DEVILS, DEMONS, EVIL SPIRITS
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils,” warns the widely respected C. L. Lewis. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Father Juan Cortes, a psychology professor at Georgetown University, where The Exorcist was filmed, says all cases of possession he’s studied can readily be explained away in modern scientific terms. Today’s science can also explain, according to Cortes, the old Biblical accounts of “casting out devils.”
Others vigorously disagree, such as Reverend Donald Basham, an ordained Disciples of Christ minister. Basham claims a full one-fourth of Jesus Christ’s ministry was solely devoted to casting devils out of possessed people. This man is a long-time counselor. He is able, “by taking authority over a demon,” to achieve quickly what months of counseling failed to accomplish. Taking this authority over a demonic spirit is quite simple. The exorcist must only do it in the name of Jesus,” or “on the blood of Jesus.”
In Acts 16:16, the Apostle Paul was on his way to prayer when he met a psychic, “a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination.” Paul couldn’t seem to rid himself of this girl. She continued following him for days.
In Acts 16:18, Paul finally lost patience with the diviner and became quite upset over her persistent antics. He promptly turned on the girl and unhesitatingly cast out the evil spirit of divination, or fortune telling. How did Paul execute this deed? He simply said: “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And the spirit was expelled, almost instantaneously.
There is no question in the minds of most theologians, but that Jesus Christ believed in demons. In Mark 1:21, Jesus drove evil spirits out of a man in the synagogue of Capernaum. Billy Graham supports the view that Jesus acted as God’s exorcist. He offers Matthew 12:28 as evidence. Here Christ is credited with telling His contemporaries, the religious leaders of the day, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
Philip performed numerous miracles while he was in Samaria. This man of God is known to have exorcised quite a few evil spirits. These “unclean spirits” came forth from the possessed people “crying with a loud voice.” The evil entities are believed to have been both baffled and enraged at being deprived of their dwelling place. “Many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed,” by Philip’s elementary act of forcing the demonic spirits to leave their human vessel.
“It is possible to cast demons out of physical bodies,” declared the late Kathryn Kuhlman, noted television evangelist and healer. “Young people have a right to be frightened of the possibility of possession. People are now aware that it’s possible to be possessed and they want to know what they can do to avoid possession by a demon.”