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One teaching popular in the Vineyard Movement, but not supported by the Bible, is the teaching of "deliverance" for Christians. We believe this teaching to be harmful to the body of Christ, and sound the following warning.
Nowhere in the Bible has one Christian delivered another Christian of anything at anytime! Christians, with the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling them, always delivered unbelievers, or persons seeking salvation and needing deliverance. Christians never "delivered" other Christians in Bible times, so why would we want to start now? Not only are there no recorded instances of one Christian delivering another, but according to God's Holy Word, demons have no power over true Christians.
We are composed of body, soul, and spirit, according to the Bible. Could demons possible invade any of these areas? The Bible assures us they cannot! 2 Thessalonians 1:21-23 says this:
"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Sanctify" means to be made clean, spotless, and holy. God has sanctified us in every area, body, soul, and spirit. Demons cannot invade where God dwells.
Are you born-again? Yes? Then the devil cannot even TOUCH you. 1 John 5:18, 19 says, "...but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. We know we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."
It is the world that is in the power of the evil one, not Christians. We are sanctified completely in the power of God, and the evil one cannot touch us. However, there is one way that the evil one can harass us, and that is if we give him permission, by giving mental assent to the idea that he can influence our lives.
If you have been going against the word of God by allowing "deliverance", repent of it now, and ask God's forgiveness. If you feel harassed, quote the word of God to the demons, that's what Jesus did when the devil tempted Him. (Matthew, chapter 4:1-11).
Since the New Testament so clearly does not teach "deliverance" for Christians, those performing this act try to justify it by Old Testament references about "curses" etc.
Let's clear that up now. Exodus 20:5. says:
"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me."
First off, notice what the subject of the verse is--true worship versus false worship. Who gets the "iniquity" visited upon the third and the fourth generation? The answer is plain-- "those who hate Me". Do you hate God? You don't? You say you love God? Great--then you could not possibly ever have any kind of "iniquity" visited upon you--and who says these are demons anyway? Not any Bible dictionary I have read!
There is further good news in the next verse, Exodus 20:6, "but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments". If you love God and keep His commandments, verse 6 applies to you, not verse 5. You are the recipient of God's loving kindness, and nothing sinister can penetrate God's protection of you. The idea that some kind of "ancestral spirits" can influence your life today is taught by some in the Vineyard, but dismissed by Ezekiel 18:20,
"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."
(See also Deuteronomy 24:16).
All this agrees completely with the New Testament teaching that we are each a "new creature in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a new creature in Christ at the time of our salvation, we need no longer fear the devil. He has no power over us, as we renounce our former ways and repent. We are new, and we are clean. Our ancestors likewise have no power over us.
In fact, the demons may not be to blame at all, for whatever you are trying to get "delivered" from. If a Christian continues to have unclean thoughts etc. then we need to look to the condition of our own hearts.
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man". Mark 7:21-23; (See also Matthew 15:18,19; Jeremiah 17:9,10).
This is difficult for some who always want to put the blame elsewhere, on the Devil, or ancestral spirits etc., rather than on themselves, with their "own heart" as the source. There is a cure for this uncleanness or bad behavior for a Christian and that is the biblical way--not a questionable "deliverance", but, as Ephesians 5:25-27 says,
"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless."
All of us desire to be Christ's bride, His wife. If we really love Him, we need to obey Him. Our cleansing comes from "washing of water with the word". It does not come from anything other than what He says it comes from--"washing of water with the word". Christians fall prey to wrong doctrine and practices when they do not have enough of God's word, the Bible, in their hearts and lives. It's not too late to turn to the word of God for help in every circumstance. Hebrews 4:12 says,
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Christians, do not think that anything-- experiences, prophesying, manifestations, or feelings can replace the sure anchor of the word of God. It is two-edged, both for offense and defense of all things. Abide in Christ, and abide in His word. Keep your relationship with Jesus Christ pure and undefiled, for that is what He is seeking in a bride.
So, Christians must ask, "Do we belong in the Vineyard where there is a mixture of the good and the bad? Can we really be discerning enough to take the good, and ignore the bad? Do we know the Bible so well, that we will not be out in areas where we should not be? Will we have a servant's heart like Christ, reaching out to the lost and dying, or become self-seeking and inward-looking, even with the best of intentions? Will we take to heart the warning words of the bible that "...a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough"?
Ask yourself, has God ever allowed a mixture of true and false in any of His congregations in times past? Does God ever change? (Malachi 3:6) We are sobered by the words of the Apostle Paul:
"....you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." (1 Cor. 10:21)
In conclusion, the Bible put in warnings for a reason---and we can clearly see why in these days. Will you listen to these warnings and turn back from fleshly pursuits, and roller coaster Christianity to a solid faith in Christ? We hope so. Write if we can help you.