Three Models of Deliverance (from demon possession)

Model #1:  Gospel Encounter

Either a person has a demon and isn’t a Christian or he/she is a Christian but only thinks he/she has a demon.


  • Proclaim the gospel with prayer, a godly life, and clear truth
  • Remember that when the person becomes a Christian, the Spirit indwells and no demon can also be inside the person.
  • Teach and urge application of the truth to deal with demonic deception, accusation and temptation.
  • Do not fall prey to the lie that you must cancel curses, cast out a demon from a believer or do binding prayers or the like.

Key Passages:  2 Corinthians 6:14-15; 1 John 5:18

Argument: The Holy Spirit and a demonic spirit cannot occupy the same space/person. Nowhere in the epistles do you see any commands or instructions to cast a demon out of a believer.  Just preach and apply the gospel and look to the Spirit for growth in righteousness.  Resist all satanic temptations by standing on the Word.

Advocates:  John MacArthur; Hank Hanegraaff; David Powlison


Model #2:  Power Encounter

Christians can be demonized and controlled, but not possessed or completely controlled by demons.  Sin gives a demon a right [ground] to invade and indwell a believer.  The demon cannot be removed until the sin that is the ground of occupation is cancelled.


  • Command the demon to manifest itself
  • Bind the demon in the name of Jesus
  • Get information (name, ground, place of attachment, cohorts, etc.)
  • Break bonds and cancel ground by confessing sin
  • Cast the demon out

Key Passages:  2 Corinthians 2:10-11; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 5:7-9

Argument:  Christians must learn how demons operate and what actually works in the ministry of deliverance.

Advocates: Mark Bubeck; Fred Dickason; Ed Murphy; Jesse Penn-Lewis; Chuck Kraft; C. Peter Wagner


Model #3: Truth Encounter

Although demons have no authority over a believer, Christians can fall prey to deception and yield control to a demon. The truth that Christians were rescued out of the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of Christ and all sin has been forgiven at the Cross cancels all demonic rights over a believer.


  • Talk with the person, not the demon
  • Help the Christian personalize the truth of their identity in Christ and overcome the deceptions they have fallen prey to.
  • Confess, forgive, renounce, recommit

Key Passages:  2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Colossians 1:12-14; 2:8-15

Argument:  Satan seeks to control a believer’s behavior by taking control of his/her mind through deception, accusation and temptation.  Believers must personalize the truth, resist satan and take every thought captive for Christ.

Advocates:  Neil Anderson, Clint Arnold, John Eldredge

(This article was written by Gerry Breshears, Ph.D. from Western Seminary, Portland, OR.)