Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Who knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men?

Tonight I had pre-recorded That Friday Feeling so that I could attend Edge Church’s Leading With Excellence weekend. Link NZ, of which Edge Church is a member, holds these weekends sporadically. The last one, which I also attended, was back in October down at Gateway Church in Hamilton. The next one will be down there again in July. Normally these weekends cover a variety of different Christian teaching topics. This weekend however would focus exclusively on just the one – Demonology.

Edge Church’s minister, has long since maintained that demons are commonplace within Christians. Almost every week, somewhere in his sermons, he’ll slip in stories of how God’s cleaned-out people in front of him, or sometimes of how demons have been driven out of him. Since he joined the ministry.

His teaching this weekend, along with 4 other people's, was excellent.

The first guy told how he’d once prayed in Christ’s name for 45 minutes for a mud-drinking woman’s demon to leave her. At the end of this she’d cursed him, and he’d fallen grotesquely ill for 6 weeks. He’d only recovered after someone had come to hospital and prayed for him.

I think the section that I found the most useful was The Legal Basis For Our Authority In Deliverance.

God creating Adam in His own image, God giving Adam authority over the earth, Adam losing that authority in the fall, Adam’s son being in his own image instead of God’s, Jesus being human in God’s image and not falling, Jesus inheriting and offering Adam’s original human authority back to mankind again.

But it was the weekend’s final speaker who spoke with the greatest experience.

Jack's wife passed me a note during his session, on which was written the question "Do you believe him?"

I think I probably responded with something like "The world is a big place, and I have only seen a small part of it. Do you believe him?"

"Some of his stories are rather tall."

And, yes, they were. A mother and daughter who used vacuum-cleaners without plugging them in, people turning invisible, E.T.-like beings running away, but not getting anywhere due to the spiritual realm not having any physical substance. Truly, stuff I have not seen in my short 34-year life on this very, very big planet. But there’s a lot in the Bible that I’ve never seen either. And in Africa. And anything that happened before 1971 or after 2005. Yada, yada, yada...

Still, now it was time for these people to put their money where their mouths were. Some of the people seated around me had travelled here from all around north island, many of them specifically to be delivered of their demons. They were invited forward first. Would there be any special effects?

There was a great crowd of about 30 of them. Hands were laid on, prayers were said, this went on for a while with nothing else happening. A few people cried. Some sank to the floor. Then one girl began to scream.

And this was no idle song she was crooning, she was in agony. A few minutes after she’d stopped, someone else went down. And then another. This happened so many times that it actually became normal.

And they were all in sheer agony.

I’ve heard theories that crowds of people can easily be controlled by suggestion, hypnosis, and simple neuro linguistic programming, playing to their own desires.

For me, none of these explanations come anywhere near to explaining how so many people can be convinced to convulse on the floor, screaming in agony, one at a time.

From my vantage point towards the back of the congregation, 2 things bothered me.

The first was that I hadn’t obtained prior permisson to take any photos. There was alot of very powerful body-language going on over there, and I really believed that it would translate well into a few pictures. I took one photo of a screaming girl on a zoom-lens without a flash, and in the available light it took about 10 seconds to expose. Well, that blurry image would have to do. Until it gets processed, we can but wonder whether anything will be in the image that I couldn’t see in real life.

My second problem had been a nagging worry, ever since I had first heard Edge’s minister teach that many Christians have demons in them. If demons really are that common, then do I have one? Wouldn’t it make logical sense to go forward in case?

The last speaker had said, and emphasized in his notes, that suffering rejection was a 'major doorway' for demons. Well at 34 I certainly feel as though I’ve been cursed with that.

Trouble was, I felt too embarrassed by this idea. Too ashamed. I couldn’t possibly go forward, because they would ask me why I had done so, and I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them. I needed someone to invite me.

Finally, after much soul-searching, I stood up.

Unfortunately this was because the seminar was now long since over, and they were locking the doors. And one of the screaming girls was leaving, laughing about how much better her eyes felt. My eyes felt worse. Oh, there was a sitcom plot right there...

So as, later that night, I sat on the last 68 bus home, I felt a bit sad. I’d given-in to a groundless fear, and I have this annoying personal rule about standing up to anything that scares me.

Somehow, tomorrow, I had to face it.


2 comment(s):

At 7:38 am, Blogger Kurt said...

Hey Steve,
Isn't NZ supposed to be AHEAD of USA in terms of time? This post is dated May 14, it wasn't there yesterday and today my calendar says May 24.?????
Anyway, I too find that many people will not discuss or contemplate the idea of demons. Yet, to me it is a pretty simple process: If you believe in good, then there is evil as well. If you believe in God, then Satan must be his counterpart. Angels? Demons.
Many Christians would rather ignore this aspect of our spiritual life than consider that possibility that there are forces working against us.
Check this link out to another blog I read often. I posted about it last week (week before?) on my blog. The comments are tragic reminders of man's poisoned search for bigger meaning, looking within and to the false for truth. Sorry, I haven't mastered HTML yet, so this has to be cut and pasted!
BTW, Damon is also in NZ (he commented on the original posting)

At 12:52 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Hey, Kurt.

Time is indeed all mixed-up here in the southern hemisphere. I've been a bit backlogged lately. The date on each posting is, usually, the date on which what I'm writing about happened, or at least finished. It could be more complicated. I went to Ethiopia a few years ago - according to their calender it's still 1997! No doubt they're all getting worried about the millennium bug!

I had actually read Jenn's post (via your own one) prior to publishing this. It is disappointing that so many of her commentators are willing to champion the views of one TV show over another, without it appears having actually seen either.

There was certainly no such energy stirred-up in the crowd I was at. Both speakers raisied their voices and shouted commands to each demon to leave, but these people were prayed for one at a time, and there's no way that any of them screamed in such pain because they wanted to.


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