ChristianityTodayLibrary.com
Member Login  |  Email:  Password    Not a member?  Join now!
home
 Search:  browse by topicbrowse by publicationhelp

Seminary &
Grad School Guide
Search by Name
 

or use:
Advanced Search
to search by major, region, cost, affiliation, enrollment, more!


Member Services
My Account
Contact Us
Christianity TodaySeptember 3September 3 2001

FREE ARTICLE PREVIEW

 ARTICLE TOOLS


Exorcism 101
What can we learn from the way Jesus cast out demons?



The gerasene demoniac account (Matt 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) is so alien to our experience that New Testament scholar E.P. Sanders compared it to the strange apocryphal legends about Jesus—such as his turning clay birds into real ones. Although evangelicals would not go that far, we are in a quandary about how to make sense of the passage. Should we negotiate with demons the way Jesus did? If no pigs are available, should we consider casting demons into a tank of goldfish?

Many scholars grapple with questions the text presents: Where did this event happen—Gerasa, Gadara, or somewhere else? How many demoniacs were there? (Matthew says there were two; Luke and Mark say one.) These questions, while important, do not help us draw out implications for our beliefs and practices today.

Part of the difficulty is that we are still not sure if we be lieve in the reality of demons. Liberal biblical scholarship has often suggested that the text reflects a worldview that has no relevance today, that the demonic was the first century's way of describing modern psychological diagnoses (personalities in dissociative disorder or a projection of the inner self) or political categories (the demons are symbols of an oppressive power structure).

Evangelicals typically affirm the reality of demons but often see the function of the story as magnifying the authority of Jesus. Little attention is given to what we can learn from Jesus about dealing with demons.

Here are some lessons we can learn if we assume the reality of demons as created, personal spirit beings, and see the Gospels as containing lessons on discipleship from Jesus:

• Many demons can inhabit a person simultaneously. A Roman legion normally consisted of 6,000 men.

• Demons can ...



Are you a CTLibrary member or a Christianity Today subscriber with archives privileges?
To read the rest of this article, log in here:
Email  Password  

If you're a Christianity Today print subscriber...
...but have not yet registered for online access to CTLibrary.com, you can receive a full-year's access for just $29.95!

Register Here
 If you're NOT a Christianity Today print subscriber...
You're entitled to a special, introductory offer for new subscribers only! Subscribe now and receive a one-year Christianity Today print magazine subscription and one-year access to all Christianity Today archives for just $39.95!

Subscribe now!


Subscribe!



Subscribe now

Give a gift subscription



Shopping
Bible Studies
Leadership Training
Small Group Resources

Featured Items