Summary: There is a belief that one or more parts of a Born-Again Christian can be demon-possessed. Some claim that the ‘spirit’ and body can be possessed but the ‘soul’ cannot. Others state that the ‘soul’ and ‘body’ of a person can be possessed but not the ‘spirit.’
During the late 1960’s there began a teaching within the church that is now known as ‘Deliverance Ministry (DM).’ It is believed by a majority of DM proponents that when a person becomes Born-Again, light comes into their spirit, and they become brand new, but their body will not be made new until Jesus returns and they receive their glorified body. It is also believed that the ‘soul’ (thinking, emotions, will, etc.) is not regenerated as well.
The teaching of DM states that any ’infirmity’ (cancer, epilepsy, arthritis, and any disease for that matter) could be caused by a demonic spirit that has entered their body and soul through an open door of personal sin, as well as from their ancestral bloodline of curses caused by their fathers’ sin being passed down to them, which will control, influence, vex, or oppress those areas with mental illness, fear, self-hatred, anger, unforgiveness, trauma, abandonment, rejection, suicide, witchcraft, pornography, drug addiction, sickness, and disease, and therefore, they must be regularly cast out. Within DM, there are lists and lists of thousands of names of evil spirits.
They also believe that sanctification is setting a person apart from sin and works of darkness. Therefore, DM is part of the sanctification process because most demons come generationally and from sin patterns before a person becoming a Christian.
This teaching goes to the heart of God’s sovereign authority.
'He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son' (Col 1:13 ESV).
The historical facts are that there has been no mention of anything remotely like modern ‘Deliverance Ministry’ over the last 2,000 years. Nor is there any historical writing by a Church leader that states directly, or indirectly, that a Born-Again Christian can have a demon.
The Bible gives no instructions or commands to cast a demon out of a Born-Again Christian. Instead, it instructs them, to:
1. “Be self-controlled and alert”
2. “Stand firm in the faith”
3. “Submit” themselves “to God”
4. “RESIST the devil and he will FLEE from” them
(James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9 – emphasis mine).
Explicit Vs. Implicit
Even though there are zero accounts in Scripture of a Born-Again Christian having demons cast out of them the primary proof they offer is their personal experience, and adamantly state that “a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an opinion” (i.e., biblical theology) because there are no explicit Scriptures verses that say specifically, word for word, that a demon cannot possess a Born-Again Christian. They believe that it is experience that primarily shapes the interpretation of God’s Word rather than the Bible shaping their experiential theology.
Just as there is no single explicit verse that says a Born-Again Christian cannot have a demon within them, the Bible also does not explicitly state that God is triune, yet it implicitly says in numerous places that God, the Father; God, the Son, Jesus; and God, the Holy Spirit are one God, yet three distinctly different persons which are called the Trinity.
There are, however, 100's of implicit verses that are deductively valid because they clearly show how, and why, a Born-Again Christian could never be possessed or indwelt by a demon. The Bible is full of messages, instructions, commandments, charges, directions, and requirements that were not recorded in some instances because they were implicit to the situations.
The Bible is a mix of explicit commandments and instructions, together with explicit and implicit teachings. What is essential for the student of the Bible is to know and understand what is genuinely implicit without adding in their ideas to twist the Scriptures to say something that they don't say. They must keep in mind the principle that the explicit, direct teaching passages of the Bible, must be considered in their grammatical and historical context, along with the context of the whole Bible to come to an interpretation that conveys their teaching less directly and more implicitly.
A word in the Bible means what it meant in the context of its original grammatical and historical usage. The person who originally used it gave it an exact intended meaning in the context of what they were saying. You can't take a word from the original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic and try to give it a meaning from a modern dictionary that is in a different language.
Power over the Enemy
Jesus gave His Disciples power over the devil. Christians have already overcome the enemy. Jesus destroyed the works of the enemy and lives IN every Born-Again Christian. The physical body, which includes the flesh and not just the spirit/soul, is His dwelling place and is now His Temple - the Holy of Holies (See Luke 9:1-2; 1 John 2:13-14, 3:8, 4:4).
There are two words in the New Testament that are translated “Temple.” They are “Naos” and “Hieron.” The word used to describe the body as a “Temple” of the Holy Spirit is the word “Naos.” This word is also used metaphorically to describe the physical body of Jesus: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19-22 NIV).