Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

Growing up around a certain level of charismania I have seen more than my fair share of how some people do deliverance. Some of it was good, some of it wasn’t. Some it was grace-based, a lot of it wasn’t. I also think there is a lot of crazy superstitions around this ministry, so I want to start my series with a look at some myths I believe surround it. Deliverance is one of those ministries that tend to scare people off because people just don’t know enough about it, or what they know is not true to begin with.

If you are new to deliverance, you might not have a framework for some of the things I am going to mention. You are lucky.

Myth 1: Hollywood over exaggerates

This is a tricky one because yes movies like the exorcist are way over the top, but I have also seen things you wouldn’t believe if I told you. (And I will tell you in future posts) So in some regards Hollywood exaggerates but in other areas not so much.

Myth 2: You have to first get the person saved before you can deliver them

Newsflash people, almost every single person Jesus healed or delivered was not saved beforehand. By saying people need to be saved first you are placing a conditional on freedom. Also, it is much easier to present the gospel to an unbeliever who just experienced God’s deliverance than it is to present it to a still demonized unbeliever.

Myth 3: You have to confess the sin that opened the door for the demon

Jesus never once asked anybody to confess their sin before He healed or delivered them. This is just a stalling tactic probably invented by the demons themselves. Dealing with sin in a person’s life and casting out demons do often go hand in hand, but unconfessed sin does not give any demon a right to stay.

Myth 4: Sin opens the door to devils

This one is also tricky but in essence no sin gives the devil a right to you. He is a thief and a thief steals that which he has no right to. If your sin gives him a right, he would not be a thief and you would be in the wrong for casting him out. Sin does however make it much easier for him to destroy areas of your life. If I lock my car in my garage with the alarm set and gear lock on, a thief can still steal it, but it would be harder. If I leave my car unlocked in a dark alley in a shady part of town with the key in the ignition, there is a much higher chance of it being stolen, but just because I did something dumb doesn’t give the thief rights to my car. Theft is theft.

Myth 5: You have to find out the demon’s name before it will leave

This one comes down through charismania where deliverance ministers believe that a demon will only leave once it’s name or agenda has been figured out. This again is a stalling tactic aimed at wearing out the minister. Knowing the name and agenda of a demon can be useful, but it is not a prerequisite for deliverance.

Myth 6: Christians can’t have demons

Theologically many folks like to stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and live in denial, but the fact remains that Christians can have demons. I have cast out thousands of demons over the last 12 years, most of them were cast out of Christians, even grace-walking-spirit-filled-tongue-speaking Christians. I taught on the subject once at a leading grace church and the next day received 6 calls from people who wanted ministry. They all came, and demons manifested and were cast out of every one of them. Theology sounds nice, freedom feels much better.

Myth 7: Don’t touch the demonized person while ministering because the demon can jump into you

I don’t know who came up with this one. Probably based on the story in Acts 19:13-16 of the 7 sons of Sceva and a Jewish high priest who got knocked around by a manifesting demon who then chased them naked and wounded down the street. Demons don’t just jump from one person to another. That is a fear tactic used to prevent you from attempting deliverance. Fear pushes faith out, and without faith you are going to struggle to set people free.

Myth 8: The devil and his demons are powerless and can’t influence us 

If that were true the world would look much different. This again is a finger-in-the-ear-cop-out from those who are more interested in theory than actually setting people free. Yes the principalities and power have been disarmed, but the disarming was in the removal of the law and ordinances that opposed us, and in the returning of authority lost by first Adam. If the devil was powerless, Jesus would not have instructed us to cast devils out or be waiting for the devil to be made a footstool, God wouldn’t need to crush him under our feet, James wouldn’t have needed to tell us to resist him, Paul wouldn’t have needed to write to not be ignorant of his schemes and Peter wouldn’t have had to warn us that he is walking around looking for people to devour. The devil has power, but you have more. Stop making excuses and use yours to crush him, that’s why you have it.

I think I will end it here for now. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below. Perhaps there are some myths I forgot about and your questions will help kill more of the sacred cows of deliverance.

I’ll start telling some deliverance stories next time.


50 Responses to 8 Myths About Deliverance

  • Tracy says:

    That was really good. Practical and easy to remember. What I was taught in the past produced so much fear and too many rules to remember, I wouldn’t have attempted to try and cast anything out of anyone. i think this series you are doing is going to be very helpful. Thank you. :)

  • Sebastien says:

    Hi, thanks for your article.

    Question : how does one know if one needs deliverance ? Is it because of proper demonic manifestations, nightmares, addictions, repetitive sin…?

    • Cornel says:

      I will answer this question in depth as I work through the topic systematically. Short answer: You’ll know if you need it. If you’re not sure, ask the Holy Spirit. If you’re still not sure, do it anyway. If there’s nothing then there’s nothing. If there’s something then you get free.

  • Stefano says:

    You mentioned that Christians can have demons and I agree. I was wondering if you could explain this point a little deeper. I know some people say that demons can live in the soul of a Christian and not the Spirit. I understand it in the same way a sickness can manifest on the body of a believer but obviously their Spirit is still completely reborn and healed. What are your thoughts ?

    • Cornel says:

      Demons are most often found in the body or mind of a person. If you want to say soul that is fine too but soul is very arbitrary. Mind is easier to understand.

  • Daniel Dixon says:

    I have a question on Christians being possessed. I have seen it happen before, but I still have questions on how it happens. Scripturally, I haven’t found a single example of a Christian being possessed. But in life, I have. It hasn’t really stopped me from deliverance, but it still bothers me.

    • Cornel says:

      There are loads of things the Bible doesn’t mention. But possession and deliverance are not extra-biblical concepts. The principle is in scripture so regardless of in who we encounter a devil, we are to cast it out.

  • Tracy says:

    A quick question, but you might cover it anyway. I always thought that non Christians could be possessed, but Christians could not, as possession implies ownership. Can Christians maybe be opressed, rather than posessed? Is there a difference? In my mind, posession was demons living in the person, as opposed to the other being demons just attaching themselves to a person to harass and decieve. Maybe I have been reading to many novels… but I would like clarification on that if you would be so kind. :)

    • Cornel says:

      Demons can be in a believer, in very rare instances they can influence the believer to the point that they seem to be possessed but believers always belong to Jesus. So yes, oppression would be a better word used to describe demonic activity in a person, though oppression can also be external.

  • Christine says:

    Great article, lots to chew on :-)
    Glad you brought up myth 5. I always remember as a very young Christian being told “Never bother to ask a demon it’s name or agenda. The devil is a liar so you aren’t going to get the right answer anyway!!”

  • RevKev says:

    Good stuff Cornel!

    I agree fully with 7 out of 8, but only partially with #4.

    The devil is not only a thief. He is also a liar. He didn’t steal anything from Adam. It was given to him. Overall it’s thievery perhaps as it was not his to have, but man is ALWAYS a collaborator. ALWAYS. Demons have no power or strength to act without permission, which could simply be laziness or ignorance. Permission most of the time as the world is concerned is usually a lack of knowledge. He is defeated in Christ, and Christ in us is his bane.Yes, believers can have demons, but only weak and marginal believers. Strong believing disciples of Jesus Christ will never suffer from that, which is why only the strongest disciples should ever, ever embark on a deliverance ministry.

    Be blessed my friend. You are doing a good work here.

    • Cornel says:

      So you say demons only act when given permission? Why what obedient beings they must be… How is that they are God’s and our enemies if they only do what we permit them to do? I don’t mean to sound condescending but the logic you are giving here, even about strong and weak believers is exactly the myths and traditions of men I am out to destroy.

      • RevKev says:

        I’m for destroying traditions as long as we make sure we don’t cause collateral damage.

        What I am saying is demons look for compliance. Soft touches. Just as resistance causes them to flee, compliance draws them in.

        Consider the opposite of what you just said. Do you not believe that demons can be resisted? Do you see yourself a candidate for demonic oppression or possession? When God asked Adam and Eve, “What have YOU done?”, do you not see compliance?

        From the very first sin, even the chief enemy could not accomplish his will without the agreement of Adam.

        The strong disciple who follows Christ as directed never has a worry of being victimized by demonic forces. Jesus says the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. What He meant was is that the Church should be assaulting the gates of hell, not cowering behind the gate awaiting the next evil onslaught.

        I am not your enemy here, Cornel. I’m just pointing out an inconsistency on your part.

        Peace, Love, Joy. Be blessed.

        • Cornel says:

          Though I agree that in some cases ‘compliance’ can be key, it is not always the case. Yes, believers who know their authority and power should not worry about these things. But those of us who are stronger also can not let the weaker ones suffer. Yet at the same time I have met very strong Christians, who have walked in grace with Christ for year, seen people healed and delivered through their own ministry, and when I pray for them demons manifest. Therefore I a vigilant, as Paul encourages us to be when it comes to the devil, and I refuse to be ignorance of his schemes. One of his schemes, I believe, is that as soon as I want to teach people how to better and more effectively crush him, all sorts of believers come at me with objections as to why that is not necessary. There is only one person who doesn’t want you to be more effective in crushing the devil under your foot, and it is not The One who commissioned you to do it.

          • tonyh says:

            RevKev, I follow your line of thought, but it got me thinking: is there any disciples of Jesus that is as strong or better than Jesus? My own answer to my own question is no. But devil tempted Jesus. That was a direct attack. I believe the devil tried to sink Jesus in that boat while He was sleeping. I know the devil attacked Jesus through the Pharisees etc. We all know He entered Peter, to influence Jesus and Jesus rebuked Him. He entered Judas to attack Jesus and Jesus allowed Him. He kill James and put Peter in prison through man. He caused confusion with the Apostles and they fought the gospel of peace to gentiles Paul preached. He is the author of death and he has killed many man of God over the history. In my thinking, its not only about “compliance”, its about response when he does come. Your line of thinking seems to suggest he is invited. But Eph 6 says the day of evil will come. If even the very Godly on earth today experience the evil day while they are not watching, they will stagger instead of standing ground. For the devil is looking for those he may devour, no invitation. In fact those resisting him maybe primary targets, for the rest are already falling by habit without his aid!

  • Laura says:

    I absolutely believe that deliverance is necessary because Jesus says it is. I think the problem comes in when different camps make it into EVERYTHING when Jesus did not. They have 52 steps of going through this and that and renouncing this generational curse and that generational curse. Almost turning it into a religion. Jesus did not do that. He took His authority and quickly took care of the problem. We are to do it the same way … not turn it into a focus and lifestyle. When you see someone in need of deliverance, you take care of it … then go back to focusing on Jesus.

    Cornel … thank you for everything you do for the KINGDOM!!! You’re appreciated :grin:

  • Christine Martin says:

    Cornel ,this is exactly what I was looking for..a good, simple and straightforward teaching about this extremely “touchy ‘ subject…God bless you, I can’t wait to read more …

  • robin bremer says:

    Great teaching I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences. I would love to put this on my web site but not sure how to do that. Do I ping it and how do I do that?

  • Donna says:

    Awesome write ups Cornel. =) The other day when you first published something, I had a conversation with a woman just the day before about demonization and deliverance. I too have had MANY encounters with the demonic and deliverances in the US and abroad.

    One myth: Demons are more active in 3rd world countries than in America. haha We just tolerate many of them in the US so they have no reason to manifest. Yeah, that one would get me in hot water with a lot of people, but it’s truth.

    I’ve done deliverance on people in church, during church, non-believers, etc. In India, I was told to do deliverance on someone but the translator left. Yep, can’t confess sin if you can’t communicate. Can’t verify they are saved or anything. Prayed in tongues and the demon left – peace ruled. Broke all my rules of what I’d be taught, it was the best lesson on deliverance I had complements of Holy Spirit!


  • Greg Cruickshank says:

    Good evening. I’m curious concerning myth 6- you would say it is possible for a Christian to have a demon. You’ve addressed that its not a theologically popular stance which I would agree with, theology may in this case confuse fact with easy to stomach theory. I’m wondering how a Christian would recognize they or someone else indeed had a demon? I’m new to deliverance so this is maybe an elementary question.



    • Cornel says:

      Hi Greg,

      I will get into that more in depth as I continue the series. Sometimes believers just know they need deliverance, other times they don’t, other times Holy Spirit gives words of knowledge etc. For example, a friend asked me for prayer the other day because she was feeling anxious and didn’t sleep well. I started praying and the next minute a demon manifested. Neither of us expected that to happen. But 1 minute later the demon was cast out and she has been sleeping peacefully ever since. Is all anxiousness and sleep troubles demonic? Of course not. But in this case it was. Knowing how to deal with demons can help people when something similar happens to them or when the purposefully do a deliverance.

  • Kirsty says:

    Thanks for your article and tackling what is a much ignored subject – sadly, given the fact we’ve been told to cast demons out!

    I usually answer the question of whether people can be possessed with the answer that, in my view, no-one is truy possessed. God said “All souls are mine” Ezekiel 18:4, so truly, all souls belong – are possessed – by God. The misunderstandings are definitely worsened by Hollywood and also by that incorrect translated word “possessed.” The word in the original is demonized. Anyway, demons can so inhabit a person that they have lost a great deal, if not almost all, control over themselves, which would lead us to believe that a person is totally possessed.

    And I’ve always believed that though you can deliver anyone from demons, it’s good practice if possible to have them believe on Christ for salvation first. I believe this both because Jesus said that deliverance was the children’s bread (Mk 7:27) and that it runs the risk of them ending up in a worse state if they aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit once you’ve chucked out the demons they had, (Mt. 12:44). Not to say you can’t do it, but preferable to let them know the gift of salvation by grace first. :)

    So good though that this discussion is happening. Seems like everyone other than those in countries in Africa and the like know that there is a demonic realm, and 1st world countries think they don’t exist anymore! (Where’d they all go?? Africa I guess!)


    • Cornel says:

      If it’s good practice to first get them saved, why didn’t Jesus ever do that?

      Is it good to get people saved? Of course. Do they need to be saved to get delivered or healed? No. Don’t place conditions on love that is freely expressed.

      • Kirsty says:

        I guess because people couldn’t be ‘saved’ in the New Covenant before Jesus died is what comes to mind? I’ve never really given that particular thing a whole lot of thought though. No, you definitely don’t want to place conditions on love freely expressed, to be sure. But where I’m coming from is that we do what we can to avoid the possibility of them being worse off than when we started. And I’ve also got in mind that Jesus said to the Canaanite woman that deliverance was the ‘children’s bread’.

        But I don’t say this is a hard and fast rule – just with their safety in mind – best they are filled with the Holy Spirit first. I mean, what if they (for some reason, perhaps fear from past church experience?) choose not to receive Christ’s gift of salvation after deliverance? In that case they are at risk of more demons coming back with their original one. That’s all I’m talking about.

        In my case I received deliverance from demons when I was born of the Spirit at the moment I received Christ. Nobody had to cast them out, they were just evicted.

        Thanks again for wrangling this out with me.

        • Cornel says:

          Hi Kirsty,

          If you want to get them saved first, you can do that. I find it easier and better to set them free and then let them decide if they want to live free or not. They know what it was like before, not many want that again. So setting them free first is actually more biblical because Paul said he desires for believers’ faith to rest on the power of God and not in man’s knowledge. setting them free first demonstrates God’s power and they will struggle to not believe after that. Trying to get people saved first, no matter how sincere, is placing a conditional on freedom.

          • Kirsty says:

            Fair enough. I think what is always best is to be led by the Spirit and listening to Him in each individual case I guess. :) I would for sure (and do) pray for healing whether they believe in God or not if I offer and they agree to it. The question that comes up about deliverance in this case is how you actually go about casting the demon(s) out of someone who isn’t a believer – do you ask them if they want prayer first?? Or you just do it without warning? Just genuinely curious. Thanks for your time. I do appreciate that because I know you get a lot of comments and emails.

            • Cornel says:

              I don’t go looking for demons in people. People will tell you their issues. Once they have told you, you can simply ask, ‘Can I pray for you?’ Some will say yes, some will say no. If they say yes, minister to them. And you dont have to start the ministry by trying to name and claim demons and evil spirits and trying to say ‘I rebuke you spirit of blah blah blah’. That will just freak them out which is counter productive. There is a much easier way. But I will get to the how-to’s in a future post because deliverance ministry has been overly complicated for far too long.

              • Kirsty says:

                Thanks Cornel, that clears it up. I have cast demons out of people (it was believers tho, in my experiences). It wasn’t dramatic or loud or any such thing; I simply exerted my authority over them and told them to go. And the very cool thing was that physical healing occurred a couple of times – something I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of! It was such a blast to see someone get free and healed!

      • tonyh says:

        Hi Cornel,

        I am of the opinion that Jesus never got to get them saved because they did not need to as they where Abraham’s seed and by covenant entitled to being free. Luk 13:16 says “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”

        In the same way what entitles an individual liberty is a choice of Lordship. The Lordship of Jesus is covenantal. Outside that Lordship you under the Lordship of the devil.

        That is why Jesus in Mat 15:26 He answered that woman thus, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

        It is children’s bread.

        ANd so we see He instructs His disciples in Mat 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: (6) But GO rather to the LOST sheep of the HOUSE of ISRAEL. (7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

        I think we need to look at the covenants to answer this question, otherwise as He Jesus Himself said in Luk 11:24-26 “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. (25) And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. (26) Then goeth he, and taketh to him 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.”

        • Cornel says:

          The gentile woman you mention got her daughter delivered, even though neither of them were children of Israel. So that sort of counters your own argument in a big way I think.

          Also, demons regaining access and making things worse in my opinion is the fault of the one who cast them out, not the person who was oppressed. If you set somebody free and don’t equip/disciple them on how to stay free, then you are setting them up for failure. If you do equip them and they ignore what you said, then that is not on your head. But just because there is a chance of them returning shouldn’t stop one from evicting them wherever they are exposed.

    • Cornel says:

      Sometimes Holy Spirit gives a word of knowledge about a demon being present, sometimes they just manifest without warning. They manifest in various ways from screaming, shaking, falling and writhing on the floor, sensations in the body, sudden feelings of pain and nausea and many many more. Manifestations are just there to scary the person ministering to get them to stop. I don’t worry too much about manifestations.

  • Amos says:

    Can witchcraft which has been done on a Christian Believer – lead him to bondage … leading to need for deliverance from demons OR is it a myth.

  • Charles says:

    My wife and I have been Christians a very long time. My wife has struggled with her weight all of her adult life. She has tried everything including deliverance ministries but no true freedom in this area. Could this be a demonic influence and where does she go to have someone pray for her who can truly help her? Depression, isolation, anger and other things are prevalent that are very concerning.

    Please give us your thoughts on this. Thank you so much.

    • Cornel says:

      Deliverance is not a quick fix solution. Renewing one’s mind to the reality of the finished work and the new creation is what brings lasting transformation. Depression, isolation, anger, frustration, addiction etc can have their influence in the demonic, but I can not say for certain in your wife’s case or any case really because I don’t go looking for demons in people, nor am I going to make those judgment calls. When I pray for them and demons manifest, I cast them out. You can email me at cornel@charismaministries.org to talk more because I don’t want you to reveal your personal struggles online for all to see.

      • Charles says:

        In thinking about and appreciating your concern about sharing here, your response may help someone else as well. Many Christian people struggle with this addiction as well as the more “popular” ones like drugs and alcohol. I am thankful for our personal conversations as well. Thank you for addressing this topic and bringing it out into the open.

  • Marina says:

    Is it true that the oppressed person has to renounce it or state that they want it to leave before it releases its grip?
    I am looking forward to your how-to post. I would love a step by step walk through of how to handle these things and what to say/pray at each step. Especially how to pray for one manifesting before you without embarrassing anyone.

    • Cornel says:

      Sometimes people are holding on to stuff and they have to let it go, but no, everything doesn’t need to be renounced. I will give a good example of this in a upcoming post.

  • Bill Watson says:

    Can a person be delivered from oppression just by beholding Jesus and His finished work, or does that person have to have someone pray over them at a deliverance meeting. I ask this because what if the person needing deliverance does not have access to people such as yourself. Thank you for reading.

    • Cornel says:

      Self-deliverance is entirely possible, and I actually prefer it. Of course people can be set free by just beholding Jesus, but in some cases even Jesus himself had to rebuke and cast out demons to get people all the way free.

  • Mario says:

    Hey Cornel,

    regarding point 5: why if it isn’t necessary to know the demon’s name does God give it to you? Does one have a better hold on them then?

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