By Sosthenes Eze & Olumuyiwa Ajayi
Exorcism in Anglicanism was until recently limited to the Anglo-catholic wing of the church. In 1974, the Church of England set up the “Deliverance Ministry” and every Diocese in the church was equipped with a team trained in both exorcism and psychiatry.
The Book of Occasional Services of the TEC discusses provision for exorcism; but it does not indicate any specific rite, nor does it establish an office of exorcist. In the Church of Nigeria Book of Common Prayer although there is no specific rite for exorcism there is provision for the healing ministry. However exorcism is commonly being done as being part of the duties of both the ordained and the lay based on Mark 16:17. It is heart warming to note that some Diocesans give approval to such ministration.
Exorcizing the possessed an act of driving out an evil spirit from the possessed. A person being delivered is also being healed and made completely whole what are kinds of demonic influence? And who needs deliverance?
There are three kinds of demonic influence:
i. Temptation. Oftentimes when we are tempted it is that of enticement or solicitation to evil( James 1: 13-14) and whenever anyone yield to this he or she may be demonized.
ii. Obsession, compulsion, oppression and manipulation. Due to the sinful nature of human being very frequent irresistible impulse do occur causing a victim to do what he well know is wrong either to tell lies, stealing, homosexuality, alcohol, drugs, irrational behaviour, hatred, depressions etc.
iii. Demonic possession. A demon may take over the personality of a human being so that he is incapable of voluntary-rational thinking or action e.g. most heretic, ocultic and witchcraft possessions.
Those who need deliverance are those who have exposed themselves to any ocultic activities e.g. involvement with mediums and spiritualists, witchcraft, sorcery, divination, fortune telling or soothsaying, astrology, horoscope and omens. Anyone who has been cursed deliberately by another person. Anyone who has been involved in secret blood pacts, blood brotherhood and cults. Anyone who has persistently and dogmatically denied some Biblical aspects of the Christian Faith in a crusading manner. Anyone involved in sexual immorality, interest in pornography, habitual abortion, child abuse, incest etc.
We need to know that involvement with any of the activities mentioned above is the sealing of a contract with the power of darkness, hence the need for exorcism. How can this ungodly covenant be abolished and annulled?
· The will or consent of the possessed must be sought. He needs to be willing and submit himself by faith to deliverance before anything can happen (Isaiah 1:19-20)
· Examine by dialogue to know source of the possession, lead the possessed to Christ if he is yet to be born again and then counsel him to be able to establish and acknowledge what the real problem(s) is or are (Mark 9:14, 16, 21, 22-28)
· It is necessary for us to listen to the Holy Spirit with patience because it is not by might or power or suspicion but by the Holy spirit.
· Lead the possessed person through a prayer of renunciation and declaration (2 Corinthian2 4:1-2; Revelation 12:11).
· Then bind the demon(s) or loosen the patient’s life from the domination of Satan with commands in the authority and power in the name of Jesus Christ. It is encouraging to know that we have been empowered by God to minister healing and deliverance.
All the spiritual weapons available to do spiritual warfare may be used. These include:
o Prayer & fasting (Mark 9:29 KJV)
o The word of God (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 11:23)
o The Blood of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:11)
o The name of Jesus Christ (John 14:12-14; Philippians 2:9-11)
o Praise and Worship (1 Samuel 16:21-23; 18:10-11)
o When deliverance is wrought the patient will need to undergo series of counselling sessions to explain what has happened to him and how he can victoriously walk in union with Jesus Christ.
Experience in healing and deliverance Ministry has shown that some people after encountering the power of God in the place of deliverance ministration often complain of reoccurrence of previous demonic activities. How can a child of God that is been delivered experience total victory and overcome this problem of reoccurrence?
§ He should avoid a vacuum in his life (Matthew 12:43-45)
§ Remain in union with Christ. He should try and remain linked with the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
§ Break links. He should avoid any reconnection with any object or person(s) that may re-influence the person or reconnect him e.g. burn and destroy any unhelpful insignia or objects of such cults (Acts 19:17-20)
§ Use Biblical resources. Read and study the Bible, pray and seek daily in filling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
§ He should arm himself with God’s spiritual armour (Ephesians 6:10-18)
§ Fellowship. He should meet with other believers in Christ regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25)
§ Watchfulness. He should be prepared for a rebound at any moment from Satan and be ready to resist him at all times with the help of Jesus Christ (See Ephesians 6:10; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
§ Seek forgiveness. Turn to the Lord and seek forgiveness from him whenever he fails (1 John 1:9)
It is therefore required of Christians as successors of the Apostles to be actively involved in the ministration as we are sure that this is one of the true marks of an Apostle (cf Mark 3:13-19; 2Corinth.12:12).The Church should be encouraged to return to the basics in discipleship and the word of God. Exorcism is not expected to be the sole office of any “big brother or sister” rather it should be the responsibility of every believer (Mark 16: 17).
This piece was contributed by the Rt. Revd. Sosthenes Eze, Bishop of Enugu North Missionary Diocese and the Rt. Revd. Olumuyiwa Ajayi, Bishop of Pankshin Diocese (Anglican Communion).