On more than one occasion I had heard people mention an organisation called Ellel Ministries and they had benefited from their approach. I decided to check them out. Looking at their website and listening to teaching clips, I was happy. They were Bible-based, charismatic, effective as far as I could see. The only slight misgiving I had was their counselling method which at least in part consists of seeking root causes of problems in past experiences.
Again, I had been wary of this. I believed that if you trust in Christ’s blood, his finished work on the cross and focus on who you are in Christ, you don’t need to ‘delve’ into your past experiences. Surely, our old self has been crucified with Christ. Why go into our past? I was at a point now however where I just had to trust that they knew what they were doing. Also, I have been to just about every type of Christian meeting imaginable and I’m not afraid of having to deal with weird stuff.
One of the points made in their publicity intrigued me. It differentiated between ‘sins’ – deliberate disobedience and ‘wounds’ – hurts that affect us causing a vice or an addiction.
The point is this. Some have sins and seek ‘inner healing’ or deliverance, which is of course inappropriate. But is there another side to this? Do some seek repentance and fail becausethey actually need to be healed and/or delivered?
Of course, it was a difficult subject to talk to my wife about. She knew I had a problem with pornography, didn’t know how bad the problem was and did not really want to talk about it. She brought the subject up occasionally when she was particularly annoyed with me.
One late evening I had been surfing the net for less than edifying websites. I had been accustomed to lying to her. But I decided to be different this time. She was still awake and wandering around the house. I decided to be open with her. I sat her down and told her what I had been doing.
She didn’t want any detail, but wanted conformation that it had nothing to do with children, which it wasn’t. Then she pleaded with me to do something about it. I promised to do something. I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Derek Prince’s book explained how to carry out self-deliverance, something that Derek Prince himself successfully carried out to overcome depression. I decided to have a go.
I had to wait for an opportune time. I didn’t want to appear foolish. I waited for a quiet moment when everyone was out of the house and I began to confess my sins all over again, renounce them and tell the spirits of lust to leave in the name of Jesus. I did a fair amount of shaking along the way and actually felt cleansed at the end of it.
What actually happened I don’t know. Maybe it was spiritual. Maybe it was psychological. I wouldn’t even waste time arguing with anyone over it. All I know is, it appeared to work and a victory seemed to have been won…. for a few weeks! Then I fell into temptation again. Another defeat!
This time however, I was not in complete despair. When the need for deliverance is particularly strong, sometimes self-deliverance is not effective. We have the body of Christ for a reason. Surely, all I needed to do was to find someone who believed in and practiced this form of ministry. But where do I look?
I heard of a young ex-drug addict where I am from who had become a Christian. He stopped taking the drugs, got a good job and his story was an inspiration to many. But after some time, he started smoking the dope again. He couldn’t seem to overcome. He ended up committing suicide. Why do people with deep hurts, emotional problems, addictions and so on become Christians but not overcome? Didn’t they repent properly? Is the gospel not for them, but for more stable, nice people? No! Surely not!!! If the gospel means anything, it is the ‘power of God’ for those who are being saved.
And what about these fanatics who see demons as the root of every problem? They have been known to cause a lot of problems and bring the church into disrepute. And yet the fact remains that even traditional churches have ‘Diocesan Exorcists’. What’s going on here?
From the two books I have just mentioned, I had come to some clear conclusions.
Derek Prince is someone I have been blessed by many times before and I know his teaching is well researched and scriptural. He is not someone I can dismiss easily. Neither is he one to come up with bizarre, exaggerated stories, and I do not regard him as a publicity seeker. Nevertheless, this book opened up to me an area of ministry which was largely new to me. I could not argue with his arguments from scripture, and his anecdotes, though sometimes bizarre, seemed to fit in with the scriptural worldview as I knew it. The possibilities now staring me in the face were now quite simple:
- Deliverance from demons was a commonplace part of ministry in the New Testament
- Deliverance from demons is a rarity in UK churches
- Deliverance is for Christians
- Deliverance ministry enables many Christians to overcome deeply rooted problems that nothing else appears to have solved
- Many people in our churches today go from week to week carrying deeply rooted problems that don’t get resolved through normal bible teaching and pastoral ministry.
What happens to all these people who seemingly cannot overcome despite the fact that they may get good ministry from their churches? Some give up on the faith. Some have ended up committing suicide. For many, we write them off as unrepentant, carnal Christians, or unsaved and regard it as their fault. Many Christians simply hide their vices well and succeed in looking good to other Christians, knowing deep down that if they admit they have problems with fornication or sexual temptation or drugs or alcohol or gambling or depression or domestic violence or anger or self-harm, nobody can help them anyway, so it’s not worth the embarrassment of admitting they need help.
I had been like this. Why admit this to anyone? They can’t help anyway.
But I now had an idea. I’m going to have a go at something Prince mentioned in his book. Self-Deliverance!
At this point in my story, I watched this on You Tube.
I’m really pleased for this young lad, and for those he has helped maybe someone who reads this blog will be helped by it as well. He says a lot of really good things.
So why didn’t it help me?
I can honestly say that I did enjoy the presence of the Lord in my life. I’m serious! I was faithful in prayer, Bible study – I know my Bible better than most. I enjoyed the Lord’s presence.
For me, the problem seemed to run deeper than simply not finding satisfaction in the Lord. There are many Christians out there who are burdened with (for example) depression or worry even though they have a good walk with the Lord.
It is easy to fall into the trap (as I think this young man has) of saying ‘this is what helped me, so this is the only thing that can help you’. That is why I am reluctant to dismiss being accountable to others (after all, we need each other!!!), using internet filters (shouldn’t we avoid things that lead us into sin?), as this video does.
People are complex creatures, and if we are wise, we will realise that what works with one does not necessarily work with another.
It would be wrong to think I was ineffective for Christ. I often went a few weeks without being affected by pornography. I had a reasonably good walk with the Lord at these times, sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit, enjoyed scripture and prayer, worked faithfully, loved my family and served happily in my local church.
I would also go into town sometimes on a Saturday and share my faith with groups of youngsters who were hanging around, or people who were giving out leaflets and hand out tracts. I had just finished doing this one day and thought I would call in at the local Christian bookshop.
I almost never have the time to browse through books. I wanted to buy something. I like Derek Prince, having seen him speak a couple of times a number of years ago and also read some of his books. There was a small, interesting looking book by him for about £7. I was about to get it when I saw a more expensive one – £8 – but more than double the size. Its title? ‘They shall cast out demons’! What a provocative title! I decided to part with the extra £1.
Now I had been wary of this subject for many years. Over 20 years ago some ‘amateurs’ had it in their mind that I had demons and had a try at casting them out. I think they failed. But I’m not really sure. It was a bizarre experience. My conclusion from it was that unless they manifest themselves, demons do not need to be sought, addressed or expelled. Also that a committed, spirit filled Christian cannot be demon possessed – oppressed perhaps, but not possessed. My commitment from then on was to focus on the Word – find out my position in Christ according to the scriptures. I found this approach very helpful indeed. I overcome depression, fear, cowardice, doubt and some sinful patterns of behaviour by doing this. I became more and more a person of the word and it really worked for me. Any idea of being delivered from demons had been far from my mind for many years.
This book presented an interesting challenge to me. I respected Derek Prince. Was he ‘over the top’ in this area, or had I got it wrong all these years?