Not to alarm anyone, but we saw a demon manifest in church today. I’m hoping Marshall will agree to doing a vlog with me so that we can walk through the events as they occurred, as well as the unremarkable outcome, so stay tuned.
At the conclusion of service at Shack Church, one of the leaders of the church came forward to exhort the congregation to live a clean life. He preached from 1 Peter where Jesus instructs the faithful to be holy, “even as I am holy”. The service again was 98% in Afrikaans, so it is difficult – nay, impossible – for me to report precisely what was said. All I know is that he made a general call for prayer, and then specifically called for a young woman who was sitting silently at the back of the church to come forward for prayer.
This particular pastor/leader is very heavy handed, so much so that it behooves the individual under his spiritual administrations to drop to the floor immediately rather than risk physical injury from an open-palm blow to the forehead. I saw one androgynous teen make the right call to do so within milliseconds of standing in his prayer line. He then turned his attention to the young woman he had singled out from the congregation.
“In the name of Jesus, I speak freedom! Go! Go! GO!!”
Her body shook like 3000 volts of power had hit it. She spun around, knocked into a few other people in the prayer line and then dropped to the floor like a piece of luggage carelessly flung by a baggage handler. Once on the ground, she began to writhe and roll about as if in agony. The elder stood over her shouting for the (presumed) presence in her to “Go! Go! GO!” in the name of Jesus. This impatient command was followed with shouts of “Fire! FIRE!” at her vacillating body. A number of people with small children began to flee the church immediately, and for good reason. I recall that when I was a Christian elementary school in Ghana, one of the teachers who instructed us in social studies (which included religion) told us that if you are “not a strong Christian” a demon can jump out of the body of the person being delivered and jump into YOU.
Naturally, I began praying in tongues, calling on that memory.
According to the girl’s mother, she could go for days without eating and would sometimes imitate the ferocious growls of a lion. As she was describing the manifestation, the girl did indeed draw up her fingers into claws and began to snarl, breathing slowly and heavily. The praying continued until she lay completely still, immobile on the mildewy carpet beneath our feet.
The entire ‘deliverance’ session went on for about 10-15 minutes before the heavy-handed pastor looked at this young girl and determined that she was “still not set free”. By this time, my own children had left the church and were waiting patiently in the car; Stone and Liya completely oblivious to what had taken place, Aya full of concern, and Nadjah nonchalant.
I hugged the girl after she’d been helped from the floor and whispered that she was going to be all right. Her body felt like a board. She did not respond to my gentle encouragement. Then she and her mother disappeared down the road.
So here is my struggle as a believer in the supernatural, but a skeptic as well. Some of this stuff – the forcing of people’s bodies to the ground, the blowing of wind into their ears to disorient them – I think are just theatrics. I have never ascribed to the idea that you have to fall on the floor to be considered “under the power”. However, to be fair, I have prayed with a woman from what was once Rhodesia and nearly been knocked to the floor by the Spirit. THAT came as a shock, because she didn’t even touch me. To this day, I’m sure she had some incense or wood burning that messes with your equilibrium. But do I believe in angels and demons? Absolutely! Except in real life situations like the one I experienced today.
My husband knows that the roots of my skepticism come from the death of one of my closest friends in 2002. A number of us had been called to pray for her healing while she was in the ICU. We did everything “right”. Read all the right scriptures, formed a circle around her, touched her body with anointing oil. She came off of life support a day later and died. Since then, I have held the position that God CAN heal the sick and raise the dead…He just doesn’t. Just like this girl today. He could have released that lion/demon from that girl, but for only reasons known to God, He didn’t. Marshall says that the only way a demon will come out of a possessed person is if they want to let the spirit go. They have to desire freedom.
So this is where I would love to hear from you spirit-filled believers: How do we know that someone has been set free? I mean, truly set free? What is the evidence? Do they get up from the floor praising God, or are they silent? Do you have to wait a few days to see if the worrisome behavior continues, or do you get a witness in your spirit at that moment that the individual has been redeemed? And if every spirit is subject to the name of Jesus, why does it take shouting his name ten, twenty, a hundred times before that spirit submits…if it DOES submit?
Also, is it important to call the demon by its name in order to command it to go? What I did find interesting is that they kept asking the girl what her name was and she WOULD NOT answer. That gave me pause.
This is very different from what we experience in America. This is some next level stuff right here.