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CHARISMATIC EXORCISMS -
A DEMONIC DECEPTION

 

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, November 5, 2000

 

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect"
(Matthew 24:24).

 

This verse gives us one of the clearest signs that we are living very near the end of the world as we know it - and the second coming of Christ. Christ gave this sign as an answer to the Disciples' question in verse three, "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Every Christian ought to know this sign in Matthew 24:24. And we ought to think about it constantly, because Jesus told us that the very elect, that is real Christians, will nearly be deceived. Commentator Charles J. Ellicott points out that if it were not for this warning in the Bible, true Christians "might have been carried away by the current of popular delusion" (Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. VI, p. 148). Deceivers are much more dangerous than persecutors. Satan's main weapon is deception rather than persecution. In Mark 13:22, we read:
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect" (Mark 13:22).

So "deception" and "seduction" through signs and wonders will characterize many "Christian" ministries in the last days.

Now the "false Christs" spoken of in these verses can refer to false concepts of Christ. These false concepts, these false Christs, will be preached by the "false prophets." I think this is the primary meaning. The Mormons preach a "false Christ." The Jehovah's Witnesses preach a "false Christ." The liberal Protestants and Catholics preach a "false Christ." And the Pentecostal oneness groups preach a "false Christ." And I have come to believe that the Pentecostals and most charismatics also preach a "false Christ." They confound the persons of the Trinity and mix up Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. This confounding of the Trinity causes them to actually become false prophets who preach a false Christ. I see this on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) nearly every time I flick it on for a moment. I see false prophets preaching about a false Christ!
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect" (Mark 13:22).
"…insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).

 

The "seduction" and "deception" of professing Christians is especially strong from the Pentecostals and charismatics, and certain new-evangelicals. And in no other area is this deception more apparent than in the area of "exorcism" or "deliverance" - the "casting out of demons" - by charismatics.
Here are highlights of a front-page story from the Los Angeles Times:
Exorcism Flourishing Once Again
Hundreds of ministries now exist, at least one providing the service over the radio. The resurgence has sparked a debate on the nature of evil and the ritual's role among Christians.
          RALEIGH, N.C. - Days before Halloween, the demons already were loose in this Southern town of tall pines and steepled churches.
          Bob Larson, an evangelical minister who has honed the art of exorcism into astonishing public performance, was facing down the demon of witchcraft in Karen Ward, a 42-year-old medical administrator. Or so the guttural voice that emanated from the woman identified itself.
          Before a standing-room-only crowd in a Hilton hotel here, the voice growled that it had gained a foothold in Ward by cursing her bloodline 10 generations ago, had pushed her into evil sex and intended to keep her in its grasp.
          Oh, yeah? Larson snarled, brandishing a Bible in one hand and a microphone in the other. "Witchcraft, face me!" he bellowed. "We break every curse! I now call down to you the wrath of God. Go now to the pit!"
          "To the pit!" the crowd chanted. The crowd went wild.
          The ancient ritual of exorcism, which fell out of favor in the Age of Reason, is once again flourishing in the Age of the Internet.
          End-of-the-world fears? A desire stoked by Hollywood occult films? Ministers looking for new lines of work?
          Whatever the cause, hundreds of exorcism ministries now exist - some with names like Demon Stompers that offer personal deliverance testimonies and toll-free lines for convenient counseling.
          Along with the heightened public interest in exorcisms has come a passionate debate on the nature of evil and the proper role of the ritual among Christians.
          Exorcisms are nearly as old as human civilization, practiced from antiquity by Babylonian priests, tribal healers and Jesus, himself. But, according to historians, exorcisms declined in Western churches about 200 years ago only to begin resurfacing in the 1970s.
          Recent growth seems brisk: An international exorcism association established by the Vatican's chief exorcist attracted just six practitioners to its first conference in 1993, but drew more than 200 exorcists and their lay assistants this summer.
          In the United States, the Catholic Church has quietly increased the number of appointed exorcists from just one in 1990 to between 15 and 20 today, according to Michael W. Cuneo, a Fordham University associate professor and author of a soon-to-be-published book, "American Exorcism." Moreover, he says, countless maverick priests are performing bootleg rites without their bishops' required permission.
          In 1994, Biola University in La Mirada began a course on exorcism and the related concept of "spiritual warfare," which primarily views the Christian life as one of battle between God and Satan.
          Last week, Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena convened the first in a yearlong series of meetings among its schools of psychology, theology and missions to begin exploring how to train its future ministers to deal with the controversial topic.
          In any case, the demand seems unabated.
                     (Los Angeles Times , October 31, 2000, p. A-1).
Now, I have become convinced that these "exorcisms" are a deception. We do not need exorcisms. We need conversions. Tens of thousands of charismatics and new-evangelicals have never been converted.
Jesus plainly taught us that casting out a demon will do no good whatever if a person remains unconverted. He said:
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation"
           (Matthew 12:43-45).
Dr. W. A. Criswell gave these comments on that passage of Scripture:
Jesus envisions a man who has undergone significant moral reformation (but not spiritual regeneration, i.e. conversion), including exorcism of the demon which formerly possessed him. However, since nothing of real spiritual significance has replaced the evil, the exorcised spirit eventually returns with seven wicked cohorts, reinhabiting the empty chambers of moral reformation and bringing on a condition more reprehensible than the original state of the man.
           (Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1979, note on
          Matthew 12:43-45).
If a person remains unconverted (as so very many in our churches are) then that person is "empty" because he does not have Christ in reality. He will become even more demonized later, according to Christ.
I am thinking of one young man whom I knew years ago. He held "exorcism" in high regard, and had many demons allegedly "cast out." But later he left his church and became a drug addict. He was murdered while in this state. "Exorcism" did him no good whatever! What he needed was conversion (Matthew 18:3).
Now, we will consider this subject under two headings.

 

I.  Satan displays signs and wonders in order to deceive people.

 

Let us consider the religion of Satan for a few minutes tonight. The Bible tells us that many "Christian" preachers are actually "false apostles, deceitful workers" (II Corinthians 11:13). Here is the full passage of Scripture:
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II Corinthians 11:13-15).

 

Much of so-called "Christianity" in our day is described in these verses.

How can we tell what is true and what is false? Only by following the Bible carefully (II Timothy 3:16-17). Now the Bible makes it quite clear that we should suspect as demonic any ministry or church that displays "great signs and wonders" (Matthew 24:24). Jesus said:
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).
Now turn to II Thessalonians, chapter two, verse nine. Here we read about the Antichrist, who will display many Satanic miracles:
"Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:9-10).

These verses show us that Satan has great power, and that he can give a man the ability to work "signs and lying wonders." People who are looking for "healings," and "exorcisms," and other "miracles" can easily be deceived by such a man, even now, in our time. Verse ten tells us that they are deceived "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:10).

You see, in Satan's counterfeit of Christianity, salvation is portrayed as relatively unimportant. The "big" thing is signs and wonders! When a preacher talks about miracles, and healings, and exorcisms, those who are deceived get all excited. But if a preacher starts talking about salvation, about real conversion, they close their eyes and think, "I've heard that already!" Thus, many deceived evangelicals will find that they were lost for eternity even though they thought they were saved. Turn with me to Matthew, chapter seven, verse twenty-one:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven…Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (i.e. preached) in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils (i.e. demons)? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).

These verses give us Christ's warning that miracles and "exorcisms" will do no good whatever if a person is unconverted. Christ will say, "I never knew you" at the Last Judgment of the unsaved dead.

 

II.  Satan allows his demons to be "cast out" as a deception, which more
         deeply ensnares those who experience "deliverance."

 

Turn back to Matthew 12:43-45.

 

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation"
           (Matthew 12:43-45).

Now notice the end of verse forty-five, "And the last state of that man is worse than the first." A person who has demons "cast out" without being converted is worse off than he was before!

Don't get me wrong - I do believe in demons, and I do believe that they control unconverted people (Ephesians 2:2), and I do believe that they tempt even the converted (Luke 4:2). But I believe that true deliverance (or "exorcism" if you will) comes only through a thorough conversion to Christ. Jesus said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).

And it is the business, and the ONLY business, of a true preacher to preach Christ! As Christ told Paul,

"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Christ)" (Acts 26:18).
I have no higher calling as a minister of Jesus Christ than that! My duty is to call you to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins! Away with "exorcisms" - you need Christ! Away with "signs and wonders" - you need Christ! Away with "healings" - you need Christ! You need Christ to forgive your sins and convert your heart!
We hear many "testimonies" today, but few of them say much about Jesus forgiving sins. I am suspicious of such "testimonies." Can you tell me about a day and an hour when Jesus Christ forgave you of your sins? If you can't, I don't think that you are converted. I think you are still lost and going to Hell! No wonder you have so little love for the local church. No wonder you have so little love for Christ.
Jesus said to a proud, religious man, "To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" (Luke 7:47). Then Jesus turned to a poor woman. She had crawled on her hands and knees to get to Him. She wanted Jesus to forgive her sins. And Jesus said to her, "Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48).
Jesus died to pay for your sins. He arose from the dead and is alive now in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Come like that sinful woman who crawled on her hands and knees to get to Jesus. Come to Jesus. Behold Him who loves and will wash away your sins in His own precious Blood (Revelation 1:5). Behold Him! He loves you! Look to Him. He will save you! He will save you now!

 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Matthew 12:43-45.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Ye Must Be Born Again"

 

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

CHARISMATIC EXORCISMS -
A DEMONIC DECEPTION


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect"
(Matthew 24:24).

 

           I.   Satan displays signs and wonders in order to deceive,

                    Matthew 24:24; II Thessalonians 2:9-10; Matthew 7:21-23.

           II.  Satan allows his demons to be "cast out" as a deception, which

                    more deeply ensnares those who experience "deliverance,"

                    Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 4:18; Acts 26:18; Luke 7:47-48.