus Christ set Christians free from demonic oppression. No,
they aren't demon possessed. They had, on the other hand,
demonic footholds, and in some cases, demonic strongholds, in
their life. Sometimes this was due to sin, and sometimes through
events beyond their control. Lest you think all this is pretty
funny, or certainly less than to be concerned about, I will tell
you one short true story.
I was praying with a blind lady one day who had been wounded
in many places in their life over the years. There were,
throughout the 25 or so prayer sessions we had together, several
times when demons manifested by literally speaking through this
person's voice to me. Other times, they refused to speak vocally
and only spoke their thoughts into her thoughts and then she
repeated their words to me.
In this particular case, I laid down certain parameters for
the demons to follow. If they violated these parameters, I told
them in advance that I would immediately turn them over to the
True Lord Jesus Christ for Him to handle. Then I asked the Lord
Jesus to pick a spokesmen from the group, if there was a group,
to speak because I did not want to speak to all the demons. Then
I addressed that demon. He manifested by speaking through this
person's voice to me. I never spend time visiting with demons
about anything. They either answer or I turn them immediately
over to the Lord.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I commanded this demon
to tell me what right he had to be in this person's life. He
said, "Because of the game."
I said, "what game.
He said, "You know, the game; the game."
"I said, "I will ask you only one more time. If you refuse
to answer, I will turn you over to the True Lord Jesus Christ."
I then repeated my question.
He said, "She is blind. We have heard other people coming
up to her and asking her to guess their name. We thought that
would be fun, too. So we play the game with her now. She can't
guess our names because she thinks our voices are real people.
We just laugh at her and frighten her."
I immediately had my answer. I began to command this demon,
and all those under his authority, to stop talking. As I did so,
they began talking louder and louder; the voice going higher and
higher in pitch. It was saying, "Guess my name, guess my name
guess my name, what's my name, what's my name? Come on, play the
game, play the game, play the game." The second I spoke the
final word, ordering them to cease talking and to stand at
attention, they stopped. I asked the client, "Did you hear what
they said." She was crying and said she heard them and now knew
what it was all about from her childhood. I said, "Do you want
them to remain?" Of course, she said, no. I led this person
through a simple prayer to remove them. She reported they left.
Then we finished our prayer session by finding out how this got
started, letting the Holy Spirit remove the lies by exposing them
as lies, and then inviting Jesus to speak to this person to bring
Again, you may choose to believe or not believe; it makes
literally no difference to me what you believe. It does make a
difference to the demons what you believe, however, even as a
I leave you with this thought. If you can hear the Lord
speaking in your thoughts, what makes you think a lying deceiving
spirit cannot also speak into your thoughts? The Bible says,
"Neither give place to the devil," (Ephesians 4:27). I wonder
what happens if you, as a born again Christian, do give place to
the devil? Paul was writing to Christians when he said that,
too. I wonder what Paul really meant, but then, I'm not
obligated to explain it. Am I?
Safe Place Fellowship
Denver, Colorado - Mountain Time Zone
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