DEGREES OF DELIVERANCE
Studying the Deliverance Ministry of Jesus
Just as there are degrees of light and darkness, there different degrees of deliverance. It’s not a black and white issue. Anytime we try to treat deliverance in a one-dimensional way, we will get into trouble, both theologically and by experience.
There was a time when the church seemed to ignore these spiritual realities and the devil did his best to keep them ignorant, but since the 1970’s, there began a new emphasis on deliverance and spiritual warfare in the church causing the pendulum to swing the other way. I am glad to see the church grappling with the realities of the spirit realm and applaud the restoration of the authority of the believer, but I must admit that I am often disturbed by some of the extremes people take it to.
As a pastor, I am always concerned when I see deliverance promoted as a cure-all or a quick-fix for every problem we have, avoiding any need for a consistent, disciplined, walking out of our problems with the Lord.
Deliverance and warfare are an integral part of the full gospel but should never become an isolated entity. There should be a proportionate blend of evangelism, healing, and teaching, as we see in the ministry of Jesus, but those who major on deliverance rarely are balanced.
After a few years of studying the subject of deliverance and warfare, I felt impressed by the Lord to set aside all my how-to books on the subject and write out everything I believed. I took some lined paper and began to list my beliefs in bullet-point form. I felt that part of His challenge to me that I needed to find New Testament verses to support each of the doctrines and principles I had picked up along the way.
As I began to itemize these beliefs, I set out to find two or three verses to back up these beliefs. Some things I had always understood as basic principles didn’t hold up to this test. I was surprised to find a number of things I had been taught that I could not find in the Bible at all. I began to see how many of these “truths” were nothing more than Pentecostal traditions and Charismatic superstitions!
For the second part of the challenge, I felt I was to separate these passages of scripture and look for common denominators in each of them. Finding these would help set the parameters on how I was to administer deliverance. Often when the subject of deliverance or warfare was taught, it seems so vast and nebulous. On the other hand, I was surprised to find how uncomplicated deliverance really was when I limited my study to the ministry of Jesus.